Twenty-two international intellectuals, writers, actors, and activists sent a letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.
Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Arundhati Roy, and 17 other human rights activists, intellectuals, and public figures on Wednesday sent a letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, and demanding that Brazil’s senate “respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in.”
In the letter, which was published by the U.K.-based group No Coup in Brazil, the luminaries argue that “Brazil is a major regional power and has the largest economy in Latin America. If this sustained attack on its democratic institutions is successful, the negative shock waves will reverberate throughout the region.”
Rousseff’s impeachment trial began on Thursday, and was suspended briefly on Friday when the proceedings devolved into a shouting match.
“It is widely expected that, within a few days, senators will vote to definitively remove Rousseff from office,” notes Maria Luisa Mendonça, director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights.
“The impeachment — labeled a coup by many Brazilians — has generated outrage and frequent protests in Brazil,” Mendonça adds.
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow artists and with all those fighting for democracy and justice throughout Brazil,” the letter says, adding that “Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades.”
Rousseff’s removal would end 13 years of Workers’ Party rule and bring about the confirmation of “the unelected, right-of-center Temer” as president until 2018, the rest of Rousseff’s term.
“We are concerned about the politically motivated impeachment of the president, which has installed an unelected interim government,” the letter writers say.
“The legal basis for the ongoing impeachment is widely contested and there is compelling evidence showing that key promoters of the impeachment campaign are seeking to remove the president to stop the corruption investigations that they themselves are implicated in.”
Prominent organizations have also joined in the condemnation of Rousseff’s impeachment. On Tuesday, 43 grassroots environmental, labor, and religious groups in the U.S. issued a statement decrying the “legislative coup.”
“We join social movements and millions of people in Brazil and worldwide calling for a return to democracy and the rule of law in Brazil, the return of the legitimately-elected President Rousseff to office, the reinstatement of Brazil’s critical social programs, and the recognition of human rights,” the groups declared.
The statement, signed by luminaries including the legendary singer, songwriter, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte, also expressed dismay over the all white, all male replacement of Dilma’s diverse cabinet and the elimination of the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights.
Other signers include the Academy Award winning actor Susan Sarandon, U.K. fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen, U.S. Academy Award winning director Oliver Stone, U.K. Cannes Film Award winning director Ken Loach, the Man Booker Prize winning Indian author Arundhati Roy, the actor and director Danny Glover, the linguist and activist Noam Chomsky and the noted British actor, writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry, who in 2013 conducted a scathing interview of Jair Bolsonaro, a leading advocate of the impeachment and likely presidential candidate in the next Brazilian elections.
Brian Eno, the English composer, singer, visual artist and record producer who has worked with David Bowie, David Byrne, Talking Heads and U2, among others, also signed the statement.
He noted that: “Hundreds of Brazilian musicians, actors, writers, filmmakers and other artists have bravely spoken out against the undemocratic efforts to remove the elected president Dilma Rousseff from office.
“We want to show them and Brazil and the world that artists and intellectuals in the U.S., the U.K. and other parts of the world stand behind them, and support their fight for democracy, human rights and social justice in Brazil.”
This statement follows other international statements and letters denouncing the impeachment process against President Rousseff including a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed by 43 U.S. members of Congress, a statement from 115 British public figures, including 35 parliamentarians, and a statement from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
Response from Brazilian actor Wagner Moura:
“We are deeply thankful for these important words of support from our colleagues in Great Britain, the U.S, Canada and India. The corrupt politicians leading the effort to unseat Dilma should be aware that there is an international spotlight shining down on their actions.
“If they follow through with their plan, they will be remembered in history as the ones responsible for the most sinister assault against democracy since Brazil’s 1964 coup.
The Statement and List of Signatories:
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow artists and with all those fighting for democracy and justice throughout Brazil.
“We are concerned about the politically motivated impeachment of the president, which has installed an unelected interim government. The legal basis for the ongoing impeachment is widely contested and there is compelling evidence showing that key promoters of the impeachment campaign are seeking to remove the president to stop the corruption investigations that they themselves are implicated in.
“We regret that Brazil’s interim government has replaced a diverse cabinet, headed by Brazil’s first woman president, with an all white, male cabinet, in a country where the majority identify as black or mixed race. It has also eliminated the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights. Given that Brazil is the world’s fifth most populous country, this is of huge significance for all who care about equality and civil rights.
“We urge Brazilian senators to respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in. Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades. Brazil is a major regional power and has the largest economy in Latin America. If this sustained attack on its democratic institutions is successful, the negative shock waves will reverberate throughout the region.”
Tariq Ali – Writer, journalist and filmmaker
Harry Belafonte – Civil rights activist, singer and actor
Noam Chomsky – Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at MIT, theorist and intellectual
Alan Cumming – Actor and author
Frances de la Tour – Actor
Deborah Eisenberg – Writer, actor and teacher
Brian Eno – Composer, singer, visual artist and record producer
Eve Ensler – Playwright, author of The Vagina Monologues
Stephen Fry – Broadcaster, actor, director.
Danny Glover – Actor and film director
Daniel Hunt – Music producer and filmmaker
Naomi Klein – Writer and filmmaker
Ken Loach – Filmmaker
Tom Morello – Musician
Viggo Mortensen – Actor and musician
Michael Ondaatje – Novelist and poet
Arundhati Roy – Author and activist
Susan Sarandon – Actor
John Sayles – Screenwriter, director and novelist
Wallace Shawn – Actor, playwright and comedian
Oliver Stone – Filmmaker
Vivienne Westwood – Fashion designer
For more information, contact:
Suzie Gilbert, No Coup in Brazil, UK: firstname.lastname@example.org +44 7523 742 072