'Coup Not Over': Lula, Rousseff Lead 1000s in Brazil Rally

The former presidents attended the inauguration of a popular water diversion project.

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and ousted President Dilma Rousseff attended the San Francisco River Transposition, organized Sunday by leaders of social movements, artists and intellectuals in the Brazilian city of Monteiro.

RELATED: Make Brazil Great Again: Top Leftists Want Lula as President

"The coup is not over yet. It is underway with systematic lies like the one lived here in Monteiro, where someone, who never raised a finger to the diversion of these waters, dares to take credit for it now," Rousseff said, referring to the administration of Michel Temer.

The rerouting of the river São Francisco to supply water to the population of Monteiro in the state of Paraíba, as well as other cities in the area, is an accomplishment of the previous governments of Lula and Rousseff.

"I am very proud to see the water come here, I fought a lot for this together with Lula," the former president said.

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A large gathering received the leaders of the Workers Party, or PT, in an event organized by social movements, who had prevented Temer from inaugurating the beginning of work on the water delivery days earlier.

"They always knew that the democracy of our government benefited the Brazilian people, they know (the right-wing) that during four elections we won and they lost, because they never got to present projects for the development of the country," Rousseff added.

RELATED: Brazil's Temer Could Face Impeachment as Key Witness Testifies in Fraud Case

During his speech, Lula thanked those present.

"Leaving where I left and getting where I am, was only with the hand of God and the Brazilian people," he said.

"I'm not a professional, I'm not a lawyer, I did not go to college, but ... I know what it's like to have a big belly full of bad things from drinking dirty water, I have honor, and I am proud to be able to contribute to the fact that this town has water today."

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Former Brazilian Presidents to be at Castro's funeral

Rio de Janeiro: Former Brazilian Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff will attend the funeral ceremony of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the Lula Institute announced.
 
They will travel to Havana this weekend, Xinhua news reported on Friday.
 
Castro passed away on November 25, at the age of 90. The revolutionary leader lead Cuba for almost five decades.
 
Castro was cremated, and his ashes travelled through Cuba this week and would be buried on Saturday.
 
Both Lula and Rousseff have met Castro. During the Lula administration, Brazil and Cuba improved their ties, a policy continued by Rousseff, Lula's successor in office.
 
Both the Brazilian leaders published heartfelt statements regretting Castro's death hours after the Cuban government confirmed his passing. 
 
They hailed Castro's leadership and legacy. Lula compared losing Castro to the loss of an elder brother.
 
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Int'l Seminar in Brazil to Make Amends for Lula and Dilma

Brasilia, Sep 23 (Prensa Latina) The 11th International Seminar of Struggle aganst Neoliberalism organized by newspaper Inverta, will close with a ceremony to make amends for expresidents of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, announced its organizers.

The venue, which will have the presence of guests from Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, China and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, will be held next Saturday at the High Institute of Education of Rio de Janeiro.

Two tables of analysis and debate are in the program of the meeting. The first on 'The 2016 Coup in Brazil: international and national aspects', and the second will center its attention on the resistance to the parliamentary-judiciary coup that cut the mandate of Rousseff, elected for over 54 million Brazilians to govern until 2018.

The seminar will commemorate 25 years of Inverta's foundation, organ of the Communist Marxist-Leninist Party (PCML) of Brazil, which occurred on September 20, 1991.

The editor in chief and founder, Aluisio Pampolha, said the paper was created by popular organizations, neighbor associations, movemernts of rural workers, tradeunionists and intellectuals that form the Center of Popular Education and Economic and Social Research (Ceppes).

Among the attendants to the Seminar will be exministers of Justice

Eugenio Aragao, Science and Technology, Roberto Amaral; the former ambassador of Brazi8l before the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) Samuel Pinheiro Guimaraes, and Vitor Guimaraes, of the Movement of Roofless Workers (MTST) / Front Fearless People.

Also participants of the Movement of Rural Landless Workers (MST), the Front Brazil Popular, the Union of Negroes for Equality, the People's Levante of Youth, the Central of Workers of Brazil (CTB), The Single Central of Workers (CUT) and the Oilmen Trade Union of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Sindipetro RJ), among others.

The guest list also includes the Movement of Struggle against Neoliberalism and for Socialism, the Network of People's Women and Men Doctors, the group Casa de las Americas of Nova Frigurg, the Cultural Institute Karl Marx, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the Workers' Party (PT) and the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), to only mention some.

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Brazilian Film 'Aquarius' Latest Casualty of Political Crisis

The director and cast of the highly-celebrated film "Aquarius" protested the "coup" against Dilma Rousseff while representing Brazil at Cannes.
 

The country’s embattled Oscar’s selection committee nominated David Schurmann’s “Little Secret” as Brazil's offering for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in February 2017. At least two films dropped out of the running for the prized spot in protest of the appointment of film critic Marcus Petrucelli to the selection team.

