Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, promised a “new era” of government for the crisis-hit country Wednesday, shortly after being sworn in following the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff. Earlier, the Brazilian senate voted 61-20 to remove Rousseff from office for breaking federal budget laws.
Speaking at a televised cabinet meeting after taking the oath of office, Temer said his priorities were to fix Brazil’s economy, attract foreign investment, reduce unemployment and begin reform of the pension system.
But he warned that he would not tolerate divisions within his coalition. Temer appeared annoyed that some of his allies had moved to grant Rousseff political rights without consulting his government.
Temer took the oath of office in the Senate surrounded by his cabinet members.
Rousseff was accused of illegally using money from state banks to cover deficits in the federal budget in an effort to boost her popularity heading into the 2014 presidential election. She denied wrongdoing and accused her political opponents of using the trial as a way to overthrow her and undermine Brazil’s democracy.
“They decided to interrupt the mandate of a president who had committed no crime. They have convicted an innocent person and carried out a parliamentary coup,” Rousseff said in a statement following the Senate vote.
Lawyers from the pro-impeachment side, though, argued that Rousseff’s alleged corruption directly contributed to the economic issues Brazil has experienced over the past several years.
“The world needs to know that we are not just voting about accounting issues,” said Janaína Paschoal, the author of the impeachment request against Rousseff. “Impeachment is a constitutional remedy that we need to resort to when the situation gets particularly serious, and that is what has happened.”
Venezuela withdrew its ambassador from Brazil and froze ties in response to president Dilma Rousseff’s removal from office.
The populist governments of Ecuador and Bolivia, also recalled their top diplomats, with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa calling the senate vote impeaching Rousseff “an apology for abuse and treason.”
Venezuela’s foreign ministry condemned Rousseff’s removal as a “parliamentary coup d’état.”
Venezuela “has decided to definitively withdraw its ambassador in the Federal Republic of Brazil, and to freeze political and diplomatic relations with the government that emerged from this parliamentary coup,” it said in a statement.
Rousseff was convicted by 61 of 81 senators of illegally manipulating the national budget. The vote ended 13 years of populist rule in Latin America’s biggest economy, depriving Venezuela’s socialist leaders of an important ally.
It comes as Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro finds himself under mounting pressure to submit to a recall election amid a devastating economic crisis. The opposition has called for a massive march in Caracas, raising the stakes in a volatile showdown.
In Ecuador, president Correa took to Twitter to vent his anger about Brazil. “Never will we condone these practices, which recall the darkest hours of our America,” Correa wrote, a reference to military dictatorships of the past.
Ecuador’s foreign ministry called Rousseff’s removal “a flagrant subversion of the democratic order in Brazil.”
Bolivian president Evo Morales announced the recall of ambassador Jose Kim after threatening to do so Tuesday should Rousseff be removed from office. He earlier condemned on Twitter what he called a “parliamentary coup against Brazilian democracy.”
“We stand with Dilma, Lula and the population in this difficult time,” Morales wrote, adding Rousseff’s mentor and predecessor, former president Lula, who is facing corruption charges.
Bolivia’s foreign ministry confirmed the recall in a statement, saying that the government “calls on all the countries of our region to reject these ‘soft’ blows to the state … provoked by an opposition unable to achieve enough votes to form a government”.
In South America, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia are identified as “Bolivarian”, meaning they are followers of ex president Hugo Chavez.
Not so long ago, it also included Argentina’s Kirchner couple and Lula and Rousseff in Brazil, but recent events have meant a full change. Along the Pacific, Chile, Peru and Colombia respect Bolivarians but have their own positions.
Uruguay stands in a complicated middle balance, the political ruling coalition supports deposed Rousseff and condemns Temer. But president Vázquez and his foreign minister Nin Novoa would like to be more pragmatic.
Argentina Recognizes Temer
The Argentine government expressed respect for Brazil’s institutional process and iterated its willingness to continue advancing toward a real and effective integration based on respect for human rights, democratic institutions and International law.
The foreign ministry release referred to current events in Brazil where the Senate impeached and removed suspended president Dilma Rousseff, and took the oath of office to her vice president and interim president Michel Temer, who will now rule until 2018 completing the original mandate.
The release also renews its commitment to continue working with Brazil on mutual interest issues and the strengthening of Mercosur.
“Given today’s events in Brazil, the Argentine government expresses its respect for the institutional process verified in the brother country, and reaffirms its willingness to continue on the path of a real and effective integration in the framework of absolute respect for Human rights, democratic institutions and International Law.
To that respect, “Argentina renews its wishes to continue working with the government of Brazil for the resolution of issues of mutual interest from the bilateral, regional and multilateral agendas, as well as the strengthening of Mercosur”.