Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva
Photo Credit: Reuters
For some time now, as the political crisis in Brazil escalated, I have found it difficult to write about the shenanigans of Brazil’s corrupt political class and their Big Business collaborators to oust the democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores).
Today, I mourn the death of democracy in Brazil and the triumph of Big Business. For those readers who only follow news reports from the West, I share with you an update of the situation from the leftist Latin American news media, TeleSUR.
Readers fluent in Portuguese can follow developments on the official website of the Workers’ Party at http://www.pt.org.br/
Social mobilization could be now the last resort to save Brazil’s democracy.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva spent Friday speaking with leaders from Brazil’s social movement and trade union organizations in an effort to create a new “broad front” to resist the parliamentary coup that saw democratically-elected President Dilma Rouseff ousted from power.
On January 1, 2015, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff began her second term marred by the corruption scandal at Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. or Petrobras, the state-run oil giant and largest company in the nation. During her address before the National Congress, President Dilma affirmed her commitment to “rigorously investigate all the wrong done and strengthen [Petrobras] even more… and know how to punish [those involved], without weakening Petrobras, or diminishing its importance for the present and the future.”
The Petrobras corruption scandal erupted in March 2014 with the Federal Police money-laundering sting, codename Operation Car Wash, executed across six states and the Federal District (Brasília). They seized R$5 million (US$1.9 million) in cash, 25 luxury cars, jewelry, paintings, and weapons. Among the seventeen people arrested was Alberto Youssef, a black-market money dealer and suspected leader of the scheme. Continue reading →
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff addresses participants
NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting
on the Future of Internet Governance
São Paulo – Brazil – April 23-24, 2014
Photo Credit: el Nuevo Herald
Edward Snowden’s revelations about America’s massive surveillance system shocked our allies. Since learning that the U.S. National Security Agency had intercepted Brazil’s phone calls and e-mails, including her own, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been in the forefront of pushing reform of Internet governance.
“This meeting is in response to a global desire for changes in the current situation and the systematic strengthening of freedom of expression as well as the protection of basic human rights, including the right to privacy,” President Rousseff told the gathering.
After two days of a bottom-up, open, and participatory process involving thousands of people representing governments, civil society, private sector, academia, and the global technical community, the result is the non-binding NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement of São Paulo. It’s divided into two sections: Internet Governance Principles and the Roadmap.
The Principles stress the importance of human rights and shared values that permit freedom of expression and association, as well as access to information. The contentious issues of mass surveillance and the collection of personal data are a sub-text for review under the Right to Privacy. Other principles include the security, stability, and resilience of the Internet; an open and distributed architecture; and environment for sustainable innovation and creativity. Governance should be transparent, accountable, equitable, collaborative, and consensus driven.
Among other issues, the Roadmap stresses the need for cooperation in addressing international public policy issues; transparent appointment of representatives; coordination between local, regional, and global entities; and development. In spite of general consensus of the urgent need for mass surveillance reform, the Roadmap merely calls for “[m]ore dialogue…at the international level using forums like the Human Rights Council and IGF [Internet Governance Forum]…”
The intensely debated issue of Net Neutrality also failed to gain prominence in the Roadmap. It appears last on the list of “Points to be further discussed beyond NETmundial.”
The outcome of the ambitious gathering, the first of its kind, to tackle the future of Internet Governance, disappointed those participants who expected concrete actions. Nevertheless, as the Brazilian Chair Virgílio Almeida noted in his closing remarks, the NETmundial meeting “is an undeniable proof that inclusiveness has its rewards, resulting in transparent and a democratic spirit towards a common goal.”
NETmundial São Paulo is just the first step towards reformulating global Internet governance. Here in the United States, the battle for Net Neutrality is already underway. To succeed, we must keep moving forward.
Watch Democracy Now! video interview, broadcast on 26 April 2014: