The ROUSSEFF IMPEACHMENT: What’s Really Going On in Brazil & Latin America…?

Coup against Rousseff in Brazil

Brazil is in a crisis, that’s for sure.

But general Western media portrayal of the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff seems only to have presented a simplified, one-sided picture of events.

Dilma Rousseff’s supporters call the impeachment process nothing less than a coup.

The impeachment effort against Rousseff has been mostly orchestrated by the political, media, and economic elites in Brazil; though corporate media in Brazil and foreign media in the West has largely portrayed it as more of a populist movement of the Brazilian people.

Brazilian journalist João Estrella de Bettencourt wrote a few weeks ago in the Huffington Post, ‘It’s a coup. And don’t deceive yourself… it will result in brutal battles in Brazilian society. The Dilma government was democratically elected and, despite the accusations, it has a legitimate right to fight back’.

We should note that this move against Rousseff – which can fairly convincingly be portrayed as an operation by Brazil’s elites to remove a Left-wing government from power (though admittedly the scenario appears more complicated than being put down to just one thing) – occurs against a conspicuous backdrop of multiple long-term Left-wing governments in Latin-America being replaced by right-wing governments.

Argentina has also just replaced a longstanding Left-wing government with a right-wing government and essentially ceded its sovereignty to Wall Street, despite years and years of staunch resistance to Washington. Venezuela, of all places, now also has a right-wing government backed by Washington, which had previously tried to overthrow the Leftist government with US backing. The right-wing state in Venezuela has been accused of violence and attacks against its own citizens. The Left-wing government in Honduras was ousted in a military coup backed by Hillary Clinton in 2009.

And now Brazil – one of the biggest countries in the world, with one of the biggest populations and economies – appears to be going the same route, albeit via a different, more complicated detour.

Glenn Greenwald, writing for The Intercept, also suggests that the current spectacle being played out in Brazil is being portrayed in Western media as something very different to what might actually be going on. He noted a few months ago that ‘much of this Western media coverage mimics the propaganda coming from Brazil’s homogenized, oligarch-owned, anti-democracy media outlets and, as such, is misleading, inaccurate, and incomplete, particularly when coming from those with little familiarity with the country‘.

In its coverage of the crisis in Brazil, Western media appears to have massively oversimplified the nature of the situation, focusing almost exclusively on big street protests and depicting them in idyllic terms as a popular uprising against an unpopular or corrupt government. Of course, we know from the ‘anti- Gaddafi protests’ in Libya in 2011 how easily public gatherings and rallies can be repackaged and misrepresented by the international media depending on which way the wind is blowing.

But as Greenwald argues, ‘That narrative is, at best, a radical oversimplification of what is happening and, more often, crass propaganda designed to undermine a left-wing party long disliked by U.S. foreign policy elites. That depiction completely ignores the historical context of Brazil’s politics and, more importantly, several critical questions: Who is behind these protests, how representative are the protesters of the Brazilian population, and what is their actual agenda?

Some call the program by select Brazilian politicians to oust Rousseff via impeachment an act of “a political character”, and criticise the lower chamber for failing to provide Rousseff with the necessary means to defend herself. Ernesto Samper, Secretary-General of the Union of South American Nations, has told teleSUR that Dilma Rousseff remains “the legitimate leader” of the Brazilian people. He also maintains that Rousseff still has full “democratic legitimacy”, having been re-elected in 2014.

Samper warned that the decision of the Brazilian Congress to initiate an impeachment trial against the President is “compromising the democratic governability of the region in a dangerous way.”

While accusations of corruption or wrongdoing against Rousseff’s party appear – according to all accounts – to have validity, there is still a question as to whether Rousseff herself has actually done anything illegal. She has not been accused of any corruption – but of disguising the size of the government’s budget deficit in the lead-up to her re-election.

More importantly, the entire political class in Brazil appears to be rife with corruption – a fact openly acknowledged by the majority of the population.

