• Labels current Brazilian President Michel Temer an “illegitimate president” and a “traitor”
• Says Temer betrayed their joint election campaign promises
• Maintains she was impeached “with completely unsubstantiated allegations” in a “coup d’état”
• Calls for elections to happen immediately: “We must elect a new president of the Republic so this coup is effectively blocked”
• Denies she was aware of corruption taking place at Petrobras: “None of us detected anything”
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera English’s current affairs show, UpFront, Dilma Rousseff, former Brazilian president, speaks out against her impeachment and criticises the current administration.
“[President Temer] is obviously an illegitimate president of Brazil,” Rousseff told UpFront host Mehdi Hasan. “Because the process which brought him to government…is a process based on tearing up the Brazilian constitution.”
“I never expected him to be a traitor and he is a traitor,” she added. “He didn’t betray me as the person Dilma Rousseff; he rather betrayed the President of the Republic. He betrayed an institution. And furthermore, he betrayed a campaign.”
During the interview, Rousseff addressed the allegations that led to her impeachment. “The parliament allied itself with segments of the judiciary system and launched a coup d’état, removing a president from office, with completely unsubstantiated allegations,” she said.
Rousseff said her experience is not unique and a global phenomenon. “What is happening in the world, especially here in Latin America, but elsewhere in the world too, is a process of parliamentary coup, or institutional coup, through which a branch of power forms alliances, with the omission of other segments of power,” she said.
On the issue of the Petrobras scandal, which implicated numerous Brazilian politicians, she denied any knowledge of corruption inside the oil company. Before assuming the presidency, Rousseff was chairperson of Petrobras, Brazil’s biggest company, between 2003 and 2010.
“The council, which I was a member of, included businessmen,” she said. “None of us detected anything, funnily enough. There is no council where the Chair is the only person who is held accountable. Why are none of the major businessman questioned? Why only me?… There is a huge difference between being a member of the Council and being a member of the Board of Petrobras. This difference exists in every organization. The prosecutors from Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash) acknowledged that corruption happens in the dark.”
Rousseff also called upon the Brazilian government to conduct fresh elections and not wait until 2018. “I believe that the key component in the ongoing struggle in Brazil today is a return of free elections for president,” she said. “We must elect a new president of the Republic so that this coup is effectively blocked.”
This UpFront interview with Dilma Rousseff airs Friday December 16th at 19:30GMT /20:30 WAT / 21:30 CAT / 22:30 EAT. The full show will be available through this link: www.aljazeera.com/upfront after it airs. For more information, follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront.
Kevin Kriedemann & Joy Sapieka
AL JAZEERA MEDIA NETWORK