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How Libertarian Activists Helped Impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

"Brazil's democracy has never been stronger."

The Free Brazil Movement marched 750 miles to Brasilia to deliver an impeachment bill to congress ||| Alexandre SantosAlexandre SantosBrazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached today, as the senate voted 61 to 20 in favor of ending her term two and a half years early. Rousseff was removed from office for secretly borrowing money from state owned banks to paper over the federal government's fiscal problems. Her actions were in violation of a 16-year-old-law that puts stringent controls on government spending. A left-wing populist and member of the Workers Party, Rousseff has champioened policies that have contributed to one of the worst economic crises in Brazilian history. The country's unemployment rate is above 11 percent, and its economy has been contracting over the last couple years. In the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, which categorizes countries based on the level of government interference in the private economy, Brazil ranked 122 out of 178.

"With the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's democracy has never been stronger," says Sérgio Praça, a political scientist at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro. Rousseff's defenders say her misdeeds weren't significant enough to warrant impeachment, but Praça disagrees. "Congress should be the judge of that," he says, and "it's her fiscal crimes that helped throw Brazil into our biggest recession in history."

The backstory is of particular interest to libertarians. Today's impeachment probably wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the Free Brazil Movement, a libertarian activist group that was determined to bring Rousseff down. The group helped organize a succession of demonstrations over the past year and a half that involved millions of anti-Rousseff protesters. In May of 2015, the Free Brazil Movement led a 33-day, 750-mile march from São Paulo to the federal capital of Brasilia while carrying an impeachment bill to deliver to Congress. After arriving in Brasilia, members of the group sat down with congressional leaders to make their case. Throughout the process, the group continued to meet with members of congress, promising to mobilize their constituents against them if they didn't come out in favor of impeachment.

For more on how the Free Brazil Movement helped bring down a president—and the surging libertarian movement in Brazil that helped make it all possible—watch below:

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  • sarcasmic||

    What are Liberians doing in Brazil?

  • Swiss Servator||

    Tanning?

    Squatting in a favela?

    Waiting for the Miss Bum-Bum contest/pageant? [lights HM signa;]

  • Tony||

    The bidding of private oil interests, of course.

  • Juice||

    The group helped organize a succession of demonstrations over the past year and a half that involved millions of anti-Rousseff protesters brainwashed Kochspirators.

    Is that what you mean, Tony?

  • Tony||

    They did it here with the Tea Party, didn't they?

  • kbolino||

    They did it here with the Tea Party, didn't they?

    Either the Tea Party is a bunch of racist hicks, or they're working for the very cosmopolitan Koch brothers (or neither). It can't be both.

  • MichaelL||

    The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party seems to be far from racist! It sounds like a bigoted person making that comment! My Republican niece is married to a black man!

  • wef||

    The mass of Brazilians are pawns.

    Tony just doing his cultural-elitist, racist bs-ing again.

  • don quixote||

    Of course they are! The world is awash in oil so they are going after control of the most expensive deep sea oil there is. Unwisely pursued by the pure Dilma and dandy Obama.

  • BYODB||

    *nods head sagely*


    Look at all those racists.

  • Swiss Servator||

    No, no!

    Misogynists!

  • John DeWitt||

    A left-wing populist and member of the Workers Party, Rousseff has champioened [sic] policies that have contributed to one of the worst economic crises in Brazilian history.

    Um, no. As the NYT put it:

    The impeachment puts a definitive end to 13 years of governing by the leftist Workers' Party, an era during which Brazil's economy boomed, lifting millions into the middle class and raising the country's profile on the global stage.
  • Swiss Servator||

    You bet! The wise sages who told us the BRIC economies would become dominant have been proven right!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Is that a KrugQuote? Sounds like a KrugQuote, looks like a KrugQuote, smells like a KrugPoop I mean Quote.

  • Swiss Servator||

    The country's unemployment rate is above 11 percent, and its economy has been contracting over the last couple years. In the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, which categorizes countries based on the level of government interference in the private economy, Brazil ranked 122 out of 178.

    Booming, I tells ya!

