[ Ed. note – Fortune Magazine is celebrating the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Roussef which took place Sunday. In an article headlined, “Dilma Rousseff Impeachment Is Just the First Step to Heal Brazil’s Broken Economy,” writer Cyrus Sanati can’t seem to resist crowing:
Oh, how the mighty BRIC has fallen. Back in 2011, few would have predicted that Brazil’s economy would soon be in for a slowdown, let alone a depression-level contraction. But by 2013, fear that China’s economy could be in for a “hard landing” sent the entire emerging market complex into a nasty dive. The panic soon became self-perpetuating, with a reduction in foreign capital leading to a slowdown in economic growth and a drop in commodity prices, which then led to investor confirmation of an economic downturn, which in turn led to more capital flight, and so on. Many of the investors who fled emerging markets returned once the panic subsided, picking up some great bargains along the way.
In a vote taken on Sunday, Roussef was impeached by the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Brazilian congress. The vote was 367 for impeachment to 137 against, with 7 abstentions. The next step is for the Senate to decide whether it will hear the case. If it does, Rousseff will step down temporarily and her vice president, Michel Temer, will serve in her stead until the Senate renders its decision. Rousseff has two years left in her term, and some observers (see here and here, for instance) have referred to what’s going on now as a coup attempt.
If you doubt that the US is behind this movement to oust Rousseff, consider the article below by Francisco Dominguez. Latin American governments, he says, who try to steer a path independent of US dictates, are being subjected to “systematic levels of traumatic and deliberately created social, economic and political chaos”–attacks which, he adds, “can go on for years.”
The problem, of course, is that these destabilizations are being pushed by a small group of people who have virtually unlimited financial resources to pour into the effort. And as I have said previously, anytime there’s trouble in the world, scratch the surface deeply enough and you will find a Zionist connection.
Brazil and Israel got into a diplomatic spat in the latter part of last year when Rousseff refused to accept Danny Dayan as the Netanyahu appointed Israeli ambassador to Brazil. Dayan was rejected because of his ties to the Israeli settler movement. As The Guardian reported in March, “Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, last summer sent messages to Israel making clear she disapproved of the appointment of the Argentina-born Dayan because of his involvement in promoting illegal Israeli settlement construction.”
Rousseff stood her ground, refusing to buckle under pressure. Israel, with little choice in the matter, eventually withdrew Dayan’s nomination, though we can imagine the rejoicing likely going on in the Zionist state now.
It is growing increasingly apparent that US regime operations, with their potential for triggering a nuclear world war, could pose possibly the greatest threat to humanity at this time, climate change notwithstanding. Consider: in the five years since the US has been trying to oust President Bashar Assad of Syria, more than 250,000 Syrians have died. In that same time, no one died from climate change.
This of course is not to say that at some point in the future climate change may begin to exact an exponential toll upon the human population, but the exponential toll from US regime change operations is occurring now.
Dominguez’ article was published four days ago, prior to the vote on Sunday. ]
Is US-Funded Destabilization in Latin America Now Paying Off?
The preconditions for “regime change” take, in some cases, years of careful preparation.
Most progressive governments in Latin America find themselves under intense attack in what is evidently a well synchronized and well financed continental plan of destabilization.
Riots, street demonstrations, anti-corruption campaigns, protests about the domestic negative impact of the world economic crisis, general strikes, impeachment efforts, economic sabotage, and the like, have become the battle horses on which oligarchic forces in cahoots with Washington are riding to carry out “regime change.”
So far, conservative forces in Latin America have been successful in overthrowing President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in 2009 and President Fernando Lugo in 2012 in Paraguay. Both presidents were ousted by oligarchic parliamentary majorities with mass support from middle class “civic associations”, in complicity with the judiciary, with the latter providing a veneer of legality.
The preconditions for “regime change” take, in some cases, years of careful preparation. This normally involves intoxicating media campaigns of demonization aimed to exacerbate political polarization to the maximum, through the instilling of fear, the staging of aggressive and sometimes violent, middle class mobilizations, the activating of many associations of civil society, and the setting up of, sometimes hundreds, of externally funded NGOs.
