Leftist Dilma Rousseff was impeached Wednesday in a 61-20 vote by the Brazilian Senate after 13 years as president of South America’s biggest economy.
Rousseff was stripped of her office on grounds of deliberate financial mismanagement and corruption, specifically on charges of manipulating the federal budget in order to hide the growing economic problems in the country.
The power struggle, which had consumed the nation for months, abated somewhat in May, when Rousseff was suspended in order to stand trial.
But the impeachment was also a condemnation of her Workers’ Party and a confirmation that the nation is facing its worst economic crisis in decades. Nor is that crisis likely to end any time soon: Michel Temer, 75, was Rousseff’s vice president and has now taken the helm after breaking with her earlier in the year. He is expected to remain in the office until the end of the current term in 2018, but questions remain as to how much his centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party can accomplish, given the overwhelming poverty and corruption that has swallowed the country over the past decade.
Temer has named a male-only cabinet in a nation where diversity is key. Several ministers have already resigned, among them the “anti-corruption minister.” Temer himself is facing a claim that he received a bribe of $300,000, which he denies.
The controversy-clogged Rio Summer Olympics have just barely ended, leaving huge structures for massive sports events and spanking-new entertainment arenas in their wake. The mammoth buildings are great places for an economy that is revved up and ready to roll, but hardly the infrastructure for a limping nation battered after a political brawl with a kicked-out president.
Rousseff proved herself no friend to Jerusalem after refusing to accept the credentials of Israel’s choice for ambassador to Brazil, Dani Dayan, because he lives in Judea and Samaria.
That snub was an unprecedented show of rudeness of Rousseff’s part, but she apparently had chosen to align herself with Israeli Arab Knesset members and MK Tzipi Livni, who lobbied against Dayan’s appointment.
At the end, the current Israeli ambassador to Brazil, Reda Mansour, was forced to remain and New York City won an outstanding new Israeli Consul-General instead.