Brazilian President Dilma Roussef Comes to New York
Three days into the setting-up of the impeachment process, approved by a bigger than necessary majority in the Brazilian Congress, Brazilian president Dilma Roussef is coming to New York for a speech at the UN.
Her objectives are not clear. For months she refused to get up from her presidential chair even for a brief period, to the point of cancelling a previously agreed meeting with President Obama and her participation in a summit on nuclear security. She would not risk a few days with the presidency in the hands of vice-president Michel Temer, her newest archenemy, recently added to her list of “traitors.”
I know it is common knowledge today that Brazil at this moment is facing a serious crisis, with the Brazilian people fiercely divided into those who support the government and those who condemn it. The supporters, until today, are still insisting on the highly unlikely idea of a “coup,” despite the fact that the impeachment process is rigorously following the established rite, backed by the Constitution and the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court — which includes a majority of justices appointed by Lula or Dilma, since their Workers’ Party has been in office for 13 years — has lawfully rejected a number of appeals against the impeachment process. Ex-president Lula himself is under investigation for corruption and had his nomination as Chief of Staff suspended on grounds of “trying to interfere with the justice.” In Brazil, as in the U.S., there is a separation of powers, although attempts to jeopardize it are not unheard of.
There is a persistent rumor that President Dilma is heavily medicated. Under a lot of understandable stress, she hasn’t been able to perform her duties as Chief of State. She has put herself “under siege” in the Presidential Palace, and whenever she has the opportunity to talk to the press, be it local or international, she focuses on the same baseless “coup theory,” expressing an indisputable contempt for the majority of the people under her responsibility.
The Brazilian people are deeply concerned as to how can a failed leader in this precarious health condition perform in front of an international audience of such stature as the UN. It is more than probable that the “coup theory” will come up and be insisted upon. There is also a big, albeit calculated risk that, unaware of the real situation in the country, the international press will take sides and consider President Dilma a “victim” of the “conservative right.” Which, according to the Workers’ Party supporters, opposes the government because it had helped the poor.
It is important to understand that a country in a deep recession, with 10% unemployment and hundreds of businesses closing every day will not be able to help its poor anytime soon. Through their disastrous attempt to ease social inequality, the Workers’ Party actually succeeded in bankrupting Brazil.
This is not an opinion, not even an informed one. This is a statement of fact, based upon statistics and the sorry state of the common folk. It is crucial that the world does not let itself be deceived by a couple of good intentions went awry, and overtaken by corruption.
It is not the social justice that is at stake here, but the future of a people who struggle repeatedly to achieve some stability and quality of life. This is not the time to believe in empty slogans or plain lies, nor to endorse failed politicians whose only goal is to keep their power, which is now about to be taken away. Perfectly according to democratic principles and the Law.
I ask for your attention and compassion, not only toward the Brazilian destitute, but toward the whole Brazilian people, a majority of which is now fighting to regain their pride and honor, to recover from the exposed wound of a systemic, shameful corruption. I beg you to reflect before making a choice, before indulging in deceitful conclusions as has already happened a couple of times.
Brazil, and the Brazilian people, count on the fairness of your judgement. We also count, finally, on the force of the facts, when confronted with empty, baseless and unsuccessful talking points.
Noga Sklar is a Brazilian editor, writer and columnist. Having left Brazil due to the political and economic crisis, she now leaves in Greenville, SC.