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Media Professor Joao Feres Jr. says that the Temer government, judiciary and the opposition media are all collaborating against the PT as evidence of the conspiracy is revealed

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SHARMINI PERIES, PRODUCER, TRNN: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Brazil’s political saga took another unexpected turn on Sunday when the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, released a secret tape of conversations between Planning Minister Romero Juca, and Senator Sergio Machado. The conversation reveals that key players in the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, wanted to get rid of her in order to stop the sweeping corruption investigation from proceeding any further. The investigation has implicated hundreds of Brazil’s politicians, most of them politicians belonging to center and center-right parties, but also many are from Rousseff’s own Workers’ Party. The revelation gives credence to the argument of Rousseff and her supporters that the impeachment is actually a coup. As a result of these revelations the planning minister, Juca, has already stepped out of the way by announcing that he would take a leave of absence just 10 days after he was appointed minister under acting president Michel Temer. With us to discuss all of these new developments in Brazil is professor Joao Feres, Jr. He is a political science professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, where he also heads the Laboratory for Media and the Public Sphere Studies. Thank you so much for joining us, Joao. JOAO FERES: Thank you for having me. PERIES: So, Joao, let’s first get this out of the way, which is the newspaper that released the tapes, Folha de Sao Paulo, it’s not known to be a PT supporter by any means, is it? FERES: No it’s not, as a matter a fact, I mean our analysis, I have a website that actually does a daily analysis of the newspapers, the main newspapers’ coverage of politics, and it shows Folha de Sao Paulo has been very much opposed to PT, as the other big newspapers in Brazil, they all are on the same side. They all have been very anti-PT. Nevertheless, I mean they, Folha de Sao Paulo, differently from the other newspapers, now it’s coming out with this new revelation that puts in question this group of politicians that have seized power with Michel Temer, the vice president, and the development of the impeachment case against Dilma. PERIES: So what is the political climate in Brazil, in terms of the media coverage of this news scandal? Is the media covering it? Is it getting the attention it deserves from other newspapers? FERES: Until now, the media has been very monolithic in supporting the impeachment, and bashing PT and Dilma and Lula, the ex-president Lula, as a matter of fact, because they have used the corruption case in order to actually focus on PT and suggest that PT is responsible for most of the corruption that is going on in the country. Even if you count the number of politicians involved you can see that other parties have many more politicians involved in this scandal than PT. There’s also a matter of a collaboration between the big media, parts of the judiciary, and also of the what we call Ministerio Publico here, which is like a general attorney, a general prosecutor, and these guys have been politicized that is scandalous, and this politicization is being done in terms of persecuting everything that is related to the workers party and leaving out politicians that are cited, but never investigated [crosstalk] or indicted. PERIES: [interceding]– Right, and give us a sense of what the revelations exposed, and do you think this will effect the proceeding underway to impeach Dilma Rousseff? FERES: Yeah, I think that what we have until now is that the Supreme Court has acted in a way that has allowed, the Supreme Court and also the General Prosecutor, have acted in a way that actually helped the impeachment process to go forward because they allowed for example, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, to stay in power and to move forward in the impeachment process through the Chamber of Deputies, even though he had been accused of huge corruption more than one time. So the Supreme Court actually delayed the vote on his case, and then removed him right after the impeachment. The Supreme Court also did not act against Sergio Moro, who is the judge having the investigation in the state of Parana, the Lava Jato investigation. And this guy has abused the rights of many of the people investigated, and he is a known abuser of basic rights, of people investigated, has spied on Dilma, and he has leaked illegal information to media, big media, and very timely, in order for example to fuel protests against the government in the streets. And this guy also has forced Lula into a deposition that he should not be forcing into it, Brazil does not allow these kinds of things. And this guy has never been censored by the Supreme Court. So the Supreme Court has, until now, it was just a suspicion that the Supreme Court, that there was something wrong about it, but now with these tapes coming out we can see that the key figures of the political establishment that plotted against Dilma are actually citing Supreme Court justices, and saying that they actually talked to these guys and actually have an agreement with them that things would go the way they went. You know what I’m saying? PERIES: So how does Dilma Rousseff in power for so long and Lula before her, not have control of the Supreme Court in Brazil? FERES: Well that’s a very good question. Like in the United States, the Supreme Court justices in Brazil are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. I don’t know if in the States you’re approved by the Senate but I think they are too. PERIES: They are. FERES: They are. Yeah, it’s the Senate, right? Now the Chamber of Congress as a whole. Well, any-who, so, but I think that Lula and Dilma have been very ineffective in choosing people who are actually at the same time fair, and also progressive. So they have made very bad choices I think, you know out of I don’t know, probably now a court with 11 justices, they have appointed nine now, if you add Lula, and do Lula two terms, and Dilma, one and a half, and I think that only three of them are like, reasonable and fair judges. The others are suspect of corruption, or they’re very politicized, you don’t know the motives of their actions basically, they’re very bad judges as a matter of fact, and they’re not accountable that’s the problem, so you know. One of the problems of the Brazilian constitution, and I think it’s the problem of other constitutions too, I don’t know, is that the Supreme Court and the judiciary has very little accountability, you know, procedures and instruments. So they do whatever they want basically. PERIES: All right, I thank you so much for joining us today and look forward to having you back. Thank you. FERES: OK, thank you. PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.


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Joao Feres Jr. is a political science professor at Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP), of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). Since 2005, Feres Jr. has been the coordinator of Grupo de Estudos Multidisciplinares da Acao Afirmativa (GEMAA), a research group that focuses on the study of affirmative action policies in higher education in Brazil and elsewhere, from a variety of disciplinary viewpoints. He also heads Laboratorio de Estudos da Midia e Esfera Publica (LEMEP), a research group dedicated to the analysis of the news media coverage in the fields of culture and politics. He has published extensively on affirmative action and race relations in Brazil and in the US, media and politics, and is now conducting a comprehensive study about the impact of affirmative action policies in Brazil's higher education public system on social inequalities.