Category Archives: Latin America

More than half the lawmakers impeaching Brazil’s president have been either convicted or investigated themselves

Matt Moffett reports for Quartz:

Dilma Rousseff smiling in the Senate[…] In all, 45 of 81 senators have either been convicted of a serious offense—the crimes include money laundering, embezzlement, and vote buying—or are being investigated for one, according to Transparency Brazil, a watch-dog group.

Among them is senate leader Renan Calheiros, who is named as a suspect in eight investigations related to a massive bribery and kickback scandal in Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras. Calheiros resigned from an earlier stint as senate president in 2007, amid allegations that a former mistress was receiving child-support payments funneled through a lobbyist. Then there was “Hairgate”: Calheiros faces an administrative misconduct investigation for using a Brazilian air force jet to transport him to a clinic in northeastern Brazil for hair transplant surgery in 2013.

In the lower house of congress, which has already voted for impeachment, 273 of 513 members are either being investigated or have already been convicted, Transparency found. Some of the cases in the lower house involve even more serious crimes, including forced labor, vehicular homicide, and torture.

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Dave Zirin on Olympic Firsts, Treatment of Russian Athletes and Brazil’s Future

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation and author of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy, who discusses some of the biggest issues surrounding the 2016 Olympics in Rio. You can view part one of this interview here(Democracy Now!)

IOC President Talks a Good Games But Rio 2016 Was a Bumpy Ride

Owen Gibson reports for The Guardian:

[…] The blame for some of the pressures that have threatened to tear at the fabric of these Olympics can be laid squarely at the door of the IOC. Others were the fault of the vainglorious Brazilian politicians determined to add the ultimate seal of international approval to their story of economic growth by hosting the World Cup and Olympics back to back.

It is true to say that Brazil has been assailed by an economic and political hurricane since winning, in 2009, the right to host the Games, on a wave of optimism as one of the emerging BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India, China – powerhouses.

Fifa and the IOC have been keen over recent decades to spread the gospel into new territories, largely for commercial reasons. But in doing so they have sought to take all of the upside and leave nothing behind.

The IOC in particular has legions of working groups and committees dedicated to sustainability. In the run-up to the London Olympics there was much talk about a “compact” Games. Bach was elected on the back of his Agenda 2020 reform plan.

But it is largely just talk. The reality is that the IOC is committed to crowd-source decisions from its peculiar membership of minor royals, former athletes and slick sports politicians who play to their own vanity.

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Does Henry Kissinger Have a Conscience?

Jon Lee Anderson writes for The New Yorker:

[…] We have repeatedly reviewed evidence of Kissinger’s callousness. Some of it is as inexplicable as it is shocking. There is a macho swagger in some of Kissinger’s remarks. It could, perhaps, be explained away if he had never wielded power, like—thus far—the gratuitously offensive Presidential candidate Donald Trump. And one has an awareness that Kissinger, the longest-lasting and most iconic pariah figure in modern American history, is but one of a line of men held in fear and contempt for the immorality of their services rendered and yet protected by the political establishment in recognition of those same services. William Tecumseh Sherman, Curtis LeMay, Robert McNamara, and, more recently, Donald Rumsfeld all come to mind.

In Errol Morris’s remarkable 2003 documentary “The Fog of War,” we saw that McNamara, who was an octogenarian at the time, was a tormented man who was attempting to come to terms, unsuccessfully, with the immense moral burden of his actions as the U.S. defense secretary during Vietnam. McNamara had recently written a memoir in which he attempted to grapple with his legacy. Around that time, a journalist named Stephen Talbot interviewed McNamara, and then also secured an interview with Kissinger. As he later wrote about his initial meeting with Kissinger, “I told him I had just interviewed Robert McNamara in Washington. That got his attention. He stopped badgering me, and then he did an extraordinary thing. He began to cry. But no, not real tears. Before my eyes, Henry Kissinger was acting. ‘Boohoo, boohoo,’ Kissinger said, pretending to cry and rub his eyes. ‘He’s still beating his breast, right? Still feeling guilty.’ He spoke in a mocking, singsong voice and patted his heart for emphasis.”

