President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is halfway through the process of being impeached, accused of borrowing money to misrepresent the state of her nation’s economy to outsiders. In remarks Tuesday, she once again rejected the claims against her, instead alleging that her impeachment is fueled by “a great amount of prejudice against women.”
“There has been, mixed up in all of this, a great amount of prejudice against women,” she said at a press conference. “There are attitudes towards me that there would not be against a male president.”
To put a finer point on her argument that the impeachment process is sexist, on Monday, Rousseff welcomed to the Planalto Palace, the presidential offices, a group of an estimated 400 female supporters, who cheered Rousseff as “beloved” and “the warrior of the Brazilian nation.” (Rousseff was once a member of a leftist terrorist guerrilla in the 1960s.) The leader of the group made a statement alleging the supporters felt personally “disrespected by the offensive and sexist statements of some of the parliamentarians who voted yesterday in favor of the impeachment process.” The statement went on to say, “As activists, we are aware of the unique moment that the country is living and they cannot overlook us.”
Rousseff’s latest argument that her position is unique based on her gender contradicts the second statement she made following the House of Representatives’ vote to impeach her on Sunday, where she argued that she is merely the latest in a long string of Brazilian presidents to face coup attempts. “If we follow the path of the presidents of my country, the presidential regime, from Getulio Vargas [1951-1954] on, we see that impeachment has systematically become an instrument against elected presidents,” she claimed. “I am sure that there has not been a single president after the re-democratization of the country that has not faced deterrent processes in Congress.”
Brazilian news outlets are reporting that Rousseff will take her claim to the presidency to New York on April 21, visiting the United Nations for the ratification of the Paris Agreement, a climate change pact, on Earth Day. She is expected to make a five-minute speech denouncing a “coup” against her government. She has already received international support from a formidable roster of totalitarian leftists, including Cuban dictator Raúl Castro and Venezuelan despot Nicolás Maduro.
Rousseff’s impeachment is widely popular, with thousands of Brazilians taking to the streets Sunday to celebrate the House vote. Following this vote, the Senate will now have to ratify her impeachment; if they do, she will be forced out of office for 180 days while the impeachment trial transpires. In a sign that Brazilians are exasperated not only with Rousseff, but with the entirety of the nation’s leftist government, polls show significant support for the impeachment of Vice President Michel Temer and House Speaker Eduardo Cunha.
Cunha and Temer are both members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), a separate but also leftist party from Rousseff’s socialist Workers’ Party. Cunha is currently facing charges of having taken at least $5 million in bribes in connection to the ongoing corruption scandal known in Brazil as “Operation Car Wash,” in which dozens of government workers stand accused of using the state-owned Petrobras oil corporation to enrich themselves.
Rousseff has accused Cunha of being on the hunt for revenge against her party since he was indicted on the Petrobras charges. She has also referred to her own vice president as a “conspirator” and “traitor.”
The Brazilian newspaper O Globo reports Wednesday that at least 100 members of the House of Representatives would support Cunha’s ouster.