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Brazil - Politics

Getúlio Vargas19301954
Juscelino Kubitschek19561961
Jânio Quadros19611961
João Goulart19611964
Humberto Castelo Branco19641967
Artur da Costa e Silva 19671969
Emílio Garrastazú Médici19691974
Ernesto Geisel19741979
João Figueiredo19791985
Tancredo Neves19851985
Jose Sarney19851990
Fernando Collor de Mello19901992
Itamar Franco19921994
Fernando Henrique Cardoso19952002
Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva20022010
Dilma Vana Rousseff20102016
Michel Temer20162018
Jair Bolsonaro20182022+

Everything in Brazilian politics traces back to slavery. Brazil was the last country in the Western hemisphere to abolish slavery. African slaves were brought into Brazil as early as 1530, with abolition in 1888. During those three centuries, Brazil received 4,000,000 Africans, over four times as many as any other American destination. Comparatively speaking, Brazil received 40% of the total number of Africans brought to the Americas, while the US received approximately 10%. Due to this huge influx of Africans, today Brazil’s African-descended population is larger than the population of most African countries.

Due to Brazil’s long history of slavery and the subsequent exploitation of its political process and resources by foreigners, there is an ingrained mentality among elites who see workers as inferior. Once there were 50 or 60 families that controlled all the wealth, and today there are about 200 families, but it is the same mentality, it is like the mindset of plantation owners in the United States in the Deep South in the 19th century.

2018 Election

Brazilian Vice-President Michel Temer said 17 February 2016 that his political party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, intended to run its own candidate in presidential elections in 2018, a move that would effectively put an end to coalition that has ruled Brazil since 2006. The centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, known as the PMDB, had been the junior partner in government with the leftist Workers Party since 2006, first under former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and then President Dilma Rousseff.

Some in the Workers Party intended to run former President Lula da Silva in elections in 2018. As a result, Lula has been subject to what his supporters have called a “smear campaign” in an effort to diminish his profile ahead of elections. Lula still enjoys widespread support relative to his successor Rousseff, whose ratings have dropped to historic lows as a result of a serious downturn in the Brazilian economy.

Supporters of Lula's PT party said that attempts to embroil him in the Petrobras scandal were politically motivated. In February 2016, Rui Falcao, the PT president said there was a political slaughtering underway against the former president by sectors of the right to try and damage any chances of re-election. The investigations so far into the Petrobras corruption scheme show that politicians from many parties – not only the Workers' Party – were involved in the illegal network, including some from the main opposition party, PSDB, and others from former presidential candidate Marina Silva's Socialist Party.

The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), the country's largest political party, left the fragile governing coalition on 29 March 2016. The party is led by Vice President Michel Temer, and held several posts in Rousseff's cabinet. The PMDB, the nation's largest political party, called for an "immediate exit" from the administration, calling on its 6 remaining ministers in Rousseff's cabinet to resign or face internal ethics investigations. The PMDB, a massive centrist party, had always been an unlikely partner for Rousseff's left-wing PT, which needrf its votes, but haf little in common with it ideologically.

"An impeachment without legal basis is a coup," Lula Da Silva told reporters on 28 March 2016. "These are excuses and fake arguments to shorten the term of the person who won the elections." If she is impeached, Rousseff would be suspended from office while undergoing trial in the Senate, and Temer would be named acting president. If Rousseff was impeached, she would be suspended and the upper house, overseen by the president of the Supreme Court, would decide her fate, with a two-thirds majority - 54 of 81 - needed to force her from office.

Six out of 10 Brazilians wanted snap elections to resolve the country's political crisis in which leftist President Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment, a poll released 26 April 2016 said. Rousseff, who is accused of illegally manipulating government accounts, could be suspended from office as early as mid-May. She would be replaced by her chief opponent, Vice President Michel Temer, whom she has accused of mounting a constitutional coup.

The IBOPE poll found that 62 percent of Brazilians want both Rousseff and Temer to stand down and for new elections to be held. The option was not on the cards and would require Congress to pass a constitutional amendment, but the idea has gathered steam amid public disgust at the corruption and political infighting that has paralyzed the government. Only 25 percent want Rousseff to remain in power, but a mere eight percent believe a Temer government would resolve the crisis, the poll found.

Recent polls gauging support for potential candidates in the scheduled 2018 election showed Temer with negligible support of 2 percent, compared to over 20 percent support for Rousseff’s predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

One of Temer’s first moves toward austerity was to cut cabinet posts from 31 to 22, eliminating the Ministries of Women, Racial Equality, Human Rights, and more. Temer’s new cabinet garnered widespread criticism for being made up entirely of old white men for the first time since the country’s last dictatorship. Like Temer, several of his ministers were also embroiled in corruption, with seven members under investigation over accusations of being involved in the Petrobras state oil fraud scandal. Many were also closely connected to corporate power in Brazil.

Trade Minister Marcos Pereira is an Evangelical pastor who rejects the theory of evolution. He was considered as the potential minister of the newly-merged Ministry of Science and Communications, but Temer handed him trade instead. Defense Minister Raul Jungmann was reportedly caught committing wage fraud by claiming a paycheck for a job that was no longer his. He was also accused of corruption with public funds and other fraud charges.

Henrique Eduardo Alves, tourism minister in Brazil's Senate-imposed government, was forced to step down 16 June 2016 after testimony from a prominent informant linked him to the massive Petrobras corruption scandal. Alves was the third minister to leave the scandal-ridden government of Michel Temer. Romero Juca was the first causality. He was dismissed after it emerged that he had conspired with the Supreme Court and military commanders to ensure Rousseff’s ouster as part of a plot to put a stop to a corruption investigation involving the state oil company, Petrobras. Temer's minister in charge of transparency and accountability, Fabiano Silveira, was forced to resign when leaked conversations revealed that he plotted with a prominent opposition figure to protect corrupt officials from investigation.

Brazil's interim president Michel Temer was linked to one of the country's biggest corruption scandals in testimony by a key witness made public June 16, 2016. Sergio Machado, former chief executive of state oil company Petrobras, said that Temer had asked for money from the company to fund political campaigns for himself and other members of his party. The oil executive said that Temer had met with him to ask for $431,000 to finance the campaign of congressman Gabriel Chalita.

Former Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, confirmed 11 January 2017 that "he is preparing" to run for the presidency in 2018, should it "be necessary." In his first public speech of the year, the politician said he would be travelling the country in 2017 to restore his image and that of his Workers' Party, "which have been criminalized by the press and the justice system." Lula, who served as president of Brazil in 2003-2010, made the remarks at an event of the Landless Workers' Movement in the northern city of Salvador de Bahia. Lula was accompanied by Jaques Wagner, the former chief of staff to impeached President Dilma Rousseff, and the former president of Petrobras, Sergio Gabrielli. In reference to allegations that his opponents may seek a legal injunction to stop him from running through the courts, Lula said that everybody should be able to run for president.

Brazil is locked in a deep-seated state of hatred, especially against the poor, blacks and leftists – a sentiment aggravated by the ongoing financial crisis. It feels as though every road leads to another military intervention. All over the country, leftist militants and intellectuals are experiencing institutionalized persecution by public sectors. In September 2017, 48 percent of Brazilians supported another military coup. That number has since risen to 74 percent in Rio: "a laboratory to Brazil," according to General Braga Neto.

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Page last modified: 08-10-2018 16:23:01 ZULU