The Great Coup

(Warning, This text has been translated by Google)

Between 2010 and 2011, a wave of protests, demonstrations, riots and revolutions caused changes and instability in the Arab world. This wave became known worldwide as Arab Spring. The economic crisis and lack of freedom in the countries of the Middle East and the Maghreb were identified as the main causes for this movement. However, it is worth remembering that President Barack Obama, on May 19, 2011, gave a State Department address in which he quietly supported the spring uprisings and announced a shift in US strategy towards the region. Among the actions advocated are economic support and support for Tunisia and Egypt, the only countries that at that time had already toppled their leaders, including the US pardon of the Egyptian foreign debt contracted by the previous regime and support for nascent democracies. . Also in that same speech there is the defense of the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state and of universal and democratic values. Many analysts regard this discourse as a shift from the 1980s paradigm attributed to Madeleine Albright from “indispensable nation” interventionism to a multilateral view. The hypothesis presented here is different.
There is no doubt, at that time, a dissatisfaction of the peoples concerned with their governments. When the economy goes down, the quality of life falls and this reinforces other problems, such as freedom and fundamental rights. Opposition to the regime is also strengthened and appears as a solution to the suffering of the population. Thus, the following questions arise: How natural are the crises of capitalism? How far are they produced? What is the role of the main world power in this production? Unfortunately, there is no telling whether the crisis that affected these countries was produced or simply arose within the capital process. However, we must remember that the US was generally allies of the region’s dictatorships, but that does not mean much, they were also allies of the dictatorships of Latin America that were replaced by liberal democracies from 1978. The Empire seems to realize the need for sectoral or global realignment and, according to its interests, promotes adjustments towards its own objectives, utilizing the military presence, such as NATO’s key presence in the overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi, Libya, or through more sophisticated resources. In any case, there is no denying that the US has refined its extensive knowledge of population manipulation with the Arab Spring.
In 2013, in Brazil, there is the emergence of a conservative right-wing and far-right wave that finds fertile ground on the internet and in street protests. In 2013 protests against the Dilma government, groups such as MBL, Revoltados Online and Vem Pra Rua bring the three together, from moderate PSDB members to the most virulent far right. Other smaller right-wing and far-right groups participated in the popular weakening of the Rousseff government. Common among all these groups is hatred for the left and the wild pursuit of power. The large expenses in these demonstrations suggest the financing of large national and multinational companies to these groups. The participation of foreign governments, especially the US, in the rise of these groups cannot be ruled out. To do this, just remember the Edward Snowden case, revealed by journalists led by Glenn Greenwald. Among Snowden’s revelations about US government espionage, one in particular caught the attention of Brazilians. It was made in 2015 and its content reveals the staple by the US on thirty phones of members of the Dilma Government, including the president herself. Like the Arab Spring, the 2013 demonstrations in Brazil reflect American participation, it is not known to what extent exactly, but certainly this participation was decisive for what will happen next.
Dilma Rousseff (president of 2011–2016) ended her first term with 59% approval, the highest rate since redemocratization. Nevertheless, the election for his second term was complicated. She was marked by the death of Eduardo Campos from PSB, because Marina Silva took the candidacy in her place, due to the fierce dispute between Dilma (PT) and Aécio Neves (PSDB). Finally re-elected, but weakened by the campaign and ongoing attacks led by Aécio’s PSDB, Dilma appoints Joaquim Levy, a staunch liberal, to the Ministry of Finance to calm the market and try to recover from the damage done by the economic crisis. other factors, such as the Lava Jato, the Petrobras crisis and the demonstrations. It was not enough, Dilma was accused by the so-called “tax pedaling”, budgetary operations made through the National Treasury. In such pedaling, the government delays the transfer of funds to private and public banks in order to make up the government’s fiscal situation in a given year. These operations are not provided for in the legislation, but have been made since the Fernando Henrique administration and without any legal or political problems. However, it was the ad hoc way that the forces on the right found to open the impeachment process against Dilma, headed by the mayor, Eduardo Cunha (PMDB).
