On Tape: The Coup plot which brought down Dilma

Shortly after suspension of Dilma Rousseff  (Workers Party/PT) as President following consecutive Congressional and Senate votes for her impeachment, her Vice President Michel Temer (PMDB), effectively took power permanently, rather than in the form of a caretaker administration, as could have been expected. With a startling shift to the right, he removed all traces of Rousseff’s former government, and all centre-left and left parties, instead forming a cabinet with members of 2014’s defeated neoliberal opposition PSDB and their allies Democratas – an heir to the Military Dictatorship’s ARENA government. Neither party had been part of a winning electoral coalition since 1998. Rousseff will have her fate ultimately decided by a final Senate trial in August 2016. It is unlikely she will return to office.

In the days following Temer’s installation as President, an audio recording was leaked of a conversation between Senator Romero Jucá (PMDB) and businessman Sergio Machado, a document which decimates the narrative of Rousseff’s legitimate removal promoted by supporters, oligarchic media and international press, which, taking their lead from local business elites and US corporate lobbies and think tanks, have largely ignored or denied that a Coup is taking place, instead emphasising State Department-style talking points on the supposed constitutionality and legality of the impeachment process.

In the recording the pair discuss how to prevent the Lava Jato anti-corruption operation reaching them and their allies. Perversely, it was Lava Jato which created a pretext for Dilma Rousseff’s removal although she wasn’t actually implicated. They talk about a “grand national agreement” to overthrow Rousseff, a pact which would include head of congress Eduardo Cunha, the Brazilian Supreme Court, the Media and even Military Generals.

Contrary to early claims, the two did not discuss the economic recession as reasoning for Rousseff’s removal. Omissions in reporting helped framed the recording around its ambition to insulate plotters against prosecution rather than the bigger picture of its impact on the legitimacy of removing Brasil’s Democratically elected President for a common infraction. The date of the recording is unclear, and if intended to help Dilma Rousseff, it is unclear why the tape was not released earlier in the process to impeach her, as it could theoretically have changed the outcome.

The recording is vital for the historical record and we have decided to make an English translation of the three main excerpts available in full. Key sections in bold.

Part One

Sérgio Machado – But you see, Romero, so I think the situation is very serious.

Romero Jucá – I was very clear yesterday. […] I only think the following: with Dilma it does not work, with the situation we’re in. There is no point in this project of sending Lula here to be a minister, in the cabinet, that ends up throwing down economic expectations. Because if Lula comes in, he’s going to talk to the CUT, to the MST, it’s only them who listens to him more, who gives him some credit, the rest nobody gives him credit any more. Do you agree with me? Will Lula meet there with the business sectors?

Machado – Now he woke up the PT militancy.

Jucá – Yes.

Machado – Those people who resisted woke up and will cause shit.

Jucá – I think …

Machado – You have to have an impeachment.

Jucá – There must be impeachment. There is no exit.

Machado – And who to protect.

Jucá – The conversation was good, but we’ll have others ahead.

Machado – What happens next, objectively speaking, with the thing that the Supreme Court has done [authorizing arrests shortly after a second instance decision], is that everybody will now snitch.

Jucá – Exactly, and there will be many left. Marcelo, and Odebrecht, are going to do it.

Machado – Odebrecht will do it.

Jucá – Selectively, but will do it.

Machado – Camargo may or may not. I’m very worried because I think … Janot wants to get you guys. And thinks that I’m the way (to do that).

Jucá – [inaudible]

Machado – Hm?

Jucá – But how is your situation?

Machado – My situation is that he has nothing, did not catch me with anything, but he (Janot) wants to send everything to Moro. As they have nothing on me, therefore I am disconnected.

Jucá – Yes, there is no connection right …

Machado – There is no connection, so send it to Moro. Then it’s fucked. Then it’s fucked for everyone. How to build a structure to prevent me from “going down”? If I go down …

Jucá – What do you think? How do you …

Machado: I wanted to discuss it with you. I came to that conclusion this week. He (Janot) thinks I’m your cashier, Janot is not worth a “cibazole” [something worthless] a dime. Whoever expects him to be friends, he will not … […] And he is targeting Renan and you. And thinks I’m the channel. He did not find anything, he had nothing.

Jucá – And he won’t find it, right, Sérgio.

Machado – He did not find anything, he does not have anything, but may find … What does he do? There is that Paulo Roberto 500 thousand plea bargain, and has the denunciation of Ricardo, which is a loose thing, he wants to put these two things together. ‘There is nothing against the senators, so throw him down’ [Curitiba]. You have to find a way …

Jucá – You have to see with your lawyer how we can help. […] It has to be political, lawyer does not find ….[inaudible]. If it’s political, how’s politics? You have to solve this fucking thing … You have to change the government so that you can stop this bleeding.

Machado – It has to be a political thing and fast. I think he wants to … the PMDB. Hold it, and put it down there. Can you imagine that?

Jucá – Did you talk to Renan?

Machado – No, I wanted to talk to you first because you are the wisest of them all.

Jucá – I think we need to articulate a political action.

Machado – … I wanted to talk to you first, since we are more intimate. Then I want to talk to Sarney and Renan, so the the three of you. […] I am convinced, with these signals that you got from Eduardo(Cunha) [incomprehensible]. We get rid of Renan.

Jucá – But this thing with Eduardo attacking…. [incomprehensible].

Machado – But he [Janot] wants to get you guys, I’m pretty sure of that.

