Completing Democratic Overthrow, Brazil's Right-Wing Senate Ousts Rousseff
The suspended president, as well as many Brazilians and outside observers, had called the process nothing less than a political coup d'état
This story may be updated.
As expected, Brazil's Senate on Wednesday voted to impeach suspended President Dilma Rousseff.
The 61-20 vote to oust her from office means an end to 13 years of rule by the Workers' Party and the completion of her term by conservative Interim President and former Vice President Michel Temer, who, as the Guardian reports, "was among the leaders of the conspiracy against his former running mate."
As ABC News reports, the nation's first female president faced charges of "violating fiscal laws by using loans from public banks to cover budget shortfalls, which artificially enhanced the budget surplus." Critics of the process, however, have repeatedly argued the legal grounds for those charges are essentially non-existent and evidence suggests the charges were largely, if not exclusively, politically motivated.
During her speech to lawmakers on Monday, Rousseff rejected the charges levied against her and reiterated her belief the proceedings represented a coup. She warned, "I'm afraid that democracy will be damned with me."
She was not alone in that thinking. As Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and president of Just Foreign Policy, argued earlier Wednesday, "many Brazilians consider the whole process a coup d'état—and not just against a president, but against democracy itself. "
He also noted that "the interim government intends to double down on austerity and cuts in social spending and public investment."
"If Rousseff is ousted and the new, unelected government commits itself to the failed economic strategy of the 'lost decades,'" he concluded, "it could be a long time before the majority of Brazilians recover the living standards that they reached a couple of years ago."
Brazil-based journalist Glenn Greenwald also said this week that the "majority of the Senate sitting in judgment of her are people who themselves are extremely corrupt, if not outright criminals. They are either people who are convicted of crimes or who are under multiple investigations."
He added: "You can call it a coup, you can debate whether that word applies, but what it is is a complete reversal of democracy in a way that is ushering in an agenda that benefits a small number of people that the Brazilian citizens have never accepted and, in fact, have continuously rejected."