Brazil boots Rousseff from office
Nation’s 1st female president calls Senate move ‘a parliamentary coup,’ vows appeal
RIO DE JANEIRO — After months of bitterly contested proceedings, Brazil’s Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office, marking a turbulent finale to 13 years of center-left government in Latin America’s largest country.
Rousseff, a onetime guerrilla turned economist and the nation’s first female president, was convicted 6120 of breaking fiscal responsibility law. Her more conservative vice president Michel Temer will serve out the rest of her term, which expires in 2018.
The impeachment vote came as no surprise — senators had long signaled their intentions. Still, it rocked a nation that, after basking in the world’s attention during last month’s Olympics, con- tinues to be saddled by a crippling recession, an ongoing investigation into widespread corruption and a crisis of confidence in the political system.
Soon after the final vote, Rousseff descended to the lobby of the presidential palace in Brasilia and gave a defiant speech to supporters.
“The senators who voted for impeachment decided to rip up the Constitution … they condemned an innocent person and carried out a parliamentary coup,” said Rousseff, who was surrounded mostly by women and vowed to appeal the decision.
“They think they won, but they’re wrong. I know we will all fight,” she said.
Rousseff then ended by quoting a poem written by Soviet-era Russian artist Vladimir Mayakovsky, and left to shouts of “Out with Temer!” — a chant often A defiant Dilma Rousseff blasts the 61-20 Senate impeachment vote Wednesday. Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer will serve out the rest of her term, which expires in 2018. heard during last month’s Olympic competitions.
It’s unclear if an appeal has any chance of success, but Rousseff’s attorney, former Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo, is already considering arguments he can bring to the country’s Supreme Court.
Over the last few days, as Rousseff proclaimed her innocence and protesters in some cities clashed with police and fires blocked main arteries, but the demonstrations were smaller than those that called for her ouster earlier this year and led to her temporary suspension in May.
“I was no fan of Rousseff’s government. It made serious mistakes. But at least she was elected legitimately,” said Michelle Brito, 33, who attempted to join a protest against Temer’s new government near her work Tuesday night in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, before being turned away by tear gas, explosions and crowds running from police.
“I believe the men who took over did so cynically and with the worst intentions,” Brito said. “They wanted to take power without having to face democracy, and I fear now for how we may suffer.”
How the rest of Latin America will react is unclear, but so far, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador have said they will recall their ambassadors from Brazil.
Though polls showed a majority of Brazilians wanted Rousseff out before the impeachment process started, a majority also wanted to remove Temer.
Recent polling suggests a majority preferred new elections and only half the country believed impeachment was being carried out in full accordance with the law.
The Supreme Court, however, allowed the Senate to decide if Rousseff’s of-