Protests have been rocking the Brazilian nation for well over a year now. Brazilians are demanding their president, Dilma Rousseff, step down from power. The calls for impeachment have finally reached a breaking point. Brazil’s lower house of the National Congress has voted in favor of impeachment. The vote now moves to the Senate. If the upper chamber approves, her trial will officially commence.
Rousseff began her early political career as a member of a guerilla Marxist organization in the late 1960’s – which took part in several bank robberies, bombings, and killing of policemen. After serving several years in prison, Rousseff climbed the ranks in politics and became former President Lula da Silva’s favored pick as his successor. Both are members of Brazil’s Workers Party, which boasts strong leftist economic views and alliances with Cuba’s Castro government.
The Brazilian people have long complained of Rousseff’s knowledge of the country’s state-run oil company giving massive amounts of kickbacks to political leaders. She was a member of the board of directors during the time of the scandal and many believe it impossible she had no idea of the high level of corruption amid her tenure. What’s actually getting her in trouble is her administration’s mishandling of government accounts before her re-election in 2014, a move many believe was to make the country appear more financially stable than it actually was.
Despite the legitimacy for concern, her supporters claim the calls for impeachment are the result of a “right-wing conspiracy” by political opponents attempting to oust a democratically elected leader. This argument is even being made by American liberal pundits. Democracy Now's Glenn Greenwald is convinced the tidal wave of opposition against President Rousseff is a right-wing “coup” by media elites who have never liked the Workers Party.
What Greenwald and others fail to acknowledge is the bi-partisan investigation by Brazilian authorities. In fact, many members of her opposition are facing similar charges of corruption. Rousseff is no different. Millions protesting in the streets against the President are not the result of a “conspiracy by the elite”. When you are receiving a ten point presidential approval rating – you’ve lost your mandate to lead. Liberal supporters of the president need to understand being popularly elected does not give anyone free reign to break the law for four years. Rousseff may not be the only politician facing accusations of wrongdoing, but she is the face of the country and is clearly becoming the symbol of a culture of corruption the Brazilian people are growing sick of.