Hillary praised transparency of Brazilian president now facing impeachment

Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, lost a vote in the lower chamber of Brazil’s congress Sunday meaning impeachment proceedings will now head to the nation’s senate. She is accused of hiding a budget deficit to win the 2014 election and of making moves to protect the former president who is implicated in a corruption scandal. But as the Daily Beast notes today, just four years ago, Hillary Clinton praised Rousseff for her transparency and anti-corruption efforts:

Clinton pointed to Rousseff as a great example of an enemy of corruption.

“So we now have a chance to set a new global standard for good governance and to strengthen a global ethos of transparency and accountability,” Clinton said as she wrapped up her remarks that day, according to a State Department transcript. “And there is no better partner to have started this effort and to be leading it than Brazil, and in particular, President Rousseff. Her commitment to openness, transparency, her fight against corruption is setting a global standard.”


Clinton and Rousseff weren’t strangers; on January 1, 2011 Clinton attended Rousseff’s inauguration, according to the State Department’s historian. And Clinton praised Rousseff at the March 2012 Women in the World Summit, an event co-sponsored at the time by The Daily Beast.

“You can look around the world today and you can see the difference that individual women leaders are making,” Clinton said. “Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who’s now leading UN women. They carry an enormous load for the rest of us, because it is hard for any leader—male or female. But I don’t fear contradiction when I say it is harder for women leaders.”

It seems fair to say Clinton was a big fan. But that was back then when Rousseff was being hailed for refusing to go along with austerity measures.  CNN reports on the background to the impeachment vote:

Lawmakers accuse Rousseff of hiding a budgetary deficit to win re-election in 2014.

Opponents blame Rousseff for the worst recession in decades, now in its second year. They also hold her accountable for a massive bribery and corruption scandal that has engulfed dozens of politicians in the Workers’ Party and coalition government.

Although Rousseff has not been implicated in the scandal, for many years she was the chairwoman of Petrobras, the state-run oil company at the heart of the investigation.


The economy started to drop at the same time the corruption investigation revealed a history of bribes involving the country’s biggest construction companies, Petrobras and dozens of politicians.

Last month, [former President] Lula da Silva was taken in for questioning on suspicion he benefited from the scheme during his tenure and afterward.

A few days later, Rousseff sought to appoint her former mentor as her chief of staff, which would have given him certain protections from prosecution. The move fueled nationwide protests.

To be fair, Fortune notes that about half of the Brazilian congress is under investigation for some kind of corruption. Even if Rousseff is guilty she is far from alone.

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