Brazil's Michel Temer Inherits Presidency on Shaky Ground | NBC Connecticut
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Brazil's Michel Temer Inherits Presidency on Shaky Ground

Still, just hours after the permanent ouster of former President Dilma Rousseff, new leader Michel Temer assured the nation his administration was up to the task

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    In this Aug. 31, 2016, file photo, Brazil's President Michel Temer, center, is surrounded by senators as he arrives to take the presidential oath at the National Congress, in Brasilia, Brazil.

    The permanent ouster of deeply unpopular President Dilma Rousseff by Brazil's Senate means that a man who is arguably just as unpopular is now faced with trying to ease the wounds of a divided nation mired in recession.

    Long known as an uncharismatic backroom wheeler-dealer, Michel Temer inherits a shrinking economy, a Zika virus outbreak that has ravaged poor northeastern states and political instability fed by a sprawling corruption probe that has tarred much of the country's political and business elite — himself included.

    So far he's struggled in the nearly four months he's served as interim president following Rousseff's May impeachment, which suspended her from office while a final trial was prepared. The Senate's 61-20 vote on Wednesday to permanently remove her means Temer, who had been her vice president, will now serve out her term, which ends in late 2018.

    Just hours after Rousseff was removed, Temer assured the nation his administration was up to the task.

    "From today on, the expectations are much higher for the government. I hope that in these two years and four months, we do what we have declared — put Brazil back on track," he said.

    Temer also denied that the proceedings were a coup against Rousseff, which she repeatedly claimed throughout the process.

    "Putschist is you," he said, referring to Rousseff. "It's you who is breaking the constitution."

    Temer said he planned to attend the G20 meetings in China this weekend, mentioning bilateral meetings that leaders from Spain, Japan, Italy and Saudi Arabia have already requested.

    Dakota Access Pipeline Halted After Months Of Protest

    [NATL] Dakota Access Pipeline Halted After Months Of Protest
    A months-long standoff between the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe ended Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 after the Army Corps of Engineers declined to grant the permit to extend the pipeline beneath Lake Oahe in North Dakota. (Published Monday, Dec. 5, 2016)

    "We are traveling to show the world that we have political and legal stability," he said. "We have to show that there is hope in the country."

    Whether Temer can convince Brazilians that he is worth a real shot is unclear.

    He appeared tone-deaf with his first move in May, appointing an entirely white, male Cabinet to oversee a nation of 200 million people where more than 50 percent identify as black or mixed-race.

    Three of Temer's ministers had to quit within days of being named because of corruption allegations. And so far he has struggled to build consensus around key reforms, such as slimming the country's pension system.

    Government ministers are promising progress now that "interim" is no longer part of Temer's title.

    "With the end of the interim period and a vote of more than 60 senators, the investors will start bringing jobs again," said Cabinet chief Eliseu Padilha.

    So far that message hasn't resonated with most Brazilians, however. Just 14 percent said they approved of Temer's performance in a July poll by Datafolha. On the flip side, 62 percent said they wanted new elections to resolve the crisis. The poll interviewed 2,792 people July 14-15 and had a 2 percent margin of error.

    New elections would first require that Temer resign, which he has no intention of doing.

    Rousseff on Thursday asked the Supreme Federal Court to annul her ouster, though legal experts said that was unlikely. The court's top justice presided over her trial.

    The son of Lebanese immigrants, the 75-year-old Temer quietly rose through Brazil's political ranks, building a reputation as a negotiator who could forge deals among political rivals. His reserved manner earned him the nickname the "Butler." 

    As a leader of the country's biggest party, the ideologically flexible Brazilian Democratic Party Movement, Temer won election as head of the lower house of Congress for nearly a decade.

    A political marriage of convenience led the leftist Rousseff to choose the Sao Paulo congressman as her vice presidential running mate in 2010. Their formal if frosty relationship endured as the country continued a decade and a half-long boom.

    Gunman Pleads Guilty in Road Rage Killing of 4-Year-Old Gi

    [NATL] Gunman Sentenced for Road Rage Killing of 4-Year-Old Girl
    Tony Torrez was sentenced to 16 years in jail in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Dec. 1, 2016 after he plead guilty to the murder of 4-year-old Lilly Garcia. Garcia was fatally shot in the head by Torrez in a 2015 road rage incident. (Published Friday, Dec. 2, 2016)

    But by the time the pair was re-elected in 2014, the economy began to unravel and street protests erupted.

    Prosecutors and judges uncovered a web of billions of dollars of kickbacks at the state oil giant Petrobras. The two-year probe has ensnared dozens of businessmen and politicians across the political spectrum.

    Although Rousseff has never been personally implicated, many blame her for the graft because much of it happened while her party was in power. Temer, on the other hand, has been directly implicated: In a plea bargain, former Sen. Sergio Machado said that Temer asked him to channel $400,000 in Petrobras kickbacks to 2012 Sao Paulo mayoral candidate in Temer's party. Temer denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.

    Temer also is banned from running for office the next eight years because Sao Paulo's electoral court found him guilty of violating campaign spending laws in 2014.

    Tornado Whips Through Atlanta Region, Damage Caught on Cam

    [NATL] Tornado Whips Through Atlanta Region, Damage Caught on Cam
    A tornado hit the Cobb County area of Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday afternoon, the Nationa Weather Service confirmed. This security video is from a school in Atlanta and shows the powerful winds that swept through the region. At least one tree was caught toppling on camera. Other tornadoes have been confirmed by radar. (Published Friday, Dec. 2, 2016)

    Those things add to vehement opposition from Rousseff and her backers, who brand him a "usurper" and say he was brought into office to help squelch the corruption probe and restore the authority the country's elite.

    "They think that they beat us, but they are wrong," said Rousseff on Wednesday in her first remarks after being removed from office.

    Late Wednesday night, a group of unhappy Rousseff supporters smashed windows of bank branches, other businesses and a police SUV in the city of Sao Paulo. Anti-riot police tried to quell the demonstration with stun grenades and tear gas.

    Rousseff supporters have promised to try to impeach Temer, though analysts say that's unlikely.

    "Temer's party is the biggest in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate. That alone makes an impeachment process unlikely," said Jose Luiz Niemeyer, a professor of international relations at Ibmec, a Rio-based university.