 Brazil's Dilma Rousseff 

And the elites in Brazil – the plutocrats and their major media corporations – appear to be using the impeachment to, as Greenwald puts it, ‘achieve what they have failed for years to accomplish democratically: the removal of PT from power’.

The absurdity of the entire situation seems fairly obvious.

Five members of the impeachment commission are themselves under criminal investigation for major corruption. Paulo Maluf, for example, faces an Interpol warrant for his arrest and has been unable to leave the country for several years (and has been sentenced in France to three years in prison for money laundering).

In fact, of 65 members that make up the ‘House impeachment committee’, 36 of them are reportedly awaiting pending legal proceedings.

The entire thing therefore seems farcical.

The Globo media conglomerate – Brazil’s biggest media organisation – has been central in stirring up the support for the impeachment; it has run highly biased coverage of the corruption allegations against Rousseff’s Worker’ Party and simultaneously afforded vast media platforms for right-wing demonstrations and commentators.

The media complicity in general seems to have played a substantial role.

Greenwald illustrated it effectively in the same Intercept piece from March; ‘To provide some perspective for how central the large corporate media has been in inciting these protests: Recall the key role Fox News played in promoting and encouraging attendance at the early Tea Party protests. Now imagine what those protests would have been if it had not been just Fox, but also ABC, NBC, CBS, Time magazine, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post also supporting and inciting the Tea Party rallies. That is what has been happening in Brazil‘.

Globa media in fact used to be a supporter of and propagandist for the old (and Washington-backed) right-wing military dictatorship in Brazil.


If this is a coup – whatever else it may be disguised as – it certainly wouldn’t be a new phenomenon in Brazil.

In 1964, an earlier democratically elected left-wing government was overthrown by a military coup. United States officials denied any role; but documents have subsequently showed that Washington directly supported and helped enable the coup. The pro-American, right-wing military dictatorship then lasted for 21 years and engaged in systemised, long-term and brutal crackdowns against Brazilian dissidents. Shamefully, a 2014 report highlighted the extent to which British and American government agencies assisted the dictatorship’s interrogation and torture techniques.

Curiously enough, one of the many Left-wing figures tortured by that dictatorship was the very same woman currently being impeached – Dilma Rouseff (who was at the time a Marxist guerrilla).

It is also not a secret that Rousseff has been unpopular with Washington and Wall Street. When Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been tapping her phones, Rousseff went to the United Nations and accused the US of violating international law and “the principles that must guide the relations among… friendly nations.” There is clearly no love lost between her and the United States.

Far from this being a simple issue of ‘corruption’ (which is endemic in Brazilian politics and by no means limited to Rousseff’s party), Glenn Greenwald puts the 1964 coup – and the current impeachment of Rousseff – in terms of both class and racial warfare. He writes, concerning that period, ‘The coup itself and the dictatorship that followed were supported by Brazil’s oligarchs and their large media outlets, led by Globo, which — notably — depicted the 1964 coup as a noble defeat of a corrupt left-wing government (sound familiar?). The 1964 coup and dictatorship were also supported by the nation’s extravagantly rich (and overwhelmingly white) upper class and its small middle class. As democracy opponents often do, Brazil’s wealthy factions regarded dictatorship as protection against the impoverished masses comprised largely of non-whites‘…

 Coup against Rousseff in Brazil 

As Donna Bowater writes on Vice, much of the working class are pro Rousseff’s government. “For many of us,” one supporter says, “it’s about a government that brought dignity to those people who were excluded their whole life by society.”

Regarding the possible nature of the present situation in relation to that, Greenwald noted that ‘when massive anti-Dilma protests emerged in most Brazilian cities, a photograph of one of the families participating went viral, a symbol of what these protests actually are. It showed a rich, white couple decked out in anti-Dilma symbols and walking with their pure-breed dog, trailed by their black “weekend nanny” — wearing the all-white uniform many rich Brazilians require their domestic servants to wear — pushing a stroller with their two children.’

