Rural Movements in Brazil denounce bank corruption

Publish Date: 
Thursday, March 19, 2015

More than 1000 peasants organized within the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), Movement of Land Less Rural Workers (MST), Federation of Family Agriculture (FAF) and members of Youth Popular Upraise and trade-union CUT, held an protest in front of HSBC, at the Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo, on March 12, 2015. The objective of the protest was to denounce this financial institution due its participation in several scandals of corruption and money laundering .

The protest of rural social movements occurred after various scandals were published revealing tax evasion and money . The denunciation occur after the leak of HSBC's data of 106 thousand clients, The alleged money-laundering scheme involving several of HSBC Bank’s wealthy clients with secret accounts in Switzerland was presumed to be used to evade taxes, to hide income and property. The complaint is that HSBC provided guidance for those individuals who engaged in these crimes and these remittances to the "Swiss bank accounts".

The denunciation was made by an "International Consortium of Investigative Journalists", which obtained information from a former employee of HSBC who worked in the bank's data technology sector. The journalist, Fernando Rodrigues, who had access to Swiss Leaks said that two former directors of São Paulo's subway system, Paulo Celso Mano Ademir Moreira and Venancio de Araújo, opened accounts in Switzerland in the period in which the agreement was signed for the purchase of trains with the French multinational Alstom, which was accused of paying kickbacks at state bids.

In September of 2013, more than three thousand MAB activists and of Popular Youth Rising  (Levante Popular da Juventude) denounced the corruption scheme of the subways in São Paulo, know as the Subway Cartel.

According to Gilberto Cervinski, MAB's coordinator, HSBC is the tip of the whole fraud scheme of big banks: “HSBC is where the Brazilian right-wing laundries their dirty money. The media says a lot about the corruption at Petrobras, which involved more or less 21 billions of reais. If the mainstream media were coherent, during the time they sped talking about the corruption involving Petrobras, the media could have produced a whole program on HSB, regarding the amount of money of its corruption scheme. “

The activists also protested front of the General Secretary of the Republic on Paulista Avenue. A commission of the social movements met with representatives of the General Secretary of the Presidency and delivered the movement's agenda of demands, including agrarian reform, food and territorial sovereignty and recognition of traditional land tenure systems. The demand of an Official Plebiscite for Political Reform, democratization of communication and struggle for worker's rights were also presented.

“We are tired of waiting for a position from this government that has been supporting agribusiness, energy privatization and cuts in worker's rights. We have come here to exert pressure, but at the same time we know the importance of defending against the attack of the right-wing…; and that is why tomorrow we will take to the streets again to add to the mobilization in defense of democracy and the rural and urban workers”, affirmed the state coordinator of Brazil’s landless peoples’ movement, the MST, Delveck Matheus.

The movements have also highlighted the issue of energy and are fighting for the immediate cancellation of all increases in electricity bills planned to come into force in 2015 and carrying out political and institutional changes to overcome the energy market model, in defense of Petrobras and against the privatization of Brazil’s energy systems.