The election of far right politician Jair Bolsonaro in last year’s Brazilian Presidential election sent shock-waves across Latin America and the entire world. What has been the impact of Bolsonaro’s first eight months in office? I interviewed Elias Jabbour, Professor at the Rio de Janeiro State University and member of the Communist Party of Brazil’s Central Committee (PCdoB) to find out his perspective on the great struggles that are currently taking place in Brazil.
The prospect of the left gaining an electoral victory this autumn in Argentina, one of Latin America’s largest and most influential countries, provides a significant impetus for left and progressive movements across the whole region. The strong chance of a victory for the Alberto Fernandez and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner left ticket also raises the following question: will 2019 signal the start of a left wing counter-offensive in Latin America which sees the left pushing back against the US-sponsored right wing offensive that has put the ‘pink tide’ on the defensive for the past five years?
More than one million people took to the streets of Brazil on 15 May 2019 in nationwide strikes opposing the government’s massive attacks on education. Brazil’s far right President Jair Bolsonaro has been in office for less than five months and is already facing large resistance to his ultra neo-liberal agenda – and it is teachers and students that are leading the way.
Last week the Venezuelan people resoundingly defeated the latest US-backed coup attempt against their government. Washington’s puppet and fake ‘interim President of Venezuela’, Juan Guaido, led the ineffective and small attempt to overthrow the legitimate and democratic Venezuelan government. In the face of this tactical defeat, the US administration continues to intensify its offensive against the Venezuelan government and people through harsh economic sanctions, military threats and subversive attacks.
Jair Bolsonaro’s administration has wasted little time in advancing its project of systematically destroying the role of the state in Brazil’s economy. Bolsonaro’s radical neo-liberal offensive simultaneously encompasses drastic attacks on the economic and social rights of Brazil’s working class in addition to threatening the long term economic and social development of the country. Bolsonaro is effectively auctioning off Brazil’s future for the benefit of US capital and its allies.
There are mounting fears that under the guise of delivering ‘humanitarian aid’ the US is trying to stage-manage a confrontation to provide a pretext for a US military attack on Venezuela. In an act of brazen cynicism the US is offering the Venezuelan people, who it is currently attempting to starve through economic sanctions, ‘humanitarian aid.’ The Venezuelan government has rejected this ‘aid’ on the grounds that it is not a genuine offer to help but on the contrary a part of the US plan to achieve “regime change” in Venezuela, in contravention of international law.
The Trump administration is attempting to bully the Venezuelan people into submission through a combination of economic sanctions, military threats and intense international political pressure. The goal of the US administration is to force Venezuela’s democratically elected government out and to replace it with a puppet regime loyal to US imperialism, under the Presidency of the unelected Juan Guaido.
Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday 23 January to recognise the unelected right wing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s “interim President” is confirmation that a coordinated operation led by the US to bring about regime change, which is illegal under international law, is underway. Following this outrageous announcement, Trump was asked whether he would consider military action against Venezuela and he replied: “all options are on the table.” The White House is also considering the ‘nuclear option’ of imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s crude oil which would have a devastating effect on the economy.
The rise of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil represents a terrible blow in the international struggle to prevent runaway climate change.
The jailing of Lula da Silva in April 2018 was politically motivated. It was a coup that paved the way for Bolsonaro’s victory in Brazil’s Presidential election on Sunday 28 October 2018.