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Brazilian President Rousseff Suspended, Will Face Impeachment Trial; Calls Situation A 'Coup'

Brazilian President Rousseff Suspended, Will Face Impeachment Trial; Calls Situation A 'Coup'

After an all-night-long, heated debate, the Brazilian Senate voted in favor of suspending President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday, giving way to an impeachment trial against her. The country’s elected president has been accused of misappropriating funds from public banks to cover deficits in other areas, manipulating fiscal accounts in the process.

In a 55 to 22 vote, the Senate decided to proceed with the impeachment process, obliging Rousseff to step down from her position for as long as 180 days while the trial takes place. Now, her only hope is that more than one third of the Senate votes against her conviction.

In the meantime, Vice-President Michel Temer has taken over as acting president of Brazil, and could permanently replace Rousseff until the end of 2018 if she were convicted.

Related Link: Brazil From The Ground, Part 2: What Millennials Think Of The Crisis

Temer has already presented his staff, which includes a new, conservative finance minister, Henrique Meirelles; a new foreign minister, Jose Serra; and a new planning minister, Romero Juca, who incidentally is currently being investigated for his involvement in the Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras (ADR) (NYSE: PBR) (NYSE: PBR-A) corruption scandal. Notably, there are no women included in his 21-person cabinet.

While experts have argued that the process has been completely constitutional, many have cast doubt on the real motivations behind it, classifying it as a coup d’état. And, Rousseff agrees with the latter view.

Rousseff's Comments

On Thursday, the president addressed the nation via TV and shared that, while she may have made some mistakes, she certainly “did not violate budgetary laws.” During the strong-worded discourse, she said the impeachment is "fraudulent" and described it as "a coup."

"What is at stake is respect for the ballot box, the sovereign will of the Brazilian people and the constitution,” Rousseff stated. “The struggle for democracy doesn’t have an end date… It’s a permanent fight that requires our constant dedication. It’s a fight that can be won, and it is one we will win,” she concluded.

Brazil ETFs Market Vectors Brazil Small Cap ETF (NYSE: BRF) and iShares MSCI Brazil Index (ETF) (NYSE: EWZ) were trading up Thursday afternoon.

Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no positions in any of the securities mentioned above.


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