McNamara died in 2009, at the same age Kissinger is today—ninety-three—but his belated public struggle with his conscience helped leaven his clouded reputation. Now that he is nearing the end of his life, Kissinger must wonder what his own legacy is to be. He can rest assured that, at the very least, his steadfast support for the American superpower project, no matter what the cost in lives, will be a major part of that legacy. Unlike McNamara, however, whose attempt to find a moral reckoning Kissinger held in such scorn, Kissinger has shown little in the way of a conscience. And because of that, it seems highly likely, history will not easily absolve him.

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Celebrity chefs turn wasted Olympics food into meals for homeless

Andrew Jacobs reports for the Sydney Morning Herald:

Guests line up at Refettorio Gastromotiva, a dining hall that serves meals to homeless people, in Rio de Janeiro.Consider what it takes to keep all those Olympian machines nourished and hydrated for one meal at the Rio Games: 250 tons of raw ingredients to fill the bellies of 18,000 athletes, coaches and officials in the Olympic Village.

Now multiply that figure by three — for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and again for each day of the Games.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the Italian chef Massimo Bottura also did the math and was inspired, not by the tantalizing dimensions of herculean consumption but by the prospect of colossal waste.

“I thought, this is an opportunity to do something that can make a difference,” said Mr. Bottura, 53, a fast-talking blur of a man whose restaurant in Modena, Osteria Francescana, recently earned the topaward from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

On Thursday night, that something looked like this: In a fraying section of downtown Rio, a pack of the world’s most venerated chefs were rushing around a slapdash kitchen amid a crush of volunteers as they improvised a dinner for 70 homeless people.

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Henry Kissinger hindered U.S. effort to end mass killings in Argentina, according to files

Uki Goñi reports for The Guardian:

Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger jeopardized US efforts to stop mass killings by Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship by congratulating the country’s military leaders for “wiping out” terrorism, according to a large trove of newly declassified state department files.

The documents, which were released on Monday night, show how Kissinger’s close relationship to Argentina’s military rulers hindered Jimmy Carter’s carrot-and-stick attempts to influence the regime during his 1977-81 presidency.

Carter officials were infuriated by Kissinger’s attendance at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina as the personal guest of dictator Jorge Videla, the general who oversaw the forced disappearance of up to 30,000 opponents of the military regime.

At the time, Kissinger was no longer in office after Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election, but the documents reveal that US diplomats feared his praise for Argentina’s crackdown would encourage further bloodshed.

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Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: Dave Zirin on Rio 2016

Amy Goodman speaks to Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine and author of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy, about the 2016 Rio Olympics. (Democracy Now!)

Brutal Crackdowns, Hidden Poverty: How Preparations for the Rio Olympics Hurt Afro-Brazilians

Daniela Gomes reports for The Root:

A Brazilian military police officer patrols after entering the unpacified Complexo da Mare, one of the largest favela complexes in Rio de Janeiro, on March 30, 2014.Over the next few weeks, Aug. 5-21, the city of Rio de Janeiro is going to host the 31st Olympic Games. Like a mother preparing her home for 500,000 tourists, Rio has swept the city’s poverty under the rug by increasing police and army presence in favelas. As a result, part of the local population isn’t that anxious about the games. Militarized police presence and violence are only some of the issues that have affected the Afro-Brazilian population living in Rio since the possibility of sports mega events such as the World Cup in 2014, and now the Olympic Games, became a reality in Brazil.

“Urban segregation in Rio de Janeiro was aggravated with the preparation to receive the sports mega events,” anthropologist Luciane O. Rocha, a researcher at the Nucleo de Estudos da Cidadania Conflito e Violência Urbana of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, told The Root. “While the investments in housing and the majority of the spatial structure for the games were constructed in privileged areas, to the poorest areas were destined only violent actions from the policy and the army.”

