Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is the only leading politician in the country that has not engaged in theft to enrich herself but has been “impeached by a gang of thieves” through a “soft coup” led by the opposition parties in the country, renowned linguist and political commentator Noam Chomsky said in an interview with Democracy Now! on Tuesday.
“She’s being charged with manipulations in the budget, which are pretty standard in many countries, taking from one pocket and putting it into another,” Chomsky told Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman.
“Maybe it’s a misdeed of some kind, but certainly doesn’t justify impeachment. In fact, she’s — we have the one leading politician who hasn’t stolen to enrich herself, who’s being impeached by a gang of thieves, who have done so. That does count as a kind of soft coup.”
The leading professor said the opposition has been preparing for action against the democratically elected president in the years since they lost the elections.
“The elite detested the Workers’ Party and is using this opportunity to get rid of the party that won the elections,” he said.
Chomsky also touched on the history of U.S. interventions in the region and decades of policies that sought regime changes and ousting of democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Honduras and Haiti.
“One (coup) in Venezuela in 2002 succeeded for a couple of days, backed by the U.S., overthrown by popular reaction. A second in Haiti, 2004, succeeded. The U.S. and France — Canada helped — kidnapped the president, sent him off to Central Africa, won’t permit his party to run in elections. That was a successful coup. Honduras, under Obama, there was a military coup, overthrew a reformist president,” Chomsky said.
However, he argued that Washington does not have the same sway over the region anymore and its influence has been waning for more than a decade.
“Latin America has, to a significant extent, liberated itself from foreign — meaning mostly U.S. — domination in the past 10 or 15 years. That’s a dramatic development in world affairs. It’s the first time in 500 years. It’s a big change.”
Last week, a Senate vote suspended Rousseff for 180 days to make her face an impeachment trial over accusations of budget manipulations.
Vice President Michel Temer, embroiled in corruption scandals and facing possible impeachment, took over from Rousseff as acting president. If Rousseff is cleared of charges, she will remain the president, but in case she is found guilty, Temer will become the president until a new head of state is chosen in upcoming elections.