    /NYT

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Brazil - The Country of the Future!

    It always has been and it always will be.

  • wef||

    The country has been growing slowly - I think averaging slightly less than 1 percent growth during the Dilma presidency - and is in bad shape these days. The potential for growth is much greater, and the mass of voters know it and feel that they have been paying for the populist statism that simply has not worked. That's why a super majority of delegates in the "lower house" voted to impeach and 60 out of 81 senators felt safe enough to vote to remove from office. That on top of the fiddling with the books and the general stench of corruption as business as usual. The scandals did set the legal stage, but it looks strongly like the economic mess was the engine of Dilma's downfall.

    Anyway, the power-worshiping lewinsky press - the nytimes being the flagship - is spinning a lost narrative.

  • ||

    As usual, the NYT is full of shite. The labor party caused all of the economic problems and ended the boom.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: How Libertarian Activists Helped Impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
    "Brazil's democracy has never been stronger."

    One cannot be angered by the missed opportunity of having Brazil, a country rich in natural resources, to become an another Cuba or Venezuela. The people who aided in the crime impeachment assistance of President Dilma Rousseff have only themselves to blame if the economy improves, more crooked politicians are thrown out office and participation in government activities by the little people occurs. Indeed, this woman had the fine makings of a totalitarian dictator as had Hugo Chavez, may his name be blessed. The only way to liberate and improve the lives of the Brazilian people is to enslave them, take away their property and indoctrinate them into socialist behavior if they are to become a true workers paradise. But no! The unenlightened fools ruined a perfectly good chance to make Brazil another North Korea. Now the people of Brazil will never know the joys of rationing, political indoctrination, starvation, beatings, being shot or the many wonderful benefits of being marched off to the local gulag. Indeed they will never enjoy the pleasures of existing in a country where there is a cult of personality like Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China or Castro's Cuba. This should teach everyone the pitfalls of living in a democratic state and avoid them at all costs.

  • brec||

    Dave Zirin, @EdgeofSports, sports editor at The Nation, tweeted:

    Disgrace. A den of thieves just impeached a recently elected President to slow the pace of their own indictments. https://t.co/IzMD7mtPtB
  • bassjoe||

    He has a point. The President-to-Be Temer is embroiled in a corruption scandal just as big or bigger than what Rouseff was just convicted of... as are many of the senators who voted to convict her.

    Brazil's government is a corrupt shithole of a mess. I'm not sure getting rid of Rouseff will solve anything in the short or medium term.

  • Hank Phillips||

    She favored reproductive rights in a country run from the Vatican, AND gave some really stupid speeches. Nobody who can follow her ramblings in real time imagines she is a criminal mastermind. She was elected precisely because people hate the prohibitionism the US exports here, there and everywhere through tools like the UN. Then again, it's easy to recoup the cost of TARP if you know just when a large nation's economy is about to tank under asset-forfeiture grabs... again.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    He's practicing for Hillary's impeachment.

  • bassjoe||

    I seriously doubt Rouseff's crimes would have gotten her impeached and removed if she was popular.

  • ||

    IOW, Obama would have gotten away with embezzling billions of dollars from Petrobras and using the money to buy influence and power.

  • BYODB||

    Well, the administration got away with Solyndra so why not?

  • bassjoe||

    Amazingly, she's not alleged to have been involved in the Petrobas scandal, like pretty much every other elected official in Brazil...

  • Hank Phillips||

    She was before the bloody-shirt "warriors-fo-the-babies" found out about the US-style abortion prophylaxis law she signed. Search "Dilma, aborto" on Google images.
    The Speaker, recently removed, owned some 300 Christianofascist televangelism URLs at the time he started the impeachment rolling, and is indicted for stuffing millions in Swiss bank accounts in his wife's name. Dilma herself is as competent as Gerald Ford. But the Bush asset-forfeiture crash sent the entire world economy into a tailspin, and all of Latin America is in the dumps. The same thing happened when Bush "CIA" Sr. was elected after the Reagan-Bush asset-forfeiture Crash of 1987. The then-president of Brazil was impeached and had to resign. Ask Jim Epstein if that was a libertarian uprising. The libertarian party is explicitly banned in Brazil, just as in Ohio.

