UPDATE: 10:03 p.m. EDT -- Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday condemned the impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, describing it as a U.S.-backed "coup," Reuters reported.
"I have no doubt that behind this coup is the label 'Made in USA,'" Maduro said in a speech on state TV. "Powerful oligarchic, media and imperial forces have decided to finish with the progressive forces, the popular revolutionary leaderships of the left in the continent."
UPDATE: 6:15 p.m. EDT -- Brazil's Interim President Michel Temer has pledged to bolster the nation's fight against corruption, saying he would back an investigation into the alleged kickback scandal at Petrobras, the state-run oil company, the Associated Press reported. Although some witnesses have implicated Temer in connection with the scandal, he has not been charged.
But critics say Temer would likely help weaken any Petrobras probe, asserting that he is too well connected to top politicians and business leaders.
During his first day as interim president, Temer -- who may serve for as long as six months as suspended President Dilma Rousseff faces an impeachment trial -- said he planned to focus on reviving Brazil's economy.
UPDATE: 1:40 p.m. EDT — After the suspension of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged calm as Vice President Michel Temer assumed the role of interim president.
“The secretary-general calls for calm and dialogue among all sectors of society,” U.N. representative Stephane Dujarric told Reuters. “He trusts that the country’s authorities will honor Brazil's democratic processes, adhering to the rule of law and the constitution.”
Temer will serve as interim president for as long as six months while Brazil’s Senate tries Rousseff on charges she violated government budgetary rules. The suspended president has said she will use all legal options to fight those charges. If she is found guilty by two-thirds of the Senate, Temer would serve out her term, which concludes in 2018.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 12, 2016
UPDATE: 12:05 p.m. EDT — Brazil’s interim President Temer released Thursday the names of his 27 new government ministers. There were no women among them, prompting accusations of sexism after Brazil’s Senate suspended the country’s first female president.
Temer thus will have the first all-male Cabinet in Brazil since 1979. Just 16 percent of the members of the nation’s Senate (the upper house) and only 10 percent of the members of its Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) are women, the Washington Post reported.
(AI) Michel Temer assina notificação de posse como presidente interino encaminhada pelo Senado. pic.twitter.com/dJbFaJfQji
— Michel Temer (@MichelTemer) May 12, 2016
As anticipated, Temer appointed former central bank head Henrique Meirelles as the new finance minister, local media reported. Meirelles faces the difficult task of attempting to get Brazil out of its worst recession in decades.
Temer will serve as Brazil’s interim president for as long as six months while Rousseff’s trial proceeds. If she is found guilty by a two-thirds vote in the Senate, Temer will serve out the rest of her term until the country’s presidential election in 2018.
UPDATE: 11:38 a.m. EDT — With less than 100 days to go before the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro, the World Health Organization warned Thursday that people traveling to Brazil should avoid impoverished and overcrowded areas to minimize their risks of being infected with the Zika virus.
“Pregnant women continue to be advised not to travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission,” the WHO said in a statement. “This includes Rio de Janeiro.”
The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to birth defects. The Olympic Games will start Aug. 5 amid Brazil’s ongoing economic and political crises.
Brazil’s Vice President Temer became the country’s interim president Thursday after the Senate voted to suspend President Rousseff, who has been accused of violating budgetary rules.
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) May 10, 2016
UPDATE: 11:12 a.m. EDT — Vice President Temer signed an order Thursday confirming his role as Brazil’s interim president after the Senate voted to suspend President Rousseff.
A trial that could last as long as six months will examine accusations that Rousseff violated government budgetary rules to hide Brazil’s growing budget deficit ahead of the 2014 presidential election.
(AI) Michel Temer recebe notificação de posse como presidente interino encaminhada pelo Senado. pic.twitter.com/Eh7BOYNMq0
— Michel Temer (@MichelTemer) May 12, 2016
Exclusivo: a notificação do Senado assinada por Dilma que oficializa seu afastamento pic.twitter.com/NEHsjeZI6x
— Leandro Colon (@LeandroColon) May 12, 2016
Rousseff spoke to the public for the first time since her suspension Thursday. She compared her suspension with the torture she experienced as a young woman under Brazil’s military dictatorship.
