New York Times, August 31, 2016
BRASÍLIA — The Senate on Wednesday impeached Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, and removed her from office for the rest of her term, the capstone of a power struggle that has consumed the nation for months and toppled one of the hemisphere’s most powerful political parties.
The Senate voted 61 to 20 to convict Ms. Rousseff on charges of manipulating the federal budget in an effort to conceal the nation’s mounting economic problems.
But the final removal of Ms. Rousseff, who was suspended in May to face trial, was much more than a judgment of guilt on any charge. It was a verdict on her leadership and the slipping fortunes of Latin America’s largest country.
The impeachment puts a definitive end to 13 years of governing by the leftist Workers’ Party, an era during which Brazil’s economy boomed, lifting millions into the middle class and raising the country’s profile on the global stage.
But sweeping corruption scandals, the worst economic crisis in decades and the government’s tone-deaf responses to the souring national mood opened Ms. Rousseff to withering scorn, leaving her with little support to fend off a power grab by her political rivals.
“She lacked it all,” said Mentor Muniz Neto, a writer from São Paulo who described Ms. Rousseff’s final ouster as a “death foretold,” asserting that she lacked charisma, competence and humility. “We deserved better.”
To her many critics, the impeachment was a fitting fall for an arrogant leader at the helm of a political movement that had lost its way. But Ms. Rousseff and her supporters call her ouster a coup that undermines Brazil’s young democracy.