Quora Question: Will Impeaching Dilma Rousseff Improve Brazil?

Dilma Rousseff
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff at the closing ceremony of the "March of the Daisies," Mane Garrincha Stadium, Brasilia in August 2015. Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

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Answer from A. Renato, resident of Rio:

Most people (and their representatives currently voting for the impeachment) claim that "it's not about right against left wing; it's not rich against poor; it's a nation against corruption" (actual slogan). Interesting enough, our nation/people is mostly corrupt at every levels; around 95 percent of the low house of representatives voting against Dilma are being charged in big bucks lawsuits. On the other hand, Dilma is one of the only politicians who hasn't a single accusation of corruption (she doesn't even have any money, so the impeachment is claiming it is about a "responsibility crime," or, what didn't happen—not different than what happens to all politicians in this regard), and apparently most of her supporters in the government are as clean as professional politicians can be.

As your question specifically asks about Brazilians' thinking, take into account that today, in my city (Rio) and many others around Brazil, both sides (Dilma's supporters and detractors) are massively gathering to watch the impeachment show through big TV screens along Copacabana beach all day long. Music, beer, dance, party, cheering, flares and everybody wearing the yellow Brazilian soccer team shirt. Well... It happens every four years during the World Cup. In their speeches you can hear from the most educated group that they're there due to the economic crisis, but they can't even express that it's inherent to capitalism itself, and thus no politician or even a group of them (let alone a single president) can easily solve what is systemic.

At the end of the day, people know that corruption will be rampant (many of them are waiting for opportunities that vanished from the market in the last 10 months or so), and probably will get worse somehow. Any illusory hope you can see people expressing in the newspapers, pictures and social media selfies are soccer-related (World Cup was two years ago already, and the Olympics is only few months ahead—reminder: both big events happening in Rio).

Brazilians like to be together big time; to be into the mess, so we can easily lie to each other for a while only to desperately laugh, even if it's faking that we are united.

Until a couple years ago, most Brazilians didn't like to talk about politics. Bar and elevator talks were only about soccer, big events, TV, movies, diseases and violence. After June 2013, the mass was maneuvered to the streets and social media memes on politics started to take over (smartphones with Facebook, Whatsapp and other apps are the zombie apocalypse Brazilian addictions). So, people don't really think on politics and macroeconomics to figure out if situations will improve.

People suffer the economic collapse, and then express a wish for some change, but have no idea what they are doing. Nowadays, it's unbearable to talk to friends in bars or anywhere. Both sides are babbling. Even family is away. Protests became ridiculous, and when people are asked to directly participate in politics and public budget through legal/constitutional instruments, most only ignore this crazy idea (to study and work for free... for the greater good.) Actually, many people are rapidly losing touch with the meaning of the words citizenship, respect and collaboration.

As usual, it seems that Brazilian political dynasties and upper classes will manage to take control over Brazil again. Now, to govern the country is a whole different history. It won't happen. For many decades, centuries, poor people in poor areas were being killed and having their lands/homes stolen by big farmers or the government itself. On the other hand, even most of the middle class don't believe in professional politicians anymore (by the way, our economy just can't get any better soon—if keeping the same track it is coming for decades, maybe centuries, it'll get much worse). The system is broken and most people know it. Little by little people also are realizing that others already know it. Then time will tell when it's everybody's "enough" hour. Perhaps it'll happen.

Lastly, let's see the "what" in your question. The point here is that for some years now a major corruption scandal (oil, cough, petrodollars, cough) involving many political parties, but mostly Dilma's party (PT—Worker's Party), makes it very hard to Dilma be able to govern. The Brazilian executive branch has been almost paralyzed for something around 15 months. So, by simple thinking, an impeachment would calm the markets down, and investors would came back to Brazil. Big industries here are funding the popular movements against Dilma and openly advertising in newspapers and TVs. It's a "soft coup" which might become the biggest mistake in the current Brazilian history.

UPDATE: the low house of representatives made an expected freak show (true, it was much worse than that) voting for Dilma's impeachment (and many urban Brazilians are celebrating). Now it goes to the senate in order to decide the president's fate. Last time it happened (1992), it took 13 days to the last show. As the present process is a completely different situation from the previous president impeached (what we can currently see crystal clear is a coup in disguise), it may take an unexpected path during the 180 days the supreme court has to analyze the impeachment (during that time, the VP—one of the heads of the coup—is the name to try to run the country with his inner circle of corrupt traitors, big farmers and industry/monopoly owners). And just like in soccer, if this process goes to the penalties, it may become something entirely new.

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