When Dilma Rousseff was suspended from her presidential duties in May, the hope that she would ever return to power seemed to diminish by the day. Now, the Senate is getting ready to vote on her impeachment today and the president is all-but-certain to be thrown out of office. While the final impeachment hearings at the Senate this week were not surprising, that doesn’t mean they were boring. There were tears, there were celebrities, there were drugs! Forget about Rio 2016, this was the spectacle for the history books.
The baggie of “cocaine”
As Senator Aloysio Nunes took the floor to question Dilma, cameras caught what would become a social media sensation: Congressman Antonio Imbassahy shaking a plastic bag with an unidentified white substance. Could it be that a lawmaker would flagrantly play around with a baggie of cocaine while the entire country watched? No, his team says it was a packet of sugar, with photos showing a cup of coffee beside him backing up that claim. We may never know the truth, but it’s not the first time cocaine has marred Brazilian politics. There was also that incident a few years ago when a helicopter belonging to the family of Senator Zezé Perrella was detained with nearly 450kg of cocaine onboard. What an innocent time 2013 was.
Senator Gleisi Hoffman admitting no one present had the moral right to judge Rousseff
In a rather incredible moment of self-awareness, Senator Gleisi Hoffmann declared that the Brazilian Senate “has no moral right to judge President Dilma.” And she didn’t let herself off the hook, adding, “I include myself in that.” As has been clear from the very beginning of the impeachment proceedings, the very people trying her for corruption face their own laundry list of corruption charges. So, at least now we’re all on the same page about what a sham this whole thing has been.
The senator who brought his mother to the impeachment
Sometimes when you’re standing up in front of the world and accusing your country’s president of corruption, you need moral support. And who better to provide moral support than your mother? We joke of course; Senator Wilder Morais brought his mother, Maria Angélica de Morais, to Dilma’s impeachment proceedings for the much more rational reason that she is a fan of politics. What a sweet mother-son activity. Freud would have a field day.
Chico Buarque and Lula hanging out
Even politicians about to oust their president can’t help but get star struck. Brazilian idol Chico Buarque is a noted supporter of Dilma and served in the cabinet of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. So it only makes sense he’d grab lunch with Lula, Dilma’s mentor and predecessor, before watching her fight for her political life. And of course, senators and lawmakers wanted to grab a photo with the superstar singer. Globo’s excellent reporting notes that Lula ordered tea for them, but Buarque “preferred coffee.” Duly noted.
Dilma’s lawyer calling himself a crybaby
José Eduardo Cardozo, advogado de Dilma, chora após defender a petista no plenário do Senado pic.twitter.com/rELP6w7PUP
— BuzzFeed Brasil (@BuzzFeedBrasil) August 30, 2016
We’ve all been there; you have a bad day at work, you watch your boss go down in flames, and you can’t help but break down in tears. José Eduardo Cardozo, Dilma’s defense lawyer and formerly her attorney general, choked up when faced with a barrage of reporters outside the hearing and jokingly said, “I’m acting like a crybaby.”
Fabiane Duarte stealing the spotlight
Because it’s not a Brazilian media event until there’s a declared “muse.” Fabiane Duarte, secretary general to the Supreme Court, sent a flutter throughout coverage of the proceedings when she appeared in photographs alongside Ricardo Lewandowski, president of the Supreme Court. Suddenly, Brazilians sat up and paid attention simply because of Duarte’s beauty. She remains, however, unflustered by her “muse” status, and is focused on her work.
Senators taking selfies
Dilma calling the whole thing a coup and making parallels with the dictatorship
Say what you will about Rousseff, she didn’t go down without a fight. She has survived cancer and political persecution and now, 13 hours of interrogation from members of the Brazilian senate. She did not mince words when she responded to Senator Aloysio Nunes’ questioning with, “If you try me without any proof of a crime, senator, then it is a coup.” During her opening speech, Rousseff also made a clear parallel between the impeachment proceedings and when she was put on trial by the Brazilian dictatorship (1964-1985). “During the fight against the dictatorship … I was afraid of death, of the scars that torture left on my body and in my soul. But I resisted. Now, my only fear is for the death of democracy,” she said. “I can feel the bitter taste of injustice in my mouth once again.” It’s tough to say what the future holds for Rousseff now, but one thing seems certain: she won’t be slinking off quietly.