top of page

From a Political Crisis to a Coup d’etat: What is Happening with Brazilian Politics?

Listening to grandparent’s’ history as a child is one of the best and most frustrating activities of childhood at the same time. On one hand, you listen to these great stories about the Second or even the First World War, but on the other hand you think if you will ever be able to see history happening in front of your own eyes, just like your grandparents did. Well, Brazilians now cannot say that they still may experience the same feeling: the last month was historical to Brazilian politics.

Petrobras corruption scandal

The proofs gathered so far by the police revealed evidence of more than one type of irregularity. Apartments, country side houses, are some of the purchases made by politicians with money deflected from the state owned company, Petrobras. So far, the inquiry called Operacao Lava Jato found out that more than 200 Billion Reais (Brazilian currency) was transferred between Petrobras and other small companies established by politicians.

The information gathered so far showed that the Petrobras scheme was aligned with different parties, not only the Workers Party (PT). The tentacles of the scheme go so far that from the 320 congressman/woman that voted in favour of the impeachment of the President Dilma Rousseff, more than 70% were involved in the corruption scandal.

Rousseff is accused of being complacent with the situation, since she was in the board of the company at the time that this whole scheme started. There are no hard proofs linking her to it, but the generally accepted idea is that she knew what was going on.

The worst crisis since 1930

The country registers 3 consecutive months of GDP reduction, the worst results since the first time GDP was recorded, in 1930. From 2014 until the end of 2016, economists forecast a total fall of 8,7% in the GDP of the country. Moreover, the unemployment rate is around 8,5%, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

The country suffers not only from the economic crisis, but also from a huge political disruption. Since the elections, the political debate has been heated up, mainly when the discussion is between supporters and oppositions of the Workers Party (PT). The dissatisfaction with Rousseff’s way of governing made the opposition take extreme measures, which can be represented by a single one: the support given to the vice president, Michel Temer, in order to get Dilma impeached. At that moment the opposition crossed a line that brought Brazil back to the 1960s, a few years before the dictatorship started.

Congressman/woman were voting against the impeachment, using God and the institution of Family as justification. The ministry of culture was obligated to shut down its doors. For the first time since the dictatorship there were no woman or black people in the ministries. All social developing programs are going to be shut down, and the expectation is that by the end of the year the government will only be assisting people below the extreme poverty line, leaving more the 70 million people out of the assistance program.

But hold on. There is more. The new president Michel Temer, is affiliated to a party in which more than half of the politicians are being investigated. That party also supported the dictatorship, and is known in Brazil as the Corporation party: if you have money, you have their support.

What is going on now?

As you, reader, may have realized after reading all this information, Brazil suffered a coup d’état. Using a fake accusation as precedent, the opposition deposed Rousseff and now PMDB (let’s keep the description as before, cause the real name does not matter: the corporation party) gets to call all the cards.

However, as every good episode of House of Cards, this history is not over yet. This week a WhatsApp audio of one the current ministers, revealed what was obvious for you and me: the coup was designed to put someone in the power that was able to stop the investigations of the Operacao Lava Jato, after all, if the operation kept going, most likely they would all go to jail.

There is a fog of fear going around the country, especially now that most people who supported the coup realized that it was actually a coup. Now that Temer has real power, anything can happen. Let’s just hope that he gets impeached. Or suffers a coup d’état. I guess now in Brazil both terms mean the same.


bottom of page