Everything Wrong (and Right) About the Impeachment Process in Brazil

By Isabella S.

Although the impeachment process of former Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, has received the attention of mass media over the last few weeks, the articles, especially if Brazilian, seem to have one of three opinions. There are those who blindly glorify the impeachment as the act that will end all corruption in Brazil. There are others who claim the impeachment process has been anti-democratic in nature and regardless of whether it should happen, the way it has been carried out undermines the democratic system. There are others still, the minority fervent supporters of the Worker’s Party (PT), that believe the ex-president should not be impeached at all. The fact is she was indeed impeached on the 17th of April and now here is everything that was wrong and right about the impeachment as a process.

The people that question the validity of the impeachment speak on many grounds. Firstly, there is the matter of her infraction as a president. She was accused of “window-dressing government accounts with a temporary transfer of money from state banks ahead of the last election.” This is a common, certainly in Brazil, and minor, arguable, infraction; and conspiracy theorists view it as an attempt for a “coup” by another political party, also deeply corrupted, to seize power. The fact is that Rousseff did commit that crime, whatever emphasis is put on its importance. Furthermore, she was also the chairwoman of oil corporation “Petrobras” at the time of the unprecedentedly massive corruption scandal. Although there is no concrete evidence that she herself, was involved in partaking in the corruption, her innocence is questionable to say the least, and non-existing to say the most.

Moreover, the impeachment process was a mess at its finest moments. The man leading the process, Eduardo Cunha, is convicted of corruption and a purger himself. Supporters of the impeachment will say that regardless of this, according to the constitution, the person with his title must have carried out the impeachment and to not do so would be undemocratic. Others find the process of allegedly getting rid of corruption, led by a corrupt politician, ironic and suspicious. Conspiracy theorists go so far as to say that he and vice president, Temer, are forming an “alliance”. The truly troubling scene was during the voting process, broadcasted live on national television, during which “respected” politicians could be seen singing and throwing confetti in the name of anti-corruption. Deputies voted “yes” in the name of their Church, even though in Brazil the Church and State are separate. Deputy Maluf, who is on Interpol’s red list for conspiracy, voted yes “for” Capixiba, a man accused of money laundering. Deputy Silas voted “for the love of God yes”, he is accused of forging documents and misappropriating public funds. Perhaps most despicable of all is Deputy Bolsonaro, who has made homophobic, racist, and sexist remarks in the past. He voted “yes” for a general responsible for torturing thousands during the military coup of 1964, including Rousseff herself.

Now it’s your turn to decide: How legitimate was this impeachment process?

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