I have to admit that I’ve examined lots of images of the protests and I’ve struggled to spot any darker-skinned protesters, even though this is Brazil.

This paints a very different picture of the Rousseff impeachment to the simple idea of an almost unanimous society rising against a ‘corrupt’ leader that most Western media has been suggesting.

Again, this ignoring of class or race issues in the mainstream narrative has echoes elsewhere, such as with Libya in 2011 when international media completely ignored the persecution (including some ethnic cleansing) of Black-African Libyans that NATO/Western-backed militias were engaged in. In the case of Brazil it isn’t as severe (or violent) as that by any means, but the international media is nevertheless failing to note the race/class divide that appears to be relevant in this situation.

For whatever its flaws or misdemeanors may be, it appears that Rousseff’s party has been much better for the lower classes and the poor and hated by the upper classes and elites, having ushered in economic and social reforms that have helped lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty. The socialist, Left-wing government, has among other things instituted the ‘Bolsa Familia’ social welfare program, the increased promotion of human rights, significant scholarship programs and things like campaigns for university inclusion programs.

Some amid the poorer section of Brazil’s population believe that the future of this more inclusive and democratic Brazil, and any further chance of upward mobility (or even inclusion), is being sabotaged or destroyed in the present crisis, which will likely see the wealthy elites taking back control of the state. A poor and unemployed 26 year-old tells Vice, “Brazil’s poor were ‘forgotten but bigger’ than the protesting elite calling for impeachment”, though she also admits that “life for the poor was even harder under Rousseff than it was before. The problem,” she said, was that she “saw nobody else who might provide a better alternative”.

There are reports that some factions at these “anti-corruption” protests against Rousseff have even been openly calling for the end of democracy – and, one would assume (by implication), a return to a military dictatorship.

Michel Temer, the opposition leader who now steps in as the interim president, appears to be a spectacularly unpopular figure in Brazil – and also happens to have strong links with Wall Street.

Thanks to Wikileaks, we also know that Temer recently met with US embassy officials in Sao Paulo; supposedly to provide his assessment on the political situation. It should be borne in mind that such meetings aren’t unusual and can’t be taken as proof that Termer is a Wall Street or Washington proxy; though it does raise suspicions, given his Wall Street connections and domestic unpopularity.

Given Washington’s well-attested history of supporting right-wing coups against Left-wing governments in Latin America (including Chile, Guatemala and El-Salvador), one really does have to wonder what the US involvement may be in this impeachment of Rousseff. It may be that there’s no involvement from Washington – and I’m not aware of any clear evidence to suggest it – but the proven US backing of the 1964 coup in Brazil makes it fair to raise the question.

And it is also possible that this move to undermine a Left-wing government in Brazil is entirely unrelated to the surprising emergence of a right-wing government in Argentina this year and the even more surprising emergence of a right-wing government in Venezuela. But as with Brazil, we know for a fact that Washington fully backed previous attempts at a right-wing coup in Venezuela, and we know that the US backed the brutal right-wing coup in Argentina in 1976 (which led to the deaths of over 30,000 Argentinians). Indeed, President Obama has recently apologised to Argentina for the horrific consequences of US interference in the past.

And Washington can’t really claim that all of this underhanded backing of right-wing coups is a thing of the past either: because, for example, in 2009 Hillary Clinton secretly backed the right-wing coup against a democratically elected government in Honduras – a coup that has resulted in a murder spree in Honduras that continues to this day.

More adamant about it than someone like myself is willing or able to be, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts appears to be in no doubt about US involvement, however. Dr Roberts links Rousseff’s impeachment firmly with the removal of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina.

