Last month, a controversial political machination at the top levels of Brazil's government saw the removal of its elected left-wing president, Dilma Rousseff, and her replacement with an appointed, neoliberal "interim president" President Michel Temer, who has now been convicted of committing election fraud and barred from holding elected office in Brazil for 8 years.
Temer's conviction is just the latest scandal to hit his appointed government: two of his cabinet was also forced to resign immediately after they were appointed, when recordings surfaced in which they illegally plotted to obstruct the investigation into Temer's corruption.
Temer's administration has pledged to impose radical austerity and sweeping sell-offs of state assets in Brazil, the world's fifth-most-populous country — also one of the world's most unequal nations (the situation there may remind Americans of Michigan Republican governor Rick Snyder's unilateral removal of elected mayors from the state's overwhelming poor and black cities, and their replacement with corporate-sector "interim leaders" — a situation that led shortly to the Flint lead crisis).
Temer's government enjoyed cautious approval from the international community at its outset, but this is collapsing, with parliamentarians from around the world condemning the political process that put it in office as a "coup" and denying the administration legitimacy.
In the scope of the scheming, corruption and illegality from this "interim" government, Temer's law-breaking is not the most severe offense. But it potently symbolizes the anti-democratic scam that Brazilian elites have attempted to perpetrate. In the name of corruption, they have removed the country's democratically elected leader and replaced her with someone who – though not legally barred from being installed – is now barred for 8 years from running for the office he wants to occupy.
Just weeks ago, Dilma's impeachment appeared inevitable. Brazil's oligarchical media had effectively focused attention solely on her. But then, everyone started looking at who was engineering her impeachment, who would be empowered, what their motives were – and everything changed. Now her impeachment, though still likely, does not look nearly as inevitable: last week, O Globo reported that 2 Senators previously in favor were now re-considering in light of "new facts" (the revealed tapes of Temer's ministers), and yesterday Folha similarly reported that numerous Senators are considering changing their minds. Notably, Brazilian media outlets stopped publishing polling data about the public's views of Temer and Dilma's impeachment.
Credibility of Brazil's Interim President Collapses: Receives 8-Year Ban on Running
[Glenn Greenwald/The Intercept]
(Image: Michel Temer president, Mauricioomlb, CC-BY-SA)