The Brazilian President was removed from office on May 12. Photo: Agencia Senado

Brasilia.— Brazil's suspended president Dilma Rousseff told the country’s Federal Senate on August 29 that they were one step away from a true coup which would result in the indirect election of a government of usurpers.

Testifying in her own defense in the impeachment trial for alleged violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Law, Rousseff stressed that the country is on the brink of a serious institutional breakdown, as the impeachment process to which she is being subjected is unlawful.

She noted that the evidence produced during the process clearly and indisputably demonstrates the fact that the accusations against her are mere pretexts supported by fragile legal rhetoric.

Rousseff described the accusations against her as “a pretext for a constitutional coup,” which, should it be successful, would result in “the indirect election of a government of usurpers,” according to Prensa Latina.

The suspended head of state recalled that the military coups of the past have been replaced by parliamentary coups, on which there exists a vast literature.

She added that today, the breakdown of democracy is achieved through moral violence and constitutional pretexts to provide an appearance of legitimacy to governments that assume power without support at the polls. She noted that in these cases, the Constitution is invoked “so that the world of appearances may hypocritically conceal the world of facts.”

She also reiterated that she had not committed the “crime of responsibility” with which she has been unjustly and arbitrarily accused, adding, “I can't help but taste the bitterness of injustice.”

Rousseff also assured that she was not fighting to remain in power, but for democracy, truth, justice and the welfare of the Brazilian people, and insisted that she has a clear conscience regarding her presidency of the Republic.

What is at stake here, she stressed, is respect for the polls, the sovereign will of the people and the Constitution; the social gains achieved in the last 13 years; the sovereign insertion of the country in the international arena; the self-esteem of Brazilians and the defense of the country’s natural resources and future.

Rousseff recalled that the results of the presidential elections of 2014 were a harsh blow to the Brazilian conservative elite, which did everything possible to first prevent her from taking office, and subsequently from governing.

They wanted power at any price and fought with all means to destabilize and weaken my government, living up to the notion of “the worse, the better,” she stressed.

Referring to the impeachment process, she noted that it had been opened with “explicit blackmail” by the former speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, and has been marked, from beginning to end, by blatant misuse of power.

There has been no respect for due legal process, as the judges (senators) tell the media that the sentencing is only a matter of time, she said, and noted that there will never be justice in her sentence as she did not commit the crimes she is accused of in this “unjust and fragile” impeachment process.

The former guerrilla and first woman to assume the presidency of Brazil (2010), who was imprisoned and tortured during the country’s military regime (1964-1985), has returned to the dock 46 years later.

As reported by AFP, she noted “I fought against dictatorship. I have the mark of torture on my body.”

This was the only moment at which, speaking of those years in prison, Rousseff’s voice shook and her eyes misted over. She noted that despite the accusations against her, she would continue, as in the past, to resist.

Her stoic message was not only addressed to the senators present, but an entire nation.

Rousseff was interrogated almost relentlessly by critics and allies, under the gaze of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Brazilian president 2003-2010), her closest political ally and a figure that embodies the progress of Brazil and the success of the fight against poverty, arguably the most popular president in the country’s recent history.

She repeatedly responded, “I’m innocent” and stressed that the impeachment process was a “coup.” The marathon session began just after 9.30a.m. with Rousseff’s defense lasting over 40 minutes.

Rousseff also urged senators not to accept this coup which, rather than solve, would intensify Brazil’s political and economic crisis. Vote against impeachment, vote for democracy, she concluded.

Dilma Rousseff was removed from office on May 12, after the Brazilian Senate voted to begin an impeachment process on accepting charges against her regarding the issue of three supplemental budget decrees.

Ever since the process began, the president and her supporters have claimed that a coup is taking place under the guise of an impeachment.

If found guilty following the vote by the full Senate, Rousseff will be permanently suspended as president and barred from holding office for a period of eight years.

Should she obtain the support of 54 of the 81 senators, President Rousseff will return to office until the end of her mandate in December 2018. (PL)