The struggle for democracy in Brazil: Lower House votes on impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff today (April 17)

Today Brazil’s House of Representatives will vote on whether to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. The vote is expected to be close.

If impeached, Dilma will be suspended from office while the Senate decides to take up her trial and conducts the trial. The vice-president, from a rival party, will then become acting president.

He and his party are mobilizing votes in the House for impeachment. Dilma, former president Lula, and their Workers’ Party are mobilizing against impeachment.

One of Dilma’s acts that has enraged the opposition was Her recent appointment of Lula to be her chief of staff, in a move widely seen as an effort to protect him from arrest on corruption charges stemming from his presidency. The move was blocked by the Supreme Court.

The impeachment vote comes following wide scandals involving Petrobras and high government officials.

The battle is joined in the battle against corruption of high government officials and for democracy in Brazil.  Even many of those voting today are themselves the subjects of corruption investigations.

It is a moment of high drama in the largest democracy in Latin America.


Laryssa Borges, Felipe Frazão e Marcela Mattos (Brasilia), “Câmara define hoje oa destino de Dilma – e do projeto de poder petista; Depitados votarão na tarde deste domingo se aceitam pedido de impeachment contra a presidente. Caso passe na Casa, dificilmente processo será barrado no Senado. Ainda que vença, a petista já não governará,” VEJA, 17 de abril 2016 (às 08:12 – Atualizado em 17/04/2016 às 08:16).


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James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.