‘Having removed the reformist President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Washington is now disposing of the reformist President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff’, he writes. ‘Washington used a federal judge to order Argentina to sacrifice its debt restructuring program in order to pay US vulture funds the full value of defaulted Argentine bonds that the vulture funds had bought for a few pennies on the dollar. President Kirchner resisted and, thus, she had to go. Washington concocted a story that Kirchner covered up an alleged Iranian bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994. This implausible fantasy, for which there is no evidence of Iranian involvement, was fed to one of Washington’s agents in the state prosecutor’s office, and a dubious event of 22 years ago was used to clear Cristina Kirchner out of the way of the American looting of Argentina‘.

I should make clear that there isn’t any proof in this instance that Washington had anything to do with the impeachment crisis in Brazil – or that what has just happened in Argentina is necessarily anything other than Kirchner’s government simply not winning the popular vote (and likewise that people in Venezuela would support a right-wing government after many years of questionable left-wing politics and mismanagement).

Whatever’s really going on, it’s almost certain that Rousseff’s impeachment represents the beginning of a major crisis in Brazil and not the end of one.



Some recommended reading:  ‘Soft Coup in Brazil – A Blow to Brazilian Democracy‘ by Juan Sebastian Chavarro, Raiesa Frazer, Rachael Hilderbrand and Emma Tyrou (Council on Hemispheric Affairs), ‘Dilma Rousseff Close to Impeachment But Not All Brazilians Hate Her‘ by Donna Bowater on Vice, Brazil Engulfed By Ruling Class Corruption and a Dangerous Subversion of Democracy‘ by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept.


S. Awan

Independent journalist. Pariah. Believer in human rights, human dignity and liberty. Musician. Substandard Jedi. All-round failure. And future ghost.


  1. It is a fact that most of the world’s media is controlled by right wing moguls. Their aim is to spread the cause of capitalism and increase the planet’s differentials between wealthy and poor. Left Insider offers left wing articles from reputable news sites such as Left Futures, Red Pepper, Novara, The Canary, Buzz Feed, Left Foot Forward etc. We all have the birthright to maximise our own qualities and we all have the duty to help others maximise theirs.

  2. Thank you for this Burning Blogger, And the Great Comments. Time consuming to get through, but worth it, very important work here.

    I sickens me what the west gets away with, because of media brainwashing

  3. Though I’ve lost the site there is one connection to USG in Brazil… US ambassador to Brazil took office just before the first murmurs started and her prior post took the same route. Just after her arrival a political upheaval started. It’s a combination of semi-legal actions by opposition and the latest call from “democracy exporters” – the killer word “corruption”. Plus one of Temer’s guys flew to US just after the parliament approved impeachment. When asked about it, US state dept. wouldn’t comment. For coverage of the whole Brazil event just read Pepe Escobar’s reporting since about Feb. He’s originally from Brazil, and left because of all the corruption but was in country the day they arrested and tried to get rid of Lula at the airport. He also did a short interview on Corbett report recently explaining the situation. The major thing nobody is talking about though is the pre salt technology Brazil has sole rights to and western oil companies want it.

    • Thanks Silverpalomino; there’s a lot of things you point to here that I didn’t know about. I will look them up.

  4. Great analysis in its details and generalizations! Never disappointed in your work and I always learn something: I had no idea that Roussef had actually been tortured by the former military regime.

    Merely to alert you to what I think is a typo: “. . . we know that the US backed the brutal right-wing coup in Argentina in 1976 (which led to the deaths of over 300,000 Argentinians).” I think that should read ” . . . 30,000 Argentinians . . .”

    James Petras has written a short piece corroborating your reading of the events unfolding, as well as
    “M Semet’s” comment (above) as pertains to the ‘reasons’ for the debacle: “The left’s biggest problem (this crosses all international borders) is that they leave right wing elements in charge of the resources, whether its for supplying necessities and information or maintaining infrastructure or supply lines.” As Petras puts it: “The Left regime had retained an intact and fully functioning right administrative and judicial apparatus, composed of courts and judges, the prosecutors and investigators all aligned with the Right opposition. They were ready to undermine the regime’s congressional majority by opening ‘corruption’ investigations targeting the Left. Meanwhile, the business elite managed to intensify the consequences of the economic recession and insist that ‘recovery’ meant austerity against the poor.”

