If Temer falls, who is going to take his place?

Writing nowadays about Brazil is a problem because…where to begin? There are lots of things going on right now inside the South American giant that demand our attention. Such events certainly show how the Empire is messed up in its own actions aiming for a change in democratically-elected governments and therefore, rooting for governments that follow neoliberal standards.

You may ask yourself: why is still Temer there? Taking into account that his “popularity” fell somewhere between 3% and 7%. Not to mention that 80% of the electorate disapproves his work, even Center-Right voters.

Backed by the U.S., following the orders, he has been loyal to everything Washington has commanded in order to avoid Brazil joining efforts with China and Russia —BRICS members— to spread the positive influence of trade and investment.

Brazil’s subdued economical growth —barely more than 1%— during Temer’s two years in office, was achieved thanks to a severe fiscal adjustment that limited public spending, including those meant for health and education.

Temer implemented a labor reform fought off by labor unions that limited the rights earned decades ago by Brazilian workers. He also insisted on other unpopular reform to change the pension systems that finally did not see the light of day.

The recovery of the Brazilian economy, nonetheless, has not been evident to the population. The number of unemployed citizens grew from 11,4 to 13,7 millions in two years.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded two judicial processes against him, but the Supreme Court was prevented from doing so due to the Chamber of Deputies, where Temer has strong support and has the final word on any demand against the Head of State, closed both cases.

The Prosecutor’s Office is working on a third cause against Temer due to corruption and his two years in office coincided with the leak of a witness testimony who claims to have given high sum of money in cash to the office of a man close to Temer.

However, these sorts of men rarely face trials and go to jail and it happens when they are not useful to the Empire anymore. Others are in jail without substantiated evidence because they are annoying to Washington, and feared by the country’s oligarchy and owners of its wealth. We are talking about former president Inacio Lula da Silva, who has the green light —legally— to run for Brazil’s presidency next October.

Lula should serve a 12-year sentence for confusing crimes, with no substantial evidence against him and handled by even sworn enemies. He has the highest approval and popularity rate and even though he is still in prison, the main political parties of the opposition fear him, including Temer’s.

Temer has thought about running for the office again. But he would only take the job under false pretences. Nevertheless, the strong candidature of Lula, the growing opposition movement and the Empire’s dealings to find a “decent” successor, are against his wishes.

The deaths of disabled people in places where they must have had special care as well as the deaths of young people in a fire inside a detention facility portray the degree of abandonment in which Brazil is immersed in. Not to mention the “illegal” truck drivers’ strike, men who protest against the rising diesel fuel prices.

According to the statement from the Oil Workers’ Federation (FUP), one of the goals of the strike is “to lower the prices of cooking gas and fuel”, and thus, to prevent the privatization of PETROBRAS.

The mobilization, led by FUP and related labor unions, already achieved the resignation of PETROBRAS chairman, Pedro Parente, who “plunged the country into an unprecedented crisis.”

The union members of oil companies announced that cuts and delays will be experienced in four oil refineries and fertilizer plants that are under a sale process.

There is much to be said about Temer. He is clearly backed by the Empire, but a new successor must be found in a hurry. Its faithful and loyal collaborator in the illegal “soft coup” to bring Dilma Rousseff’s government down cannot stand it any longer.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz // CubaSi Translation Staff

Lula's Trial Follows Antidemocratic Script in Brazil

Brasilia, Jan 16 (Prensa Latina) The national leader of the Workers' Party (PT) of Brazil, Gleisi Hoffman, said today that the trial of former President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva is the continuation of the democratic rupture that started in 2016.

In a speech at a public rally, Hoffman noted that it would be the third stage of the coup d'état against the democratic system, and recalled that the first stage was the expulsion of Dilma Rousseff from the Planalto Palace.

She pointed out that the second stage was the government's annulment of the rights conquered by the workers, 'and now they want to strip the Brazilian people of their right to elect Lula again as president'.

The ex-president will be tried on January 24. The case refers to the first sentence granted by Judge Sergio Moro, who is in charge of Operation Lava Jato in Curitiba, Parana.

Experts say that whatever the result is, it will be a time of definition for Brazilian politics in 2018 and the next few years, according to the website www.brasildefato.com.br.

Lula is being tried because he 'allegedly' received a triplex apartment in Guaruja, in the state of Sao Paulo, from the Brazilian company OAS as part of a bribe.

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Protests in Several Brazilian Cities Against Temer's Labor Reforms

Social movements aim to stop labor reforms passed by the lower chamber and set to be voted on in the senate.

