By Heron Barroso, Editorial Board of A Verdade, as published in #266, March 2023. Translated from Portuguese.
For four long years, the Brazilian people ate the bread that the devil kneaded in the hand of the fascist Jair Bolsonaro. All his government did was to make workers’ lives worse: the minimum wage suffered the biggest squeeze in 30 years, unemployment grew, the price of gasoline, cooking gas and food soared, and more than 33 million people went hungry again every day.
Bolsonaro also promoted a pension reform that ended the right to retirement, destroyed labor laws and social programs, cut funds from SUS [Brazil’s health-care system] and universities, privatized Eletrobras, ruined Petrobras and allowed the Amazon and the Pantanal to be violated by the greed of agribusiness and mining companies.
Corruption has also increased in those four years. Through the so-called “secret budget,” billions of reais were no longer used to build schools, nurseries, popular houses and hospitals and served to buy the support of the corrupt deputies of the Centrão [nepotist political parties]. This is not to mention the graft, kickbacks in gold bars in the MEC [Ministry of Education], the purchase of 51 pieces of real estate in cash and spending public money from the corporate card of the Presidency of the Republic.
In the elections, to try to avoid his defeat, the former captain [Bolsonaro] spread lies against the polls, threatened to close the Supreme Court and used the entire state machine to his advantage. The law that prohibits government spending in an election year was violated numerous times, the Brazil Aid was adjusted from R$ 200 to R $600 [about $38 to $114] during the campaign, the Federal Highway Police blocked roads to prevent voters from voting and the Armed Forces spent months on end threatening not to recognize the result of the vote if their candidate was not elected.
A government of death
In addition to turning people’s lives into hell and promoting the greatest corruption in our history, Bolsonaro also carried out a veritable genocide during the pandemic. The fascist treated Covid-19 as if it were a “little flu,” made fun of people’s suffering, appointed the incompetent General Pazuello to the Ministry of Health and even denied oxygen to hospitals. Not only that, at the height of the crisis, he suspended the payment of emergency aid and delayed the purchase of the vaccine for several months. All this inhumanity has led to the death of more than 700,000 people, and consequently, millions of Brazilians to this day feel the loss of their parents, siblings, grandparents, companions and friends.
Hypocritically, while campaigning against social distancing measures and encouraging his supporters to take chloroquine and not get vaccinated, the then-president was secretly one of the first to take the vaccine. In order not to be caught in the act and stop being called a “myth” in the playpen of the Planalto Palace, he decreed secrecy of 100 years on his vaccination card.
In the favelas and peripheries, Bolsonaro’s death policy was felt in the increase in police violence against black and poor people, in the massacres, the growth of cases of femicide and the arming of the drug traffickers and militias, which had the purchase of weapons and ammunition facilitated by numerous presidential decrees.
Nor were the indigenous peoples spared the cruelty of the fascist government. The former captain and his generals did nothing to rescue the Yanomami from illegal mining on their lands. The result of this indifference was that almost 600 children died and hundreds of indigenous people were diagnosed with malnutrition, pneumonia, malaria, the presence of mercury in their bodies and other diseases related to the presence of prospectors in the region. A real crime against humanity.
Punishment for Bolsonaro and his accomplices
In the face of so many atrocities, Bolsonaro deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail, which is where every corrupt and fascist should be. However, he is not the only one who needs to sit in the dock and account for his crimes. His accomplices in the Centrão, among the big bourgeoisie and in the Armed Forces, also have to pay for all the evil they have done to the people and the Nation.
Indeed, if it were not for the support of the Centrão in the National Congress, the former captain would not have finished his term. Proof of this were the hundreds of requests for impeachment shelved by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP), and his predecessor, Rodrigo Maia (former DEM, now in the PSDB), in exchange for more positions and funds.
The big bourgeoisie is also complicit in the crimes of the fascist government; after all, it was they who financed the rich electoral campaigns of the Bolsonarist candidates, their networks of lies on the internet, the encampments at the gates of the barracks and the attempted coup d’état of January 8 in Brasilia.
But undoubtedly, the most responsible for Bolsonaro’s crimes are the generals of the High Command of the Armed Forces. They were the real ones who brought the former captain to the Presidency of the Republic. In those four years, the military has held more than seven thousand government positions, commanded ministries and state-owned companies, supported denialism in the pandemic, been silent on the destruction of the Amazon and the Yanomami genocide, and not a day has gone by without making threats of a new military coup.
This permanent affront of the Army against democratic freedoms in Brazil only continues unpunished because, after the end of the Military Dictatorship in 1985, there was no effective transitional justice in our country. The Amnesty Law, passed in 1979, still under the government of dictator João Figueiredo, also covered the military who persecuted, kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered thousands of Brazilians, and were not tried for their crimes. Worse, the Armed Forces and the military police maintained the same command, the same doctrine and structure of the time of the dictatorship, and even today they learn in the military barracks and academies to praise the coup of 1964 and to nurture hatred of the communists and the people.
In fact, massacres, executions, torture, police repression in the favelas and the persecution of trade unions, indigenous peoples, social movements and revolutionary organizations did not happen only under the dictatorship. On the contrary, this policy continues even after redemocratization. Proof of this are the massacres of Candelária, Jacarezinho and Praça da Sé, the massacre of Corumbiara and the murders of Marielle Franco and Anderson Gomes, who were killed five years ago this March without any answer having been given about their masterminds.
No amnesty for coup plotters!
Therefore, it is fundamental that the struggle for the punishment of today’s coup plotters goes hand in hand with the struggle for the punishment of the coup plotters of 1964, whether they are alive or dead, because they need to be remembered for what they really are: torturers, rapists, kidnappers and murderers. Without facing the violence of the past, without promoting memory, truth, justice and reparation for the victims of the dictatorship, human rights violations and threats of a new fascist coup will remain present.
After the fascist vandalism of January 8, the slogan “No amnesty for coup plotters” gained strength, which will be taken to the streets at the national event of April 1, the date of the 1964 coup. The revolutionary communists must raise this flag together with all those who defend democracy, demand punishment for Bolsonaro and his accomplices, military dictatorship never again and for a true Transitional Justice in Brazil which punishes the fascists.
The defeat suffered by Bolsonarism at the polls needs to be consolidated in the streets, with the mass movement promoting acts and demonstrations, pressing for there to be no conciliation or forgiveness and demanding that firm measures be taken to prevent the coup plotters from continuing to act freely, starting by placing in reserve the High Command of the Armed Forces, demilitarizing the police, confiscating the assets of the business owners who finance the fascists and closing their channels of lies on the internet. Only with courage and without conciliation will the struggle against fascism be decided in favor of the working class.
Categories: Brazil, International