Rousseff's impeachment: Will Brazil be ever Socialistic?

Nothing is clear in Brazil’s murky political crisis, except that the country will suffer the consequences for a long time to come

Rousseff's impeachment: Will Brazil be ever Socialistic?

Robert Gorden- Costa Rica

Brazil, a South American nation of 210 million which is world's fifth-largest country, both by geographical area and by population has been grabbing international headlines for the last many years, but this time it is in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Although it remained in the news for all the good reasons for quite a long period of time, especially for its thriving economy, membership in BRICS block of emerging economies, it’s corporate - like Embraer and Petrobras, and of course it’s popular socialist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The economy of the resource-rich nation had boomed until 2010, but stagnation followed and a deep recession is now underway, along with high inflation and charges of corruption and bankruptcy of a major oil business due to plunge in oil prices.

When allegations surfaced March last year that the graft occurred during 2003 to 2010 while Rousseff was part of the board of directors of Petrobras. Brazilians became upset with the government and called for Rousseff's impeachment. An impeachment request against Rousseff was accepted by Eduardo Cunha, the president of the - lower house - Chamber of Deputies, on 2 December 2015.

On April 17, 2016, Brazil's lower house voted to initiate impeachment proceedings against Dilma Rousseff over charges of misappropriation of government funds. Rousseff's allies secured 137 votes against the impeachment but her opponents managed to secure 367 votes in the lower house of congress – exceeding the 342-vote mark needed to send the motion to the upper house of Senate. After the impeachment result in Congress, Rousseff described the move as “a coup” and vowed to defend herself before the Senate, which will begin impeachment hearings on April 26. Rousef also visited the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, expecting that the UN would denounce the proceedings against her.

Angry demonstrators in 2014 complained about the huge $11.5 billion cost of sponsoring the FIFA World Cup, but many Brazilians also took pride in smooth functioning of mega sporting event. Unlike her first Presidential election in 2010 when she succeeded Lula, it was not an easy sailing for President Rousseff in 2014 election. She faced a conservative challenger for her re-election bid in the October 26, 2014, runoff, but narrowly managed to secure her re-election with just over 51% of votes.

Some think there is a meticulous plan to overturn the socialist Brazilian government. Impeachment of Rousseff and interrogation of Lula bear uncanny similarities to the events in 1961 - after 3 - year long protests turbulence- that culminated into the 1964 military coup. It is the same social-political class of seventies, the right-wing; conservative, upper and middle class anti-corruption protesters who demanded for President Rouseef’s impeachment. Rousseff, who was one of the many left-wing guerrillas, imprisoned and tortured by the military regime after the 1964 coup. Anti-Dilma and Lula protest organizers brought out estimated 1.4 million Brazilians—largely members of the country’s more conservative wealthy and middle classes—in the name of fighting corruption.

The ruling left-wing Workers’ Party came out to support President Rousseff and her predecessor, Lula da Silva but the support wasn’t strong enough, neither in public nor inside the political block that they represent. It seems that Lula and Roussef have lost a huge amount of support that they once had. There are so many poor people in Brazil, and if the two still had their old support base, the demonstrations for them would have been enormous. Instead, they were disappointing. Now Brazilians clearly do not appear to be enthusiastic enough, and lesser number of the people of the country seem to support her presidency.

On the other hand, reason for Roussef's decline in popularity is said to be emanating from a general popular uprising not just against her but the entire political system which Brazilians see as terminally corrupt. Despite having one of the highest taxation regimes in the world, the public investment level in Brazil is one of the lowest.

Brazil has seen high development in last few decades but the country is still facing many social problems. Public education is still appalling, with roughly 20% of the population being still functionally illiterate, and public health care particularly in the North is all but nonexistent. Public health care is spotty at best, "For the 60% of the population who use the public health care system, services are limited to basic immunizations and emergency care."

In the biggest city of the country, Rio, about one-third of the city’s 10 million people lives in extreme poverty in city favelas ((urban slums) where sanitation is poor. "Children born in favelas are six times more likely to die than children born into middle-class families."

So the middle class is angry because of high taxes and that their taxes do not seem to be helping to eradicate poverty. The rich, who control the media, are unhappy with any form of socialist government and many of the poor also seem to be losing patience with the Workers Party. The problems with healthcare, education, inflation along with the sluggish economy added the fuel.

Rouseff is also blamed for trying to save her mentor, Lula, from imminent arrest in the same case. After former president was brought in for questioning earlier in March and police raided his home and the headquarters of the institute that bears his name. He was released hours later and no charges were made, but what happened after the raids was to lay the groundwork for the protests that followed. Rumors began to circulate that Rousseff had offered Lula a ministerial post to grant him immunity from the imminent prosecution.

It is now quite obvious that the outside global players will, of course, pour oil on the fire whenever they get a chance. But, this time, the fire does seem to be one that comes from within Brazil's own deep long term social and political problems. This is what makes the arising situation in Brazil most ironical, and the forces that had nourished Rousseff enthusiastically with great expectations are now disillusioned and out to consume her. Even after Rousseff’s destiny gets finally sealed following her ominous impeachment, the debate would, however, continue whether the poor masses of this South American country would ever get justice under the notorious West-driven anti-poor Capitalism.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Nisan 2016, 12:32