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Impeachment: A Coup Against Democracy [OPINION]

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This article by Rafael Nicolau is one of a series of five opinion pieces on the impeachment by community reporters published this week on RioOnWatch.

Rafael Nicolau is 18 years old and a resident of Vila da Penha in Rio’s North Zone. He attended public schools from Grade 1, and thus became familiar with the problems of the education system provided by the City and later by the State of Rio de Janeiro. He went to one of the best state-run high schools available, the Professor Horácio Macedo State School, which gave him the basis for approval at the Rio State University (UERJ), where today, were it not for the strike currently underway, he would be in his the first term of the Social Sciences degree course. Coming from a modest family background, he seeks to change not only his own reality, but that of society.

The current Brazilian political conjuncture is embarrassing even for the most patriotic. It is a crucial moment, one which will define the future of the nation.

The impeachment process that can forcefully take President Dilma Rousseff from power was approved in Congress eight days ago. However, despite the fact that an impeachment is included in the constitution as a legal alternative to depose a president, in this case its unfolding has been far from ethical or democratic in nature.

The architects of this coup camouflaged as an impeachment are Michel Temer and Eduardo Cunha, both of whom have been charged with money laundering, illicit enrichment, payment of bribes, illegal Swiss bank accounts, etc. Both politicians have taken advantage of the country’s economic crisis to trick the whole nation into supporting such an obvious coup that is so clear that it blinded those desperate for change and full of hope.

It is common knowledge that serious problems have been plaguing Brazil in recent times, and when the highest degree of the word “serious” is reached, we know well what we are talking about: rising unemployment, rising cost of living, and poor health and education systems. A mix of events that makes it even more difficult to survive here.

Amid this chaos people’s dissatisfaction with the current federal authority is very noticeable. The presidency becomes a sort of scapegoat where the responsibility for all problems in the country is to be found, even those that are not in fact of their doing.

In the meantime, there are two profiteers who, noticing the general crisis as well as the fact that the rope was tightening around their necks like never before [given the investigation of corruption crimes taking place], take this opportunity to bring the population closer to them and lead them to support the process to overthrow the president.

As much as [supporting the impeachment] may seem as satisfying as giving food to the hungry, the popular appeal, especially from the low-income population, is akin to shooting oneself in the foot because there is a high chance that those who claim to be the saviors of the nation will leave the poor to rot and govern for the rich.

After decades of fighting for democracy, vultures show up to turn the tables so that only they and their cronies are favored. The cracks of this coup start to become clear when such vultures, even those who are defendants in processes to repeal their mandates and various other crimes, organize a scheme to overthrow the president who was elected by the people in a democratic election–valid and supported by the law–without her being guilty of any crime. Impeachment is the only way for Michel Temer and Eduardo Cunha to divert the investigation of the crimes they are accused of, and that were already mentioned in this short piece, so they can finally smile and live in freedom.

The next step, as the Congress approved the request for impeachment, is for the case to go to the hands of senators who will then discuss whether they will continue the process or leave it for the Superior Court to make a decision, which may be to remove the president from office for up to 180 days (6 months). A period long enough for Temer and Cunha to leave unscathed from investigations that are completely unfavorable to them.