    Petras’s short essay can be found here:

    The Left: Business Accommodation and Social Debacle


    • Thanks very much, Norman. Going to read Petras’s piece now. In terms of that point though, do you see President Obama as having been in a comparable situation (though obviously not as severe)?
      For all the endless criticism of Obama and his presidency, he does seem to have been pretty much crippled by the Republicans in most situations.
      And yep, you’re right about the typo – that should be 30,000. Thanks for pointing it out or else I wouldn’t have noticed.

      • Both you and M have formulated my response for me. Nothing that I can say hasn’t already been said or implied in your exchange with one another.

        So yeah, any politician elected in the West, or anywhere the capitalist power structure has taken root and been elaborated, is in a comparable situation.

        Power, under a capitalist regime, resides first and foremost in the ‘state’ as a whole, that is, not only or even primarily in the halls where presumptively elected representatives debate policy and legislation and issue legally binding decrees, but at the bureaucratic heights overseeing the specialized repressive apparatus of the regime, comprised of the police, the judiciary, the prisons, the treasury, as well as the distribution channels of public ‘information’ (read, propaganda) TOGETHER WITH the entire network and array of private and for profit tyrannies in charge of most of the production and distribution of goods and services, and designated as corporations.

        Consequently, given that all of these sub-departments of the capitalist state are top down operations under the supervision of officials ideologically vetted and aligned with the spirit of ‘private enterprise,’ whose utmost purpose is to serve the process of surplus-value extortion, they can with effect, expert as they are in the art of ‘coordinated action,’ mutiny as one against and subvert the political will of all or any ‘democratically’ elected officials who turn out to be a threat to their rule and privilege.

        That is the genius of the capitalist dictatorship, n’est-ce pas? A command and control structure that can be highly centralized when all of its institutions are serving the common purpose of capitalist exploitation, but suddenly highly diffuse or decentralized when it needs to begin any rearguard action in earnest.

        I therefore agree with the two of you, BBofB and M, that, on the one hand, ‘the left’ needs to learn to anticipate the tactics of subversion to which the capitalists will inevitably resort and have at hand countermeasures to which it itself must resort if it is to survive should it ever find itself in a fortuitous moment of political ascendancy; and, on the other hand, deeply understand that ‘reaction’ or ‘counter-revolution’ is something with which it will willy nilly have to contend. The capitalist state, after all and above all, is a machine of repression, however well it manages to convince us otherwise. You do not disarm an armed thief by trying to appeal to his better nature. Would that it was otherwise, but alas it is not. Violence, muted or overt, is unavoidable.

        • Great comments, Norman, thank you. The belief that ‘violence, muted or overt, is unavoidable’ troubles me, however – and I don’t disagree with you or M about the reasons why; I just tend to hope there’s some way of non-violent revolution possible.
          Perhaps we need to consult the people of Iceland to some extent.
          Just slightly off-point, I was recently re-watching something and was reminded of the ideas of Roosevelt back in the forties, which were incredibly Socialist and mistrustful of the banks. Had he lived longer or been able to fully institute more of his vision, things might be very different.

  5. The left’s biggest problem (this crosses all international borders) is that they leave right wing elements in charge of the resources, whether its for supplying necessities and information or maintaining infrastructure or supply lines. Venezuela is being strangled by elites hoarding and creating artificial shortages for necessities such as food and toilet paper…when they get their way, these necessities are miraculously available again. This lesson hasn’t sunk in, despite the fact that the right wing has been starving the left for generations! Starvation is the fastest way to bring down any resistance, as they say. What Castro did right was that he confiscated essential resources and tools from the corrupt elites…this is why Cuba was not starved or sabotaged into submission. You don’t have an equivalent of the Globo media empire in Cuba, you don’t have private corporations like Carrefour controlling the supply and distribution of food and other necessities like in Venezuela.

