News stories out of Brazil are full of the impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Roussefff. The stories cover the charges against Dilma (in Brazil they use first names for a second reference) and the reaction of the very frustrated Brazilian populace. What I have not seen much of, however, are reports about the people pushing for impeachment.
Let’s start with the prime motivator and leaders of the lower house of congress in Brasilia. Eduardo Cunha is from the opposition Democratic Movement Party and is facing his own charges of corruption.
The Wall Street Journal did a full story on Eduardo’s woes, but most publications either don’t mention it or drop it in near the end of the story. The Brazilian press, by contrast, have regular stories about the charges and the latest actions of the prosecutor to build a case.
The Guardian had a good summary of many of the pro-impeachment people in their story about the final vote (boldface mine):
On a dark night, arguably the lowest point was when Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right deputy from Rio de Janeiro, dedicated his yes vote to Carlos Brilhante Ustra, the colonel who headed the Doi-Codi torture unit during the dictatorship era. Rousseff, a former guerrilla, was among those tortured. Bolsonaro’s move prompted left-wing deputy Jean Wyllys to spit towards him.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, his son and also a deputy, used his time at the microphone to honour the general responsible for the military coup in 1964.
Deputies were called one by one to the microphone by the instigator of the impeachment process, Cunha – an evangelical conservative who is himself accused of perjury and corruption – and one by one they condemned the president.
Yes, voted Paulo Maluf, who is on Interpol’s red list for conspiracy. Yes, voted Nilton Capixiba, who is accused of money laundering. “For the love of God, yes!” declared Silas Camara, who is under investigation for forging documents and misappropriating public funds.
And yes, voted the vast majority of the more than 150 deputies who are implicated in crimes but protected by their status as parliamentarians.
At times the session exposed the farcical side of Brazil’s democracy, such as the Women’s party that has only male deputies, or the Progressive Socialist party that is one of the most right-wing groups in congress.
These are hardly supporters of democratic and clean government. Somehow, phrases such as “the notoriously corrupt” members of Congress — a phrase used by US news outlets, if they mention the corruption at all — just does not have the same impact as what The Guardian laid out.
To be clear, I am no fan of the PT, Dilma’s party, but for this congress to vote to impeach her over corruption goes way beyond the pot commenting on the hue of the kettle.