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Major U.S. Labor, Human Rights, Environmental and Women’s Organizations Denounce “Legislative Coup” Against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

As the Olympic Games come to a close in Rio de Janeiro, non-governmental organizations and unions in the United States are condemning the impeachment process against Brazil’s president. A public statement released today states: “We, the undersigned organizations, support democracy in Brazil and denounce the forced removal of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, as well as the criminalization and repression of Brazilian social movements.”

“The impeachment of Brazil’s legitimately elected president, Dilma Rousseff, is essentially a coup by a group of right-wing politicians who themselves are under investigation for massive corruption. It is intended to distract voters from the widespread corruption in the interim government and from the power grab by these politicians,” said Maria Luisa Mendonça, co-director of Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights) in Brazil.

“In July, the independent federal prosecutor’s office concluded that President Rousseff was not responsible for violating fiscal laws, which constitutes the main charge against her in the impeachment proceedings,” the statement reads. The message has been endorsed by 44 organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the United Steelworkers, Grassroots International, the Global Fund for Women, Amazon Watch, and the National Lawyers Guild, among other prominent labor unions, and human rights, environmental and women’s organizations.

The organizations express support for democracy in Brazil: “We join social movements and millions of people in Brazil and worldwide calling for a return to democracy and the rule of law in Brazil, the return of the legitimately elected President Rousseff to office, the reinstatement of Brazil’s critical social programs, and the recognition of human rights. We call on US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration to stand by the protection of the constitutional democracy of Brazil, to oppose the impeachment campaign launched against President Dilma Rousseff, and to refuse to recognize [Michel] Temer’s illegitimate government.”

A few weeks ago, 43 US Congress members expressed similar concerns in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the Obama administration to oppose the impeachment. Senator Bernie Sanders also issued a statement, noting: “To many Brazilians and observers the controversial impeachment process more closely resembles a coup d’état.” He added: “The United States cannot sit silently while the democratic institutions of one of our most important allies are undermined.”

For more information contact:Maria Luisa Mendonça, Berkeley, CA: (510) 283-8374, marialuisam222@gmail.comJovanna García Soto, Boston, MA: 617-524-1400, jgarciasoto@grassrootsonline.org  The text of the statement and list of signers follows in English and Portuguese:

Statement of US Organizations Supporting Democracy in Brazil:

We, the undersigned organizations, support democracy in Brazil and denounce the forced removal of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, as well as the criminalization and repression of Brazilian social movements. The attack on Brazil’s legitimate government is an attack on low income communities in urban and rural areas, on all Brazilian workers, on racial minorities including Indigenous Peoples and Quilombola communities, on peasants, women, and youth. Brazil’s democracy is once again at grave risk.

In 1964, Brazil’s military staged a coup, imposing a 21-year dictatorship that suspended political, civil and human rights. Last May, Brazil’s Congress staged a legislative coup, forcing President Rousseff to step aside amidst trumped up charges of fiscal mismanagement. Congressional Deputies and Senators used sexist hate speech, invoked their religious beliefs, and even praised President Rousseff’s torturer (from her years in prison during the previous dictatorship) in their smear campaign.

Once in power, the interim “government” of Vice-President Michel Temer eliminated important social institutions. Within 24 hours, it abolished the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Human Rights and Racial Equality, the Ministry of Women, and the Ministry of Agricultural Development, among others.

Temer installed a cabinet entirely of white men, at least a third of whom face serious corruption charges. They quickly started dismantling Brazil’s popular and effective anti-poverty programs, and proposed new legislation to cut funding for education and health care, as well as for small farmers and environmental safeguards.

According to Brazilian social movements, acts of hatred and violence by the forces protecting corporations are increasing, along with threats to those defending democracy. For example, just 10 days before the impeachment vote in the Lower House of Congress, the State Military Police and private security guards from the lumber company Araupel attacked families from the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) who were organized and living in the encampment Dom Tomás Baudino in Quedas do Iguaçu, Paraná. Two rural landless workers were murdered in the attack and at least six others were wounded.

