Primate of Brazil mobilizes to ‘reclaim our democracy’

By Gavin Drake
Posted May 17, 2016

[Anglican Communion News Service] The primate of Brazil has criticized the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff and the imposition of Vice President Michel Temer pending Rousseff’s impeachment trial; and warned of a growing social movement to “reclaim” the country’s democracy. The Most Rev. Francisco De Assis Da Silva had previously criticized the impeachment process. Today he described the process as “a show of sad cynicism.”

Brazil’s Senate – the upper house of the National Congress of Brazil – voted to accept the impeachment proceedings and suspend Rousseff on May 12. It now has six months to decide whether to find her guilty, in which case Temer will assume the role of president for the completion of the term; or not guilty, in which case she will be restored to office.

Writing on his Reflections of a Thinking Bishop blog, Assis, bishop of South-Western Brazil and leader of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil), said that the National Congress, with the support of the judiciary, had disrespecting the rule of law.

He said that the impeachment leaders had created an artificial veneer of acting to prevent corruption; and had used the media to stoke up fear amongst the middle classes that Rousseff’s anti-poverty reforms would lead them to losing privileges. This veneer was lifted, he argued, when Temer appointed a number of people under investigation for corruption to senior ministerial posts in his interim government. Temer has also been criticized by the international community for appointing only white men to senior posts.

He warned that the “government without legitimacy, without international support” and created to “meet only the interests of the elites” had no future.

Assis warned that Acting Temer “will pay dearly for his betrayal and not escape the pressure of Brazilian society.” He said that a number of “social movements and progressive forces” were being “mobilized to reclaim our democracy” and spoke of street protests and occupations “in a peaceful, orderly and clear objective to expose the process of expropriation of our rights.”

He said: “We will not let democracy die. We fought a lot for her and will not let any rights gained to be lost. It’s time to show that Brazil is not afraid to fight for a just society based on democratic principles and respect for the law.”