The aim is to question the legitimacy of the “target government” which usually involves the systematic discrediting of existing political institutions so as to foster chaos as the most conducive context for “regime change”. This strategy has been “theorized” in manuals that are mass-produced and get heavily promoted free of charge by establishment outfits. (1)
Despite the fastidiousness with which Washington and domestic perpetrators seek to enshrine their efforts at “regime change” in any one nation with the veil of legality, constitutionality, democracy promotion, regional autonomy, and virtuous legitimacy, always a powerful media apparatus is activated the world over, unleashing a barrage of negative reporting and demonization of the “target government” with one overriding message: the solution to created crisis is the ousting of the government.
The favorite demonization is to label the “target government” as a totalitarian dictatorship or in the process of becoming so, unless stopped. This is coupled with regular official condemnatory statements of the “target government” from the U.S. State Dept. and a barrage of U.S. official bodies.
In this “regime change” narrative, the ousting of the target government, being the cause of “civil society’s rebellion”, is fully justified. Thus for example the highly illustrative New York Times’s editorial of April13, 2002, on occasion of the brief ousting of Hugo Chavez: “Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator.”
The NYT explained that Chavez had been ousted “after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader.” The key, therefore, is to portray the “ruler” of the target government as a threat to democratic civilization, thus the NYT editorial justifies the 2002 coup in Venezuela because Chavez “battled the media and alienated virtually every constituency from middle-class professionals, academics and business leaders to union members and the Roman Catholic Church. (2)
So, 21st century “regime change”, different from the more traditional 20th century U.S.-orchestrated coup d’état, involves an intense “battle for hearts and minds”, an essential component of the strategy.(3) Thus, huge financial, political and cultural resources are mobilized to bring about hegemony for “regime change” in society and in all state and civil society institutions, going as far, in some cases, as even co-opting sections of the downtrodden. Most of this is “facilitated” with generous NED and USAID grants awarded over many years.
Faced with its own steady decline and the rise of radical governments in the post-Soviet era, the U.S. seeks to destabilize and oust governments through “color revolutions” as in Georgia, 2003 and the Ukraine, 2004 and 2014. Consequently the U.S. has substantially reorganized its architecture for intervention with the CIA becoming a mere appendix but with USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy and their many associated bodies taking center stage and receiving the lion’s share of the resources. The modality may have changed but U.S. foreign policy remains pretty much what it was: to remove governments it does not like. U.S. State Dept. and USAID budget is bigger than the GPD of many states, in 2016 it was US$50.3 billion.
Among the key U.S. institutions involved in “regime change” is the U.S. State Department, the body with the biggest authority, but there is also the United States Southern Command, the Congress and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees, and the CIA. Then further down the food chain, there are USAID, NED, Office for Transition Initiatives, American Center for International Labor Solidarity and American Institute for Free Labour Development, among the most important ones.
They work closely together and in the pursuance of the same aims, with the International Republican Institute, chaired by John McCain of CHECK; the National Democratic Institute, chaired by Madeline Albright; Transparency International; and Centre for International Private Enterprise. They all channel huge sums to support civil (and when possible) military subversion to create the conditions for “regime change”. They also channel huge sums to fund “civil society” associations, political parties, media outfits, NGOs, professional bodies, trades unions, think tanks, business, student groups and so forth. (4)
These institutions are the field commanders that coordinate the national detachments in every target country around a regional perspective so as to maximize the results of every push for “regime change” in any individual Latin American nation. We are increasingly seeing former right-wing Latin American presidents acting jointly to contribute to the destabilization of Bolivarian Venezuela, for instance.
Additionally there is a raft of “private” or “independent” bodies concerned chiefly with Latin America, the most important of which are Inter-American Press Association; Fundacion para el Analisis y los Estudios Sociales – led by Jose Maria Aznar; the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad; hundreds of Think Tanks; and possibly thousands of NGOs that share the “regime change” aim but that do it from a specialist angle. To all of this architecture of U.S. intervention, the overwhelming majority of the world corporate media play a decisive role, making any U.S. led intervention, a lethal political threat to the survival of any “target government”.
