02/09/2016

DILMA IMPEACHED – REACTION TO THE OLYMPICS – COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT AND FARC SIGN FINAL PEACE AGREEMENT – AND MORE

 

Dear LAB Supporter and Friend,

As expected, the Brazilian Senate has voted overwhelmingly to impeach Dilma Rousseff. 61 of the 81 senators voted against her, meaning that she will be replaced for the remaining two years and four months of her mandate by Michel Temer, her former vice president. Meanwhile, in Colombia, the government and the FARC have finalised a peace deal that has been four years in the making, effectively bringing an end to more than 50 years of war and the continent’s last major guerrilla struggle.

BRAZIL: SENATE VOTE CONFIRMS DILMA IMPEACHMENT

On the 31st of August, the Brazilian Senate voted to impeach Dilma Rousseff, bringing a bitter end to more than 13 years of Workers’ Party (PT) rule. In an article from a book of essays written by international opponents of the impeachment, Sue Branford and Hilary Wainwright suggest that Dilma’s spectacular fall from grace is due to the PT’s estrangement from the grassroots social movements that propelled it to power, as well as its failure to confront and reform Brazil’s corrupt political system. They also locate the impeachment within the context of a global shift to the right in 2016, drawing parallels with the Brexit vote in the UK and the rise of Trumpism in the US. (Read more…)

Dilma herself, many PT supporters and others have termed the impeachment process a ‘coup’, albeit a non-military one, and have drawn parallels with the earlier removal of presidents in Honduras and Paraguay. In each case (and in contrast to Argentina, where a similarly radical change of government followed an election), an elected government has been replaced and its successor has changed key personnel and fundamental policies without any electoral mandate to do so. International opponents of this coup launched a book International Resistance to the Brazilian Coup of 2016 described by Katarina Peixoto. (Read more…)

RIO OLYMPICS FALL SHORT ON ENVIRONMENTAL PLEDGES

With the Olympics now over, both the International and Brazilian Olympic Committees will be breathing an enormous sigh of relief following a Games which went ahead relatively successfully, despite the messy and troubled preparations. Writing for the Climate News Network, Jan Rocha assesses Rio’s performance in relation to the series of environmental targets that were set as part of its bid to host the Games. She concludes that while some progress has been made, ultimately Rio’s environmental performance left much to be desired. (Read more…)

COLOMBIA: GOVERNMENT AND FARC SIGN FINAL PEACE DEAL

On the 24th of August, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a final peace deal, bringing an end to more than 50 years of war. Historic as this agreement may be, the hard work is not yet done: it must be ratified by a national referendum next month. With many Colombians uneasy about the prospect of allowing the FARC to avoid prosecution and even to participate in politics, there is a real possibility that the peace agreement may be rejected, which would surely mean the resumption of the conflict. Gwen Burnyeat warns that tension is growing between the “Yes” and “No” camps in what has historically been an extremely divided and volatile country. She suggests that a massive effort across civil society throughout the whole country will be necessary to secure a Yes vote (Read more…).

Long-time LAB supporter and UK Aid Agency Christian Aid has given enthusiastic welcome to the agreements, while warning that significant challenges lie ahead (Read more…). Readers may welcome a clear and simple info-graphic of the agreements, published by Conciliation Resources.

CHILE: NEW ONLINE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE LAUNCHED

The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), in association with Chile Forty Years On, has recently launched a new online educational resource dealing with the history of Chile from 1970 to the present, focusing in particular on the period of Popular Unity and its eventual overthrow by a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. The course contains video interviews with Chilean exiles who talk of the repression they suffered in Chile and their experience as political exiles in the UK. A four-minute promotional video for the course can be seen here, while the course itself can be accessed here.

With best wishes,

The LAB Team

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