‘Coup within a coup: Contest for Brazil’s future continues’

‘Coup within a coup: Contest for Brazil’s future continues’
Brazilian politics and the economy have been shaken over the past year, and what is happening now is a contest for the country’s future. Whichever way it goes it is going to affect all of Latin America, says Daniel Shaw from City University of New York.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo on Sunday, calling for the impeachment of Brazilian President Michel Temer.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court approved a criminal investigation into President Temer. He is accused of arranging a hush-money payment to former parliamentary speaker Eduardo Cunha, who is now in prison for his role in an oil corruption scandal.

Brazil's Bar Association voted on Sunday for an impeachment hearing of Temer, and is expected to send its request in the lower house of Congress in coming days.

RT:  Do you think the impeachment is likely to happen?

Daniel Shaw, Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the City University of New York: What we see right now is a coup within the coup. The coup monger themselves are very disunited. This has given new life to the popular movement: PT [Workers' Party,] to [Luiz Inacio] Lula’s [da Silva] party, Dilma Rousseff’s party, which is very united – united in the protests, in the call for a general strike, in occupations and shutdowns across the country. The impeachment could come from below, from a wave of massive protest. The impeachment could come from within the lower house of Congress. It seems like his [Temer’s] political career will be finished soon.

RT:  If Temer is charged, it will be the second impeachment of a Brazilian president in less than a year. How destabilizing is this for the country?

DS: Brazilian politics and the entire economy have been shaken up over the past year. This is really a contest for the future of Brazil. Because Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America, the eighth largest economy in the world – a $3.3 trillion economy - whichever way Brazil goes this is going to affect all of the Latin America, the Global South. If Brazil goes to PT and the popular movements, this could give new life to the BRICS nations and this anti-imperialist unity. So certainly that’s what we’re seeing: things are definitely shaking up right now.

RT:  What needs to happen in Brazil, to regain some form of stability?

DS: The main demand of the popular movement right now is that in October this year there will be direct elections, not the indirect elections where the one percent continue to continue Brazilian politics. That is what Temer and his friends, [Eduardo] Cunha and others are trying to demand – indirect elections. The popular movement is demanding direct elections in October, where Lula is the favorite to win. That’ll then stop this path of austerity, and it’ll again be the path of the PT restoring a lot of democratic power, and economic power to the 200 million people of Brazil.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.