Jucá – There is no doubt of that…

Machado: No, I’m absolutely sure. And it’s not worth a ‘cybazole’ a dime. He’s an angry, spiteful guy and so on. So how does he act? As you have not found anything or will find… [inaudible]

Jucá – Moro became a ‘Tower of London’.

Machado – Tower of London.

Jucá – He would send the poor guy there to make him confess.

Machado – For him to confess. So we have to act like… [incomprehensible] and think of a formula to find a solution to that.

Jucá – Talk to him [Renan], talk to Sarney, listen to them, and let’s sit down …

Machado – Right, Romero, first this I think: is good for us. […]

Part Two

Jucá – I think you should look for Sarney, you should look for Renan, and we’ll talk later. [incomprehensible] ‘how is it’.

Machado – Because … If you go down, Romero, ….we cannot…

Jucá – It is not a disaster because it has nothing to do with it. But it is damage, because you will be exposed in a way without necessity. […]

Machado – Marcelo, the owner of Brazil, has been in prison for a year. Bullshit with Marcelo, boy, I’ve never seen anything like it. Bullshit with that André Esteves, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Jucá – Boy … [in agreement]

Machado – Another thing. The laziness of you guys in the arrest of Delicidio was something unbelievable. [The Senate agreed to prison ordered by the STF]

Jucá – Yes, hey, it’s no use dropping Delcidio, then the PT gives their score, takes the guy out, says he is guilty, how do you secure a fucking thing inside the congress?

Machado – But the guy was not summarily arrested, have to respect the law. Respect the law, the law says clearly …

Jucá – Well then. There was no way, there. The time that the PT came, he understood, pulled the rug from under him, Rui, the press, the guys did not hold back, no.

Machado: I know that, it sucked.

Jucá – It was total shit.

Machado – It was a total shit. It was shit that the Supreme Court allowed this second instance arrest appeals thing, this is total nonsense that no one cannot interpret, and nobody did anything.
No one did ADIN, no one questioned. This is to precipitate the plea bargains. Romero, warmed up about the plea bargains, no one escapes …

Jucá – [incomprehensible]…. in Brazil.

Machado – There will be nothing left standing… [incomprehensible]

Machado – I have all the TCU certificates, they just gave me now, I do not owe anything, zero. And is that any good? So I’m worried.

Jucá – No, you have to take care of yourself.

Machado – I’m worried because I see that this business with Eduardo’s daughter and wife, it was a warning to me. And as far as I know, the interest is to get you. Us. And Renan, especially.

Jucá – No, the next target in line is Renan. After Eduardo Cunha … It’s Eduardo Cunha, Dilma, and then it’s Renan.

Machado – And he [Janot] has nothing. If he had anything, he was going to keep me up here so he could force me up here, because he won’t give this trophy to Moro. Since he has nothing, he wants to see if Moro manages to get it …

Jucá -… to climb again.

Machado -… to be able to climb again. This is the scheme. Now how to do it? Because there is no way of getting an immunity. We have to have an exit [of Dilma] because it is a danger. And fuck … the institutional solution still takes some time, do not you think?

Jucá – It has to take three or four months at the most. The country can not take more than that, no.

Machado – Boy, the easiest solution is to get Michel.

Jucá – [agreeing] Only Renan is against this damn thing. Because he does not like Michel, because Michel is Eduardo Cunha.’ Guys, forget Eduardo Cunha, Eduardo Cunha is fucking dead.

Machado: It’s an agreement, to install Michel, in a grand national agreement…

Jucá – …with the Supreme Court, and everyone.

Machado – With everyone, so everything stops there.

Jucá – Yes. It stops where it was, there you go.

Machado – Stop it all. We either do this … Did you see yesterday’s survey that gave Moro with 18% intention of votes for Presidency?

Jucá – I did not see it. Moro?

Machado – It’s what they are saying, Aécio will never win a fucking thing …

Jucá – No, forget it. With this, no traditional politician will win an election.

Machado – Aecio, boy … Aecio is in no fit state, we know it, damn it. Who does not know? Who doesn’t know Aecio’s scheme? I, who participated in PSDB campaign …

Jucá – Yes, we lived through it all.

Part Three

Jucá – [In a low voice] I spoke yesterday with some ministers of the Supreme Court. The guys say ‘oh, it’s only possible ….inaudible] without her [Dilma]. As long as she’s there, the press, the guys that want her out, the fucking thing will never stop. Understood? So … I’m talking to the generals, military commanders. Everything is quiet, the guys say they will guarantee it. They are monitoring the MST, I don’t know what else to do, not to disturb.

Machado – This is what I think, the exit [of Dilma] is either by license or resignation. The license is smoother. Michel forms a government of national unity, makes a grand agreement, protects Lula, protects everyone. This country returns to calm, no one can take it anymore. This shit by these prosecutors in São Paulo helped a lot. [possible reference to Lula’s request for arrest by the São Paulo Public Prosecutor’s Office and to forced arrest by bench warrant for him to testify in the Lava Jato case]

Jucá – The guys did make it impossible for him to go to a ministry. Now it’s obstruction of justice, they’re not letting the guy, understand? It was a violent act …

Machado -… And stupid […] There has to be a peace, a …

Jucá – I think there has to be a pact.


Machado – One way is to get someone who has a connection with Teori [Zavascki, Lava Jato’s rapporteur/reporting judge], but it seems that there is no one.

Jucá – There is not. He’s a closed guy, it was her [Dilma] who put him there, a guy … a Bureaucrat of the … Former Minister of the STJ [Superior Court of Justice].

Sources: Part one Part two Part three

Additional information: Article on media omissions