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Argentine Nobel Prize laureate protests ‘soft coup’

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pérez Esquivel: ‘Coups have returned to Latin America’

SÃO PAULO — On the eve of vote in the Brazilian Senate that would formally open impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, Argentine Nobel Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel again voiced his warning yesterday over a potential “soft coup” in Brazil.

Yesterday’s article, publishing in the Folha do São Paulo newspaper cautioned that “the situation that Brazil is going through today affects all the Latin American people.”

Rousseff’s impeachment, Pérez Esquivel said, “is, of course, not based on a crime — as the Constitution dictates — but on a crime that doesn’t exist.”

He reiterated Rousseff’s repeated asserations that the charges against her that the methods she used to manipulate budgetary accounts were acts that had been regularly deployed by previous administrations, even by some of her accusers themselves.

The Nobel laureate went on to link the process to other “soft coups” in Honduras involving ex-president Manuel Zelaya and Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, which he said had both been “illegal proceedings violating the popular will.” Pérez Esquivel claims such a process will be repeated today in Brasilia.

Opposition criticism

The human rights advocate said in the article that Rousseff’s expected replacement, Vice-President Michel Temer, “has already expressed his intention to impose upon the country contrasting economic policies to those elected by voters, such as privatizing everything possible to reducing infrastructure and social policies, which the most vulnerable depend on.”

Pérez Esquivel also blasted the Senate, who invited him to talk last month, where he “conveyed the concern of many Brazilians and Latin Americans... Unfortunately, the response from opposition senators was not to clear doubts over the (impeachment) trail that they are advocating, but to ask for the words ‘possible coup’ to be censored in my brief message on the stenographic record.”

The Argentine activist warned of “increasing hate, intolerence and the weakening of national politics and institutions,” as illustrated by “the attitude of the opposition political leadership and that of the nation’s deputies” who voted for impeachment in a raucous Lower House vote last month.

During that session, Pérez Esquivel recounts, “one of the members was allowed to make apologist statements on the dictatorship and its torture with no penalty.”

The Nobel laureate also cited president of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, Ricardo Lewandowski, confessing to him in a meeting that the judge was concerned over “the dialougue on the streets” and a “political crisis that he could not have imagined reliving after the transition to democracy.”

Herald staff

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