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Why I'm Against the Impeachment of Dilma Rousseff

ICE Graveyard 18/04/2016 Leonardo Fontes

First off, I'd like to lay bare that I voted for Dilma and I've regretted it. I now feel betrayed and misled by a candidate who, once re-elected, did exactly the opposite of what she promised during elections. I would never vote for Aecio Neves, who I consider to be worse in absolutely every aspect when compared with Dilma, but if the elections were today, and knowing now the direction the Dilma government would eventually steer us, I would have annulled my vote in the second round. The option to change my vote, however, just doesn't exist, history doesn't move backward.
I consider the second Dilma government to be awful -- wrong on economic measures, wrong on policy and indefensible in almost all other aspects. However, I am radically against the impeachment of the president for a number of reasons that I will do my best to explain below.
First, and above all, I'm against the impeachment for legal reasons that have to do with democratic mandate. I'm not a lawyer, but I do know history, politics, and law sufficiently to know that the fundamental principal of a Democratic State is the respect of the law and that everyone should be treated with equality before the law. This present process of impeachment, in the way it's been carried out, is a maneuver that goes strongly against these principles.

This coup attempts to remove a president legitimately elected by an absolute majority of the population, in order to put in her place a person who did not receive any votes and who will act in the name of private interests.

At the present moment there does not exist any proof that President Dilma has committed any crimes of responsibility as defined by the Brazilian constitution. The much talked about "fiscal tricks" or the "emission of decrees of supplementary credit" do not constitute such crimes. These actions are recurring measures that various governments at the municipal, state, and federal levels have taken for decades in this country and are necessary for the daily administration of the public budget. Various lawyers and economists have demonstrated this point with much greater level of expertise than I am able to provide you.
Nor has equality before the law been respected. Deputy Carlos Sampaio, leader of the PSDB and one of the principal spokesmen for the impeachment, has said in a meeting of the commission, which approved the opening of impeachment proceedings, that Lula and Fernando Henrique Cardoso have both carried out similar manipulations "only" four times each, whereas Dilma has been doing so for 14 months.
eduardo cunha © Provided by The Huffington Post eduardo cunha Eduardo Cunha, the President of the Chamber of Deputies and a key leader in the impeachment proceedings against President Rousseff, faces his own charges of corruption.
Now, as far as I know, a crime is a crime, and it doesn't matter whether it was committed one or two hundred times. Of course, the principle of proportionality of crime to punishment exists, but in this case, if the law is interpreted in such a way for one person, it should be interpreted in such a way for all people.
The approval of the impeachment process as it has transpired in the last few weeks will produce a huge legal insecurity for all current and future holders of executive office. Mayors who already suffer intense pressure from the judicial powers and from the Public Ministry in the face of a scarcity of resources combined with an increase in their necessary spending will be even more exposed to processes of impediment of policies or removal from office in the face of any discretionary budget measure.
The same goes for governors and future presidents of the republic. This puts at risk not only political stability, but also Brazilian democracy. If the impeachment of Dilma is carried out, anything will be able to be used as a possible future excuse and be motive enough to tumble a legitimately elected government, if that government just so happens to have a low approval rating and be having difficulty in obtaining legislative support.
Some may argue that current Brazilian statues concerning the removal of executive officeholders is poorly drafted, antiquated, even undemocratic, and that the people should be able to decide whether or not a an elected official should stay in office. What must be made clear: in a democracy, if we do not agree with the law, we must fight to change it. Simply disobeying the law is an attempt made in contempt of the principles of the democratic state of law. Further, Brazilian law does not provide for the removal of an elected official on the basis that such an official has lied on the campaign trail, has a low approval rating, or has trouble in forming a parliamentary majority.
Secondly, I am against the impeachment for economic reasons. As I said above, I believe that the Dilma government has been nothing short of dreadful and that she and her team are responsible for the grave economic crisis in which the country finds itself. But on the other hand, Michel Temer's plan would lead to a deepening of the crisis, implementing an economic adjustment that would further punish workers and those most impoverished in our society.
Dilma's economic decisions have been wrong, but the Temer Plan will only worsen the situation, at least, that is, for those at the bottom.

The economic crisis facing the country is partly a result of errors made during Dilma's first term, particularly with regard to the excessive exemptions that were granted to the business sector, which had no counterparts in terms of private investment.
However, the crisis is caused above all, and daily made worse, by the botched economic adjustment which the economic team decided to put into action and which continues to decelerate the economy and brutally decrease tax revenue.
Everything indicates that Temer's plan and its supporters intend to scale back workers' rights by way of reforms to workplace legislation and further reduce the offer of public services in order to diminish obligatory public spending in the areas of health and education with the aim of guaranteeing more room in the budget to pay interest on the public debt.
Dilma's economic decisions have been wrong, but the Temer Plan will only worsen the situation, at least, that is, for those at the bottom.
Believing that removing the PT from power will aid in the fight against corruption is believing that corruption in the Brazilian political system is a problem of individual morality. In reality it's a systemic issue.

Finally, I am against the impeachment for political reasons. There is no legitimacy to the movement helmed by Temer, Cunha, the PMDB and their allies, including all of the old political foxes, to undertake the impeachment of the president.
The impeachment process has shown itself to be chock full of vices and of calculated maneuvers undertaken with the sole objective of realizing the desired result. To start with: Is it any coincidence that Eduardo Cunha, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, accepted the request for a vote of impeachment at the same time that Dilma's party (PT) decided to hold a vote over his own removal from the House Committee of Ethics?
There is also the issue of hidden interests, of the fact that many of those involved in impeachment proceedings are in search of impunity from the investigations relating to Operation Car Wash ("Operação Lava Jato"). Eduardo Cunha has already been accused and Temer faces his own charges of corruption. Believing that removing the PT from power will aid in the fight against corruption is believing that corruption in the Brazilian political system is a problem of individual morality. In reality it's a systemic issue.
This does not give a free pass to Dilma or PT with regard to their responsibility in their own current level of corruption. Noting specifically their failure to push forward, together with Congress, reforms which would make changes to electoral campaign financing and the conditions of policy implementation. However, whoever thinks that money from contractors that went to the PT is rotten and what went to the coffers of the PSDB, PMDB and the other parties is clean money, donated of pure benevolence and without any hidden interest is either very innocent indeed or, simply put, a hypocrite.
It is for these reasons that the impeachment is a coup. Not a classic coup d'état with the army marching through the streets removing elected officials by force. But, yes, a coup against the democratic state of law through the arbitrary disobedience of its laws. A coup against political stability by generating insecurity and unpredictability for all elected officials. A coup against the majority of Brazilians who, in the coming years, will have see its rights come under a terrible attack.
In summary, a coup against politics and democracy itself. This coup attempts to remove a president legitimately elected by an absolute majority of the population, in order to put in her place a person who did not receive any votes and who will act in the name of private interests, attempting to maintain old economic privileges and the old and true practice of impunity that has always reigned in Brazilian society.
This post first appeared on HuffPost Brazil. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.

DILMA ROUSSEFF © Bloomberg via Getty Images DILMA ROUSSEFF
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