By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Reaction to former President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment on Wednesday (August 31st) came swiftly, both from within Brazil as well as from foreign nations. Abroad, a few Latin American countries criticized the decision to oust Rousseff, but not all reaction was negative. In São Paulo, violence continued into the night, with protesters destroying cars, stores and financial institutions.
“We’re confident that we will continue the strong bilateral relationship that exists between our two countries as the two largest democracies and economies in the hemisphere. Brazil and the United States are committed partners. We cooperate with Brazil to address issues of mutual interest in the 21st century’s most pressing global challenges. We plan to continue this very essential collaboration, ” said spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, John Kirby, during his daily briefing meeting with reporters.
Stating that the U.S. believes that Brazil’s democratic institutions have acted within its constitutional framework, Kirby said that the North American country would continue to work with its partner as usual.
The Venezuelan government, which has repeatedly expressed its dismay with the impeachment process, was the hardest to react. In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country announced that it was withdrawing its ambassador from Brasilia, ‘to safeguard the international legality and in solidarity to Brazil’s people’.
Later during the day, the governments of Bolivia and Ecuador also issued statements stating that they were also calling back home its representatives until further notice. The two countries, along with Nicaragua, have filed a grievance with the Washington-based Organizations of American States (OAS) calling the procedure a ‘parliamentary coup’.
In São Paulo groups pro and against impeachment took to the streets during the late afternoon. Although the demonstrations started out peacefully, by 8PM protesters started to split into smaller groups, with some lighting fires to trash bags and vandalizing banking establishments. Police, who had throughout the afternoon accompanied the protests, threw tear gas to disperse the violent groups. Several people were reported hurt and taken to nearby hospitals.
In Rio de Janeiro dozens of protesters gathered in Cinelandia to protest against the impeachment. Although extra police officers were called to monitor the crowd, no major incidents were reported. Demonstrations were also reported in Salvador, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.