|People with a banner that reads “No to the coup” attend a protest against the impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil. | Photo: Reuters|
America’s largest economy and most populous nation, could be on the
verge of major political change that could have ramifications not just
across the region but globally.
special committee in Brazil's Senate voted 15 to 5 to continue
impeachment measures against President Dilma Rousseff after accepting a
recommendation put forward by Senator Antonio Anastasia.
senate is scheduled to vote on May 11, a day that could see the
Brazilian president temporarily suspended from her post in what would
likely lead to the first impeachment of a Brazilian president since 1992
when Fernando Collor de Mello faced massive protests over corruption
charges and resigned moments before his conviction by the Senate.
1. A President of Millions
Brazil’s first woman president. She took office Jan. 1, 2011, after
scoring a resounding victory in the presidential election held in
October 2010 under promises she will improve the education system and
After a successful first term she was reelected in 2014, seeing off
right wing apparently corrupt politician Aecio Neves from the Brazilian
Social Democracy Party or PSDB. She ammassed over 52 percent, 52 million
votes, of the ballots.
Party, PT, has been in power for over a decade, much to the chagrin of
the country’s conservative political forces.
2. Rousseff's Opposition
suspended speaker of the lower chamber of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, a
political opponent of Rousseff, accepted a petition for impeachment in
what was described by the president’s supporters as vengence. Cunha, who
is under investigation for undeclared Swiss bank accounts totalling US$5 million, only began impeachment proceedings when lawmakers from the PT voted to open an investigation.
A vote in the
full lower house, which comprises of 513 lawmakers many of whom are
also accused of different crimes, has already taken place and the
impeachment proceedings are now in the Senate, which will vote likely
vote this Wednesday to continue on with the process.
In this scenario, Vice President Michel Temer — also from the
same party as Cuhna and who is also accused of corruption is the man who
helped push the call for impeachment — will take office as acting
president if the Senate votes in favor of the procdure.
will hold a simple-majority vote on whether or not to convene a trial.
If no decision is reached within 180 days, the suspension of the
Like the lower house is controlled by Rousseff’s adversaries, which means they will likely approve her impeachment trial.
3. The Hypocrisy
committee voted Friday in favor of continuing the impeachment process of
the president. Amazingly, over half of those who voted for
impeachment face charges of corruption and other serious crimes.
Similarly, 15 out of the 65 members of the impeachment commission have
themselves been accused of corruption.
In other words, people accused of corruption voted to open an
investigation into a president who has not been found guilty of any
This is why Rousseff’s supporters say that impeachment without proof of a crime is a coup.
4. Shock Therapy
stipulates that if a trial is convened in the Senate, the president
must automatically step down. That means Temer could very soon be the
president of Brazil, even if only on a temporary basis.
His party, the PMDB, has already revealed what they intend to do with power.
In a report
revealed by "O estado de Sao Paulo," the PMDB indicated that they would
implement sweeping austerity reforms, including cuts to the lauded
“Bolsa Familia” program.
also said the PMDB would consider cutting a large housing program for
the poor and displaced workers and a program to make college education
5. Not About Corruption
began mounting on Rousseff in 2015 after Brazil’s once impressive
economy shrank by 3.8 percent, the biggest decline since 1981 and a
multibillion-dollar corruption scandal was exposed in the country’s
state-run oil company Petrobras.
In the past two years, over 100 people have been arrested for their
alleged involvement, including senators and top executives at Petrobras
and members from both sides of the political spectrum. Dilma though has
not been formally investigated.
investigation into the corruption scandal has taken a political course,
with the lead investigator, Sergio Moro, coming under heavy criticism
for his alleged anti-PT bias. Most of the politicians under
investigation are not members of the PT, yet the cases involving the PT
receive the most attention from the press and investigators.
potential impeachment is totally unrelated to her or PT’s dealings with
the state-run oil company. Rather Rousseff is accused by her political
opponents of breaking fiscal laws. They allege she manipulated
government accounts to make the country’s deficit seems smaller than it
was ahead of the 2014 presidential election to garner support for her
government maintains that the audit court is criticizing steps taken by
the government to maintain social programs for Brazil's poor, such as
the widely-praised Bolsa Familia.