Brazil’s Rousseff brands VP a traitor, denounces ‘coup’
BRASILIA - Agence France-PresseBrazilian President Dilma Rousseff took off the gloves April 12, branding her vice president a traitor and coup-plotter ahead of an impeachment vote in Congress, with a party once in the ruling coalition set to cast a ballot against her.
In a blistering speech, Rousseff, 68, charged: “If there were any doubts about my reporting that a coup is under way, there can’t be now.”
Referring to the April 11 leak of an audio recording in which Vice President Michel Temer practices the speech he would make if Rousseff is impeached, the president said: “The conspirators’ mask has slipped.
“We are living in strange and worrying times, times of a coup, and of pretending, and betrayal of trust,” she said in the capital Brasilia.
“Yesterday, they used the pretense of a leak to give the order for the conspiracy.”
Rousseff is in the final stretch of a bruising attempt to save her presidency from impeachment on charges that she illegally manipulated government accounts to mask the effects of recession during her 2014 re-election.
Temer, who will take over if Rousseff is impeached, countered that a war was being waged against him on both a personal and professional level.
“I’m not waging war, I’m defending myself,” he told Globo News.
But making it clear he was ready to step in Rousseff’s shoes, Temer, 75, added: “Without being pretentious, but with much modesty, I must say that I have a lot of experience in public life.”
After a congressional committee voted to recommend Rousseff’s ouster in chaotic and bad-tempered scenes late April 11, the stage was set for a weekend showdown in the full lower house.
Deputies were due to start debating April 15, with a decisive vote on April 17, officials said.