Joao Pedro Stedile: “What they are doing to Lula is an attack by conservative groups”

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By: Geraldina Colotti / Source: ALBA Movements / The Dawn News / March 10, 2016. “They want to neutralize Lula”. The leader of the Landless Peasants Movement, João Pedro Stedile, is outraged by the development of the Lava Jato investigation. We interviewed him to talk about the detention of the former President of Brazil.

What is going on?

The operation of the Federal Police, which last Friday broke into Lula’s home and took him to question him along with a coordinator of the 2010 election, José Felipi, is a clear judicial abuse. In our judicial canon, that is not even done with the worst delinquents, unless there is a reasonable justification. The intention of these reactionary sectors in the judicial power is to prevent Lula from running in the 2018 presidential elections. Dilma’s government is a government in crisis, that can’t get out of the crisis to take a step forward. The bourgeoisie is currently not as intent on removing her from her seat as it is on imposing their neoliberal agenda. That is what they demand. And, at the same time, they must prevent Lula’s candidacy for 2018.

But meanwhile, the main detractor of Dilma Rousseff, President of the Chamber Eduardo Cunha, is processed for corruption?

The situation is becoming more unsustainable with each passing day. I’m sure that he will end up losing his seat and perhaps he will go to jail.

What is the popular feeling after the adjustment made by Dilma Rousseff?

Dilma’s government has shown that it wants to accept the neoliberal agenda by accepting a reform of the social welfare system and making a pact with the right to exclude Petrobras form the exploration of the Pre-Salt area and open the door to multinational companies.

The Pre-Salt is a huge oilfield, 200 kilometers long, that is located along 800 kilometers between the city of Vitória, in the state of Espirito Santo, and Florianopolis, in the state of Santa Catarina. Petrobras has estimated it could have an enormous potential of oil and natural gas, nearly 1,600 million cubic meters. These fields put Petrobras in the sixth place of the global ranking and Latin America as the second in oil reserves, leaving the US behind. It is the biggest oil field in maritime waters in the world, and the big capital feels it must absolutely control it.

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The project, which was approved by the Senate (now it only needs the approval of the Camera) has been presented by Senator José Serra, of the PSDB-SP, party whose electoral campaigns, according to WikiLeaks, have been financed by Chevron. I believe we are entering a period of great mass movements, either to defend the rights of the workers (because the level of unemployment is rising and reaches 14 percent in the great São Paulo, the most industrialized region in the country) or to defend the social welfare and other rights. And there also will be demonstrations to defend President Lula and against the coup.

Teachers are already in mobilization and in several states there is a strike of teachers already beginning. Later on, on March 31, there will be a nationwide demonstration of the Brazil’s Popular Front for the working class’ demands. And in April there will be peasant mobilizations and struggle.

The murder of Berta Cáceres has shaken the whole Latin American left. Brazil is also a dangerous country for environmentalists…

The murder of Berta Cáceres, the main popular leader of Honduras, who worked within the popular movements of the ALBA on environmental and indigenous causes, shows how the great capital has no limits when it comes to exploiting Latin America’s natural resources. There are protests in several capitals in the continent. We hope that her example and her blood spark more popular protests to stop the predatory capital. And that Pope Francis, who had received Berta in October 2014, continues to help us combat big capital and neoliberalism.

What will change in Brazil after the signing of the TPP? Europe is pressuring Rousseff to reach a free trade agreement with Mercosur. Is it the end for south-south alliances?

International capitalism is in crisis and there is no way out. It has tried to save itself by making war in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, but it hasn’t been enough to rescue the industry from the crisis. It tries to take hold of the natural resources of the third world, mainly of Africa and Latin America, but this is not enough. Now they are trying to destroy any kind of national control over the markets to go back to creating a world market of products that are free of any kind of control, so that transnational companies can have unlimited profit; that is why it seeks to promote free trade agreements such as US-Europe, MERCOSUR-Europe, or the TPP. But none of this will be logical because now we are under control of financial capital, of great corporations that don’t have any limits. I agree with Stiglitz when he says that the only way out, for capitalists, would be to nationalize the whole world’s financial system. But, as there is not enough strength to do this, the crisis of capitalism will go on for several years and I hope that, meanwhile, we can build popular alternatives in several countries and worldwide.

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