This is what awaits Brazil after Rousseff’s impeachment

Misogyny, Capitalism and More Corruption…

As members of the lower house of Brazil’s parliament voted for her impeachment on Sunday, the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, may have wondered which moment it was when everything went wrong for her. Majority of the voters, 367 of them, backed her impeachment, which has now moved to the upper house.

In a live telecast shown to millions of Brazilians, corrupt politicians, with “beams in their eyes,” walked on the podium in front of the speaker, Eduardo Cunha, to give their reasons why Rousseff should be impeached; the whole process looked like a Coup d’etat, which Rousseff later claimed it was. One by one, they came forward, claiming “the love of God,” “the fundamentals of Christianity” and “the peace of Jerusalem” were their reasons for wanting Rousseff’s impeachment, drawing similarities with their counterparts from Nigeria.

Dilma Rousseff’s self implosion

Rousseff’s fall is a lesson in politics for the wise. Having been a guerrilla fighter for the Popular Revolutionary Guard (VPR)  in the 60’s and 70’s against Brazil’s military government at the time, earning her the nickname “Joan of Arc of subversion”, she was caught, imprisoned and later freed in 1972 as the military began relinquishing its power. She is one of the founding members of her party, the Worker’s Party, gaining prominence years later when she served as Minister of Energy, Chief of Staff to former President Lula da Silva and later, the elected president in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. She implemented several policies supporting social reform in Brazil in her first term as president, including the reduction of taxes on electricity and consumer goods. She then allied with communist China, ignoring capitalist USA.

Things began to go south during her second stint as president when federal investigators traced corruption to her time as head of Petrobas, Brazil’s state-owned oil firm. Though none of the charges were directly linked to her, she was guilty by association, considering that some of the accused are members of her political party. It is also thought that some of the money gotten from cutbacks and bribes were used in financing her presidential campaign. Rousseff was accused of “breaking a fiscal responsibility law by using accounting tricks to mask Brazil’s widening deficits,” an act which she claims has been done by previous presidents and was not considered illegal.

Coupled with a recession caused by China’s economic slow-down, things started to look awry for the former freedom fighter. More than a million Brazilians marched last month, calling for her resignation as the country suffered from its worst economic recession in its history.

The final nail in her coffin occurred late last month when she offered former president, Lula da Silva, a cabinet position in order to allow him gain immunity from the corruption charges levied against him as well. Although the Supreme Federal Court vetoed that decision, it was becoming clearer that she was going to be the architect of her own destruction. The proceedings for her impeachment started the day she ‘refused’ to back the House Speaker of the Chambers of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, in his own corruption charges (he himself is standing trial for not declaring his ownership of several offshore accounts in Swiss banks.)

Her impeachment is looking like a witch-hunt and a matter of political expediency. Brazil’s biggest party, the Democratic Movement Party, headed by Rousseff’s vice president, Michel Temer, also facing corruption charges, has broken off from Rousseff’s coalition government. He was pictured laughing on Sunday after the deputies called for Rousseff’s impeachment . Unlike the members of the parliament, it is likely that he will be the president after her impeachment. “Corruption will thrive now,” his smile seemed to say.

Misogyny in Brazilian politics

Their misogyny came to the fore as they voted in the Chambers of Deputies on Sunday. There were placards saying “Ciao dear,” sexist comments aimed at Rousseff as it looked like they were getting their wish after all. Some of the deputies came out, particularly a father and son pair, to announce a special dedication to Brazil’s military government of the 60’s and 70’s and the man who tortured Dilma Rousseff while she was in prison. Some of the female deputies in the lower house were also jeered on their way to vote, with many male deputies resorting to name calling. The potential removal of Brazil’s female leader spells doom for women in the country’s political scene. At the end of the votes, there were no doubts that the impeachment process on Sunday was a farce. “In a certain way, I am having my dreams tortured now,” she said. “Now, they will not kill the hope in me. Because I know that democracy is always the right way.” Rousseff said after the voting.

To go or not to go; that’s the question.

Rousseff’s impeachment is up to the Senate now, which is looking very likely. If majority of the Senate vote for her impeachment, Dilma Rousseff will step down as president for at least 180 days during which time an impeachment trial is carried out. If Rousseff loses at the courts too, she stops being president, and Temer replaces her until 2018.

Rousseff’s cabinet will not be replaced by less-corrupt officials or paragons of righteousness, that is for sure. Her replacements have already put plans in place that will take Brazil back to its pro-capitalist, anti-masses days. The United States was an ally of Brazil’s military regime in the last century, and it seems it wants to continue where it left off after Dilma ignored them for six years. Brazilians seem to want Rousseff out, not because she’s corrupt but because she was “incompetent” and allowed corruption to thrive under her administration. The truth is, her replacements are probably worse. Rousseff might be easy to impeach, but it would not be easy to remove Temer and his cohorts. Brazil has a tough decision to make in the next few months.

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