Demonstrations are taking place throughout Brazil Thursday as momentum builds in support of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who was sentenced to nine years and six months on charges of corruption and money laundering by judge Sergio Moro.

RELATED: Sao Paulo Forum, Meeting of Latin America’s Left, Defends Venezuela

Organized by the Popular Front of Brazil, the Worker's Party and a host of unions and other social movements, Thursday's demonstrations also build off previous demands by the Brazilian people that include the immediate removal of current president Michel Temer, free democratic elections, and an end to approved labor reforms and pension reform proposals.

The FBP stated that it wants "to relate the persecution of the ex-president with the agenda of regression in the labor laws and to reaffirm, against this picture of intense political and institutional crisis, the need for direct elections for the presidency of the Republic."

According to the FBP, there is no evidence supporting the charges against the former head of state. Following the decision, Lula's lawyers appealed the court sentence, contesting ten of the deciding factors in the case, while the Federal Public Ministry filed an appeal against the ruling Monday.

President Vander Freitas of the Central Worker's Union, said, "For the 'Casa Grande', Lula represents the danger of a popular and workers' government coming back to power to restore democracy, equality, justice and social inclusion."

"The condemnation of Lula by (Judge Sergio Moro) is a further blow to the already weakened Brazilian democracy because when justice takes sides, condemns without evidence, acts only for presumption of guilt and a judge becomes accusatory, there is something serious happening," said Guiljerme Boulos, the national coordinator of the Landless Workers' Movement.

RELATED: Brazil: Lower House Committee Rejects Charges Against President Temer

During a televised press conference July 13, the 71-year-old Workers’ Party leader said that his prosecution is politically motivated and is intended to destroy his group’s reputation ahead of the 2018 elections.

However, despite the trial and his pending sentence, surveys conducted ahead of Brazil’s 2018 presidential elections puts Lula as the top choice for voters in the country.

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Lula Says He'll "Do More and Better" as President of Brazil

Lula emphasized that democracy “demands commitment. Democracy entails that our capacity to listen is equivalent to our ability to speak.”

During a ceremonial launch of the second phase of the Lula Institute Democracy Memorial, former Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva emphasized that speaking about “democracy at this moment is very important and necessary. It's almost like the air that we breath.”

RELATED:  Rapporteur Recommends Sending Brazilian President to Trial

The statement came Monday as Lula addressed the crowd about the need to discuss the terms of democracy during the current political climate.

“For inasmuch as we remain silent and accept what's being told to us on a daily basis, such measures start to gain traction,” he said. In the same breath he noted, “soon, we start to believe the world to be normal and soon enough we start to believe that somebody like Bolsonaro, the result of hate spewed by Globo Television Network, to be normal.”

Lula was referring to Jair Bolsonaro, a congressman and 2019 presidential hopeful who, like U.S. President Donald Trump, has become renowned for his abrasiveness. Some of his more infamous statements include that the error committed by Brazil's military dictatorship “was to torture and not kill," adding that “Pinochet should have killed more people.”

In contrast to his presidential opponent, Lula emphasized that democracy “demands commitment. Democracy entails that our capacity to listen is equivalent to our ability to speak.”

RELATED: Right-Wing Brazil Govt Continues Attacks on Indigenous Agency

Acknowledging that Brazil is far from building a just democracy, Lula promised that he wouldn't return to serve as president to “do the same” but to “do more and better.” He stressed that one of the things that he could have done better in his previous administrations was in “relation to the media.”

Also on Monday, Lula signed a petition titled, “Brazilian People's Manifesto for the Annulment of the Impeachment – Dilma Return.” The document demands the revocation of the impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

It reads, in part, that Rousseff, having been democratically elected by 54 million voters, should be reinstated as president to complete her term. “We speak on behalf of those who chose her to govern Brazil and also on behalf of those who didn't elect her but who perceive the impeachment as a coup against democracy.

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In Latest Scandal, Brazilian President Temer Accused of Buying Votes to Block Impeachment

Temer is accused of buying support to block the trial against him for corruption that could lead to his suspension or impeachment.

Brazilian President Michel Temer is facing accusations that he bribed lawmakers to assure their support ahead of his possible trial for corruption, a decision which is currently in the hands of the Lower House of Congress.

RELATED: Brazil's Temer Won't Resign and Says Nothing Will Destroy Him

Lawmakers from the leftist Worker's Party, or PT, will deliver the formal accusation to the Attorney General's office on Wednesday.