Since 2014, the black population of Rio has complained that the government has been increasing police presence in favela communities, which aggravates an already problematic issue of violence between the poor and the police. Also, in 2014, Rio de Janeiro’s former governor Sergio Cabral requested the presence of military forces in the state to help pacify favela communities. More than 20,000 military officers are reported to be part of the security force for the Olympics. But it isn’t just the increased police presence that has many concerned; racial profiling of poor black youths inside the public transportation has also increased, and some have reportedly been denied access to wealthy neighborhoods close to beach areas.

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Poverty in Rio: Why Brazilians Can’t Afford Tickets to Their Own Olympic Games

James Dennin writes for Mic:

While there are certainly good reasons to be excited about the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one group has been less enthusiastic about the games: actual Brazilians.

Their reasons are complex, and residents say preparations for the Olympics have been a missed opportunity to reduce violence and elevate the poor. In fact, there’s evidence poverty and disorder are actually on the rise because of the games.

But perhaps the most notable fact, illustrating the uncomfortable paradox of hosting the Olympics in a developing country, is that many Brazilians can’t even afford tickets to the events. In 2014, Rio’s mayor promised to give away 1.2 million tickets for free to students and the poor: To date, the city has set aside 47,000 tickets — only 4% of his promise.

The problems don’t end there.

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Brazil’s Billionaire Problem

Patrick Iber reports for New Republic:

Just over two years ago, in April 2014, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century was published in English and took the top spot on the New York Timesbestseller list. Piketty’s book struck a nerve, helping to disseminate several ideas—among them that capitalism doesn’t automatically generate a reasonable or equitable distribution of income and that paying attention to the wealthiest 1% is necessary to understanding politics. Piketty focused on the concentration of wealth in 19th and 20th century France, the U.K., and the United States, places where the most data was available for those periods. But if Piketty had been—instead of an economist—a reporter working to understand the world that extremes of inequality have made today, he wouldn’t have looked at those rich countries. He might well have chosen to focus on Brazil, as Alex Cuadros has done in his new book Brazillionaires.

Cuadros, a reporter for Bloomberg, arrived in Brazil in 2010 with a Piketty-worthy mission: to investigate the lives not of the 1% but of the 0.0001%. Part of his job was to rank Brazil’s billionaires on Bloomberg’s global wealth list—a kind of “U.S. News and World Report” rankings of the superrich—as well as to report on their business deals and their personal lives. In Brazillionaires, he has consolidated and shaped those profiles into a propulsive and engaging portrait of modern Brazil.

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Buildup to Rio 2016 part of a chaotic and shameful tradition of Olympic hosts

David Goldblatt, author of The Games: A Global History of the Olympics, writes for The Guardian:

The final days of preparation before the first modern Games in Athens in 1896 offered many of the tropes that still structure Olympic coverage a century later. Rumours persisted that the stadium would not be ready on time, leading to a furious exchange of letters in The Times. The New York Times correspondent came to dig for dirt and found it. “There were plenty of old tin cans and rubbish scattered where once the silver Ulysses sparkled to the sea: the grove of Academe reminded me of picturesque bits in shanty town.”

The refurbished stadium for the 1920 Antwerp Games, started just 15 months beforehand, was finished perilously late. The French occupation of the Ruhr and the flooding of the Seine in the winter of 1923 put Paris 1924 in question. The architect of the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic complex was harried in the local press for shady practices and sweetheart deals. Los Angeles 1932 was held in the very depth of the great depression. All feel remarkably familiar stories, not just from the distant past but from pretty much every Olympic Games since Atlanta 1996.

Yet in April 2014 John Coates, a visiting member of the IOC, declared the preparations for the Rio Games “the worst ever”. Two years later, the already disastrous state of affairs has been conjoined with Brazil’s sharpest ever economic slowdown, the impeachment of the president by a corrupt parliament, the nation’s most explosive corruption investigation which is cutting a scythe through the political and business classes, and the threat of the Zika virus. To this has now been added the Russian doping scandal and the IOC’s hapless response to it. Coates’s case looks strong but how exactly do the Rio Olympics match up to the past?

