What does the Brazilian crisis teach us?

first_imgThe author is a Panamanian sociologist and political activist.  A huge political crisis is looming over the giant Brazil. A judicial investigation called “Lava Jato” has exposed a pattern of corruption involving senior officials from Petrobras, a semi-public Brazilian multinational corporation in the petroleum industry, large construction companies and Brazilian politicians.Allegations of corruption involve not only the Workers Party (PT), as the media would like to present it, but the Progressive Party (PP) and the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), both right-wing parties. But the right wing is maneuvering with the collaboration of the bourgeois media, led by the Globo network, and the complicity of the U.S. embassy, ​​to only target charges against President Dilma Rousseff, former President Ignacio Lula Da Silva and the PT.Rightist coup maneuverThe right wing aims to impose a parliamentary coup d’état, forcing the impeachment of the president by Congress, which is headed by rightist Eduardo Cunha, who is accused of receiving more than $5 million in “tips” from Petrobras.The coup maneuver would be to get Rousseff out through a rigged trial held by the corrupt Congress and to seize power by promoting Vice President Michel Temer, of the right-wing PMDB, currently allied with the PT government, without holding new elections or any kind of referendum.How did the corruption operate?The central actors in the crisis are Petrobras executives appointed by the PT government, Renato Duque and Pedro Barusco, and a former senator of that party, Delcidio Amaral.The scheme was that Petrobras sold mainly gasoline at prices below the international market prices to Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in Latin America, which is a subsidiary of the multinational Odebrecht Group. The millions in profits to Braskem (and theft of Petrobras) is estimated at $1.6 billion between 2009 and 2014.Then Odebrecht, through its offices and phantom companies in such tax havens as Switzerland and Panama, paid “tips” to the staff who had expedited this lucrative business.Research estimates that the “tip” for Duque and Barusco was approximately 2 percent of the value of each contract. As Duque was treasurer of the PT, it is estimated that some of the money was used to finance the party. But the corruption also stains the head of the right-wing opposition in the Senate, Eduardo Cunha, accused by the Supreme Court of receiving payments of $5 million.The charges include the directors of Odebrecht and the “operator” of the PMDB, as well as a manager of Petrobras, who is related to the Progressive Party. As is already known, Marcelo Odebrecht, head of the company, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for these crimes.Political system is mother of corruptionWhat the media don’t report is that the supposedly “democratic” political systems require additional packets of millions of dollars to participate in the electoral process for a chance of “being elected.”Where it is most clear that the injection of economic power determines election results is in the U.S., where politicians are funded directly by powerful corporations and billionaires. Once politicians are elected, they receive additional funding from lobbyists. The media also hide the fact that they and their owners, having an absolute monopoly on the means of communication and imposing prices on all advertising, are the main beneficiaries of the millions spent on election campaigns.Lula and OdebrechtIt has recently come out that there is a close relationship between former President Lula Da Silva and the Brazilian Odebrecht construction company. Research has brought to light that between 2011 and 2013, Lula received “sponsorship” from these companies and grants up to about $5 million U.S. to the “Lula Institute,” and $3 million U.S. was paid to him in royalties for his lectures abroad.Lula argues that these payments are legal and that other former presidents who also travel the world promoting their countries and companies charge a hefty sum for lecturing.Not only Lula’s version of the legality of such payments is credible, but also it is public knowledge that he has never refused to testify before the judges on the subject. However, from the working-class point of view, which Lula has represented for decades, the close relationship with a transnational company like Odebrecht presents ethical-political dilemmas that can be and are widely and publicly discussed in Brazil.Rousseff’s economic policy alienates working-class social baseCrushed between a growing capitalist crisis, falling prices of raw materials, increasing social struggles, as well as the media campaign against her, President Rousseff and the PT, instead of going to the left, are giving in to neoliberal policies. That the PT is looking to the right in search of support is shown by its alliance with the PMDB.Although the PT government inaugurated in Latin America the so-called social policies involved in Lula’s “Zero Hunger Plan,” the truth is there have been no fundamental changes in the basic aspects of life expected from a government that said it would work on behalf of the workers. On the contrary, the Rousseff government leans increasingly