Brazil Under President Michel Temer Risks
September 07, 2016 "Information
- Btaaboura is a tiny village in the
mountains of northern Lebanon. It is connected
to the main motorway by a narrow winding road.
It could be just anywhere in the Christian part
of this country: white stone houses, olive
groves, wine grapes, bare hills.
elsewhere, the wealth is hardly backed by hard
work. It is mainly sustained by remittances
flowing from abroad. There are grotesquely
luxurious cars everywhere - Audis, BMWs. And
there is Western Union office on the main
street. All doors are closed; nothing moves.
this village is actually ‘unique’; different
from all others in the area. At the entrance,
there is a new park that shows the Brazilian and
Lebanese flag fluttering side-by-side.
And across the street, a blue and white sign
announces in Portuguese and Arabic:
RUA MICHEL TAMER PRESIDENTE DO
front of the word PRESIDENTE, there is
a patch of blue spray paint. Later, I am told
that just a few months ago it read,
VICE-PRESIDENTE, but when Michel Temer
ousted the legitimate President of Brazil, Dilma
Rousseff, the Mayor of Btaaboura personally
covered what he considered to be ‘outdated’ –
the word VICE (Temer took office on
August 31, 2016 after Rousseff's impeachment and
inquired at a small grocery store, and soon we
found the ancestral home of Michel Temer,
“Presidente do Brazil’. Nizar Tamer (the
local spelling), his cousin, was sitting in the
garden, waving at us, inviting us in.
“Come, sit down and rest. Have some figs and
grapes: all local produce. You want to talk
about Michel? But of course; why not?”
the seating area begins to fill with other
relatives and friends. Fruits are served.
Everybody is smiling, joking, happy.
My head is heavy. I hardly slept the night
before, shooting endless Tweets, denouncing the
coup, ending my long chain of messages with
words of unconditional support for Dilma, and
with one Tweet depicting a battered Brazilian
flag, accompanied by the text:
“Here is lesson one in essential
Portuguese: FORA TEMER! = TEMER, GET OUT!”
"If only they knew,”
I am thinking. And involuntarily, a bitter smile
appears on my face.
“Yes, we are cousins,”
Nizar, a civil engineer, grins.
“His father left for Brazil, my
father stayed in Lebanon...”
shown another house, right next door, where
Michel Temer’s father was born. The house is
around 200 years old, and it is totally
dilapidated. But there are rumors now that it
could soon be converted into a museum in honor
of the ‘Presidente’.
“People in Lebanon are very proud
of Michel,” explain
his relatives. “When
he came here last time, it was in 2011 or 2012,
it was a huge event: some 100 security people,
Brazilian embassy employees... Michel told us
that he would raise economy in both Brazil and
Temer ‘became President’, the village organized
a huge party, with fireworks, belly dancing,
what about the coup, the corruption? Do people
here realize how he came to power?
“Here, nobody cares about politics. He is now
perhaps facing some problems, but these are his
problems. We support him no matter what, because
we are Lebanese, and because his roots are in
figs and grapes. Then coffee is served.
women, miserable-looking Syrian refugees, are
walking down the street, humble, scared, looking
down at the road.
just two days before Dilma Rousseff addresses
stay much longer, listening to slow-flowing
stories about the man who is now helping the
West to demolish socialist South America. But
suddenly I feel nauseated; I want to vomit.
Obviously, I had reached the limit, and we have
Will Brazil get
is a total mess - a collapsed country with
nothing social or socialist whatsoever. Money,
‘business’, flashing wealth is all that matters
Maserati and Porsche sports cars navigate around
the potholes of Beirut, misery and filth are
swallowing suburban areas. Garbage collection
periodically collapses, the country is burning
diesel to generate electricity (blackouts and
water shortages are endemic). Less than 40
percent of children attend public (state)
schools. Medical care is mostly abandoned to the
market. There is virtually no public
transportation, no city planning, hardly any
parks or green areas.
who have money throw it around, proudly and
vulgarly. There are obnoxiously rich marinas,
while the restaurants in the capital are at
least twice more expensive than in Paris.
there is plenty of cash here: from filthy mining
and other investments that are plundering West
Africa, from drugs being grown in the Bekaa
Valley, from those billions of dollars in
remittances, and of course from banking (money
laundering). Lebanon produces very little. It
reputation in the Middle East is terrible,
mainly thanks to the racism and arrogance of
many of its citizens.
Paradoxically, the only social force that stands
above all religious and sectarian divides, is
Hezbollah. But Hezbollah is closely linked to
Syria and Iran’s government, and it fights ISIS
in the mountains and across the border, as well
as the several Israeli invasions and incursions
into Lebanon. Predictably, the West put it on
the terrorist list.
imagining Brazil being governed by Mr. Temer and
those like him. And I am frightened! What would
happen to the majority of the people? Would they
again become fully irrelevant and forgotten,
like here in Lebanon?
the country function only in order to serve big
business, the elites? Would the success of the
entire nation be judged by the size of marinas
and by the size of luxury cars in the parking
lots of grossly overpriced restaurants and
of being an example to the world, would Brazil
get brutally Lebanized? The West would
definitely like that, as it worked so hard to
make it happen in the first place.
the name of Brazilian people, the rot, this
deadly destruction has to be stopped.
leaving Btaaboura village, I stop my car for a
few moments. And suddenly I see it: the
beautiful and dear Brazilian flag is not waving
in the wind. It is torn, dirty and looks like a
rag. And there in front of the entrance to the
park garbage lies strewn everywhere.
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist,
filmmaker and investigative journalist. He
covered wars and conflicts in dozens of
countries. His latest books are: “Exposing
Lies Of The Empire”
Against Western Imperialism”.Discussion
with Noam Chomsky:
On Western Terrorism. Point
of No Return is
his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania –
a book on Western imperialism in the South
Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia
– The Archipelago of Fear”.
Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV.
After living for many years in Latin America and
Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in
East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached
through his website