    I think a big reason that the left is often caught flat-footed or is always acting too slow is because they underestimate the right wing’s need for control and revenge. I come from a right wing family, and that’s one of the main differences I see between the left and right wing personality patterns. Yes, I’m generalizing, yes there are individual differences, but there are some strong, pertinent patterns that we shouldn’t ignore–not if we want to make any sort of lasting progress.

    Like you wrote, Dilma Roussef was actually TORTURED by the right wing junta when she was a Marxist guerilla. How she could have underestimated their venality and persistence? Why didn’t she act sooner and make a power play at the right time? Why didn’t she move to speak to the right wing faction “in a language they can understand”?

    A part of me thinks that most left wing people are just too damn nice, too willing to believe in conversion and redemption in everybody, even when it’s obvious that it will never be true for a certain segment of the human population. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for the left to do dirty tricks and to use torture and such…but the left does need to counterevolve in terms of tactics…to anticipate underhanded moves by the right, and to never overassume anybody’s good intentions–especially the right wing. They need to evolve countertactics that neutralize, and so far I just haven’t seen it. The left is allowing the right to determine left wing values for them (pacifism, non-violence, “gentlemanly” tactics–surefire ways to ensure that your opponent is defenseless, easy to defeat, and render extinct), but this should never be the case. There comes a time for understanding and meeting halfway, a time for knowing when the benefit of the doubt is gone and can never be earned back.

    Though I think it’s regrettable that Dilma did not act fast or decisively enough, all is not lost. It’s up to the people of Brazil now. We’ll see in due time if they have enough fight left to impose their will on the illegitimate government of Michel Temer.

    • M, thanks (again) for providing such a rich, interesting contribution. I’m genuinely really glad to have people of your quality and intelligence around.
      I’m not too well versed in the Venezuela situation, but I take your interpretation of it as accurate. And your argument, in general – which you have laid out so well – is difficult to disagree with.
      But I think the problem can be that if a left-wing government tries to control or shut down right-wing institutions, it can be perceived as the Left itself becoming totalitarian/dictatorial – which becomes a very tricky scenario to navigate. And you end up with situations like Castro or Gaddafi being portrayed as – or perhaps even genuinely BEING – *dictators*.
      For Castro, it appears to have worked reasonably well for a long time. For someone like Gaddafi, it backfired. He knew that in order to protect a ‘Socialist Republic’ from outside interference he had to limit opposition and even allow for some degree of dictatorial power for a period of time – which immediately becomes a PR disaster, because then you’re a ‘dictator oppressing your people’ and suppressing free speech. The moment he started to loosen up restrictions and even started to release dissidents and dangerous opponents from prison, the Arab Spring happened and both the domestic opposition and the international plotters moved in to overthrow the state.
      It seems the only way he could’ve prevented that would’ve been to maintain an indefinite dictatorship situation – but that’s ultimately self-defeating, because people perceiving that they live under a dictatorship are never going to be happy.
      So then what do you do?
      In terms of someone like Rousseff, had she done anything to shut down mass media or big corporate institutions, she would’ve almost certainly faced a more direct/aggressive coup earlier and possibly even a US intervention for the sake ‘restoring democracy’.
      It really does all seem stacked to be a no-win situation.
      All of that said, you make a very strong argument that is tough to argue with in principle – though probably much harder to make work in practice. And thanks again for the contribution – which really could constitute a whole article in itself.

      • You know, I just wanted to clarify a few things, which I think was highlighted by your reply. You said that if the left tried to shut down right wing institutions, it would be seen as “totalitarian”. This here shows how the left has allowed the right to define its principles for them, which is a great Trojan horse strategy designed to ensure that the left will continue to lose for generations to come. First of all, let’s remember: the right LOVES totalitarianism! They are the last people to ever complain about it when their boot is on your neck! So when we look at the truth, what even gives them the right to lecture the left (or anybody else for that matter) about it? For the left to recoil and retreat in the face of such naked hypocrisy is really rich, in my opinion.