On August 31, 2016, Dilma Rousseff has her mandate revoked. In its place definitely takes Michel Temer. But was there any foreign interference in this coup against Rousseff? Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, points to a meeting between former US Ambassador to Brazil and Obama Department State Department Undersecretary of Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon, with PSDB Senator Aloysio Nunes. of opposition at that time and responsible for leading the coup). Aloysio Nunes was also chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and traveled to Washington for this meeting. In the words of Mark Weisbrot, in an interview with the BBC: “This meeting is a strong sign that they (the US government) support the opposition and impeachment.” Still in 2016, Brazilian deputies went to the US to defend impeachment during Dilma Rousseff’s participation in a UN event. José Carlos Aleluia (DEM-BA) and Luiz Lauro Filho (PSB-SP) claim that they were able to inhibit Dilma in her speech and prevent the attack on Brazilian institutions. Another who bets on US interference is the chairman of the National Committee for the Studies and Problems of the BRICS and deputy of the Russian lower house, Viatcheslav Níkonov, who said he was convinced that the latest political developments in Brazil were coordinated by the United States. Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, ambassador to Washington at the time and a short-term former foreign minister of Dilma Rousseff’s first administration, emphatically defended the legality of impeachment in protest against a letter sent to the US Secretary of State during the Obama administration, signed by 37 Democratic congressmen and questioning the impeachment process.
Espionage, confirmed by NSA documents, meeting between representatives of both countries interested in impeachment, statements by BRICS representatives about US interference, articles in the press and academia, protest by US congressmen against the process heard by the Obama administration, all this reinforces the US participation thesis in the coup. However, it is noteworthy that this is a hypothesis, not an unquestionable finding. If it were a finding, it would be history. However, it is noteworthy that any discourse in the opposite way would have the same problem and that the hypothesis presented here has a series of facts that help in the construction of its foundation. For those still scornful of hypotheses, it should be remembered that much of human knowledge comes from them, since a theory (Theory of Evolution, Theory of Relativity, etc.) is defined as a set of hypotheses.
There is no way to say with certainty that the commodity crisis was caused by the US, but surely they took advantage of this crisis to redesign the global political landscape. Venezuela has collapsed with this crisis, the US embargo and its sanctions. The consequences were devastating and today it is a politically divided country, with its economy in shambles and unusual economic instability. In Argentina, the crisis catapulted Mauricio Macri’s (Republican Proposal) candidacy to the presidency, bringing the Argentine right and conservatism back to power. In Chile, the elections were won by Sebastián Piñera. Piñera had already been president and had his campaign driven by a manipulation by the World Bank that made Chile fall in the competition ranking released by the bank itself. And these are just a few examples. The conservative wave, or blue tide, is already victorious in several Latin American countries, in addition to those mentioned, can be cited Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Honduras, Paraguay, Panama. In Europe, the far right gains ground across the continent. In Italy, France, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Greece, among others, we see the growth and, in some cases, the victory of the far right, with the immigration issue as a major issue. Brexit is also a representative of this conservative turn, as is Donald Trump’s own victory in the US, and Boris Johnson’s appointment as the new UK premier.
It is important to note that the strategy of redesigning the global political map, which was already right-wing under the Obama administration, eventually turns to the far right. Steve Bannon, the main ideologue of the Trump campaign, traveled, after his ouster from government, across Europe promoting his domination strategies, using the weaknesses of democracy to foster the rise of far-right undemocratic candidates. In Brazil, the Bolsonaro campaign, the victorious candidate in the 2018 presidential election, was led by Bannon, who, by the way, continues to guide the Bolsonaro government’s speech. These are the same values, discourses and strategies that Bannon and Trump defend. Anyone who is willing to look at Bannon’s whole scheme will find that there is a perfect match to Bolsonaro’s campaign and possibly his choice as Trump’s candidate.

There is no way to remain naive and think that each country chooses the direction it will take. Power is a relation of power, of strength, as we find in Foucault’s work. Thus, forces interact with each other and there is always a relationship between forces that are more active and forces that are more passive. The US, as the great world power, asserts its supremacy in many ways in the world, encountering obstacles to this claim, but which are hardly a match for such power. The 2010s have become a paradigm for understanding the US role in the world. Therefore, the US remains what Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt call the Empire.
P.S .: This text has not been revised.

Ex-professor de diversas universidades públicas e particulares. Lecionou na Universidade Federal Fluminense e na Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.

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