Brazil’s acting President Michel Temer arrives to speak, at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, May 12, 2016.
SAO PAULO — Brazil’s new acting president is a known U.S. informant who has provided Washington with insider information about the Brazilian government on multiple occasions.
Michel Temer’s ties to the U.S. government, as revealed by WikiLeaks’ Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy, add to the growing body of evidence that the parliamentary impeachment of Brazil’s democratically-elected president, Dilma Rousseff, was supported by allies in Washington.
Temer, who has served as Brazil’s vice president since 2011, took power Thursday after Brazil’s parliament suspended Rousseff pending the results of impeachment proceedings.
Via Twitter, WikiLeaks highlighted two diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy in São Paulo that document Temer’s history of sharing insider information with Washington from his position as the leader of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, Brazil’s largest political party.
WikiLeaks’ “public library” is assembled from several sources, including Cablegate, a massive 2010 leak of U.S. diplomatic cables whose source still remains anonymous.
The Jan. 11, 2006 cable concerns the perceived political vulnerability of the Workers Party (PT), and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president succeeded by Rousseff. The intelligence was gathered during a meeting between Temer and embassy officials. Recipients of the cable include U.S. Southern Command, the Defense Department’s strategic headquarters that oversees South America, and the National Security Council, which advises the White House on key foreign policy issues.
The diplomats wrote:
“Federal Deputy Michel Temer, national president of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), believes that public disillusion with President Lula and the Workers’ Party (PT) provides an opportunity for the PMDB to field its own candidate in the 2006 presidential election.”
Temer accuses the PT of corruption and electoral fraud, charges similar to those which led to Rousseff’s ouster, and suggests it opens a window to removing the PT from power. He also suggests that the PMDB may be forced to ally with the conservative PSDB, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party.
In a June 21, 2006 cable, Temer praises Lula’s ability to rise above the country’s ongoing political scandals while also placating the working class:
“Michel Temer, President of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), believes President Lula has done a masterful job of disassociating himself from the political corruption scandals that have crushed some of his closest advisers. He also has effectively expanded social programs to earn the loyalty and support of Brazil’s lower-middle and lower classes.”
This cable, too, contains Temer’s analysis of Brazil’s major political parties, including an explanation of the internal strife that prevented his own PMDB from offering a replacement to President Lula in the 2006 election.
Ultimately, it took 10 more years to force the PT from power, not by ballot box but by parliamentary action, and Temer correctly forecasted the collaboration between the PMDB and PSDB. But other key players include the country’s conservative media and U.S.-backed groups that helped organize widespread and sometimes violent protests, according to geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser, in a March 22 analysis for MintPress News:
“The right wing is the driving force of the protests, despite any progressive-minded, anti-corruption sentiment being expressed by various segments of the protest movement. Two of the principal groups responsible for organizing and mobilizing the demonstrations are the Free Brazil Movement (MBL) and Students for Liberty (EPL), both of which have direct ties to Charles and David Koch, the right-wing, neocon, U.S. billionaires, as well as other leading figures of the far right, pro-business neoliberal establishment.”
Although accusations of fraud and corruption led to Rousseff’s suspension, Temer is also marked by frequent accusations of illegal or unethical behavior, as Glenn Greenwald reported for The Intercept on Wednesday.
“In this particular case, the person to be installed is awash in corruption: accused by informants of involvement in an illegal ethanol-purchasing scheme, he was just found guilty of, and fined for, election spending violations and faces an 8-year-ban on running for any office,” he wrote.
“[O]nly 2% would support him for President and almost 60% want him impeached(the same number that favors Dilma’s impeachment). But he will faithfully serve the interests of Brazil’s richest: he’s planning to appoint Goldman, Sachs and IMF officials to run the economy and otherwise install a totally unrepresentative, neoliberal team (composed in part of the same party – PSDB – that has lost 4 straight elections to the PT).”