        I read your insightful book on Gaddafi btw, and his biggest mistake (as you explained and something I wholeheartedly agree with) is believing in the left wing fantasy that sworn enemies that do not share your values will ever “make nice” and happily share power with you. Being left wing doesn’t mean “defenseless” (that’s a right wing tactic to ensure that their opponents are easily exterminated during a surprise attack). Being left wing doesn’t mean “weak”, “unwilling to fight back” (because it would soil their precious principles, as defined by the right, of course), or being “unrealistic” about how depraved some of our fellow humans can be. It’s fine for Gaddafi to release peaceful dissidents who truly believed in democracy–the problem is that he released foreign funded terrorists who never gave a rat’s ass about democracy. What these so-called freedom fighters were fighting for is the freedom to rape and pillage, to enrich themselves at everybody else’s expense. Doesn’t sound like freedom to me.

        As for Castro, he actually reimbursed Dole, Chiquita Banana, and all those multinationals when he nationalized their “property”. What he did was very clever, very “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. These multinationals had been declaring their property at artificially low values, to pay less taxes to the Cuban government. So when Castro calculated the reimbursement, he used their creative accounting schemes to determine the final price. The multinationals howled highway robbery of course. Ah the hypocrisy. It’s so cute when thieves complain about getting robbed (and to be clear, they did not get robbed, they are simply complaining that Castro turned the tables on them). So the issue here is that the masses bought the misleading narrative that Castro was being a “dictator”, seizing property that didn’t belong to him. Never mind that these imperialistic multinationals also “seized” the property to begin with. Let’s not forget how these elites actually “earned” their fortunes.

        While I would agree that Gaddafi was indeed a dictator (but one who did amazing things for his people, and actually cared about their welfare), I would have to respectfully disagree with Castro’s case. He won his people’s hearts and minds fair and square. He didn’t “seize” any foreign property (he actually had the moral right to take it back without giving any reimbursement, given how the foreign property were acquired in the first place).

        As for Dilma, we do not know what would have happened if she had acted more aggressively sooner. Maybe it would have resulted in an outright military coup, maybe not. Could it have been really worse? We’ll never know, but we do know this: reactionary elements never quit, and even if they profited during their time with the left their true motivation will always lie with the preservation of their privilege. Knowing and understanding this reality is important when it comes to formulating long term strategies that will stand the test of time.

        Don’t get me wrong–I’m not advocating for a free for all of totalitarianism and hypocrisy “just to stick it to the right”. What I’m saying is that the left needs to face the reactionary elements for who they truly are, and to create strategies that truly address the vulnerabilities and deficiencies. ALSO, it’s extremely important that the left does not allow the right to pollute the discourse by allowing them to define the parameters and environment for debate. The left allowing the right to define freedom and democracy is its greatest folly, in my opinion. Why take lessons about freedom and democracy from the political faction that believes in neither? How does that make sense?

        It’s a long struggle ahead (what an understatement). We live with reactionary spirits in our everyday lives, we deal with them often on an intimate basis. While I have no solutions to propose, I do believe that identifying the culprit and talking honestly about it is a step in the right direction. Hopefully creating the language to describe the malaise for what it truly is will lead to a powerful and lasting solution down the road.

        • Not going to disagree with you, M, on any of that. Very well said.
          And I’m not disagreeing with you about Castro – just that, whatever his real nature is, he was widely *perceived* as a dictator.
          Sadly, in any case, in most countries the right tends to own or have the greater influence on major institutions, especially financial institutions – meaning that any Leftist party that gets into government is utterly dependent on institutions owned by the right-wing: which you pretty much aluded to anyway in your first comment.

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