Paulo Pimenta, Wadih Damous and Paulo Teixeira allege the appointed president used his position and power to secure support against the corruption charges presented by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot to the Supreme Court, which is now being evaluated by the Lower House.

This week Temer received at least 30 lawmakers in the Planalto Palace in Brasilia according to the official agenda.Among them were 11 members of the Constitution and Justice Commission of the Lower House, who will decide if the charges against the president will proceed or not, according to Brasil 247

Temer's lawyer Antonio Claudio Mariz de Oliveira is expected to present part of his defense to the commission on Wednesday. For the accusation to be admitted it needs to have the vote of 34 of the 66 members of the commission.

RELATED: Second General Strike against President Temer's Reforms

After this, it will have up to five sessions to debate and vote on the final report by the commission speaker, Sergio Zveiter, who also belongs to Temer's ruling PMDB party.

The report will then be submitted to the Lower House for a vote, that needs the approval of 341 of the 513 lawmakers to be accepted.

Temer and his aide Rodrigo Rocha Loures are accused of receiving and approving bribes in the largest corruption investigation in the country known as Operation Car Wash.

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Brazilian Workers' Party 6th National Congress to Nominate Lula for President

The congress opened with calls for free, democratic elections and included speeches by Rousseff, Lula and others.

The Workers' Party of Brazil commenced its 6th National Congress Thursday, which is expected to officially nominate former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva as its presidential candidate for the 2018 general election.

RELATED: Brazil Mainstream Media Admits Spreading Fake News About Lula

The congress, which will go on until Saturday, opened with calls for free, democratic elections. A slideshow featuring images of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Che Guevara, and other revolutionaries, accompanied those calls.

Party affiliates, numbering more than 1,000 during the congress opening, reiterated their unity in the face of a government plagued by seemingly endless scandals and corruption.

During the congress, party members will discuss strategies to overcome the dangers to democracy presented by current selected president Michel Temer and his administration.

“I have my candidate. My candidate is Lula!” said Dilma Rousseff, former Brazilian president who was ousted due to what many describe as a parliamentary coup.

Key architects of her removal such as Eduardo Cunha, former speaker of Brazil's lower house of representatives; Aecio Neves, former congressman, and Temer himself have been denounced for receiving bribes, approving bribes, their involvement in a slew of corruption scandals, and other crimes.

"Opening of PT's 6th Congress: "Only direct elections can return democracy back to the people."

Lula also spoke at the opening of the congress. “They want to convict me for everything that I'm proud to have done,” adding, “I've already proven my innocence.” Brazil's former, most popular president concluded by saying, “The time has come to end the foolishness. This country can't take any more destruction.”

Luciano Santos, president of the Communist Party of Brazil, repeated his support for the coalition uniting his party and the PT, Rural Landless Worker's Movement, Central Worker's Union, and Brazil's Popular Front.

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Beef with Temer: ‘Brazilian President's supporters jumping ship, his days are numbered’

The owner of one of the biggest beef exporting businesses in the world is testifying against Brazil's President Michel Temer, and this shows the scale of public dissatisfaction, Latin America expert James Petras, from Binghamton University, told RT.

The Brazilian capital has been in the grip of violent unrest with police deploying tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray against protesters.

The reason behind these mass demonstrations is the policy of current President Michel Temer, who came into power last summer as a result of the impeachment of elected President Dilma Rousseff.

One of his main promises was to fight corruption and improve Brazil's struggling economy. However, the economy continues to worsen while corruption is out of control.

Public discontent exploded last week when Temer found himself at the center of a bribery scandal.

RT:  Many in Brazil are demanding President Temer's impeachment. How likely is that to happen?

James Petras: I think it is very likely. It is a question of time, whether it is weeks or a few months, Temer is on his way out. He has taken power illegally by the opinion of most people. His seizure of power with the impeachment of the previous president. He is engaged in a large-scale privatization program, which alienates nationalists. Unemployment has doubled in the last four months. He has been involved deeply in corruption scandals involving his cabinet ministers, his closest supporters in Congress. I think the combination of corruption, social and economic problems with the labor force, employment situation and finally the fact that he is not an elected president, the fact that he was able to manipulate Congress to secure the impeachment. I think all these factors together, and his stubbornness in owning up to the corruption has finally turned the tide. I don’t think he has more than 10 percent of the electorate at this time.

