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A Warning Regarding the Blow to Brazilian Democracy and Its Global Consequences

We are profoundly concerned about the consequences of illegitimately facilitating the Brazilian presidential victory of a fascist candidate

This attack reached a second milestone on 1 September 2018, when former President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, a favourite in Brazilian presidential election polling for the elections on 7 and 28 October, was disqualified from running for office. (Photo by Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)

This attack reached a second milestone on 1 September 2018, when former President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva (pictured above), a favourite in Brazilian presidential election polling for the elections on 7 and 28 October, was disqualified from running for office. (Photo by Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)

The following is an open statement warning against the possible election in Brazil of "a fascist, racist, chauvinist and homophobic candidate, one who calls for violence and armed repression." The statement was first published Spanish in El Diario and in English at Open Democracy.

President Dilma Rousseff’s removal on 31 August 2016 initiated an attack on Brazilian democracy. This attack reached a second milestone on 1 September 2018, when former President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, a favourite in Brazilian presidential election polling for the elections on 7 and 28 October, was disqualified from running for office. As a result of both actions, Brazilian citizens face the dangerous prospect of a possible victory by a fascist, racist, chauvinist and homophobic candidate, one who calls for violence and armed repression. 

We are drawing attention to these two illegitimate attacks. Firstly, a parliamentary attack against President Rousseff. And secondly, Lula’s sentencing without proof to 12 years in prison, as well as his disqualification from running for electoral office. These are steps to prevent the Brazilian Worker’s Party (PT), to which both Rousseff and Lula belong, from implementing a plan for the redistribution of wealth and the reduction of social, racial and gender inequality. For the past 16 years, this plan has served as a successful example of an alternative to neoliberalism responsible for the global crisis. 

"We are warning that the instrumentalization of judicial power, in Brazil and other developing countries, is central to a strategy led by international financial capital and some media companies falling short of their obligation to report the truth."

We are warning that the instrumentalization of judicial power, in Brazil and other developing countries, is central to a strategy led by international financial capital and some media companies falling short of their obligation to report the truth. The strategy operates via allegedly fighting corruption, but is in reality fostering it. It prevents the electoral candidacy, via unjust sentencing, of those who are viewed as a check on the agenda of ‘markets.’

This is particularly serious in the case of Brazil, which during the Lula government was a reference point for multilateralism and encouraged significant initiatives like the BRICS. Yet now, Brazil has decided to ignore the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s request, “to take all necessary measures to ensure that Lula can enjoy and exercise his political rights while in prison, as a candidate in the 2018 presidential elections.” 

We are profoundly concerned about the consequences of illegitimately facilitating the Brazilian presidential victory of a fascist candidate. They would reverberate both within the country and across the international stage, where extreme right-wing leaders are on the rise and even govern, via voting marked by frustration with the 2008 crisis and neoliberal austerity. 

So that society can peacefully accept the results of the elections on 7 and 28, there should be a guarantee of just competition among all parties, including the PT."

Madrid, September 2018

Signed:

Celso Amorim, former Brazilian Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs.

Renata Avila, Director of Ciudadanía Inteligente Foundation.

William Bourdon, Human rights lawyer and Founding partner of Bourdon & Associés.

Pedro Brieger, Director of NODAL.

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Gaspard Estrada, Executive Director of OPALC, Sciences Po.

Baltasar Garzón, Jurist and President of FIBGAR.

Rafael Heiber, Executive Director and Co/founder Common Action Forum.

Alexander Main, Director of International Policy, CEPR, Washington, DC.

Pierre Sané, former Secretary General of Amnesty International and President of Imagine Africa Institute.

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Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements. His most recent books include:  Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books, the American Empire Project, 2016); Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire (with interviewer David Barsamian); Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions; Empire and Resistance, Hopes and Prospects; and Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order. Previous books include: 9-11: 10th Anniversary Edition, Failed States, What We Say Goes (with David Barsamian), Hegemony or Survival, and the Essential Chomsky.

Celso Amorim

Celso Amorim is the former Brazilian Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs.

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