Brazilâ€™s suspended President Dilma Rousseff
was impeached today Wednesday August
31 following a 61-20 vote by the countryâ€™s
Senators broke into protest, cheers and applause
after the electronic voting, which went on for hours, was
announced. Pro-impeachment senators burst into a rendering of the
national anthem, some waving Brazilian flags, while allies of
Rousseff stood stony face.
â€œI will not associate my name to this
infamy,â€ read a sign held up by one senator.
68-year-old Rousseff, the countryâ€™s first
female president, will be removed from office and replaced by Vice
President Michel Temer, 75. He will be sworn in on
Wednesday to serve out her term which extends through
The impeachment comes two days after Rousseff staged an
impassioned defense of her actions on
Monday and insisted she was innocent of any
wrongdoing in an lengthy speech before the senate. Lawmakers had
charged that she breached fiscal rules in an attempt to cover up
the nationâ€™s budget woes.
â€œI know I will be judged, but my conscience
is clear. I did not commit a crime,â€ Rousseff, told
senators on Monday.
â€œI canâ€™t help but taste the
bitterness of injustice.â€
Rousseff described the impeachment process, which has been
going on for about a year, amounted to an illegal coup.Â
She said the move was aimed at protecting the interests of the
countryâ€™s economic elite and rolling back social
programs that lifted millions of Brazilians from poverty during the
Recalling how she was tortured and imprisoned in the 1970s for
belonging to a leftist guerrilla group, Rousseff urged senators to
â€œvote against impeachment, vote for democracy. Do
not accept a coup.
Her opponents, however, have hailed the chance to turn the
page on a drawn-out political crisis, the
countryâ€™s worst recession and a sweeping
corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.
About 50 leftist demonstrators gathered outside the
presidential palace to show their support.
â€œWe are protesting against the coup and
fighting for democracy,â€ said 61-year-old farmer
In the center of the capital, extra security and the closing
of avenues near the Senate caused massive traffic jams. Police said
they were preparing for large protests later in the day.
Lawyers presenting closing arguments could not hold back their
emotions as the clock wound down on a crisis that has paralyzed
Brazilian politics for months. A lead lawyer for the case against
Rousseff, Senator Janaina Paschoal, wept as she asked forgiveness
for causing the president
â€œsuffering,â€ but insisted it was the
right thing to do.
â€œThe Brazilian people must be aware that
nothing illegal and illegitimate is being done here,â€
Rousseffâ€™s counsel, veteran lawyer Jose
Eduardo Cardozo, retorted that the charges were trumped up to
punish the presidentâ€™s support for a huge
corruption investigation that has snared many of
â€œThis is a farce,â€ he said in a
speech during which his voice alternated between shouts and near
whispers. We should ask her forgiveness if she is
convicted,â€ he added. â€œHistory will
treat her fairly. History will absolve Dilma Rousseff if you
Cardozo said shhe would appeal the impeachment through the
Supreme Court. Rousseff is the first Brazilian leader to be
dismissed from office since 1992, when Fernando Collor de Mello
resigned before a final vote in his impeachment trial for