Yesterday, May 12, the Brazilian Senate voted to begin the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff in what many many Brazilian are calling an institutional and neoliberal coup. Dilma has been withdrawn from office for 180 days pending the results of Supreme Court proceedings. For her part, Dilma has vowed to fight the proceedings and has called on supporters — both of her presidency and of democracy — to take to the streets in protest.
Below is a statement from the Landless Workers Movement (MST), Latin America’s largest social movement and a partner of Grassroots International. While the MST has criticized Dilma for not enacting agrarian reform or issuing ownership titles to landless peasants, members of the MST along with other social movements in Brazil (including our partners the Movement of People Affected by Dams and the Popular Peasant Movement, and our allies in the World March of Women) view the impeachment actions by corrupt Congress members as an attempted right-wing takeover that threatens democracy and the nation as a whole.
MST Statement on the Withdrawal of President Dilma Rousseff
This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespects the will of 54 million voters.
The Landless Workers Movement (MST) publicly expresses its disgust and dissatisfaction regarding the decision of the Senate, this Thursday (12), in admitting the process of impeachment against President Dilma Roussef and temporarily withdrawing her from the post. We are sure, as stated in the text of the case, that the President did not commit any crime with fiscal peddling. If this is to be considered crime, the vice president, Michel Temer, who now assumes as President, and Senator Anastasia, the rapporteur of the process and former governor of Minas Gerais, should also be accused.
This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespected the will of 54 million voters and was orchestrated by the most conservative sectors of society, particularly the neoliberal business, subservient to the interests of US companies. A coup supported by a permanent campaign of mass media – especially Globo – and by a selective action of the sectors of the judiciary.
The coup endorsed by the Senate does not only disrespects the views of the public about who should be the head of state, but, as announced by Temer, intends to apply a recessive and neoliberal program, one that left sad memories for the Brazilian people in the times of the Collor-Cardoso governments . It is anti-popular, and represents a social backlash that was repeatedly rejected by the majority at the polls. Unable to live with democracy and submit to the popular will, the elites withdrawn the President without any evidence of crime, just so their project of social cuts, unemployment and privatization is taken into place.
Michel Temer’s « Bridge to the recession » will only lead to accentuation of social and economic crisis and widen the political instability of the country.The new announced government , for its history, does not represents a rupture with the corrupt methods, which we all have denounced in the streets.
We hope that the Senate will redeem itself when it judges the merit. And if it does not, the democratic party forces against the coup should appeal to the Supreme Court. Brazilian society knows we are facing an economic, political, social and environmental crisis. This crisis will not be overcome with coups. It is needed a broad debate in society that agglutinates most popular and social forces, to seek to build a new country project to confront the crisis.
Regarding the established political crisis, we defend, along other popular movements, that only a deep political reform that returns to the people its right to choose their legitimate representatives, can be a real way out. The current Congress has no condition or political will to do so. Hence the need for the Senate to approve the holding of the plebiscite that gives the people the right to convene a constituent assembly, to take forward a political reform to conduct general elections in democratic conditions.
The MST will remain mobilized in defense of democracy and social rights, together with Brazil Popular Front and the thousands of workers who will not accept the coup. We will keep our struggle against landlordism and agribusiness, for a popular agrarian reform and for the constitutional right of all rural workers to have land and dignified life in the rural areas.
No to the coup! Temer out!
MST National Coordination
Brasilia, May 12, 2016