In a September 22 speech to an elite foreign policy group in New York City, Brazil’s legislatively installed president, Michel Temer, made the startling admission that President Dilma Rousseff was removed from office because of her position on economic policy, rather than any alleged wrongdoing on her part.
Speaking to the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, a group of “opinion leaders” and corporate executives with interests in Latin America, Temer said, as translated by The Intercept (9/23/16):
And many months ago, while I was still vice president, we released a document named “A Bridge to the Future” because we knew it would be impossible for the government to continue on that course. We suggested that the government should adopt the theses presented in that document called “A Bridge to the Future.” But, as that did not work out, the plan wasn’t adopted and a process was established which culminated with me being installed as president of the republic.
The Intercept‘s Inacio Vieira notes that the economic plan that Rousseff refused to implement called for widespread cuts to social programs and privatization, a radically different agenda from the one approved by the 54.5 million Brazilian voters who gave Rousseff’s Workers’ Party its fourth electoral victory in 2014.
But Temer’s remarkable confession was not seen as newsworthy by virtually anyone in US corporate media—though the New York Times (9/19/16) did report on the speech by Temer to the United Nations a few days earlier in which he insisted in reference to the impeachment, “Everything happened with absolute respect for the constitutional order.”
A search of the Nexis news database turns up no stories that mention his more forthright AS/COA speech in any US newspaper, magazine, broadcast or cable outlet. The story was covered in alternative outlets like The Intercept (9/23/16, 9/23/16, 9/28/16), Common Dreams (9/23/16) and Mintpress (9/26/16).
The media silence on Temer’s admission is striking, especially considering that the Council of the Americas’ members include some of the biggest names in corporate media, including News Corp, Time Warner, Bloomberg and the Financial Times.
But as signaled by Vice President Joe Biden’s recent praise for Temer’s “commitment to maintaining Brazil’s regional and global leadership role during the recent period of political change,” the US government is quite pleased with the new pro-austerity regime in Brazil (for as long as it lasts; Temer has already been barred by an electoral court from political campaigning for eight years for violating campaign spending limits). Given this official friendliness, then, it’s not surprising that elite media are not eager to expose the shady origins of Washington’s new friends.