Brazil’s president is about to be impeached by a corrupt Senate, and while the country’s media attempt to make the move seem democratic, journalist Glenn Greenwald explains why Dilma Rousseff is right in saying that the entire proceedings are a threat to democracy.

From The Intercept:

During the Olympics, Brazil’s “interim president,” Michel Temer, fearing boos, broke protocol by demanding that his name not be announced when he appeared at the opening ceremony (he was widely booed anyway) and then hid entirely by skipping the closing ceremony. By stark contrast, the nation’s actually elected president, Dilma Rousseff, chose to go to the Senate today to confront her accusers, as the gang of corrupt operatives and criminals constituting the Brazilian Senate moves to the end of its impeachment trial, with the virtually inevitable result that the twice-elected Dilma will be removed. It’s the embodiment of cowardice versus courage.

The most remarkable aspect of all of this — and what fundamentally distinguishes this process from impeachment in, say, the U.S. — is that Dilma’s removal results in the empowerment of a completely different party that was not elected to the presidency. In fact — as my Intercept Brasil colleagues João Filho and Breno Costa documented this week — Dilma’s removal is empowering exactly the right-wing party, PSDB, that has lost four straight national elections, including one to Dilma just 21 months ago. In some cases, the very same people from that party who ran for president and lost are now in control of the nation’s key ministries.

As a result, the unelected government now about to take power permanently is preparing a series of policies — from suspending Brazil’s remarkably successful anti-illiteracy program, privatizing national assets, and “changing” various social programs to abandoning its regional alliances in favor of returned subservience to the U.S. — that was never ratified by the Brazilian population and could never be. Whether you want to call this a “coup” or not, it is the antithesis of democracy, a direct assault on it.

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Below is an account from the Los Angeles Times of the speech Rousseff delivered at her impeachment trial Monday:

“Like everyone, I have defects, and I make errors,” said Rousseff. “But my defects do not include treachery or cowardice.” She reminded those listening of the torture she suffered under Brazil’s military dictatorship, denied she had committed any crime, and said politicians and powerful business interests were using an empty impeachment process to overturn her election.

“What is at stake here is not just my presidency,” Rousseff said. “What is at stake is the principle of respect for the ballot box, the sovereign will of the Brazilian people, and the constitution.”

During hours of questioning, the suspended president defended her economic decisions. Lawmaker Ana Amelia questioned Rousseff’s use of the word “coup.”

“If there is no proof of any crime, senator,” Rousseff replied, “then this is indeed a coup.” … “The truth is that the result of the 2014 election was a difficult blow for parts of Brazil’s conservative elite,” Rousseff said, “and with the wide-open support of parts of the media, they created the political climate that was necessary to overturn my election.”

“Today, Brazil, the world, and history are watching us,” she said.

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— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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