Brazil’s Impeachment Proceedings — Just What is Going On?

Euan McKirdy – CNN, 05/10/2016

It’s enough to make even the most seasoned Brazilian political watcher’s head spin.

The mess that is Brazil’s current political situation took another twist Monday when the new chief of parliament’s lower house said he wanted to strike down impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.

The motion to impeach Rousseff was first initiated in December, and in April the lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly to begin proceedings.

Conservative’s Star Rises in Brazil as Polarizing Views Tap Into Discontent

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 05/07/2016

In one verbal assault from the podium of Brazil’s Congress, Jair Bolsonaro told a fellow legislator that she was not worthy of being raped by him. “You don’t merit that,” said Mr. Bolsonaro, a former army parachutist.

In another episode, the congressman described his abhorrence of homosexuality. “I would be incapable of loving a gay son,” said Mr. Bolsonaro, 61, the father of five children. “I prefer that he die in an accident.”

Then Mr. Bolsonaro justified his vote last month for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff by praising Col. Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, who oversaw the torture of dissidents during Brazil’s military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985.

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Justice Orders Brazilian Lawmaker Behind Rousseff’s Impeachment to Step Down

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 05/05/2016

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ruled on Thursday that the powerful lawmaker who orchestrated the effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff must step down as he faces graft charges, ratcheting up tensions in the country.

And in a further blow to Brazil’s scandal-plagued political establishment, Vice President Michel Temer, the man preparing to take control of the government from Ms. Rousseff, had his conviction on charges of violating limits on campaign financing upheld earlier this week, a ruling that makes him ineligible to run for elected office for eight years.

The rulings are not expected to save Ms. Rousseff’s presidency. Support for her ouster remains strong in the Senate, which is preparing to vote next week on whether to remove her from office and put her on trial over claims of budgetary manipulation. But the decisions reflect the potential for greater political turmoil in the country.

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Brazil Court Suspends Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha

BBC, 05/05/2016

Brazil’s top court has suspended Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha from his mandate, following a request by the country’s attorney general, officials say.
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He has been accused of trying to obstruct a corruption investigation against him and intimidating lawmakers.

Mr Cunha is an outspoken critic of President Dilma Rousseff and has led an impeachment drive against her.

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Brazil’s Corruption Culture ‘can be beaten’

Paul Moss – BBC, 04/26/2016

Even a visitor who detests shopping can admire the building’s quirkiness, a semi-arch that seems almost to fall on to the pavement, embodying the modernist curves which define architecture in Brazil’s capital.

This is a city that was constructed virtually from scratch in the 1950s and which is supposed to proclaim the new, progressive side of the country.

Yet the man I had come to meet at the mall had a story as old as his country’s creation: “When you bid for a government contract in Brazil, they usually say ‘what can you do for us? What can you do to make this contract a win-win for all of us?’ They want a percentage of the contract…which means bribes.”

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Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer: I Want to Regain the People’s Trust

Shasta Darlington, Flora Charner, Catherine E. Shoichet – CNN, 04/26/2016

Signs on the way to Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer’s house offer harsh words for the man who could take the helm in the South American country if its President is impeached.

Posters along the route say “golpista,” Portuguese for “coup monger.”

Five reasons why the world needs Brazil to pull through its political crisis

Nick Miroff – The Washington Post, 04/22/2016

If you caught a glimpse of last weekend’s impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, you may have noticed that Brazil is going bonkers right now. There was spitting, shoving and confetti-shooting on the floor of parliament, which at times looked more like a Roman coliseum than a legislative chamber.

Rousseff lost the vote badly, setting up what is likely to be a protracted, bitter political battle to unseat her. She will be forced to step down temporarily if Brazil’s senate votes as soon as mid-May to go forward with the impeachment process, with hearings that could drag on for six months.

The country of 200 million people, by far the largest in Latin America, is increasingly polarized and entirely consumed with its political crisis. By no means is Brazil on the verge of collapse, but here are some reasons why the turmoil isn’t so good for the rest of us.

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Brazil’s Political Crisis, Explained

Zack Beauchamp – Vox, 04/21/2016

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is in the midst of a stunning fall from grace.

In 2013, Rousseff had a roughly 80 percent approval rating. Today, it’s around 10 percent. Just this Sunday, one house of Brazil’s Congress voted to impeach her.

The story behind Rousseff’s collapse is extraordinary — but also a bit complicated. If you’re just learning about it, it might be a little bit difficult to parse why Rousseff is in so much trouble, and why this is all blowing up now.

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Brazil’s Shrewd Senate Boss Unlikely to Rescue Rousseff

Brad Haynes, Alonso Soto – Reuters, 04/18/2016

Dilma Rousseff is not the first Brazilian president forced to contemplate the loyalty of Renan Calheiros on the eve of her possible impeachment.
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Nearly 25 years ago, Calheiros, the current president of the Senate who will decide the pace of debate over Rousseff’s impeachment, weighed the fate of a fellow politician from his tiny northeastern state of Alagoas: Fernando Collor de Mello.

Calheiros was a key advisor in Collor’s successful presidential campaign in 1989. Just three years later, his explosive revelations of government corruption to journalists and congressional investigators helped topple Collor in a corruption scandal.

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Brazil President Says She Won’t Quit After Impeachment Brazil president says she won’t quit after impeachment voteote

Jenny Barchfield – AP, 04/18/2016

President Dilma Rousseff said Monday she is “indignant” over a congressional vote to open impeachment proceedings against her and vowed to fight what she called the injustice. She again categorically ruled out resigning.

In her first public appearance since the Chamber of Deputies voted 367-137 late Sunday to send the impeachment proceedings to the Senate for a possible trial, Brazil’s first female president appeared shaken but delivered a message of defiance.

Rousseff repeated the words “indignant,” ”injustice” and “wronged” dozens of times during her news conference in the presidential palace. She also repeated her long-stated position that she hasn’t done anything illegal and is the victim of a “coup” orchestrated by her political foes.

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