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Issue #1847      November 7, 2018

Call for unity to defend democracy

Brazilian Communists called for a broad unity to defend democracy following the election of far-right Jair Bolsonaro as the country’s president (see page 8). The Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) warned of a new political period in Brazil, with Mr Bolsonaro’s presidency marking a threat to democracy and the rights of the people.

Bolsonaro will try to “establish a dictatorial government, implementing iron and fire, an ultraliberal and neo-colonial program,” the party cautioned.

The PCdoB said the 46 million votes received by Workers Party (PT) presidential candidate Fernando Haddad and PCdoB vice-presidential candidate Manuela d’Avila laid the foundations for a “vigorous opposition that must begin now.”

In a statement forecasting that the new period represented a twist towards regression and the possible destruction of all the gains and achievements of the Brazilian working class, it said that the “rupture” would have serious implications for Latin America.

It recalled that the process started with the administrative coup of August 2016 which removed former president Dilma Rousseff from power and replaced her with Michel Temer, who implemented a neo-liberal austerity program. Bolsonaro is a continuation of the coup against Brazilian democracy, the PCdoB added after he hinted at establishing a cabinet packed with army generals and neo-liberals.

One of those with a prominent cabinet position is Paulo Guedes, a free-market economist from the notorious University of Chicago, which trained the Chileans who were instrumental in the 1973 fascist coup against Salvador Allende and the bloody backlash that followed.

The president-elect has vowed to reform the Brazilian economy with changes to the country’s pension scheme and privatisation of state enterprises.

Markets responded positively to the news, seeing the election of Bolsonaro as an “opportunity” for big business to plunder Brazil’s state assets as shares prices rose following the poll.

He has indicated that his military academy instructor in the 1970s, Augusto Heleno Ribeiro, could have “any post he wants” in the cabinet, although he is likely to be appointed defence minister.

Despite the victory, the PCdoB said Bolsonaro would face opposition to his attempts to bury democracy from those forces that have historically fought against regressive regimes and dictatorships in Brazil, which has a strong tradition of struggle.

It called on the people and the democratic forces of the country to “build a broad unity” to “defend democracy, Brazil and the rights of the people.”

Next article – Care for Calais

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