@RT_com BREAKING: Police uses tear gas, stun grenades in clashes with protesters in Brazil (WATCH LIVE) https://on.rt.com/8cmu

RT:  Last week a tape was released discussing payments to silence testimony by a potential witness in the country's biggest-ever corruption probe. Was that the last straw for those calling for Temer's ouster?

JP: The corruption investigation is proceeding. I think we have to take into account that the principal witness taped the interviews with Temer, and the person engaged as one of the biggest capitalists owning one of the biggest beef exporting businesses in the world. The fact that he is testifying against Temer on the basis of his own personal experience weighs heavily. The fact that many of Temer’s strongest supporters are jumping ship, that he doesn’t have a supporting party outside of his narrow circles. I think that is the end of the trail. I think Temer is holding on because he has the backing of international financial groups; he has the backing of many of the elites that have been involved in the stock market, but nobody else. I think that is not enough to stay in power. The sooner he realizes the quicker we will turn to what will replace Temer, and that is a struggle between the Congress, where the conservative forces exercise a majority, or whether they will open to a new election, in which case the center-left, the Workers' Party may have a strong chance of reelecting a new president.

 
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Head of Latin American Studies at Middlesex University

RT:  Many in Brazil are demanding President Temer's impeachment. How likely is that to happen?

Francisco Dominguez: The government is imploding, and the level of corruption is just unbelievable. The people are very angry. They were taken away their right to vote for the president that they elected due to the coup - or the ‘impeachment’ as they call it over there. Now the people, who were supposed to be fighting Dilma Rousseff because of corruption, are absolutely corrupt themselves. The level of corruption is really reaching incredible levels. People around him, everybody, including Aecio Neves, the Presidential candidate, who disputed the presidency as a candidate with Dilma Rousseff is also centrally involved. People are being imprisoned, people are being arrested, and the amount of money that is being mentioned in the media is very partial in many respects… The government is unlikely to survive, regardless of whether there is violence or not. The mass protest is going to be so powerful from now on, and the people will not settle for anything else, but direct elections.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Brazil President Temer faces impeachment calls as bribery accusations emerge

Brazilian President Michel Temer is facing mounting impeachment calls from politicians and the public, who are outraged over alleged secret payoffs. It comes less than a year after the impeachment of ex-leader Dilma Rousseff, also over corruption claims.

Prosecutors have reportedly been provided with recordings in which Joesley Batista, one of the two brothers who run the country’s biggest meat-packing company, JBS, tells President Temer he makes payments to the jailed politician Eduardo Cunha to keep him quiet over corruption allegations.

Temer is reportedly heard replying, “You have to keep it going, OK?” according to O Globo newspaper, which didn’t disclose how it had received the information.

Temer’s office released a statement on Wednesday denying the claims: “President Michel Temer never solicited payments to obtain the silence of former deputy Eduardo Cunha. He neither participated nor authorized any activity with the objective of preventing testimonies or cooperation with justice officials by the parliamentarian.”

Brazil: Thousands rally as Temer taped endorsing bribes to silence graft witness

Cunha was a powerful member of the same ruling Brazilian Democratic Movement party as acting President Temer, and was believed to be the mastermind behind the impeachment of former Brazilian leader Rousseff.

Cunha has previously said he had compromising information about several senior politicians linked to a vast political bribery scandal at state oil firm Petrobras.

O Globo also reported that security forces allegedly have audio and video proof that Temer aide Rocha Loures received weekly $160,000 payoffs for decades, supposedly for having helped JBS deal with a fair trade issue.

The tapes also implicate several other politicians, including former presidential candidate Aecio Neves and ex-Finance Minister Guido Mantega, the newspaper reported.

 
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. © Adriano Machado

While no audio or transcripts have been released, the reports have led to widespread outrage among the public. When the claims were shown on TV, shouts and pot-banging – a common form of protest in Brazil – could be heard among protesters, with crowds chanting, “Temer out.”

Several politicians also voiced their anger, with two congressmen submitting impeachment motions to the country’s lower house. It’s not the first time that Temer-linked figures have been entangled in a political scandal. Three of his ministers have resigned, while eight others have been linked to a massive corruption scandal branded the ‘Car Wash’ case.

Temer’s predecessor Rousseff was ousted last year over bribery accusations.

Following the removal of Rousseff, it has appeared difficult for Temer to win the public’s trust, with thousands of protesters regularly taking to the streets, especially over a controversial bill set to freeze government spending on healthcare, education, pensions, infrastructure, and defense until 2037, adopted back in November.

Rousseff repeatedly slammed Temer during an Al Jazeera interview in December, calling him “a traitor” and “illegitimate.”

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