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Rio 2016: Let the Games Begin

Jules Boykoff, author of Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics, writes for Jacobin:

The Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro rests between the Turano and Mangueira shantytowns. Sergio Moraes / ReutersThe 2016 Rio Olympics start next month, and the lead-up is getting downright gruesome. A couple weeks ago, mutilated body parts washed up on Copacabana Beach, just meters away from the Olympic beach volleyball court. Before that, a Brazilian military official slayed Juma — a captive jaguar trotted out to drum up excitement for the games — during the Olympic torch relay.

These ghastly quirks seem to set these games apart. But Rio 2016 just extends practices that have become common in twenty-first-century Olympiads.

In fact, the killing of Juma may well be an apt — if grim — metaphor for working people stuck in today’s Olympic cities: sentient beings restrained in the service of a militarized spectacle that’s rigged to benefit the rich. The Olympics are a bonanza for the ruling class, and Rio shows us this in an extreme form.

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Credibility of Brazil’s Interim President Collapses as He Receives 8-Year Ban on Running for Office

Glenn Greenwald reports for The Intercept:

Michel TemerIt has been obvious from the start that a core objective of the impeachment of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, was to empower the actual thieves in Brasilia and enable them to impede, obstruct, and ultimately kill the ongoing Car Wash investigation (as well as to impose a neoliberal agenda of privatization and radical austerity). A mere 20 days into the seizure of power by the corruption-implicated “interim” President Michel Temer, overwhelming evidence has emerged proving that to be true: Already, two of the interim ministers in Temer’s all-white-male cabinet, including his anti-corruption minister, have been forced to resign after the emergence of secret recordings showing them plotting to obstruct that investigation (an investigation in which they, along with one-third of his cabinet, are personally implicated).

But the oozing corruption of Temer’s ministers has sometimes served to obscure his own. He, too, is implicated in several corruption investigations. And now, he has been formally convicted of violating election laws and, as punishment, is banned from running for any political office for eight years. Yesterday, a regional election court in São Paulo, where he’s from, issued a formal decree finding him guilty and declaring him “ineligible” to run for any political office as a result of now having a “dirty record” in elections. Temer was found guilty of spending his own funds on his campaign in excess of what the law permits.

In the scope of the scheming, corruption, and illegality from this interim government, Temer’s law-breaking is not the most severe offense. But it potently symbolizes the anti-democratic scam that Brazilian elites have attempted to perpetrate. In the name of corruption, they have removed the country’s democratically elected leader and replaced her with someone who — though not legally barred from being installed — is now barred for eight years from running for the office he wants to occupy.

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Team GB Fencer Laurence Halsted: Olympic Athletes Must Exercise Their Right to Speak Beyond Their Sport

Team GB fencer Laurence Halsted writes for The Guardian:

As a Team GB fencer in my hometown Games at London 2012 and part of the squad for Rio this summer, I have spent my whole life working towards the Olympics. But I feel torn looking at the protests in Brazil as I prepare for Rio.

It would be irresponsible not to take notice of the outcry in Rio around hosting the Olympics while the health and social wellbeing of everyday cariocas suffer. If I were Brazilian I would be on the streets too. As an athlete proud to represent my country at the Games, I have been forced to grapple with the fact that the Olympics come with negative side effects for the host nation. Silence in the face of such injustice could be wrongly interpreted as implicit approval.

Controversy has stalked the hosting of recent Games. Just look at the vast cost and subsequent abandonment of infrastructure in Athens, the harrowing human-rights problems in Beijing and the massive overshooting of the original budget in London at a time of economic depression. With three months to go until Rio, Brazil is struggling through the midst of a brutal recession to prepare for the world’s biggest sporting event. I’m sure they will be a fantastic Games for most, but at what cost to the host community?

