The Whole World Is Watching Brazil’s Hollow Men

The crisis in Brazil is not about corruption, but the overthrow of a democratically elected government.

By Pepe Escobar

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men, 1925


As repellent political spectacles go, this compares to toxic events such as the 1973 Pinochet military coup in Chile and the 2003 U.S. Shock and Awe over Iraq.

A woman president in Brazil is running the risk of being expelled from office – to which she was duly elected by 54.5 million people – via spurious fiscal accusations that have not been fully examined in parliament. The dodgy procedure will be conducted by a politician who graphically impersonates corruption in contemporary Brazil.

In parallel, the Globo media empire – one of the largest in the world – tries to convince Brazilian civil society that what’s going on is not a coup, or an impeachment drive. Globo, by the way, was fully behind the U.S.-supported 1964 Brazilian military coup.

And yet someone forgot to tell the powerful Federation of Industries in Sao Paulo – Brazil’s wealthiest state – which earlier this week bankrolled a series of costly “Impeachment Now” ads in the country’s major newspapers.

Liars. All of them. What’s going on – conducted by a bunch of crooks and assorted Hollow Men – is actually a white coup/illegally-based impeachment drive/regime change process that I previously described as a very Brazilian development of Soft Hybrid War.

Be a Rat, Be Free at Last

The Globo media empire – which, by the way, is making a lot of money out of the Brazilian crisis by playing with the U.S. dollar – has gone hysterical over a new, 500-name Odebrecht list that details corrupt Brazilian politicians; but the list hails from the 1980s and early 1990s.

Predictably though, Globo refused to quote the former Odebrecht employee who kept the list for over a decade. She admits that some of the crimes may have prescribed; but the merit of the list is to show how the corruption network involving construction companies and politicians has been a fixture all these years. She added, “the way out is a reform, not the demonization of the Workers’ Party.”

The Globo media empire – which, by the way, is making a lot of money out of the Brazilian crisis by playing with the U.S. dollar – has gone hysterical over a new, 500-name Odebrecht list that details corrupt Brazilian politicians; but the list hails from the 1980s and early 1990s.

Predictably though, Globo refused to quote the former Odebrecht employee who kept the list for over a decade. She admits that some of the crimes may have prescribed; but the merit of the list is to show how the corruption network involving construction companies and politicians has been a fixture all these years. She added, “the way out is a reform, not the demonization of the Workers’ Party.”

Tell that to Brazilian prosecutors. They are more obsessed with being served Lula’s head on a plate as part of a deal with Odebrecht than in eliminating corruption. Those politicians that appear in a previous 300-name Odebrecht list, which include a who’s who of right-wing opposition and old elites, may even dream of getting away scot free. The father of entrepreneur Marcelo Odebrecht – who’s been languishing in jail under a “preventive” provision since June 2015 – was offered a similar deal by the Globo empire itself; his son will “get some help” if he rats on Lula.

And that brings us closer to the heart of the matter of the much publicized, two-year-old Car Wash investigation machine. There is absolutely nothing against Lula, from incriminating documents to illegal offshore accounts. But to “get” him the politicized prosecutors think nothing of destroying, along the way, one of the few Brazilian companies that are competitive on a global scale.

The accusations against President Rousseff are also a sham. The very first accusation centered on the cost to the Treasury of a few social programs; but then it was discovered that the Treasury actually profited from them.

Funds lent by the Treasury to BNDES – one of the world’s largest development banks, and the model for the BRICS bank – also were revealed to amount to 20 times less than what the bank was owed.

The alleged case against Rousseff totally collapses when one learns that in fiscal year 2015 – the only one that could be taken into account in an impeachment drive – the administration actually provided for a contingency fund of almost US$19 billion; that’s more like foresight than playing with public finances.

The bottom line is that Rousseff, who was not formally charged with any wrongdoing, will be “judged” by a bunch of crooks in Congress, led by an illegal Swiss account holder who happens to be the leader of the lower house, and with a dodgy sidekick in the form of the original propagator of Rousseff’s alleged misconduct. This dodgy duo for their part is liable to answer to serious, fully documented accusations of corruption.

The Vultures-in-Waiting

The whole sorry spectacle in Brazil is essentially about lobbying and campaign financing. This is normal practice in the U.S. Lobbies may be eventually punished in an American investigation, but try to find zealous prosecutors bent on destroying a major American company in the process. They’d be reduced to Beltway road kill.

The young – and vibrant – Brazilian democracy has not been swift enough in legalizing lobbyists. So what’s left, predictably, is the Wild West of political corruption. And that led to a ratting out machine run amok – everything fully politicized, of course.

The Car Wash investigation exposed a vast network of financing the whole political spectrum. Major construction companies such as Odebrecht were involved. Petrobras was only part of the whole scheme.

But a political decision – made by a combo of parts of the Judiciary, the federal police, mainstream media (controlled by four families) and the old comprador elites – centered the investigation only on the Petrobras-Workers’ Party node since the party ascended to the presidency under Lula in 2003. Past – and present – corruption was completely ignored.

Crucially, this political decision swayed Car Wash from a corruption investigation into a weaponized process to smash a political party. Now, as Odebrecht steps into the ring unveiling how the whole rotten system works, Car Wash has no reason to be anymore.

No wonder the action has been transferred to Congress. Because what really mattered, from the beginning, was not to cleanse corruption from the Brazilian political system; it was to create the conditions for the impeachment of an elected president.

What we have now is Hollow Man-in-Charge, Vice President Temer, as coup leader, and most of Congress as Hollow Men vassals. These crooks now truly believe that Rousseff can be easily sidelined, probably by April 19 or 20; the Senate will conduct a lot of dodgy bargaining; a neoliberal economic program will be put in place; the Goddess of the Market will rejoice; and Car Wash will die a slow, not painful death because after all the main “tumor,” the Workers’ Party, will have been extracted.

Vulture funds will love it. Brazil will be “investor-friendly” again. Who cares about a provisional, illegitimate, regime change “government” that may be even liable to serious “crimes of responsibility”? The judicial/media/old comprador elite combo will be dancing in the dark, recession will refuse to recede; corruption will persist unabated; and the noxious legacy of the Hollow Men will permeate all their actions while the world watches the further putrefaction of an already rotten corpse.