Dilma Rousseff, Suspended Brazilian president,  faces ‘Coup Plotters’ – as Senate weighs impeachment, her supporters riot in the streets

Brazil’s suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, speaks at her own impeachment trial, in Brasília on Monday. ‘I fought against dictatorship. I have the mark of torture on my body,’

The Senate will votes on whether to depose, Dilma Rousseff,Brazil’s first female president

She confronts her accusers in a marathon hearing on Monday

‘We are one step away from a genuine coup d’etat,’  Rouseff said

Accused of having taken illegal state loans to patch budget holes

Her supporters have lit fires and rioted in the streets

Senate likely to vote in favor of impeachment

Brazil’s suspended president Dilma Rousseff faces judgement on Tuesday in a Senate vote expected to remove her from office despite her dramatic claim of being the victim of a coup.
The Workers’ party leader could be ejected from power by the senate within days but the former Marxist guerrilla told her accusers the process amounts to a coup
Brazil’s suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, spoke at her own impeachment trial, in Brasília on Monday.

The country’s first female president confronted her accusers in a marathon session on Monday, telling the Senate that she is innocent and warning that the Brazilian democracy is in danger.|
‘We are one step away from a grave institutional breakdown, a genuine coup d’etat,’ she said.
She is accused of having taken illegal state loans to patch budget holes in 2014, masking the country’s problems as it slid into its deepest recession in decades.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff,  testifying at her own impeachment trial, in Brasília, Monday1
Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff presents her final arguments in the impeachment process to the Senate, in Brasilia, Brazil, on Monday

Testifying in her own defence before a predominantly opposition senate, Rousseff the Workers’ party leader said she had withstood torture in her fight for democracy and would not back down even though she is widely expected to lose a final impeachment vote likely to occur within days.
“I fought against dictatorship. I have the mark of torture on my body,” she reminded senators of the abuse she suffered during imprisonment by the military government. “At almost 70 years of age, it’s not going to be now, after becoming a mother and grandmother, that I will abandon the principles that have always guided me,” she said.
Invoking the spectre of military tribunals that sent her to prison 4 decades ago was in consistent with her long held claim that the almost year-long impeachment debate is tantamount to a coup.

Her opponents, however, reiterated their claim that President Rousseff is undergoing a constitutionally approved trial overseen by the supreme court to assess whether she committed a “crime of responsibility” by indulging in creative accounting to balance  government accounts, ahead of the last election.
The political crises, so far has dogged political and socio-economic life of the nation. The seemingly itractible stance of either side for the political soul of Brazil has led to paralysis in government, almost derailing effotys to stage the Olympics. For now, there is no evidence of a comprehensive plan to halt the alarming slide of Latin America’s biggest economy.

Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silvaat the impeachement hearing3

Former Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva listening to the hearing

The Senate is set to hear closing arguments from lawyers for the two sides,  Tuesday before holding a final debate ahead of voting – with the session possibly stretching into Wednesday. Two thirds, or 54, of the 81 senators must vote in favor of impeachment to strip Rousseff of the presidency. Allies said there was little chance the president would survive the final impeachment vote.
Recalling how she was tortured under Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1970s, the leftist leader urged senators during her testimony to ‘vote against impeachment, vote for democracy… Do not accept a coup.’

Her lawyers argue the charge is more political than legal. Similar fiscal irregularities went unpunished in previous national and regional administrations, but these were being used as a pretext to remove a leader who had struggled to assert her authority.
The claim appears to have some merit as prominent senators , close to likely successor, Vice president Temer – have also been secretly recorded plotting to remove Rousseff in the hope that it will kill off a wide-ranging corruption investigation, known as Lava Jato [Car Wash]  that has implicated many of them in the infmous kickback scheme involving the state-run oil company Petrobras.
However, momentum to push her out of office appears unstoppable, fueled by deep anger over razil’s devastating recession, months of political paralysis and a vast corruption scandal centered on the state oil giant Petrobras.