The impeachment process against President Rousseff has been orchestrated by members of Brazil’s National Congress, where 60% of the 594 representatives face serious criminal charges, including graft, bribery, electoral fraud, illegal deforestation, and even kidnapping and murder. Leaked phone calls revealed that the attack on Rousseff was pursued to derail corruption investigations of members of Congress, several of which have since been suspended from office by Brazil’s judiciary.

In July, the independent Federal Prosecutor’s office concluded that President Rousseff was not responsible for violating fiscal laws, which constitutes the main charge against her in the impeachment proceedings.

President Rousseff’s removal is still temporary. Whether or not she is permanently removed will be decided by a vote of the Brazilian Senate in early August.

We join social movements and millions of people in Brazil and worldwide calling for a return to democracy and the rule of law in Brazil, the return of the legitimately-elected President Rousseff to office, the reinstatement of Brazil’s critical social programs, and the recognition of human rights. We call on US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration to stand by the protection of the constitutional democracy of Brazil, to oppose the impeachment campaign launched against President Dilma Rousseff, and to refuse to recognize Temer’s illegitimate government.

Signatures:

  • Grassroots International
  • AFL-CIO
  • Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
  • United Steelworkers (USW)
  • Global Fund for Women
  • American Federation of Teachers, AFT/AFL-CIO
  • Communications Workers of America
  • United Auto Workers
  • The Center for Democracy in the Americas
  • Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA)
  • Center for International Environmental Law
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • Council on Hemispheric Affairs
  • Alliance of Baptists
  • International Forum on Globalization
  • Amazon Watch
  • Climate Justice Alliance
  • Alliance for Global Justice
  • Global Exchange
  • US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA)
  • United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
  • Friends of the Earth U.S.
  • Grassroots Global Justice
  • WhyHunger
  • Voices for Earth Justice
  • Food First
  • National Family Farm Coalition
  • Family Farm Defenders
  • Brazilian Expats for Democracy
  • Latin America & Caribbean Action Network (LACAN)
  • Fondasyon Mapou
  • Friends of the Congo
  • Sanctuary DMV
  • Border Agricultural Workers Project
  • Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
  • Colombia Support Network
  • Task Force on the Americas
  • The Office of the Americas
  • Voices for Earth Justice
  • Brazilian Women’s Group
  • Altruvistas
  • Universidad de la República – CENUR LN – Departamento de Ciencias Sociales
  • Community to Community
  • RootsAction.org

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Declaração de organizações nos Estados Unidos que apoiam a democracia no Brasil

Nós, representantes das organizações abaixo assinadas, apoiamos a democracia no Brasil e denunciamos a remoção forçada da presidenta eleita, Dilma Rousseff, assim como a criminalização e a repressão dos movimentos sociais brasileiros. O ataque ao governo legítimo do Brasil é um ataque às comunidades de baixa renda em áreas urbanas e rurais, aos trabalhadores, às minorias raciais, aos povos indígenas e comunidades quilombolas, camponeses, mulheres e jovens. A democracia no Brasil está mais uma vez em grave risco.

Em 1964 ocorreu o golpe militar no Brasil, impondo uma ditadura que durou 21 anos e que suspendeu os direitos políticos, civis e humanos. Em maio passado, o Congresso brasileiro orquestrou um golpe legislativo, afastando a presidenta Dilma Rousseff em meio a acusações forjadas de má gestão fiscal. Deputados e senadores usaram um discurso de ódio sexista, invocando crenças religiosas e até mesmo elogiado o torturador da presidenta Rousseff (durante o período em que foi presa na ditadura anterior) em sua campanha de difamação.

Uma vez no poder, o «governo» interino do vice-presidente Michel Temer vem eliminando instituições sociais importantes. Nas primeiras 24 horas, ele eliminou o Ministério da Cultura, o Ministério das Mulheres, da Igualdade Racial e dos Direitos Humanos, o Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário, entre outros.

