Brazilians say “no” to debt and the IMF

26 October 2000

In Brazil a national plebiscite on External Debt, held in September, rejected the government’s agreement with the IMF and its commitment to full debt repayment at whatever cost.

More than five million men and women took part in the voluntary plebiscite, organized by civil society, involving 100,000 volunteers from churches, social movements, political parties, professional associations and government bodies.

More than 90 per cent of voters responded “No” to the three questions asked:

  • should the Brazilian government maintain the present agreement with the International Monetary Fund?
  • should Brazil go on paying the external debt without holding a public audit, as called for by the 1988 Constitution?
  • should the federal, state and municipal governments go on using a large part of the public budget to pay the internal debt to speculators?

“The Plebiscite represents a “Yes” to a different model of economy, one of whose fundamental values is to promote life” commented the organizers, who were encouraged at their success in raising public awareness and debate despite attacks from the federal government. “They do not want society to debate these matters, because they know that from the debate alternatives will arise” they added.

“For all its support in the media, business and financial circles, the model will not stand up to controversy in a climate of freely expressed ideas… The Plebiscite made it clear that indebtedness is not a technical matter to be debated exclusively by the theoreticians of economics and finance.” The organizers are now pressing for an Audit of the Debt and an Official Plebiscite.