“It’s the most brutal of things that can happen to a human being — to be condemned for a crime you didn’t commit,” the Associated Press quoted her as saying.
Rousseff’s supporters gathered in Brasilia Thursday holding banners that read, “We are with you.” She has vowed to use every legal avenue to fight the allegations against her.
About 2,500 ppl in crowd supporting @dilmabr outside Palace. Not huge, but then it's mid-day on a Thursday
— Stephanie Nolen (@snolen) May 12, 2016
— G1 (@g1) May 12, 2016
UPDATE: 10:38 a.m. EDT — Suspended Brazilian President Rousseff said Thursday she had not committed any impeachable offense and would fight with every legal instrument possible to complete her presidential mandate that runs until 2018.
“I have made mistakes, but I did not commit a crime,” Rousseff said, according to a translation from TeleSur English.
Rousseff warned about the dangers of Brazil being led by a government that was not elected by the people, saying the new government could resort to repressive tactics. “The biggest risk for the country is to be led by a government that was not elected by a direct vote,” she said.
— Dilma Rousseff (@dilmabr) May 12, 2016
Rousseff was suspended as president by a 55-22 vote in the Senate early Thursday. A trial centered on allegations that she violated government budgetary rules will now be conducted.
Rousseff’s entire Cabinet was dismissed after the Senate’s vote. Brazilian media reported 27 ministers were dismissed, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Also known as Lula, he served as Rousseff’s chief of staff. He has been implicated in the large-scale corruption kickback scheme tied to the state oil company Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras).
.@dilmabr “I call for the people to remain mobilized, together, in peace.”
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 12, 2016
Interim President Temer is expected to swear in a new Cabinet Thursday. He may cut down the number of Cabinet positions to 22, the Associated Press reported.
Brazil’s benchmark stock index showed gains early Thursday fueled by hopes that Temer will work to cut the country’s large budget deficit.
UPDATE: 9:45 a.m. EDT — Suspended Brazilian President Rousseff is scheduled to hold a news conference at the Palácio do Planalto in Brasilia at 10 a.m. EDT. She is expected to address the Brazilian Senate’s decision early Thursday to suspend her from office for as long as six months while a trial is conducted over allegations she broke government budgetary rules to hide a growing deficit ahead of the 2014 presidential election.
Rousseff has been steadfast in her denials of any wrongdoing and described her suspension as an “injustice.”
Despite business-friendly Vice President Temer stepping into the role of interim president, Moody’s Investor Services said its current outlook for Brazil remains negative due to “significant credit challenges,” Reuters reported.
— CNN International (@cnni) May 12, 2016
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff described the Senate’s vote to suspend her as a “historic injustice” in a message posted on her Facebook page Thursday. After many hours of heated debate, Brazil’s Senate voted 55-22 early the same day to suspend Rousseff for as long as six months, pending a trial centered on allegations she broke government budgetary rules.
Vice President Michel Temer will be the interim president. If the Senate ultimately finds Rousseff guilty, Temer would serve out the rest of her term until the next presidential election in 2018.
Rousseff will continue to live in her official residence and have access to her staff and a Brazilian air force plane until her trial is over. She is scheduled to address her supporters along with former former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Thursday. She has denied any wrongdoing.
A Temer aide announced early Thursday that the new government was planning austerity measures to help cut Brazil’s budget deficit. The country is in its second year of recession, and its unemployment rate has risen to 10.2 percent this year from 7.4 percent last year. Temer is expected to appoint former central bank president Henrique Mereilles as the new finance minister.
With less than 100 days to go before the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was ready to work with Brazil’s new government.
“There is strong support for the Olympic Games in Brazil, and we look forward to working with the new government to deliver successful games in Rio this summer,” the Associated Press quoted IOC President Thomas Bach as saying.
Bach stressed that preparations for the games had entered the “operational phase” and that the country’s political crisis would have much less “influence” on them than it would have at earlier points in the planning process.