Temer instalou um ministério inteiramente composto por homens brancos, ao menos um terço dos quais enfrentam graves acusações de corrupção. Em pouco tempo, ele começou a desmantelar programas sociais contra a pobreza que têm sido eficazes do Brasil, e propôs uma nova legislação para cortar investimentos em educação e saúde, assim como para pequenos agricultores e salvaguardas ambientais.

De acordo com os movimentos sociais brasileiros, atos de ódio e de violência por parte das forças que protegem as corporações estão aumentando, junto com ameaças àqueles que defendem a democracia. Por exemplo, apenas 10 dias antes da votação do impeachment na Câmara dos Deputados, a Polícia Militar e seguranças particulares da empresa Araupel atacaram famílias do Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), organizadas no acampamento Dom Tomás Bauduíno em Quedas do Iguaçu, Paraná. Dois trabalhadores rurais sem terra foram assassinados no ataque e seis ficaram feridos.

O processo de impeachment contra a presidenta Rousseff foi orquestrado por membros do Congresso Nacional, onde 60% dos 594 representantes enfrentam acusações criminais graves, incluindo corrupção, suborno, fraude eleitoral, desmatamento ilegal, e até mesmo sequestro e homicídio. Gravações vazadas revelaram que o ataque à presidenta Rousseff foi orquestrado para inviabilizar investigações de corrupção contra membros do Congresso, alguns dos quais foram suspensos de suas funções pelo Judiciário.

Em julho, o Ministério Público Federal concluiu que a presidenta Dilma Rousseff não foi responsável por violar as leis fiscais, o que constitui a principal acusação contra ela no processo de impeachment.

O afastamento da presidenta Rousseff ainda é temporário. Sua remoção permanentemente ou restituição será decidida por uma votação do Senado no fim de agosto.

Nos juntamos aos movimentos sociais e a milhões de pessoas no Brasil e em todo o mundo, que pedem o retorno da democracia e do Estado de Direito no Brasil, o retorno da presidenta legitimamente eleita Dilma Rousseff, a reintegração dos importantes programas sociais e o reconhecimento dos direitos humanos. Apelamos ao Secretário de Estado dos Estados Unidos, John Kerry, e ao governo Obama, para que defendam a democracia constitucional do Brasil, que se oponham à campanha de impeachment lançada contra a presidenta Dilma Rousseff, e que se recusem a reconhecer o governo ilegítimo de Temer.

Assinaturas:

  • Grassroots International
  • AFL-CIO
  • Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
  • United Steelworkers (USW)
  • Global Fund for Women
  • American Federation of Teachers, AFT/AFL-CIO
  • Communications Workers of America
  • United Auto Workers
  • The Center for Democracy in the Americas
  • Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA)
  • Center for International Environmental Law
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • Council on Hemispheric Affairs
  • Alliance of Baptists
  • International Forum on Globalization
  • Amazon Watch
  • Climate Justice Alliance
  • Alliance for Global Justice
  • Global Exchange
  • US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA)
  • United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
  • Friends of the Earth U.S.
  • Grassroots Global Justice
  • WhyHunger
  • Voices for Earth Justice
  • Food First
  • National Family Farm Coalition
  • Family Farm Defenders
  • Brazilian Expats for Democracy
  • Latin America & Caribbean Action Network (LACAN)
  • Fondasyon Mapou
  • Friends of the Congo
  • Sanctuary DMV
  • Border Agricultural Workers Project
  • Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
  • Colombia Support Network
  • Task Force on the Americas
  • The Office of the Americas
  • Voices for Earth Justice
  • Brazilian Women’s Group
  • Altruvistas
  • Universidad de la República – CENUR LN – Departamento de Ciencias Sociales
  • Community to Community
  • RootsAction.org

Maria Luisa Mendonça is co-director of Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights) in Brazil. She has a PhD in Philosophy and Social Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and is a professor of International Relations at the University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). Jovanna García Soto is the program coordinator of Latin America at Grassroots International.