  • Tony||

    See, when I see a socialist South American leader get toppled by extraordinary means, I don't even need the word "libertarian" in there to suspect meddling by right-wing interests in the United States. But the Kochs and their comrades are getting crafty. You need to wade through practically three whole websites before you figure out that they're behind it all. Much better than how we used to go about toppling democratically elected socialists and installing neoliberal regimes. And in one of the world's biggest oil producers! What a lovely day for freedom.

  • kbolino||

    Doesn't it get boring peddling the same talking points all the time? Don't you ever feel the need to mix it up a bit?

  • Tornado16nb||

    The odd thing is he claimed he couldn't stand bernie sanders and is all in the bag for hillary clinton who was described by sanders supporters as a neo liberal shill.

  • Juice||

    The US is long overdue for a corrupt female president. South America is way ahead of us.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Unfortunately, even arguing for abortion rights in Brazil is "apologia," a felony charge used to make certain speech is as free as in Franco's Spain, Mussolini's Italy and Maduro's Venezuela.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Well said!

  • hive of scum||

    The Hive of Scum approves.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Jim Epstein does not know Brazil. Dilma's party is exactly the same as the other 32 looter parties at the time, only less religious, less prohibitionist. She defeated George Holy War Bush's little hug-buddy (death for marijuana, ban abortion, make flag burning a felony) in TWO closely-watched elections. But she had signed a US-type law providing DNA forensics and pregnancy prophylaxis, which irritated the Pope of Rome. The State Department sent Liliana Ayalde, The Terminator, to destabilize the government once it became clear that her godly opponent's involvement with a helicopter full of cocaine base had ruined his chances of winning the run-off. Ayalde had previously been thrown out of Bolivia for espionage, presided an "impeachment" coup in Paraguay and increased the prohibition-related death rate in the Caribbean by 800%. Unconvincing nationwide protests followed her arrival in Brazil, as Brazil's President, other politicians and many industrialists discovered that the NSA had been tapping their telephones, and many were suddenly under indictment on charges filed by local Federal Police. About half the senators who ousted her are under multiple fraud and laundering indictments they are eager to quash. If Epstein really is a Reason regular he'll realize he's been played soon enough.

  • Joaquim||

    Jesus, so much crazy bullshit that I think you're actually abusing the drugs that you think to be central to her impeachment process, together with the Pope. Dilma is simply a dishonest, left-wing populist.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Nothing could be further than the truth. They were all misogynistic minions of the partriarchy would were trying to crush democratic social justice!

  • Joaquim||

    She literally called the impeachment process a misogynistic, racist and homophobic coup d'état.

  • Joaquim||

    Glad to have been part of it; Rousseff was easily the worst president of Brazilian, ever, she is absolutely dishonest, incompetent, stubborn and incapable of admitting gross mistakes. She was president of the board of state oil company Petrobras while the largest corruption scandal in the history of Brazil happened there (estimated in 30 billion dollars), which heavily benefited her party and her allies; she drove the Brazilian economy to the ground by employing the worst possible combination of crony capitalism, protectionism and keynesianism, leading the country to its worst recession since the 1930s, with double-digit inflation and unemployment; she also tried to protected former president Lula, her comrade, from criminal investigations by appointing him as a minister (it didn't work though). Last but not least, she was impeached for committing fiscal fraud, since she illegally used state banks to fund government expenditures in 2014 (the year in which she got reelected) and 2015.

  • Joaquim||

    *Rousseff was easily the worst president of Brazilian history

  • Suell||

    Que bom que vocês botaram fora essa malandra comunista. Desejo tudo de bom pra o Brasil é mais liberdade. Mais Mises e menos Marx mesmo!

  • Tony||

    How about neither. You'd think South America would be wary of national-scale libertarian experiments by now.

  • Joaquim||

    Please, tell me more about all the libertarian national experiments here in Brazil

  • Joaquim||

    (and other south american countries)

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