A former head of women, racial equality, and human rights, whose ministry was axed by the Brazilian coup-imposed interim government, has gone beyond calling the President Dilma Rousseff's suspension an ouster, saying the so-called impeachment process is an institutionally gendered, classist, and racialized coup, Prensa Latina reported Thursday.
The removal of Rousseff by the Senate to install a corrupt, unelected, conservative president has been widely slammed as a coup against democracy by internal movements organizing against the impeachment process, as well as by governments across Latin America, among others – but Nilma Lino Gomes has gone further.
“A government formed by white men of the same generation, the same social class, and even the same complicated political paths in the face of justice, brings an implicit message to the people,” said Gomes, former Minister of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights prior to Rousseff’s removal from office.
She added that what she sees as a multidimensional coup against race, class, and gender has left Brazilians with no hope that there will be any recognition of diversity within the interim government. In the last census, over half of Brazilians self-identified as Afro-descended, underlining the blatantly exclusionary and racist nature of the installed government.
The elimination of key ministries dedicated to culture and racial and gender diversity were among the first warning signs of the stark change under the new government. The areas Gomes previously oversaw have been absorbed into the portfolio of Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes, known for overseeing brutal police crackdowns against protesters as the head of security in the state government of Sao Paulo.
Gomes said that the development is “a very negative sign,” according to Prensa Latina.
The former minister was the first Black woman to lead a federal university when she became the dean of UNILAB University in 2013.
Brazil’s major trade unions, which have refused to negotiate regressive labor reforms with the interim government, have also labelled the bid to remove Rousseff as a coup against the working class.
Rousseff was suspended from office for 180 days through a Senate vote on May 12 to face an impeachment trial over allegations of budget manipulations.
New leaked recordings of key opposition figures have revealed that the impeachment bid was motivated by plans to halt investigations against corrupt officials, while secret conversations with the Supreme Court and military commanders have been interpreted as confirmation that the plot to oust Rousseff was a coup.
If the Senate decides at the end of the trial overseen by the Supreme Court to impeach Rousseff, Temer will be permanently installed until the end of the current term in 2018.