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Brazil’s “Coup”: The Left’s Double Standard on the Rule of Law

By: Carlos Sabino - @Sabino2324 - May 19, 2016, 5:42 pm
(La Otra Opinión) Brasil
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has remained silent on the human-rights abuses of the Nicolás Maduro administration in Venezuela. (La Otra Opinión)

EspañolLatin America’s left, almost in unison, has raised it voice in response to Brazil’s impeachment trial.

Congress has suspended Dilma Rousseff from the presidency for six months, which many have denounced as a coup, part of an international conspiracy.

Though the impeachment is clearly described in the Brazilian Constitution, and Congress has scrupulously followed all of its listed steps, leftists of the continent, most notably Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and El Salvadorian President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, complained that the continent has lost one of its democratic strongholds.

The same thing happened four years ago, when Paraguay’s Congress dismissed Fernando Lugo. It seems to happen every time a leftist leader is prosecuted or sanctioned.

Impeachment is a legal recourse that appears in many if not most Constitutions and serves to control the executive power of a government through joint action taken by the other branches — usually the judicial and the legislative.

There is nothing illegal about impeaching a president. Brazil itself already did it almost a quarter of a century ago, when Fernando Collor de Mello was forced to step down.

It’s almost nonsensical to call following a procedure described in the Constitution as a coup.

Fake Democrats

There’s a reason why Latin America’s left is acting this way: their mentality is still stuck on the Leninist totalitarian model. They will only settle for full power and won’t give it up.

Rousseff and her predecessor, the famous Lula da Silva, lauded the illegal and brutal methods used by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, who already has nearly absolute power.

The Latin American left embraced Fidel and Raúl Castro’s regimes despite there being nothing democratic about them. They also supported President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, among so many other authoritarian leaders, not to mention the FARC guerrilla in Colombia.

Below the mask of democracy, they are nothing more than the usual despots. And now, to make matters worse, they have become more corrupt than ever.

Democracy and legality matter very little to those who want to institute socialism in our countries, because they use democratic means when it suits them, but deviate from those means when the circumstances suit them.

It’s sad that, on the other hand, countries that call themselves democratic and defend human rights like the European Union and the United States have not acted with firmness against the sham democracy in Venezuela.

Some of these world leaders even support the Cuban dictatorship and the NGOs scattered across the continent that attack legitimately democratic countries or only protect the human rights of guerrilla sympathizers.

Last year, various ambassadors of those countries openly opposed celebrating general elections in Guatemala, arguing that conditions were not sufficiently democratic there. But Guatemalans voted peacefully in large numbers, defeating the left’s populist candidates.

The Latin American left, unfortunately, is still tied to the old idea that revolution and socialism are above the rule of law. By now they are no longer denouncing it as a product of the bourgeoise and imperialism. Rather, they are now much more pragmatic and use the legal system to get what they want.

Then, when challenged through these same laws, they cry wolf.

Fortunately, there is a new air of change on the continent. The Guatemala elections, as well as the popular vote in Argentina, Bolivia, and even Venezuela show that there is a growing majority that rejects this despotism.

Carlos Sabino Carlos Sabino

Sociologist, writer, and university professor, Sabino is director of the masters and doctoral programs in history at the University of Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala. Follow him @Sabino2324