Petrucelli has publicly criticized Aquarius director Kleber Mendonca for his denunciation of Brazil's unelected President, Michel Temer, who was part of the cabal of conservative politicians who spearheaded the removal of the twice-elected Rousseff.

In social media posts, Petrucelli previously accused Mendonca of embarrasing Brazil at the Cannes Film Festival. Mendonca and the cast of Aquarius had staged a protest on the red carpet at Cannes in May just days after Rousseff's was suspended from office on allegations of corruption. She would subsequently be impeached on Aug. 31. Cast members held up signs with messages such as “Brazil is experiencing a coup d’etat.”

Onlookers at Cannes responded to the protest with applause, while Petrucelli dubbed the claim of a coup a “lie.”

OPINION: A Flimflam Impeachment: The Overthrow of Dilma Rousseff

Schurmann, director of the Oscar submission “Little Secret”, told Variety that Brazil’s Oscar selection process fell victim to the country’s political climate, which elevated pressures to single out a film with “a political angle and agenda,” which may not necessarily the best film.

Previously, Mendonca told Variety that there was a great deal of speculation that “Aquarius” would be “sabotaged by the illegitimate government.”

“Aquarius” tells the story of an aging music critic, played by Sonia Braga, who resists pressure from a bullying property developer to sell her apartment with a stubborn and humorous air that spikes tension through the course of the film.

Ccritics have described the film as a metaphor for some of Brazil’s deep-seated problems, such as corruption.

Though pushed out of the Best Foreign Language Film category, “Aquarius” could still have a shot at making it to the Oscar’s with Sonia Braga as a nominee for best actress in a leading role after her performance was highly celebrated at Cannes.

The controversy over the Oscar’s selection comes less than two weeks after the vote in the Senate to definitively remove Rousseff from office and install Michel Temer as unelected president.

One of the first contentious moves by Temer’s interrim government was to axe the Ministry of Culture, folding it into the Ministry of Education for the first time since the offices were separated in 1985 after the fall of the dictatorship.

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Brazil Coup Plotter Eduardo Cunha Impeached in Lower House

Lawmakers approved a June congressional ethics committee recommendation in favor of impeaching Cunha.

Former president of the chamber of deputies and mastermind of President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment, Eduardo Cunha, lost his seat in the lower house Monday night that had so far given him immunity against judicial proceedings over corruption charges.

IN DEPTH: The Coup That Ousted Brazilian Democracy

Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of his removal with 450 votes for impeachment, nine abstentions and 10 votes against, when the approval required only 257 deputies, with a minimum of 420 attending the vote.

At the end of the vote, Cunha left the assembly surrounded with guards while opposition representatives chanted "Cunha Out!"

Cunha has been investigated for lying about hiding over US$5 million in laundered money in secret Swiss bank accounts. He denied having money offshore, but accounts tied to him were repeatedly confirmed by Swiss officials.

According to surveys issued Monday, on the day of the vote by local media, at least 298 deputies—out of a total of 513—declared they would vote in favor of his impeachment. Only four said they would vote to absolve him, 183 said they would abstain and 26 said they would not attend the session.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on a June congressional ethics committee recommendation in favor of impeaching Cunha.

In May, he was suspended from his position as head of the lower house by the Brazilian Supreme Court over accusations of intimidating lawmakers and hampering investigations, one month after the lower chamber voted in favor of Rousseff's impeachment. He faces an eight-year ban from elected office.

Cunha is notorious for using stalling tactics as the issue of his suspension stood before the council of ethics for months after having been initiated in October, making it the longest process in the history of the council.

RELATED: Brazil Coup Plotter Eduardo Cunha Hosts Lavish Goodbye Barbecue

Supporters of the Rousseff said Cunha initiated impeachment proceedings against Rousseff as payback after members of her party voted to look into corruption allegations against him.

Rousseff has said that despite the fact that Michel Temer is the acting president, Cunha is really the person in charge in Brasilia, the federal capital. Both Cunha and Temer are members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.

Cunha was a key architect in painting the impeachment process as a campaign to root out government corruption, despite himself facing multimillion dollar bribery and fraud charges.

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Declaration of the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba

The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba strongly rejects the parliamentary and judicial coup d’état perpetrated against President Dilma Rousseff.

The Government’s estrangement from the President, without presenting any evidence of corruption or crimes of responsibility against her, as well as from the Workers’ Party (PT) and other left-wing allied political forces, is an act of defiance against the sovereign will of the people who voted for her.

The governments headed by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff implemented a socio-economic model that made it possible for Brazil to take a step forward in areas such as production growth with social inclusion, the creation of jobs, the fight against poverty, the eradication of extreme poverty among more than 35 million Brazilians who used to live in inhumane conditions and income increase for another 40 million; the expansion of opportunities in the areas of education and health for the people, including those sectors who had been previously marginalized.çDuring this period, Brazil has been an active promoter of Latin American and Caribbean integration.  The defeat of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), the celebration of the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC) which led to the creation of CELAC and foundation of UNASUR are transcendental events in the recent history of the region which show the leading role played by that country.