As an Olympic athlete I care deeply about the future of the Games. The current model of staging increasingly extravagant Olympics is unsustainable and cannot, in all good conscience, continue. There is much that can be done, but mainly I ask: “Should we, as athletes, make a stand?”

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In Wake of Coup, Should Brazil’s Olympics Be Moved or Become a Site of Protest? Interview with Dave Zirin and Jules Jules Boykoff

Amy Goodman speaks with Dave Zirin, author of the Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy, and Jules Boykoff, author of Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics, about the forthcoming Olympics in Rio and whether the games should be moved or be used as to highlight a raft of domestic grievances in the country. (Democracy Now!)

Still Selling Neoliberal Unicorns: The US Applauds the Coup in Brazil, Calls It Democracy

Greg Grandin writes for The Nation:

Brazil Impeachment ProtestDilma Rousseff, Brazil’s recently deposed president, calls it a coup. Many, perhaps most, of the countries in the Organization of American States call it is a coup. Even the men who helped carry out the coup admit, in a secretly recorded conversation, that what they were doing was effectively a coup, staged to provide them immunity from a corruption investigation.

But the United States doesn’t think that the blatantly naked power grab that just took place in Brazil—which ended the Workers’ Party’s 13-year control of the presidency, installed an all-white, all-male cabinet, diluted the definition of slavery, lest it tarnish the image of Brazil’s plantation sector (which relies on coerced, unfree labor), and began a draconian austerity program—is a coup.

It’s democracy at work, according to various Obama officials.

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Venezuela Drifts Into New Territory: Hunger, Blackouts and Government Shutdown

Nicholas Casey and Patricia Torres report for The New York Times:

[…] The growing economic crisis — fueled by low prices for oil, the country’s main export; a drought that has crippled Venezuela’s ability to generate hydroelectric power; and a long decline in manufacturing and agricultural production — has turned into an intensely political one for President Nicolás Maduro. This month, he declared a state of emergency, his second this year, and ordered military exercises, citing foreign threats.

But the president looks increasingly encircled.

American officials say the multiplying crises have led Mr. Maduro to fall out of favor with members of his own socialist party, who they believe may turn on him, leading to chaos in the streets.

Old allies like Brazil, whose leftist president, Dilma Rousseff, was removed this month pending an impeachment trial, are now openly criticizing Venezuela. José Mujica, the leftist former president of Uruguay last week called Mr. Maduro “crazy like a goat.”

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Operation Condor: South American Genocide

Brazil Crisis Deepens as Evidence Mounts of Plot to Oust Dilma Rousseff: Interview with Maria Luisa Mendonça

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to Maria Luisa Mendonça, director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights, after a key figure in Brazil’s interim government has resigned after explosive new transcripts revealed how he plotted to oust President Dilma Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation that was targeting him. (Democracy Now!)

New Political Earthquake in Brazil: Is It Now Time for Media Outlets to Call This a “Coup”?

Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Fishman and David Miranda report for The Intercept:

Brazil today awoke to stunning news of secret, genuinely shocking conversations involving a key minister in Brazil’s newly installed government, which shine a bright light on the actual motives and participants driving the impeachment of the country’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. The transcripts were published by the country’s largest newspaperFolha de São Paulo, and reveal secret conversations that took place in March, just weeks before the impeachment vote in the lower house was held. They show explicit plotting between the new planning minister (then-senator), Romero Jucá, and former oil executive Sergio Machado — both of whom are formal targets of the “Car Wash” corruption investigation — as they agree that removing Dilma is the only means for ending the corruption investigation. The conversations also include discussions of the important role played in Dilma’s removal by the most powerful national institutions, including — most importantly — Brazil’s military leaders.

The transcripts are filled with profoundly incriminating statements about the real goals of impeachment and who was behind it. The crux of this plot is what Jucá calls “a national pact” — involving all of Brazil’s most powerful institutions — to leave Michel Temer in place as president (notwithstanding his multiple corruption scandals) and to kill the corruption investigation once Dilma is removed. In the words of Folha, Jucá made clear that impeachment will “end the pressure from the media and other sectors to continue the Car Wash investigation.” Jucá is the leader of Temer’s PMDB party and one of the “interim president’s” three closest confidants.

