A Breakdown of Brazil's Political Crisis

Here's a play-by-play of the craziness happening in one of the world's biggest democracies

Agência Brasil/Creative Commons

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How Did We Get Here?

This GIF of Lula and Dilma went viral this week. You'll see why soon.
Hank Green provides more historical context on the crisis.

The Latest Turn of Events

March 4: Former President Lula detained by federal police

Lula's press conference following his detainment.

March 9: São Paulo prosecutors issue a formal request for Lula's arrest

March 10: Rousseff asks Lula to join her cabinet

March 14: The transcript of Lula's interrogation is made public

March 15: Key plea bargain testimony is released

March 13: Anti-government, pro-impeachment demonstrations take place throughout the country

March 13 protest in Brasília. (Senado Federal)

March 16: Lula agrees to become Rousseff's chief of staff…

…and later in the day, the judge in charge of the Car Wash investigation releases wiretapped recordings of Lula and Rousseff

Audio of wiretaps

#TchauQuerida, or "Bye, dear" goes viral, since it's how Lula signs off in one call to Rousseff

March 17: Lula gets sworn in as minister

March 17 (later on): A Brasilia judge suspends Lula's appointment

March 17 (even later on): The lower house of Congress approves an impeachment committee

March 17 (in the evening): Lula pens an open letter expressing hope that the Supreme Court will treat him fairly.

March 18: The second injunction blocking Lula from becoming minister is struck down.

March 18: Large pro-democracy and pro-government demonstrations take place.

March 18 (late afternoon): A São Paulo judge accepts a new injunction blocking Lula's appointment.

March 18 (evening): A Supreme Court judge blocks Lula's appointment and allows the original investigation to continue with the original judge.

March 19 and 20: The attorney general asks the Supreme Court to issue an injunction allowing Lula's appointment.

March 22: Federal police launch a new operation targeting Odebrecht, the construction company central to the Petrobras investigation.

March 22 (later): A Supreme Court judge moves the jurisdiction of the case against Lula to the nation's highest court.

March 23: Documents are released showing more than 200 politicians who received funds from Odebrecht, including how much they allegedly received.

March 29: The PMDB, Brazil's largest political party, officially leaves Rousseff's coalition.

March 31: The Supreme Court agrees to take Lula's case.

April 5: A Supreme Court judge orders Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against the vice president

April 11: A recording is leaked of the vice president outlining his administration in the event of the president's impeachment .

April 11 (in the evening): A lower house committee votes to allow the presidential impeachment process to move ahead.

April 12: The president accuses her own vice president of a coup and treason.

April 15 (in the wee hours of the morning): The Supreme Court votes to allow the impeachment process to go ahead.

April 15: The lower house of Congress begins a marathon debate session.

April 16: Another congressional debate session is held ahead of the floor impeachment vote on April 17.

April 17: The lower house of Congress votes in favor of impeachment

May 3: The prosecutor general files criminal charges in the Supreme Court against Lula.

May 3 (later): The prosecutor general asks the Supreme Court to investigate President Rousseff for obstruction of justice.

May 4: The Supreme Court suspends Eduardo Cunha as speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and as a legislator.

May 4: The attorney general says the government will ask the Supreme Court to nullify the impeachment process.

May 4: A prosecutor says that Vice President Michel Temer is banned for running from office for eight years due to campaign finance violations — but he's still allowed to become president.

May 9: In a new twist, the interim lower house president says he's annulling the impeachment vote and that a new vote will be scheduled.

May 9: However, the Senate is still scheduled to vote on impeachment on May 11.

May 9: In the middle of the night, the interim lower house president revokes his own annulment of impeachment.

May 11: The Senate holds a marathon debate starting in the morning.

May 12: After 6am, the Senate votes 55–22 to put the president on trial.

May 12: Michel Temer, Rousseff's vice president, becomes interim president.

Trilingual journalist.

Trilingual journalist.