UE's officers released the following statement today about the threat posed by Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.
Brazil is the largest economy in South America. For the last 15 years the Workers Party, led by labor leader and former President Luiz Inácio da Silva “Lula” has supported the establishment of pro-union and pro-worker policies and governments. However, the unjust imprisonment of Lula, the imposing of a ban on his Presidential candidacy, and the corporate media’s drumbeat of lies about Lula, the Workers Party, and their presidential candidate Fernando Haddad has created the strong likelihood that the extreme right wing anti-union candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, will be elected in Sunday’s runoff election, an outcome welcomed by Brazil’s elite.
Bolsonaro has praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship, which suppressed, tortured and murdered trade unionists along with other dissidents. He has made disparaging comments about women, the LGBTQ+ community, Afro-Brazilians and other marginalized groups, and openly called for police and military violence against those who oppose him. A Bolsonaro presidency would clearly move to weaken or eliminate the country’s powerful trade unions and social movements in order to implement austerity, weaken workers’ rights and make the country into a haven for big business.
Bolsonaro’s success is due in no small measure to the imprisonment of former President Lula on trumped-up charges and who had been the clear favorite to win this election. The government which imprisoned Lula was not elected by the Brazilian people, but came to power through a legal coup in 2016, backed by a “national pact” between the Brazilian military, big business, and traditional political leaders. Brazil’s elites, backed by international big business, wanted to remove Lula’s working-class party from power and reverse the gains he and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, had won for working people.
We condemn in the strongest possible way the role of the U.S. right-wing and investor class in promoting Bolsonaro’s candidacy — both the alleged involvement of former Trump advisor Steve Bannon in Bolsonaro’s campaign and the white-washing of Bolsonaro’s record by the Wall Street Journal and other U.S. media. The Brazilian people should be free to choose their own path without interference from powerful U.S. political operatives and media conglomerates.
UE stands in full solidarity with the CUT labor federation, the CNM metalworkers’ union, and the rest of Brazil’s unions and social movements, who will be key to defeating Bolsonaro in the October 28 runoff election. We urge the maximum possible worldwide unity against the threat of fascism.
Director of Organization