Corruption Brings Millions to the Street in Brazil

In the month of March, millions of Brazilians took to the street to protest the current president, Dilma Rousseff, and her political party, the Workers Party (PT). Last year, when the Lava-Jato scandal broke out, many politicians in her current cabinet were investigated and charged with money laundering. While Dilma was never formally indicted on any charges of involvement in the massive money laundering scheme, she was, nevertheless, put on trial for impeachment. Now with the impeachment investigations under way, people are not only protesting the PT, they have begun protesting against the opposition and for the right to a democratic state as well.

The political situation in Brazil is complicated but the fact remains that while Dilma is now on trial for impeachment for claims of corruption, she is the only one named in the scandal that actually has no evidence against her. Among the people who do have charges against them are former President Lula da Silva, José Dirceu de Oliveira e Silva (Lula’s former chief of staff), Vice President Michel Temer, President of the lower house of Congress Eduardo Cunha, senate president Renan Calheiros, and the extremely vocal opposition leader, Aécio Neves.1 Besides Lula and Dirceu, all of the politicians charged with corruption allegations have supported the impeachment trial of Dilma. Needless to say, Dilma is the only one who is seemingly innocent in this debacle and that if in fact she does get impeached, no one beneath her will be able to assume the position of president since they are also being investigated for corruption or money laundering.

Many believe that Dilma’s attempt to make Lula the new chief of staff was an attempt to protect him against the charges he has against him in the Lava-Jato scandal. If he were to be appointed as the chief of staff, he could only be investigated by the Supreme Court but his position was quickly denied. Whatever the outcome of the current situation may be, a record number of protesters have come out in support or against every possible group. Middle and upper middle class protesters in São Paulo have been vocal about their disdain for Dilma and her government, but evidence has yet to confirm what millions of people have assumed. With so many politicians in the middle of the largest scandal in Brazilian history, it is unclear what will happen if Dilma is found guilty and impeached.


  1. PeÇanha, Sergio, and Simon Romero. "Corruption Scandals in Brazil Reach All the Way to the Top." The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. Available at:

  2. Sreeharsha, Vinod. "Amid Scandals, Senior Judge in Brazil Suspends Ex-President’s Cabinet Nomination." The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Mar. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. Available at:

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