“Parliamentary coup d'etat”


She fought for her office – in the end, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff lost: The Senate voted for her removal – Michel Temer will succeed her, which could cause great concern for the Latin American relief organization Adveniat.


Interviewer: How do you assess this, was Dilma Roussef unjustly suspended?

Norbert Bolte (Brazil consultant at the Catholic Latin America relief organization Adveniat): In Brazil, we are dealing with a presidential democracy. There, the president is elected by the people. And now a process has taken place in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies that has removed this president from office. But this impeachment procedure presupposes that the person, the president in this case, has been proven to have culpably violated the law.

The deliberations and the votes in the House of Representatives and the Senate have shown, in our estimation, that this proof could not be provided. So she could not be proven to have culpably failed as president. So it is quite understandable when many of our Adveniat project partners in Brazil speak of a parliamentary coup d'etat.

Interviewer: This is also supported by the fact that Dilma Roussef's successor Michel Temer, as vice president, supported everything that Roussef has now been accused of. Has this glaring contradiction not disturbed the senators?
Bolte: It is important to know that Temer was initially a coalition partner and ally of the future ex-president. As such, it has supported their policies for some time. At the same time, however, other processes have already taken place. A close party friend of Temer's was parliamentary speaker and contributed massively to the removal of this president with his political agenda. This speaker of parliament initiated the impeachment process at the end of 2015, even though he was part of the ruling coalition at the time.
Interviewer: What does the Senate decision mean now? Which forces in the country have prevailed and what will change now??
Bolte: Most certainly, we must expect that a policy that the government has made in the past 13, 14 years in favor of broad sections of the population, that is, in favor of the common good, will recede in the next few years. I fear that the economic crisis will intensify, social policies will be cut back. We also have to expect a strong polarization within the political spectrum.

The division of society, which already exists, will probably be pushed even further. We must also fear that corruption will continue to increase. Because it is precisely these forces that have now returned to power that have actually been in charge since Brazil's colonial days. They had to take a break because the citizens wanted it that way and elected Ignacio Silva da Lula and Dilma Roussef, two representatives of the Workers' Party, to the presidency. These are the fears we have.

Interviewer: That is, you don't see any politicians with a clean slate at the moment who could lead the country in the right direction?

Bolte: Yes, there certainly is. And many voters in Brazil are also aware of this. Whether this will be directly reflected in the parliament to which the deputies are elected and, as this year, the mayors are also elected, remains to be seen. Other things also play a role here, not least money, corruption, which unfortunately continues to advance here. However, I have the faint hope that in the context of this discussion about the impeachment and also in the context of the demonstrations that have taken place, there has also been something like a stronger politicization of many Brazilians.

Interviewer: What does this political skirmish mean now for the work of Adveniat??
Bolte: This work will certainly not get any easier. In recent weeks and months, our project partners in Brazil have reflected this political process to us with great concern. They have told us of their concern that social programs are being cut. They also fear that corruption will not be fought, but will advance even more than before. Last but not least, the Supreme Court has ied worrying rulings in recent days.

This is the scenario we are counting on. We have the faint hope that perhaps something like a will-building process can also be promoted by our church partners to get political reform underway. This reform is urgently needed. But these are very quiet hopes that are in the drawer at the moment of this upheaval, but do not manifest themselves directly in everyday life.

The interview was conducted by Verena Troster.

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