Greenwald: 'Soft Coup' In Brazil Is Worse Than Donald Trump

Greenwald: ‘Soft Coup’ In Brazil Is Worse Than Donald Trump

Brazil’s impeachment could be a planned coup

Brazilian politics has reached an alarming crossroads, and history tells us the United States could be involved. On Sunday, lawmakers in Brazil’s lower house voted in favor of the impeachment of the country’s President, Dilma Rousseff. After more than six hours of voting and debating, results turned their back to President Rousseff with 367 lawmakers voting to impeach, and only 137 voting against the proposal. The impeachment motion will now go to the country’s Senate, where if a majority approves it, president Rousseff will then be forced to step down for 180 days to defend herself in trial.

Some are calling this a “soft coup,” intended to overthrow Brazil’s duly-elected president. The decision however has come after months of constant protests in the streets across Brazil, although supporters believe the accusations are used as an excuse to launch what amounts to a coup. It is indeed possible that Brazil may be facing what is also known as a  “silent coup”, disguised as a domestic popular uprisings using accusations of corruption or dictatorial intent against the present government, and whose charges

“are trumpeted by rightist-owned news outlets and U.S.-funded NGOs that portray themselves as “promoting democracy,” seeking “good government” or defending “human rights.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald  told Democracy Now,

“It is a little odd that such extreme levels of political instability have received relatively little attention, given that Brazil is the fifth most populous country in the world, it’s the eighth largest economy, and whatever happens there will have reverberations for all sorts of markets and countries, including the United States.” 

This US silence was seen in the case of Hondura’s coup, and the pattern is being seen once again. According to Greenwald what is seen today in Brazil actually resembles Brazil’s coup of 1964 in which a democratically elected government was removed and a military dictatorship established but which highly benefited the interests of the United States. The circumstances are different since the impeachment is technically proceeding under the Constitution. Yet Greenwald sees a lot of similarity in the fact that the leading media networks of Brazil, which back then were against the left-wing government, justified and supported that coup and saw it as essential to remove corruption from the government. 

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In fact, other analysts also also believe that this could actually be a coup. As assistant professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Hector Perla Jr. wrote in The Washington Post,

“Unlike Latin American coups in the 20th century, Brazil’s current turmoil involves no armies and no bloodshed — but Brazil could see a regime change, a ‘soft coup.'”

Perla has been studying Latin American politics for 20 years, and has documented the right wing’s strategy of manipulating public opinion to discredit socialist governments. He believes that what is happening today in Brazil has happened in other cases, 

“Recent events in Latin America suggest that what’s happening in Brazil is part of a broad right-wing campaign to tarnish the PT [Workers Party] and bring down Rousseff, as well as Lula.”

By using different tactics, the right-wing has tried to damage the image and reputation of left-wing politicians; this has happened through institutional means, but also through non-electoral and undemocratic means. But it might not just be Brazil’s right wing trying to bring down a liberal government. They might have outside help. 

Since the Monroe Doctrine was first declared two centuries ago, US foreign policy has privileged itself veto power over Latin American governments it doesn’t approve of. The practice of undermining and replacing unfriendly governments has waxed and waned over time. At the height of the Cold War, there were many bloody coups.

As Ted Snider explains, the US has not left its role behind Latin American coups. There may be fewer military takeovers, but the US still endeavors to use “soft power” tactics, such as economic dislocation, sophisticated propaganda, and political disorder. This has been seen in different cases, including Paraguay, HondurasBolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Venezuela. In the case of Brazil, Perla believes the calls for impeachment are based only on weak, indirect charges and double standards.

“To date, there is no evidence linking Rousseff to the corruption scandal.”

The US has indeed been strangely quiet with what is happening inside Brazil. Perhaps America has other issues to focus on right now, but perhaps its agenda has more yet to be seen.

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Featured image via Victor Moriyama / Getty Images News

From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.

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From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.

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