Most progressive governments in Latin America have been or are subjected to systematic levels of traumatic and deliberately created social, economic and political chaos, politics and culture, which in many cases it can go on for years. In Cuba for five decades, in Nicaragua (on and off) nearly four decades and in Venezuela for 17 years thus far, with no end in sight.
Venezuela’s Bolivarian government is currently in the crosshairs of U.S. destabilization plans and “regime change” efforts through an economic war that has the Bolivarian process on the ropes. In Argentina, three years of an intense dirty war against Cristina Fernandez’s government, aspects of which had sinister overtones, paid off when at the November 2015 presidential election, the Right’s candidate, Mauricio Macri, won the election by a small margin of 1 percent. In Ecuador, a police mutiny in September 2010, obviously instigated from abroad and with huge U.S. support, nearly succeeded in ousting the government with with President Rafael Correa miraculously escaping with life.
The destabilization against Ecuador continues with the “revolt” of civil society and very violent street protests. And in Brazil, through a very intense and thoroughly intoxicating media campaign, a “regime change” push seeking to oust the democratically elected and legitimate president Dilma Rousseff is underway, as we write is not clear whether the effort to oust Dilma will be successful or not.
By substantially reducing export revenues that fund progressive social programs, the persistent world economic crisis significantly helps the “regime change” efforts by the U.S. and its allies. It may be just coincidence but the U.S. ambassador in Paraguay when elected president Fernando Lugo was ousted by a right-wing parliamentary coup, was Liliana Ayalde. The current U.S. ambassador in Brazil, where a right-wing parliamentary coup against elected president Dilma Rousseff is in progress, is Liliana Ayalde.
Bolivar once said that the United States appears to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty. Exactly, through the NED, USAID and others, the United States must stop destabilizing elected governments in the name of “democracy,” “good governance” and “national security.”
Francisco Dominguez is a senior lecturer at Middlesex University, where he is head of the Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies.
(1) See Gene Sharp, “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” Serpent’s Tail, 2011, first published in 2002.
(2) “Hugo Chavez Departs,” New York Times, April 13th, 2002
(3) The overthrow of Honduras President Manuel Zelaya, in June 2009, has led to the book with the very suggestive title “The Good Coup” (Mario Caceres di Iorio, CCB, Canada, 2010).
(4) See “Evolution of USAID and NED in Dominguez,” Lievesley and Ludlam, Right-Wing Politics in the New Latin America, Zed, 2011.
Rousseff: My Mandate is for the 54 Million Who Voted for Me
President Dilma Rousseff said at a press conference Monday that she was outraged by the legislative vote in the lower house that approved the impeachment procedure against her Sunday.
“What I am being accused of is grounded on expert opinions,” she said, denying the existence of “crimes of responsibility” that would constitutionally justify a political trial against Brazil’s president.
In her opinion, lawmakers who voted in favor of the political trial did not have any concrete arguments. “Governments can make mistakes, this is not a reason to launch a political trial,” she repeated, recalling that her predecessors also implemented similar measures to adjust the nation’s budget, without being impeached.
The impeachment procedure, she warned, “is undermining and lowering the quality of our young democracy.”
“In this second step of the process, I feel outrage, because the image we give to the world is … a lack of commitment to institutions.”
She criticized the opposition sector who launched the procedure only because they could not access power via a popular vote – whereas she was elected by over 50 million people.
She warned them that “no government can be legitimate after this process, the people cannot feel represented by such a government.”
She also condemned the attitude of her Vice President Michel Temer, who would take over the presidency if Rousseff was impeached. “How awful that a vice president could plot openly against his own president, how can he be respected?” she said.
According to a recent survey by Datafolha, only 2 percent of people would vote for Temer if he were running for the election, while 60 percent demanded he resign.
Rousseff recalled that since she was young, she struggled against the dictatorship “out of conviction.”
“I feel brave, I have enough strength to face this, despite feeling sad and outraged, but this does not paralyze me, I am going to fight, as I have always fought, and I started fighting in worst moments, in a dictatorship where they would torture you physically if you fought. But democracy has always been on the right side of history. That’s what I learnt from my country’s history,” she concluded.