Paola Estrada, From ALBA Movimientos: “Our Main Instrument Must be Struggle”

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By: María Julia Giménez / Source: Brasil De Fato / The Dawn News / April 18, 2016.  Given the continuity of Dilma’s impeachment, popular movements state that they won’t give up the fight in the streets.

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After the voting on the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff in the Chamber of Deputies, popular movements and unions expressed their rejection and stated that they will not give up the fight on the streets, in defense of Brazil’s democracy.

Brasil de Fato interviewed Paola Estrada, member of the Operative Secretary of Continental Articulation of Social Movements Towards the ALBA (acronym of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America), in Brazil, to talk about the marches held last Sunday 17 and the perspective for the months to come. 

According to Paola, this fight in favour of democracy in Brazil is crucial, not just for Brazil, but for all the continent. “This is attack is not just political nor ideological —It’s a neoliberal attack on our natural resources, our lands, to privatize public resources, and even an attack against the social rights that we have acquired in the last years”, she said.

 

Brasil de Fato: In reference to the voting in the Chamber of Deputies, what’s the stance of ALBA Movements?

Paola Estrada: All the Brazilian social movements that are included in the ALBA are part of Brazil’s Popular Front, and in the past months, we have been analysing the situation, and the potential scenarios in both Brazil and the continent. I’ll take a risk and I expose this analysis. Today, I think we are facing a defeat, not just for the Worker’s Party and Dilma’s government, but a more extensive defeat: a defeat of popular movements and for the whole cycle of achievements that we had in the last ten or fifteen years in the continent. But, even here in Brazil we are very sad, at the same time we are alarmed with everything that has happened. The image of more than 300 deputies [voting for the impeachment] is something that causes us a great deal of embarrassment, because of the overthrowing of a President and the annulment of 54 million Brazilians votes without any justification whatsoever, without a crime. It was a demonstration of hypocrisy, something disgusting, for all of us who watched it. And even though it’s very sad and we consider it is a path towards the coup in Brazil, we still came out of this situation having learned a great lesson: we lost a battle, there will be more, and this process is not over. Now, the impeachment will be taken to the Senate, and there is much to do in the streets, we have to talk to people, to push this movement in favour of democracy, which has grown quite a lot in this struggle. I’m sure that now it has grown far bigger. Now the Brazilian people mobilized to the voting in the Chamber of Deputies. Many people who are usually not interested in politics watched the images of those deputies voting for the impeachment, without any evidence of Dilma having committed any crime. I think that was a great lesson and we all have to recover energies and move forward.

We know that this movement in Brazil, and not only in Brazil, is coordinated by an imperialist and conservative offensive across the continent, in a well-orchestrated attack. We have suffered an electoral defeat in Argentina, there is an onslaught right now in Venezuela, and we have many other examples, but we believe that the battle in Brazil is a key struggle, not only for our country, because if they achieve this victory in Brazil that has not been completely successful yet— it will give more strength to further actions across the continent. This is attack is not just political nor ideological —It’s a neoliberal attack on our natural resources, our lands, to privatize public resources, and even an attack against the social rights that we have acquired in the last years. Therefore, we analyze this movement in the continental level as well.

 

Brasil De Fato: What is the message to the Brazilian people and to the Latin American people?

Paola Estrada: I think that first we have to out send a message to all militants of social movement because our enemies may have won this battle, but not the war. This was one of the battles, they have mass media on their side, which have acted in a very organized way so that they could successfully stage rallies on the streets and all that offensive in a different way from what we have seen in previous acts. We have social movements, our organized struggle, people, workers, men and women of our countries, to defend our gains and democratic and popular advances throughout all of the continent.We have to put at use all our instruments now. And our main instrument must be the struggle in the street. We have to take to the streets and talk to people, those people who are not militants and are not members of organizations.

Our media, our social networks, are very important, to think a communicational policy, but we have to take to the streets, to be mobilized and show that the organized people can exert pressure, dialogue, and achieve its goals. I think that is the message for militants. And let’s not lose our hope. That’s for my generation, which was born in the 80’s, I think this movement is very new, since the effects of this offensive are felt so harshly for my generation, which did not experience military dictatorships. But we must be strong and be together, and show it.

Making actions and rallies on the street, sharing networks, creating new communication networks and sharing information, because that makes us stronger and allows us to dialogue even more with those who are not on the other side even if they are not with us. So, I think the battle has to be carried out in Brazil and in other countries. There is a large mass of people that are still very isolated, away from everything that is going on, although every day they are becoming more aware of what is happening in the country. That’s what we want and we have to win, bring them on our side, which is the side of democracy, rights and the necessary progress for all people, to all the American people not only in Latin America which is what we want as a project of continental integration; from below, a project of popular integration. We’ll be together and fight many battles on the streets.

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