Dilma Roussef would not be the first: 1992 was the first time a president was removed from office in Brazil. Astrid Prange was there for the taz.
Former Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mellor in 2012, when he was honored for organizing the Rio Earth Summit Photo: dpa
Historic. Uplifting. Democratic. On September 29, 1992, Brazil made history. For the first time in the country’s history, a corruption scandal forced the president to leave the government palace early. With an overwhelming majority of 441 out of 480 deputies, the Brazilian Parliament voted for impeachment proceedings against then-President Fernando Collor de Mello.
As if under high voltage, I reported on this historic moment. 1992 was the year ever for Brazil. In June, the Rio Earth Summit took place, the UN climate conference at which the global community committed itself to joint climate protection for the first time.
And three months later, this vote. Most Latin Americans still had the political despotism and persecution of the military dictatorship in their bones. President Fernando Collor de Mello was the first democratically elected president after more than 20 years of military dictatorship. Of all people, he was to be forced to resign?
During the vote in Parliament, I felt this fear, although not a single deputy even dared to express it publicly. All of Latin America was staring spellbound at the capital, Brasilia. If it was possible there to democratically remove corrupt politicians from office, why shouldn’t it be possible elsewhere?
Yes, it was possible. And I admit that it was difficult for me to maintain my journalistic distance. I was thrilled by the democratic maturity test passed, by the democratic lesson Brazil taught the world.
But not all official misconduct is the same. The procedure that was successfully used in 1992 can be abused politically. The fight against corruption in Brazil is currently being fought according to different criteria, depending on party affiliation.
After the 1992 vote, everyone in the plenary hall hugged each other, politicians, journalists, even security personnel and cleaning ladies. On April 17, 2016, there was no such fraternization.