toward neoliberal measures.The social situation is deteriorating: 1.5 million jobs were lost in 2015. In 2016, the unemployment rate is 7.6 percent. Youth unemployment in the metropolitan area of ​​Sao Paulo exceeds 28 percent. Inflation last year edged close to 11 percent.This year, President Rousseff adopted two agreements that aroused union opposition: the PT, PMDB and Social Democracy Party (PSDB) decided together to give the private sector oil reserves belonging to Petrobras and to freeze the minimum wage and salaries of public employees, while giving priority to debt payments to the banks.For a democratic and popular way out of the crisisFaced with the political crisis looming over Brazil and facing the right-wing’s maneuver to attempt a parliamentary coup to remove Rousseff and replace her with the vice president, important sectors of the leftist opposition have denounced the move against democracy and against the people, proposing that there can be no way out that does not include popular participation.The Latin American experience in general and the Brazilian in particular show that the only way to save progressive political processes from the attacks of the right wing and imperialism is not by trying to negotiate and give in to their demands, but by convening popular mobilization and taking more radical socialist measures.Translation and minor editing by WW/MO staff.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Dominant Dauk leads GSA girls past Bucksport

first_img Bio Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected] Latest Posts MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020center_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 BLUE HILL — Morgan Dauk had the ball in her hands, but there wasn’t much time.It was late in the first quarter of the George Stevens Academy girls’ basketball team’s game against visiting Bucksport, but the Eagles were starting to take control. With her team ahead 14-8, Dauk looked up at the rim and prepared to box out as a Bucksport player received a pass and got ready to shoot.The shot grazed off the front of the rim, and Dauk got the rebound and took two dribbles toward midcourt. Right before she reached it, she dribbled again — this time behind her back. As she drove to the basket, she sidestepped a defender and sank a 3-point shot just before the buzzer sounded.The gymnasium erupted in celebration, but Dauk and her GSA teammates went straight to their head coach. There were three quarters left to play, and the Eagles were deter,omed to ride that excitement and momentum as much as possible.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textFrom the start of the second quarter, the Eagles did so — and they ran away with it.Dauk’s 29 points and 16 rebounds propelled the GSA girls to a 69-27 win over the Golden Bucks on Friday. It was the team’s second-biggest margin of victory this season.“We needed a win like this,” Dauk said. “Our entire team played well, and we showed we can bounce back from those two losses we’ve had.”Both teams started the game off slowly, but GSA’s offense gave it a bit of breathing room as the first quarter progressed. Dauk’s 3-pointer at the end, though, was the start of something much better.“That shot just got the whole team revved up,” GSA head coach Bill Case said. “I though we were much better on both ends of the floor after that.”GSA outscored Bucksport (7-7) 20-4 in the second quarter to take a 37-12 lead into halftime. The team continued to dominate on both ends of the floor in the second half and extended its lead to 59-18 after three quarters.The game was different from the previous encounter between GSA and Bucksport. When the two teams met in Bucksport back in December, it took four overtimes for the Eagles to prevail in a game Case said was one of the most remarkable he’s experienced in his coaching career.“The last time we played them was wild, but we didn’t play as well defensively and had 23 turnovers,” Case said. “They press hard, and if you let your guard down, that defense of theirs can really wear you out and cause issues. I thought we responded better this time around.”GSA also got a double-double from Mazie Smallidge, who finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Bree Coombs led the Golden Bucks with 15 points.GSA’s next game will be on the road against the Narraguagus Knights (11-4) at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30. Both teams are contenders in Class C, but a victory over Narraguagus, which won the state championship last season, would all but assure GSA of a first-round bye to the quarterfinals at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.As soon as the clock hit zero against Bucksport,  Narraguagus was all Dauk could think about. In each of her previous three years in high school, GSA has made the playoffs but lost the play-in game to fall one win short of a trip to Bangor. A win Monday could go a long way toward ending that hex.“We’ve been so close to the Cross Center the past few years, and it’s been heartbreaking not to get there,” Dauk said. “None of us want to go through that again. We want to finish this thing.”Bucksport faces Stearns (13-0) on the road at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb.2.last_img read more