Beazil VP Michel Temer1

Likely successor Vice president Temer – His supporters have also been secretly recorded plotting to remove Rousse

Roussef told the senate ‘Today I fear only for the death of democracy, for which many of us here in this chamber fought,’ Rouseff said in her emotional speech
Folha, one of Brazil’s main newspapers, published a running count of senators’ voting intentions and had 52 declaring themselves pro-impeachment by late Monday, with 11 undecided.
Rousseff would be replaced by her vice president turned bitter enemy Michel Temer. He said he was watching the process with ‘complete calm.’
If Rousseff is expelled, he plans to fly to China for a G20 summit as soon as he is sworn in.
Despite her strong words in the Senate, public reaction to Rousseff’s impeachment trial has been characterized by widespread indifference, as Brazilians struggle with rising inflation and unemployment

Pro Rousseff supporters 1.jpg

Protesters demand the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
protests against Temer1
Social media is in the forefront of the anti-impeachment movement. Collage of demonstrators marching  towards the National Congress in support of Rousseff on Monday Some 2,000 flag-waving supporters rallied to support her near the Senate building in the capital Brasilia – a fraction of the crowds her Workers’ Party has drawn in the past.
Brazilians march to support Rousseff against 'coup'
Protesters also gathered in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, where they lit fires and riot police fired tear gas to disperse them

Although the Workers’ Party under Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is credited with raising around 29 million Brazilians out of poverty, ordinary citizens have turned on the government, blaming them for the country’s multiple ills, accusing Rousseff of mismanagement in particular.
Vice President Temer, of the center-right PMDB party, has already served as acting president since May, using his brief period in power to steer the government rightward.
Although that has earned plaudits from investors, it remains uncertain whether he will have voters’ support to push through the painful austerity reforms he promises.

Rousseff supporters Brasília hold signs  - ‘Come Back Dilma’ and ‘The coup against Brazil’1.jpg

Demonstrators march holding a banner that reads in Portuguese ‘Temer Out’ during a rally in support of Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff and against acting President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Vice President Temer, of the center-right PMDB party, has already served as acting president since May, using his brief period in power to steer the government rightward.
Although that has earned plaudits from investors, it remains uncertain whether he will have voters’ support to push through the painful austerity reforms he promises.
Rousseff has barely double digit approval rating, but Temer is hardly more popular, according to opinion polls. And, unlike many high-profile politicians, Rousseff has not been accused of trying to enrich herself through embezzlement or bribes. There is also lingering sympathy for her suffering under the dictatorship.

Ex-president Ignacio Lula at Monday's impeachment hearing1

The Workers’ Party under Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (left) is credited with raising around 29 million Brazilians out of poverty

Although she spoke mostly in a measured tone on Monday, her voice cracked and she appeared close to tears while recalling her suffering as a young leftist guerrilla and during a battle with cancer.
‘Twice I have seen the face of death close up,’ she said. ‘When I was tortured for days on end, subjected to abuses that make us doubt humanity and the meaning of life itself, and when a serious and extremely painful illness could have cut short my life.’
‘Today I fear only for the death of democracy, for which many of us here in this chamber fought.’The Workers’ Party under Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is credited with raising around 29 million Brazilians out of poverty
Rousseff has not been accused of trying to enrich herself through embezzlement or bribes
Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff,  testifying at her own impeachment trial, in Brasília, Monday3.jpg

Rousseff has not been accused of trying to enrich herself through embezzlement or bribes

Rousseff has barely double digit approval ratings. But Temer is hardly more popular, according to opinion polls.

Unlike many high-profile politicians, Rousseff has not been accused of trying to enrich herself through embezzlement or bribes. There is also lingering sympathy for her suffering under the dictatorship.
Although she spoke mostly in a measured tone on Monday, her voice cracked and she appeared close to tears while recalling her suffering as a young leftist guerrilla and during a battle with cancer.
‘Twice I have seen the face of death close up,’ she said. ‘When I was tortured for days on end, subjected to abuses that make us doubt humanity and the meaning of life itself, and when a serious and extremely painful illness could have cut short my life.’
‘Today I fear only for the death of democracy, for which many of us here in this chamber fought.’

 

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