Brazil

Brazil's suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, faced her country's Senate on Monday, making one last case for herself as her impeachment trial nears its end.

"I have honored my commitments to democracy and the rule of law," she told the senators, according to a BBC interpreter. "I am going to look in your eyes and I will say with the serenity of someone who has nothing to hide that I haven't committed any crimes."

The impeachment trial opens today for Brazil's suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, over alleged fiscal mismanagement.

It's the final phase of a long process that could potentially remove her from office, as NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro reports from Rio de Janeiro. "It's really the end of the line," she tells Morning Edition, and says witnesses from the prosecution and defense will appear in the Senate and face questioning.

Brazil Police via AP

COMMENTARY

I don’t wear Speedo swimsuits. I obey the unwritten law – which ought to be codified criminal statute – that middle-aged men don’t wear them.

But I’m a Speedo fan this week. Not because the company said it will no longer sponsor Lamebrain Lochte (his real first name is Ryan) for his boorish behavior in Rio de Janeiro last week. And not because most of Lochte’s other corporate patrons dumped his clueless kiester, too.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, American swimmers who were with Ryan Lochte last weekend when their group reportedly suffered a robbery, were pulled off their flight home from Rio's Summer Olympics on Wednesday by police seeking answers about the reported robbery.

No one would want to throw the biggest party in the world if they were in the middle of divorce, broke and being audited.

That's pretty much the situation Brazil finds itself in right now, during the Summer Olympic Games.

President Dilma Rousseff is in the midst of being impeached. Her trial starts in a few days, after the end of the games. The country is going through a historic recession and budgets are being repeatedly slashed. And the largest corruption investigation in Latin American history has taken down politicians and captains of industry alike.

In the opening ceremony of Rio's Olympic Games, Brazil's favelas, or shantytowns, were showcased as the birthplace of a lot of Brazil's culture.

That was showbiz. In three of the most iconic communities, the reality of how these Olympics are affecting favela residents is more complicated.

Brazil is one of the most unequal countries in the world. In Rio, at least 25 percent of the population lives in impoverished communities.

Take Santa Marta. Perched above Rio's expensive South Zone, it's the city's most internationally famous favela.

Logan Riely / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY 

 

Dr. Esper Kallas shared a prediction about Zika with me earlier this year. And I could have made big bucks betting that unfortunately he’d be right.

Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff's fate seems to be all but sealed.

Senators voted overwhelmingly to try the suspended leader, 59-21, in the last leg of the process to remove her from office. She will now face a trial in the Senate over alleged fiscal mismanagement. A final vote after all the evidence has been presented and weighed is set to take place at the end of the month.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

At a Brazilian restaurant in Doral called Brazuca’s, Danilo Leão is whipping up his most popular dish, feijoada. Pronounced fay-ZHWAH-dah, it's a heavenly stew of black beans, meats and spices created centuries ago by Brazilian slaves.

On the day she was killed, Alexsandra Moreira thought she was safe. She thought she had managed to break away and protect herself.

Her brother even escorted her to the bus station that morning to make sure she was OK on her way to work.

"When she got on the bus, my brother told her, 'If anything happens, just call me.' Ten minutes later, his phone rang and it was her. All he could hear was her screaming, pleading for help," Moreira's sister, Andreza da Silva, says.

Natacha Pisarenko / Miami Herald/AP

We're just weeks away from the 2016 Rio Olympics and there are a lot of questions about safety: safety concerning crime and safety concerning zika. Michelle Kaufmann, sports reporter for The Miami Herald, is going to Rio to cover the games and puts these fears in context. This will be her 14th Olympic games. Her first was the  Albertville 1992 Winter Games. Here are her comments:

Courtsey Pro Footvolley Tour

This story first aired on December 14, 2015.   

These days, if you’re sitting on a South Florida beach and someone shouts, “Shark attack!” it’s probably got nothing to do with “Jaws.” Instead, it’s all about feet.

Namely, a sport called footvolley.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Here we go again, only in reverse.

If you remember the Great Recession, then you remember every liberal coming out of the woodwork in those days to denounce capitalism.

Not just the capitalist excesses that caused the U.S. financial collapse. Free-market mutants like subprime mortgages and the deranged securities they were bundled into. But capitalism itself.

Courtesy Family of Parker Amet

COMMENTARY

The impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was last week’s biggest Latin American story, but maybe not the most important.

Personally, I think the weightier news was three scientific studies that conclude that the Zika virus does indeed cause fetal microcephaly – the heartbreaking condition that leaves newborns with reduced head and brain size.

Alex Silva / AP via Miami Herald

Last week Brazil’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to impeach and suspend the country’s President, Dilma Rousseff. She now faces a long trial on charges of illegally using state bank funds to cover up big budget deficits.

Rousseff is caught up in an angry public revolt against Brazil's epic corruption, including a $3 billion scandal at the state oil firm Petrobras. But she calls her impeachment a hypocritical "coup" – pointing to the fact that more than half the members of the Brazilian congressional committee that recommended her ouster face corruption charges too.

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