Brazil faces diplomatic crisis and protests after impeachment

Mr Serra called on South American leaders to \"connect more to reality\", insisting that Ms Rousseff\'s impeachment was constitutional.

Published: 02nd September 2016 07:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd September 2016 11:16 AM   |  A+A-

brazil protest7_AP

Brazil's new government was hurtling towards a diplomatic crisis yesterday (Thursday) after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff sent shockwaves through the region and was angrily denounced as a coup by the remaining old guard of the Latin American Left.

Long-standing allies of Ms Rousseff - considered one of the linchpins of Latin America's "pink tide" - quickly rallied around her, with Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador all recalling their ambassadors from Brazil in protest.

The Brazilian foreign affairs ministry retaliated by doing the same while issuing a withering statement against the Venezuelan government.

"The Venezuelan government has no moral authority to talk about democracy, since they do not adopt a democratic regime," said Jose Serra, foreign affairs minister. "Suffice to say that Venezuela has political prisoners. A country that has political prisoners does not live in a democracy."

Mr Serra called on South American leaders to "connect more to reality", insisting that Ms Rousseff's impeachment was constitutional.

But the fresh discord between the countries has been taken as a sign of the change in prevailing politics in Latin America, diminishing the so-called "pink tide" of moderate Communism.

The impeachment of Ms Rousseff, which ends 13 years of Workers' Party rule, comes after the election in Argentina of conservative president Mauricio Macri and in Peru, of Pedro Paulo Kuczynski, replacing Leftists Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Ollanta Humala respectively.

Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan president who is himself struggling with rising opposition at home, condemned Ms Rousseff's removal as "an oligarchical coup by the Right".

Protests broke out across the country in the wake of the vote on Wednesday. In Sao Paolo, Rousseff supporters lit fires and smashed banks and other businesses, clashing with riot police, who fired tear gas in a bid to control the crowds. In Rio de Janeiro, protesters held signs reading "Temer Out".

Lawyers for Ms Rousseff filed an appeal at the Supreme Court against her impeachment yesterday, though few believe the appeal has any chance of success.

Her removal paves the way for the country's new centre-Right president, Michel Temer of the the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, to implement far-reaching reforms.

Mr Temer, who has travelled to China to try to attract investors to Brazil ahead of the G20 summit, is expected to oversee a series of austerity measures and reforms to encourage economic recovery.

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