In 2002, Brazil threw off the shackles of a 22 year long military dictatorship supported by the UK and US Governments, by electing the left wing Workers Party led by Lula Da Silva. 'Lula' was President until 2012 when he had to stand down because Brazilian Presidents cannot be in power for more than 3 terms. His replacement was Dilma Roussef who lead the Workers Party to a fourth election victory in 2014.
A key agenda for impeaching Rousseff was to stop investigations of corruption against Congress members and media executives.
The USA has long opposed Roussef's independent-mindedness and participation in the BRICS trade grouping seeing it as a threat to US influence in the region. Edward Snowden's revelation that the NSA had been tapping her phone, led Roussef to deliver a blistering speech at the United Nations accusing the US of violating international law and violating “the principles that must guide the relations among…friendly nations".
Leftist governments in Brazil and Venezuela have long been targets of US destabilization efforts. Mark Weisbrot writes that the US has always supported coups against left wing governments in Latin America:
Some groups actively involved in the coup also have direct links to corporations, big business and corporate elite in Brazil. The Chair of the group Students for Liberty has business interests connected to companies previous involved in the 1964 military coup and the organisation VemPra Rua (Come to the Streets) is funded by a foundation owned by Brazil's richest businessman.
Maria Luisa Mendonca, Director of Brazil Network for Social Justice and Human Rights noted the role of media outlets in calling for demonstrations against the Rousseff government and ignoring large demonstrations against the impeachment:
"A key player is Globo TV, which is known for supporting the military dictatorship that lasted more than 20 years in Brazil. Globo executives were recently mentioned in connection with the Panama Papers, and in the investigations against FIFA for illegal procedures in negotiating broadcast rights of soccer games. At the same time, large demonstrations against the impeachment and in defense of the democratic process that elected president Rousseff have been ignored by mainstream media."
Street protests against the coup erupted across Brazil immediately and a group of over 800 international academics and intellectuals calling itself “Humanity Against the Coup in Brazil” released a statement condemning the coup.
In this piece Lawrence Reichard writes on the response of some everyday Brazilians in the neighborhood where he lives in Rio.
There are growing calls for a boycott of the Rio Olympic Games in protest against the coup.