Free Press Journal

Brazil president lashes out at VP over impeachment effort


Rio De Janeiro: Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff lashed out at the two men in line to succeed her if she is impeached, calling her vice president and the lower house speaker “heads of the conspiracy” to remove her from office.

Speaking to teachers and students yesterday at the presidential palace in Brasilia, Rousseff said Vice President Michel Temer and Chamber of Deputies Speaker Eduardo Cunha are jointly plotting her downfall.

The remarks came on the heels of an allegedly accidental release on Monday of an address to the nation that Temer intended to deliver after a hypothetical congressional vote that would suspend Rousseff from office. In the 13-minute audio, which Temer said he unintentionally sent to lawmakers through an instant messenger app, the vice president speaks as if he had already assumed the top job.

Rousseff said she was “shocked” by the recording, which she said “reveals treason against me and against democracy.” “The mask of the conspirators has fallen,” she said.

“I don’t really know which one is the chief and which is his second-in-charge,” Rousseff said, referring to Temer and Cunha, both members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, which pulled out of Rousseff’s governing coalition late last month.

“One of them is the not-so invisible hand that’s leading this impeachment process, through perversion of power and unimaginable abuses,” she said. “The other is rubbing his hands together and is rehearsing the farce of a would-be inauguration speech.”

On Twitter, the head of Rousseff’s office and a close confident of the president, Jaques Wagner, said that “there is no possibility of pardon for conspirators.”

“After impeachment is vanquished, the only possibility for Temer is resignation,” Wagner wrote. With 342 votes in the 513-member Chamber of Deputies needed for the process to move forward, analysts say the outcome of that vote is too close to call. Rousseff took a hit Tuesday when 31 of the 47 deputies with the Progressive Party, the country’s fourth-largest party and a member of her governing coalition, announced they would vote for impeachment.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that Washington is confident in Brazil’s ability to overcome its political crisis.

“We believe Brazil’s democracy is mature. It’s strong enough to ensure that its current political challenges are met and get resolved in a way that allows Brazil to prosper,” Toner said in Washington. On Monday, a lower house commission brought Rousseff one step closer to impeachment after approving a report in favor of her removal. (AP)