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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Brazil calls for impeachment after bribe scandal

How would you feel if a whole country went to the streets calling for your impeachment after they have elected you as  their president? This scenario is currently facing Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president.

Rousseff is facing a lot of problems less than five months after her reelection.

A huge scandal involving the country’s most important oil and gas company, Petrobras, became public in 2014 and is still under investigation.

Brazil’s Supreme Court is leading the investigation into top politicians who are accused of taking at least $800 million in bribes in exchange for lucrative oil contracts from Petrobras.

President Rousseff is one of the suspects.

“Dilma knew what was going on with Petrobras,” said law student Philippe Barros in a phone interview with The Guilfordian. “It’s hard to believe she didn’t know a thing because she has always been too involved with her party.”

The incident affects not only Brazil itself but other companies which are linked to Petrobras.

“This scandal could affect U.S. companies who might be invested in oil exploration and production off the coast of Brazil,” said Visiting Professor of History William Hamilton in an email interview.

Trying to calm people down, Rousseff went on air on March 8, Women’s International Day, and spoke about the scandal. She said Brazilians had every right to be worried, but they should be patient and understanding because the situation was temporary.

During the president’s speech many people started to bang pots and honk horns, a form of protest called “panelaço.” The protests have been ongoing since.

On March 15, the movement “Vem Pra Rua,”  which translates to “come to the street,” reunited thousands of indignant individuals all around the country who wore the Brazilian green and yellow jersey and held signs.

“We are tired of being disrespected,” said Rogério Chequer, leader of Vem Pra Rua, in an interview with television show Roda Viva. “Politicians are elected by the people. (They) receive money through our taxes. But they end up using it for personal interests. We are done.”

Another protest will take place on April 12 to express frustration with the lack of change since last month.

“Our government sees and speaks what it wants,” said comedian and screenwriter Criss Paiva in an email interview with The Guilfordian. “We pressure them, but they don’t feel pressured. Screaming is not the answer, but we can’t just stay quiet either.”

Some people believe the government is actually doing a good job overall.

“Dilma had nothing to do with the Petrobras scandal,” said engineering student Isac Chagas in a phone interview with The Guilfordian. “She was always against corruption, and the protests are not getting anywhere. They call for impeachment when that is not even legally possible. A lot of people are mixing ideologies.”

Numbers of people say otherwise.

“I think chances of an impeachment are fairly high, especially with the protests and the fact that her popularity (has) plunged from 42 percent to 23 percent over the past several months,” said Hamilton.

Besides calling for impeachment, protesters also complain about their country’s high inflation, unemployment and exchange rates.

“These problems are reflexes of our economy’s disruption,” said engineer Valéria Pacheco in an email interview with The Guilfordian. “And since Dilma and her party are the ones in charge, they are obviously the ones to blame, especially after so many situations of corruption.”

Again, not everyone agrees that Rousseff should be condemned.

“We tend to link the image of our president with everyone involved in her party,” said law student Mariana Morais in a phone interview. “But we know that the decisions made in Brazil come from the Congress. So high inflation and unemployment rates are not Dilma’s party’s fault.”

Besides many demands, Brazilians are also providing solutions.

“I believe that our country needs a government that shows confidence,” said engineering student Pedro Henrique Concílio in a phone interview. “We need a government that is going to be there for us. The only thing we expect from Dilma’s party is another scandal.

“A great solution would be increasing investigations of both our former and current president.”

In four months of infamy, confusion, arguments and anger, Brazil’s future seems uncertain.

“I worry about not finding a way out,” said Paiva. “We need help. All the help we can get. We need to save our country.”

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About the Contributor
Beatriz Caldas
Beatriz Caldas, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Beatriz's goal is to make sure that every person on campus has a voice, that every group is being represented, and that The Guilfordian becomes #1 in reporting Social Justice stories not only from Guilford, but from all around the globe. Beatriz comes from Brazil and is able to speak four languages.

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  • U

    uma pessoa do brasilApr 11, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Vamos tentar ser só um pouco menos parcial e um pouca mais aprofundada no artigo, né