“Brazil’s young democracy is being subjected to a coup,” said Dilma Rousseff after the Senate on May 12 voted 55 to 22 to remove her as president and move forward with impeachment.
Is this really a coup, as Rousseff and her supporters believe? Coups usually entail the violent overthrow of a government or a trampling of constitutional rules and procedures. In Brazil, there has been no involvement by the military other than to keep the peace.
And the major players in this real-life Brazilian telenovela – Congress, the judiciary, the federal police and the Federal Accounting Office (TCU) – are all playing by the constitutional rules. This is testimony to strong institutions in Brazil and a victory for checks and balances.