It is unclear who is responsible for recording and leaking the 75-minute conversation, but Folha reports that the files are currently in the hand of the prosecutor general. The next few hours and days will likely see new revelations that will shed additional light on the implications and meaning of these transcripts.

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With Rousseff Out, Brazil’s Interim President Installs Conservative All-White, All-Male Cabinet: Interview with Andrew Fishman

Amy Goodman talks to Andrew Fishman of The Intercept, who discusses the role of the United States in protests against Rousseff, and the background of Temer’s new Cabinet members. (Democracy Now!)

New President of Brazil Moves to Appease Foreign Investors: Interview with Professor Alfredo Saad Filho

Gregory Wilpert talks to Professor Alfredo Saad Filho, who analyzes the economic implications of the new government of Brazil, following Rousseff’s removal from office. (The Real News)

Brazil’s Democracy to Suffer Grievous Blow as Unelectable, Corrupt Neoliberal is Installed

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

In 2002, Brazil’s left-of-center Workers Party (PT) ascended to the presidency when Lula da Silva won in a landslide over the candidate of the center-right party PSDB (throughout 2002, “markets” were indignant at the mere prospect of PT’s victory). The PT remained in power when Lula, in 2006, was re-elected in another landslide against a different PSDB candidate. PT’s enemies thought they had their chance to get rid of PT in 2010, when Lula was barred by term limits from running again, but their hopes were crushed when Lula’s handpicked successor, the previously unknown Dilma Rousseff, won by 12 points over the same PSDB candidate who lost to Lula in 2002. In 2014, PT’s enemies poured huge amounts of money and resources into defeating her, believing she was vulnerable and that they had finally found a star PSDB candidate, but they lost again, this time narrowly, as Dilma was re-elected with 54 million votes.

In sum, PT has won four straight national elections – the last one occurring just 18 months ago. Its opponents have vigorously tried – and failed – to defeat them at the ballot box, largely due to PT’s support among Brazil’s poor and working classes.

So if you’re a plutocrat with ownership of the nation’s largest and most influential media outlets, what do you do? You dispense with democracy altogether – after all, it keeps empowering candidates and policies you dislike – by exploiting your media outlets to incite unrest and then install a candidate who could never get elected on his own, yet will faithfully serve your political agenda and ideology.

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Glenn Greenwald: Goal of Rousseff Impeachment is to Boost Neoliberals and Protect Corruption

Amy Goodman speaks to Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept, who says: “People have started to realize, internationally but also here in Brazil, that although this impeachment process has been sold, has been pitched as a way of punishing corruption, its real goal, beyond empowering neoliberals and Goldman Sachs and foreign hedge funds, the real goal is to protect corruption.” (Democracy Now!)

To See the Real Story in Brazil, Look at Who is Being Installed as President and Finance Chiefs

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

[…] As my partner, David Miranda, wrote this morning in his Guardian op-ed: “It has now become clear that corruption is not the cause of the effort to oust Brazil’s twice-elected president; rather, corruption is merely the pretext.” In response, Brazil’s media elites will claim (as Temer did) that once Dilma is impeached, then the other corrupt politicians will most certainly be held accountable, but they know this is false, and Temer’s shocking support for Cunha makes that clear. Indeed, press reports show that Temer is planning to install as attorney general – the key government contact for the corruption investigation – a politician specifically urged for that position by Cunha. As Miranda’s op-ed explains, “the real plan behind Rousseff’s impeachment is to put an end to the ongoing investigation, thus protecting corruption, not punishing it.”

But there’s one more vital motive driving all of this. Look at who is going to take over Brazil’s economy and finances once Dilma’s election victory is nullified. Two weeks ago, Reuters reported that Temer’s leading choice to run the central bank is the chair of Goldman Sachs in Brazil, Paulo Leme. Today, Reuters reported that “Murilo Portugal, the head of Brazil’s most powerful banking industry lobby” – and a long-time IMF official – “has emerged as a strong candidate to become finance minister if Temer takes power.” Temer also vowed that he will embrace austerity for Brazil’s already-suffering population: he “intends to downsize the government” and “slash spending.”

