Speech and Video by Antonio Lopes, UITBB President, at the Euro-Mediterranean Meeting Athens, 2017

Speech and Video by Antonio Lopes, UITBB President, at the Euro-Mediterranean Meeting

Athens, 2017


Greetings to the general secretary of UITBB, Michalis Papanikoiaou and the other participants of this meeting.

In Brazil we are amidst a crisis, which we can understand as a political coup that removed President Dilma Rouseff from her post and allowed corrupt politicians led by the once ex-president Michel Tenner to take over the government. The lack of character of these corrupt politicians is clearly represented by their actions in the project to restore neoliberalism through an illegitimate government that is nothing but a coup of the capital against the workers, in order to serve the international aristocracy, the rich people and the Brazilian landowner’s financial interests.

Brazil has retreated a lot and fast in just one year of corrupt government. Out of 207.8 million people, 14 million are unemployed and 103 million are employed. The government weakened the public banks and multiplied the politics that denaturalized the Brazilian economy. They want to impose a neoliberal policy which goes against national interests. The oil enterprise Petrobras that once was the pride of Brazil, is now loosing very important assets like the pre-salt areas, submitting the country to the big capitalist companies.

The government is putting forward PEC 241 (proposed constitutional amendment 241) in the senate assembly, which breaks up our constitution and stops for 20 years the resources for healthcare, education, social assistance and social security while 45% of the federal budget goes to the public debt payment in instalments. The proposed reform of the labour laws puts the workers in the disposition of the employer without any guarantees and takes back historical workers’ rights, mainly retirement benefits for the poor people.

At the same time, they want to make the direct negotiations between employer and employee more important than the law. They also have a true intention of weakening the trade unions in Brazil with the end of Syndicate taxes and other decisions, while the employer’s union grows stronger day by day.

The political instability and the judicial insecurity are getting worse and the neoliberal program is uniting the three branches of democracy against the working class: the legislative one, the executive and the judiciary (Supreme Court). As far as the individual and collective liberties are concerned, there is a huge regression which increases the repression and criminalization of the social movements. The corrupt government doesn’t have any black people or women in its first tier, while it also abolished important ministries dedicated to agrarian reform and fights against discrimination.


The resistance against the coup is growing and the indignation and revolt in the working class, democratic and progressive class against this situation is clear in the manifestations made by the trade union’s central and social movements because this cannot go on. Now it is time for a huge national front in defence of democracy, social rights and the development of the country. The corrupt government by Michel Temer cannot handle the congress of 515 parliamentarians while more than 200 of them are involved in big scandals of corruption, including Michael Temer himself who, at this very moment, is the subject of an investigation for corruption which is sufficient to make him lose his post as President. Day by day, the government is losing strength in the political parties while the people’s mobilisation on the streets is growing. It is matter of time for this government to fall.

The fight continues.