Suspended President Dilma Rousseff took the stand Monday morning in her impeachment trial, and in measured but blunt language denied any criminal wrongdoing in handling country’s budget, and decried the effort to remove her from office as a “coup” orchestrated by Brazilian politicians to stop a federal investigation of allegations of bribery and influence-peddling.
“I did not commit the crimes that I am accused of,” Rousseff said during her half-hour statement. “Today, Brazil is at the center of history, the world is watching us.”
In a firm and level manner, Rousseff recalled the dark history of the dictatorship in Brazil, during which she suffered torture under the reign of state terrorism.
“I continued fighting for democracy, I dedicated all those years of my life to fight for a society without hate and with tolerance, free of discrimination,” she continued. “I also fought for a society where there would not be poverty … a sovereign Brazil. I feel proud of this.”
The suspended president, who will face a final vote in the Senate on Tuesday on whether to permanently remove her from office or not, argued that the interests of the political and economic elite were repeatedly hurt at the polls during the years that she and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva governed the country, which motivated them to level baseless accusations against her in a thinly-veiled undemocratic power grab.
“The proof makes clear … that the accusations against me are a pretext,” she said, adding that the interest of the elite threaten democracy. “What’s at stake is the future of the country.”
“We are one step away from an institutional rupture,” she continues. “We are one step away from a coup.”
Supporters showered Rousseff in flowers as she arrived at the Senate and gathered outside in solidarity during the suspended president’s statement.
Images by MIDIA NINJA