Dilma Rousseff was ousted as President of the country, but did not lose the right to hold public office | Laura Bécquer Paseiro
Thus, the parliamentary coup that had been in the works for months was complete and the severe limitations of bourgeois democracy were demonstrated. Brazil joined the list of countries in the region that have suffered these modern versions of the coup which, shrouded in supposed legality, obstruct and violate the sovereignty of peoples.
Throughout the entire impeachment process against Rousseff, the prosecution could never prove she had committed the alleged crime of manipulating budget accounts.
The country’s political instability intensified last March when the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) left the government coalition they had formed with the Workers’ Party (PT). On abandoning the governing alliance, many of the party’s leaders announced what they had been plotting in advance: “Brasil presente, Temer presidente” (Brazil, present! Temer, President!). The move was a hard blow to the PT.
The events of last week represent a step backward in terms of the social, regional and economic achievements made during 13 years of PT governments, respect for the Constitution, the role of Brazil at the regional level, the defense of natural resources and the country’s future. This is also a wake-up call to social and left movements which have said they will stay in the streets voicing their opposition, until the rights of the majority, cast aside, have been restored.
Also telling is the fact that 35 of the 81 Senators who took the political destiny of the former guerrilla and the country in their hands, participating in the final impeachment sessions, are themselves under investigation for money laundering, corruption and cronyism.
Rousseff was interrogated for 14 hours on Monday, August 29, as part of the final stage of her impeachment. During her speech and responses to questions from senators – critics and allies alike – she remained calm and rose to the historic occasion in which she knew she was starring.
In what was described by analysts as the most important speech of her political career, Rousseff insisted that the country was on the brink of “a serious institutional breakdown.”
She reiterated that the accusations against her were “mere pretexts supported by fragile legal rhetoric.”
Rousseff’s magnanimity, not only as a woman, but as a political leader, was evident again on August 31, when she appeared before the press and sent another message to the Brazilian people following the vote against her.
In her opening remarks she said that the coup government of Michel Temer would face “the most determined, firmest and energetic opposition.” She added, “At this moment, I will not say goodbye. I am certain that I can tell you: See you soon,” and stressed that she would continue to fight tirelessly to build a better Brazil.
The government of Michel Temer, who takes over from Rousseff until the end of her mandate in 2018, consists of a representation of the political elite: wealthy white men. The people have been left out of this new government.
Temer is accused of corruption, and will govern alongside seven people currently under investigation or already convicted.
The new leader will not enjoy a quiet presidency. The huge street protests taking place in recent days are a reflection of what he will face. His first measures include cuts in public spending, privatization in the health and education sectors, raising the age of retirement, and an “exhaustive” review of the social programs implemented during the PT governments. From his very first day in power, Temer announced that he would adopt “tough” and “emergency” measures, focused mainly on the economy.
Chronology of a coup
How did the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff play out?
December 2, 2015
The then Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, in an open fight against the Brazilian government, announces the start of the impeachment proceedings against Dilma Rousseff.
Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is interrogated in relation to the corruption case surrounding state oil companyPetrobras. This results in protests throughout the country. Rousseff claims that the process of parliamentary interpellation against her is a blow to democracy.
The Special Commission of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil sends its recommendation to the plenary to continue the impeachment process. On April 17, this is approved with 367 votes in favor, 137 against, seven abstentions and two absentees.
The Senate votes to go ahead with impeachment proceedings with 55 votes in favor, 22 against and one abstention. Rousseff is suspended from office on May 12 for a period of 180 days. Michel Temer, then vice president, becomes acting president.
The Supreme Court suspends the Speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, over allegations he tried to intimidate congress members and obstruct alleged corruption investigations against him.
A report prepared by experts in the Senate concludes that there is no evidence that Rousseff was involved in fiscal maneuvers.
The chief instigator of the impeachment, Eduardo Cunha, announces his resignation, two months after the Supreme Federal Court (STF) suspends him as speaker and federal legislator.
The Special Senate Committee approves the report by rapporteur Antonio Anastasia, requesting the continuation of the impeachment proceedings against Rousseff.
With a total of 59 votes in favor and 21 against, the Senate accepts the accusation against Rousseff regarding 2015 budget irregularities. On August 25, the historic impeachment trial against the president begins.
On August 29, Rousseff appears before the Senate plenary and assures that she has been faithful to the commitment made to the nation and to the people who elected her in exercising the presidency of the Republic.
On Wednesday, August 31, the Senate gives the green light to the coup against Dilma Rousseff, with 61 senators voting in favour of her impeachment. However, she was not barred from holding public office.