Well, it’s over. On Wednesday, Brazilian presidentDilma Rousseff was removed from office.
Back in January, we wrote about the increasing calls for Rousseff’s impeachment by ordinary Brazilians who have lost faith in her government’s disastrous socialist policies, who are disgusted by the massive scandal surrounding the government oil firm, Petrobras, and who — bottom line — are determined not to let her turn their country into another Venezuela.
Brazilians, commented Romanian-American political scientist Vladimir Tismaneanu, were turning out to be less susceptible to utopian promises than their neighbors in Venezuelan and Argentina. Philosopher Olavo de Carvalho observed that Brazilians weren’t just rejecting Rousseff — they were rejecting “the whole system of power that has been created by the Workers’ Party, which includes intellectuals and opinion-makers in the big media.”
Today, on the other side of the Brexit vote and the GOP’s nomination of Donald Trump, it’s hard not to wonder whether the grassroots Brazilian effort to oust Rousseff is part of a spreading global thumbs-down for corrupt, supercilious socialist elites.
We spent that whole week in January on Rousseff, recounting her beginnings as a rich girl who joined a revolutionary terrorist group called COLINA; her entry into politics, a career in which, from the outset, she distinguished herself by her combination of administrative incompetence and genius for making and exploiting connections; and, finally, her increasingly disastrous tenure as president, capped by the Petrobras scandal, described by the Wall Street Journalas “the biggest corruption case ever in a country with a long history of scandals.”
We also profiled one of the leaders of the anti-Rousseff movement, 20-year-old Kim Kataguiri, whose activism was spurred when one of his college teachers praised the socialist policies of the ruling Worker’s Party. Kataguiri responded by making a series of You Tube videos promoting free-market capitalism and founding the Free Brazil Movement, which has grown like kudzu.
In March, we noted the arrest of a Rousseff sidekick, the imprisonment of two more of her cronies, and the resignation of her justice minister; in April, we reported on a government raid on the home of former president — and fallen saint — Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. (We also noted Rousseff’s unsuccessful, and ludicrous, attempt to shield him from prosecution by naming him as her chief of staff.) Not long after, we reported that Marcelo Odebrecht, the CEO of Brazil’s biggest construction firm — and a close associate of Rousseff’s — had sentenced to 19 years for bribing authorities in connection with Petrobras contracts.
Later in April, we learned that notorious journalist Glenn Greenwald (of Edward Snowden scandal fame) and his husband, David Miranda, were on Team Rousseff, with Miranda signing his name to a Guardian op-ed accusing Rousseff’s opponents of seeking to engineer a “right-wing coup.” In a July profile of callow Salon columnist Ben Norton, we pointed out that he’d used the same exact words as Miranda, calling Rousseff the victim of a would-be “right-wing coup.”
And now — well — here we are. She’s out. Congratulations to the people of Brazil. Needless to say, this doesn’t mean an instant turnaround for their country, but it’s a necessary start.
Oh, and then there’s this news. In reaction to the “right-wing coup” in Brasilia, three of Rousseff’s fellow socialist economy-destroyers — Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, and Evo Morales of Bolivia — all recalled their ambassadors. Let’s hope their days in power are numbered, too.