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Brazil: Dilma’s impeachment was ‘coup’ that will intensify country’s woes

1 September 2016 - President Dilma’s impeachment amounts to a coup which will worsen already extreme inequalities within Brazil and harm people and the environment, Christian Aid and its partner organisations are warning.

Dilma Rousseff was this week ousted from her role as President following a Senate vote of 61-20. She stood accused of manipulating budgets but no formal proof was found against her.

The Archbishop of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, Francisco de Assis da Silva, described the impeachment as a ‘coup’ which would have profound consequences and which he said must be resisted.

“The Senators condemned the President for a crime but didn’t forbid her from running for another public position. This just makes clear that what happened was a coup. There was no real crime - just a matter of taking her out of power,” he said.

“Our partners abroad have to know how deep are the setbacks we face now,” he added.

“We can already name three: the slowing of corruption investigations, setbacks to social rights and increasing private control over Brazil’s natural resources and public goods.”

The Archbishop added that the only possible response was: “To resist, to resist, to resist. This is how we will face this coup and the setbacks. Today´s decision makes international partnership and solidarity even more necessary.”

Sarah Roure, Christian Aid’s Programme Officer in Brazil, added: “The country is already one of the world’s most unequal, with income and wealth highly concentrated in the hands of very few, who don’t pay their fair share of tax.

“Now Parliament is discussing a constitutional change forbidding any increase in public investments in health and education over the next 20 years, and changes in labour rights.

“Such moves, along with the economic crisis, are deepening inequalities and undermining reductions in poverty.

“Already, the space for civil society in Brazil is systematically being shrunk, with the persecution of social movements and the poorest people.  Earlier this week in São Paulo city, housing campaigners were strongly repressed after protesting against changes that will harm people.

“Under the new President Temer’s leadership, Brazil’s economic and political paralysis will only deepen.”

Following the impeachment vote, Vice-President Michel Temer, has been sworn in as President until 1 January 2019.


If you would like further information please contact Melanie Hargreaves at mhargreaves@christian-aid.org, or Sarah Roure in Brazil at sroure@christian-aid.org. The 24-hour press duty phone is: 07850 242950   

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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