News Release

Brazil Impeachment Agenda: Stop Corruption Investigations

aroeira.lemondediplomatiquebrasil-702x336The New York Times reports today: “In a stunning twist in the effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, the new speaker of the lower house of Congress has changed his mind — less than 24 hours after announcing that he would try to annul his chamber’s decision to impeach her.”

MARIA LUISA MENDONÇA,  marialuisam222 at gmail.com
Currently in the U.S., Mendonça is director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights. She is also a professor in the international relations department at the University of Rio De Janeiro.

She said today: “The procedures to impeach president Dilma Rousseff in Brazil are looking more like tragic theater every day. Yesterday, the speaker of the lower House, Waldir Maranhao, canceled the decision taken by the plenary on April 17, which approved the impeachment, pointing to several illegal measures in that vote. Late last night, Maranhao canceled his own decision. Earlier yesterday, the speaker in the Senate, Renan Calheiros, ignored Maranhao’s decision to cancel the April 17 vote, and declared that he would move ahead with the Senate vote, which could make the whole impeachment process illegal. Last week, the Supreme Court accepted charges of corruption against former House speaker, Eduardo Cunha, who orchestrated and conducted the impeachment vote on April 17, in which the accusations against the president were rarely mentioned during the vote. Most Congress members declared that they were supporting the impeachment in the name of God, their families, and one of them even praised a former military commander who tortured several political activists during the military dictatorship in Brazil.

“President Dilma Rousseff is accused of using a common financial mechanism to cover social program expenses in the federal budget by borrowing funds from public banks, which previous administrations also used, as well as local administrations. On the other hand, most Congress members in favor of the impeachment face serious investigations of corruption.

“Media outlets in Brazil play a key role in this process, calling demonstrations against the government. 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. If the electoral process is undermined in Brazil, major political institutions will lose credibility, including the National Congress and the Judiciary, given the contradictions and irregularities that can put democracy at risk. The vice-president, Michael Temer, who hopes to assume the presidency, will not have legitimacy as his popularity is extremely low and he is currently facing corruption charges.

“The main agenda for impeaching President Rousseff is to stop investigations of corruption against Congress members and media executives, and to implement severe austerity measures and cuts in social programs, which will increase social inequality and economic instability.”