Likewise, Brazil’s approach to the Third World nations, particularly Africa; its active membership in the BRICS Group (made up by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa); and its performance at the United Nations Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); and the World Trade Organization, among others, are an acknowledgement of its international leadership.

Equally praiseworthy has been Brazil’s performance under the Workers’ Party governments in crucial international issues for the defense of peace, development, the environment and the programs against hunger.

The efforts made by Lula and Dilma to reform the political system and organize the funding of parties and their campaigns as well as in support of the investigations started against corruption and the independence of the institutions responsible for such investigations are too well known.

The forces that are currently exercising power have announced the privatization of deep water oil reserves and social programs curtailments. Likewise, they are proclaiming a foreign policy focused on the relations with the big international centers of power. Quite a few among those who are impeaching the President are currently under investigation for acts of corruption.

What happened in Brazil is another expression of the offensive of imperialism and the oligarchy against the revolutionary and progressive governments of Latin America and the Caribbean which threatens peace and stability of nations and is contrary to the spirit and the letter of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed at the Second CELAC Summit in January, 2014, in Havana by the Heads of State and Government of the region.

Cuba reiterates its solidarity with President Dilma and comrade Lula as well as with the Worker’s Party, and is confident that the Brazilian people will defend the social achievements that have been attained and will resolutely oppose the neoliberal policies that others may try to impose on them and the plundering of its natural resources.

Havana, August 31, 2016.

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Majority of Senate That Impeached Rousseff Under Investigation

49 of 81 Brazilian senators who ousted the president for corruption charges are themselves the targets of criminal inquiries. 

More than half of the Senate voting to impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Wednesday are themselves facing legal proceedings on charges of corruption.

RELATED: Dilma Warns of Democracy's Death in Impeachment Testimony

According to news reports and official sources, 49 of Brazil's 81 senators face crimes ranging from money laundering to illicit enrichment and electoral fraud.

By a margin of 61 to 20, the Senate voted Wednesday to remove the twice-elected Rousseff from office for doctoring the federal budget to influence voters in her successful 2014 election campaign. The contentious impeachment hearings had to be postponed following several altercations between senators, who each have accused each other of corruption and even drug use.

Rousseff is not accused of corruption or embezzlement. Instead, she was forced to step down over allegations that she cooked the federal budget books in the runup to her 2014 reelection to hide a government shortfall and woo voters. However, a June Senate report proved the allegations were false.

Conservative senators are trying to prove that she committed a “crime of responsibility,” the only charge for which a president can be impeached, but the president’s defenders consider that the predominantly opposition-held senate has no moral authority to judge her.

Many of the 81 senators have already spoke, most of them against Rousseff. The trial was resumed on Wednesday morning for the final vote on removing her.

IN DEPTH: The Coup That Ousted Brazilian Democracy

Testifying in her own defense, Rousseff recalled how she had endured torture as a dissident fighting the military dictatorship to articulate her belief in democracy. She had committed no impeachable offenses, she said, and urged the Senate to uphold their constitutional duty and vote against her impeachment.

She will be replaced by the interim President Michel Temer, who led the parliamentary coup and will continue to govern until 2018, despite his broad unpopularity with the electorate and pending corruption charges of his own.

  • Published in World

Temer to Push Privatization, Cut Social Spending in Brazil, Warns ITUC

Michel Temer has proposed several proposals that would cut federal spending in education, health and other social programmes.

The interim government of President Michel Temer is in the process of introducing sweeping privatization proposals and cuts in education health and other social programs, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) warned on Friday.  

The ITUC cited a constitutional amendment, known as PEC 241, which is currently under review by Brazilian lawmakers that aims to eliminate constitutional clauses guaranteeing minimum federal spending in the area of health and education.

RELATED: Booed at Olympics, Temer Still Thinks Govt Is 'Extraordinary'

“Determined to oust President Dilma, her opponents have already introduced a bill in Congress for a 20-year austerity program, which will have catastrophic consequences for the poorest in particular and which will cause lasting damage to the economy,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary

The Brazilian constitution currently stipulates that in 2016 a minimum of 13.7 percent of the country’s total federal tax budget be allocated towards health services, with 18 percent going towards education. 

If approved, PEC 241 would limit government expenditures over the next two decades so that it is reduced in proportion to country’s GDP, which critics argue would translate into a tremendous sacrifice for the poor in exchange for a reduction in public debt.

RELATED: Brazil Coup and Political Crisis: How Did We Get Here?

“An offensive against workers’ rights is just around the corner, along with cuts to crucial social spending, handing over of key energy assets to corporations and privatization of other state assets,” Burrow stated. 

In recent weeks Brazil’s largest labor unions have take to the streets in major cities across the country to demand more jobs and stronger workers’ protections as conservative legislators prepare to reverse 20 years of positive gains in the labor sector. 

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