THE IMPEACHMENT OF AN INNOCENT PRESIDENT: CORRUPTION AND THE CORRUPTED
President Dilma Rousseff is being impeached by a Tribunal of Exception for a National Congress where 60% of its members face criminal charges. The Senate that judges her lacks moral authority: more than half of its members, 49 senators, are accused of various crimes. And not a single crime has been proven against President Rousseff. That is why other excuses were invented, like the “body of work”, that contradicts the substance of what the Chamber issued: simply a few 2015 Governmental actions.
Economist Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo summarized the tone of this perverse process: «It is about a conservative reaction, retrograde, that is expressed in authoritarian attempts to impede the advancement of society. We are a profoundly antidemocratic society, prejudging, and, above all, culturally deformed. We are witnessing now the further degeneration of what was already corrupt. Ideals of democracy and the Rule of Law do not prosper here. Everything occurs with truculence, arbitrariness, including everything supposedly done in the name of the law» (in Carta Maior 06/27/2016).
Another forceful criticism comes from sociologist Jesse Souza, ex-president of the Instituto de Pesquiza Economica Aplicada, IPEA, who wrote the stimulating book: The stupidity of the Brazilian intelligentsia, (A tolice da inteligência brasileira, Leya, 2015): «It was a coup against democracy as the organizing principle of society. The coup was by the very small moneyed elite, that with no major interruption has dominated us since our slave-ocracy past. Ever since, Brazil has been the scene of a dispute between these two projects: the dream of a great country, forceful for the majority; and the reality of a rapacious elite that wants to drain everyone’s work and sack the wealth of the country for the pockets of half a dozen» (A coup by whom and for whom, in FSP, 04/2016).
What we are witnessing now is a renewal of this second project, socially perverse and adverse to our sovereignty. It is enough to observe the truculence of the minister of foreign relations, who is nowhere near a diplomat. He is an agent of privatization and the re-alignment of Brazil to the logic of the neoliberalism of the great powers, separating ourselves from our allied neighbors of Mercosur, and betraying the ideals of an «active and proud» diplomacy, in dialogue with all peoples and ideological tendencies.
There are many forms of corruption. Let’s start with the word, corruption. Saint Augustíne explains the etymology: corruption is to have a heart (corazon, cor) broken (roto, ruptus) and perverted. The philosopher Immanuel Kant made the same observation: «we are such a twisted log that straight boards cannot possibly be made from it». In other words: there exists in us a Negative strength that leads to deviations. Corruption is one of the strongest.
Above all, the logic of capitalism here and around the world is corrupt, even though it is socially accepted. Capitalism imposes the domination of capital over labor, creating wealth by exploiting the worker and devastating nature. Capitalism generates social inequalities that are ethical injustices, permanently creating class conflicts. Therefore, by its nature capitalism is antidemocratic, because democracy presupposes a basic equality of all citizens, and a guaratee of their rights, that are here violated by the capitalist culture.
In terms of Brazil, we can say that the main corruption of our history is the fact that for almost 500 years, successive oligarchies maintained a great part of the population on the margins, and undertook a process of accumulation of wealth, the highest of the world, to the point that .05% of the population (71,000 persons), control much of the national wealth.
We have scandalous examples of corruption, denounced recently by the so called “Petrolao”, the Zealots and the Panama Papers. But, let’s not deceive ourselves. There are still worse things. The National Union of Attorneys of the National Treasury, in its “Evasionometro”, revealed that in only five months in 2015, 200 billon reales were lost to tax evasion, (Antônio Lassance, in Carta Maior 05/02/2015). This is more than was lost in “Petrolao”, and in just 5 months. This is where the biggest corrupters and the corrupted, who are always seeking to hide, can be found.
Roberto Pompeu de Toledo put it well in 1994 in the Veja Magazine: «We now know that corruption is as much a part of our power structure as rice and beans are part of our diet».
The impeachment pf President Dilma Rousseff will be recorded in this logic of corruption that empowered much of the political cast. What is being done to President Rousseff is an injustice without measure: condemning an innocent woman and an honest President.
History will not forgive them. Their biographies will carry the stigma of being golpistas, worthy of a sovereign revulsion by those who seek ethical and transparent paths for our country.
Leonardo Boff is ecotheologian and member of the Earthcharta Comission
Free translation from the Spanish sent by
Melina Alfaro, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.