Bernie Sanders: Dilma Rousseff Faces Coup D’etat In Brazil, Not Impeachment

As Bernie Sanders pushes politics to the left in the United States, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil faces an impeachment — or coup d’etat depending on who you ask — that could reverse more than a decade of “pink wave” socialist governments in Latin America.

Now stripped of her title, Dilma sits awaiting an impeachment trail while she should be presiding over the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Bernie, also without the title he’d been vying for during the past year, may be feeling a certain affinity with Rousseff at the moment. Sanders published a full statement on his website condemning the actions against the Brazilian president, saying they have all the trappings of a coup.

“I am deeply concerned by the current effort to remove Brazil’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. To many Brazilians and observers the controversial impeachment process more closely resembles a coup d’etat… The effort to remove President Rousseff is not a legal trial but rather a political one. The United States cannot sit silently while the democratic institutions of one of our most important allies are undermined. We must stand up for the working families of Brazil and demand that this dispute be settled with democratic elections.”

With the initial shock over Dilma’s case long gone, it seems that Bernie has released this statement to capitalize on Brazil’s Olympic spotlight. If Sanders is looking to clear Rousseff’s name, he might have picked a good time. Conscious of his unpopularity, Brazil’s interim president, Michel Temer, held a subdued role at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, and when he did appear, he was booed by the audience.

These events fit into the narrative of Dilma’s fiercest defenders, who say that her impeachment is the result of a media circus intended to throw her out of office against the will of the people. Bernie seems to be in line with this modern-day coup theory. Highlighting criticisms of the charges against Rousseff, Sanders pointed out that a largely white, male Congress voted her out of office in the first place.

“After suspending Brazil’s first female president on dubious grounds, without a mandate to govern, the new interim government abolished the ministry of women, racial equality and human rights. They immediately replaced a diverse and representative administration with a cabinet made up entirely of white men. The new, unelected administration quickly announced plans to impose austerity, increase privatization and install a far right-wing social agenda.”

Recently, assertions that Dilma’s impeachment is nothing more than a witch hunt have gained some hard evidence. The Intercept detailed how Brazil’s giant news source Folha de Sao Paulo suppressed a survey of its own readers, one which showed a 61-percent majority do not want Rousseff or Temer in office. In line with Bernie Sanders’ view, a significant portion of Brazilians seems to believe that the whole ordeal’s endgame was to put a conservative government in office, a maneuver that the former president openly calls a coup.

Still, that doesn’t necessarily expunge the actions of Dilma herself. Rousseff’s impeachment hinges on the fact that she committed budget fraud that spiraled the country into economic turmoil. It’s a case that’s been mounting against her for months, and it’s unlikely that support from Bernie Sanders, or any other outside actor for that matter, will save her from the outcome — coup d’etat or not.

[Photo by Paul Sancya/AP Images]

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