First Interview With Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff Since the Senate’s Impeachment Vote

Published on ZNet (first on The Intercept), by Dilma Rousseff and Glenn Greenwald, May 21, 2016 [VIDEO 23.21 min].

Last Thursday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was suspended from the presidency when the Senate voted, 55-22, to try her on the impeachment charges, approved by the lower house, involving alleged budgetary maneuvers (“pedaladas”) designed to obscure the size of public debt … //

…GG: On the day after the Senate voted, [Supreme Court] Justice Gilmar Mendes suspended the investigation of Aécio Neves, defeated by you in the last election. Many people saw that and thought, “The court is behaving like a political actor. The suspension paves the way to bury the Car Wash investigation.” Would you agree with that? What does this suspension mean?

  • DR: I think the suspension is strange; as far as I know, no proceedings have been suspended up until now. No Car Wash investigations have been suspended. But Justice Gilmar Mendes is not the only judge on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is composed of 12 [sic] members. Not all of the 12 [sic] members have similar dispositions, that of a real militant, an obvious militant, as Judge Gilmar Mendes does. His actions will be judged over time by the Brazilian people.

GG: Do you think there’s a risk …

  • DR: We should not have double standards in our country. If you’re investigating one, you have to investigate them all. No one should be spared from the investigations.

GG: Do you think there’s a risk, after you leave office — if it comes to that — that Operation Car Wash will be swept under the carpet?

  • DR: That might be a threat, but I believe that there are many parties interested in the continuation of the Car Wash investigation.
  • So I don’t think that it will be simple to bury Operation Car Wash. I am more concerned about reverting back to the previous situation, in which the prosecutor general was not chosen from a list of three nominees, but was selected on the basis of their political alignment, which led to lots of inquiries being “filed away.” So much so that the prosecutor general of the republic became known as the “filing clerk of the republic.”
  • After President Lula took office — and I carried on the same practice — what procedure did we adopt? We generally chose the first name on the three-nominee list. Why? To give the Prosecutor’s Office more investigative autonomy and to stop the filing away of inquiries. I believe that there is a structure today — the Prosecutor’s Office, the Federal Police, and segments of the judiciary branch, like the Supreme Court and the Superior Court of Justice — that is willing to undertake investigations. Now, no institution is immune to the political process. They all suffer the consequences of the country’s political climate … //

… (full long interview text).


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