“Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades”
By Nika Knight
Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Arundhati Roy, and 17 other human rights activists, intellectuals, and public figures on Wednesday sent a letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, and demanding that Brazil’s senate “respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in.”
In the letter, which was published by the U.K.-based group No Coup in Brazil, the luminaries argue that “Brazil is a major regional power and has the largest economy in Latin America. If this sustained attack on its democratic institutions is successful, the negative shock waves will reverberate throughout the region.”
Rousseff’s impeachment trial began on Thursday, and was suspended briefly on Friday when the proceedings devolved into a shouting match.
“It is widely expected that, within a few days, senators will vote to definitively remove [Rousseff] from office,” notes Maria Luisa Mendonça, director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights.
“The impeachment—labeled a coup by many Brazilians—has generated outrage and frequent protests in Brazil,” Mendonça adds.
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow artists and with all those fighting for democracy and justice throughout Brazil,” the letter says, adding that “Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades.”
Rousseff’s removal would end 13 years of Workers’ Party rule, as Common Dreams reported,and bring about the confirmation of “the unelected, right-of-center Temer” as president until 2018, the rest of Rousseff’s term.
“We are concerned about the politically motivated impeachment of the president, which has installed an unelected interim government,” the letter writers say. “The legal basis for the ongoing impeachment is widely contested and there is compelling evidence showing that key promoters of the impeachment campaign are seeking to remove the president to stop the corruption investigations that they themselves are implicated in.”
Prominent organizations have also joined in the condemnation of Rousseff’s impeachment. On Tuesday, 43 grassroots environmental, labor, and religious groups in the U.S. issued astatement decrying the “legislative coup.”
“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,” the groups declared.