In an earning calls last Friday with JP Morgan, the celebratory CEO of Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior SA, Rubens Amaral, explicitly described Dilma’s impeachment as “one of the first steps to normalization in Brazil,” and said that if Temer’s new government implements the “structural reforms” that the financial community desires, then “definitely there will be opportunities.” News of Temer’s preferred appointees strongly suggests Mr. Amaral – and his fellow plutocrats – will be pleased.

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The Real Reason Dilma Rousseff’s Enemies Want Her Impeached

David Miranda writes for The Guardian:

The story of Brazil’s political crisis, and the rapidly changing global perception of it, begins with its national media. The country’s dominant broadcast and print outlets are owned by a tiny handful of Brazil’s richest families, and are steadfastly conservative. For decades, those media outlets have been used to agitate for the Brazilian rich, ensuring that severe wealth inequality (and the political inequality that results) remains firmly in place.

Indeed, most of today’s largest media outlets – that appear respectable to outsiders – supported the 1964 military coup that ushered in two decades of rightwing dictatorship and further enriched the nation’s oligarchs. This key historical event still casts a shadow over the country’s identity and politics. Those corporations – led by the multiple media arms of the Globo organisation – heralded that coup as a noble blow against a corrupt, democratically elected liberal government. Sound familiar?

For more than a year, those same media outlets have peddled a self-serving narrative: an angry citizenry, driven by fury over government corruption, rising against and demanding the overthrow of Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, and her Workers’ party (PT). The world saw endless images of huge crowds of protesters in the streets, always an inspiring sight.

But what most outside Brazil did not see was that the country’s plutocratic media had spent months inciting those protests (while pretending merely to “cover” them). The protesters were not remotely representative of Brazil’s population. They were, instead, disproportionately white and wealthy: the very same people who have opposed the PT and its anti-poverty programmes for two decades.

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Is the U.S. Backing Dilma Rousseff’s Ouster in Brazil? Interview with Mark Weisbrot and Andrew Fishman

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez talk to economist Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and The Intercept’s Andrew Fishman, about efforts to impeach and remove Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff from office. (Democracy Now!)

Argentina Attempts to Silence TeleSUR and Other ‘Undesirable Media’: Interview with Pedro Brigier

Sharmini Peries talks to Pedro Brigier, journalist and professor at the University of Buenos Aires, who says Argentinians view the government’s dissociation from TeleSUR as the loss of one of the only alternative voices for news in Latin America. (The Real News)

Johan Cruyff: How Can You Play Soccer Next to a Torture Center?

TeleSUR writes:

Cruyff dazzled fans with this trickery and rejected Argentina’s brutal dictatorship in an unmatched soccer career.

Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, and perhaps ever, missed the 1978 FIFA World Cup held in Argentina as he didn’t want to play close to the torture chambers the right-wing government had set up to house dissidents of the regime.

“How can you play soccer a thousand meters from a torture center?” he is quoted as saying before the tournament.

The South American nation was in turmoil at the time of the competition after a right-wing coup, led by General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti, overthrew Isabel Peron’s democratically elected government two years before.

The dictatorship, which was backed by the U.S., led to brutal repression of the Argentine people with as many 30,000 people forcibly disappeared by the regime.

Argentina’s political instability couldn’t be ignored by Cruyff, who was aged 31 at the time and winding down his illustrious career. So he pulled out of the Netherlands squad in a move that infuriated Dutch soccer officials.

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Discovering America’s Role in Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’

It was a military rule where thousands were killed or went missing. In Argentina, US President Barack Obama will mark the 40th-anniversary of what people there call the ‘dirty war’.  Activists want him to declassify files which are suspected to show US involvement. (Al Jazeera)