Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff is travelling to New York to drum up international support for her ongoing domestic battle against impeachment proceedings. While she is away, the power will rest with Vice President Michel Temer, the man she accused of mounting a coup against her government.
The trip remained undecided until the final moments owing to the political paralysis in Brazil. But Rousseff has decided to use the two-day tour to repair some of the damage back home. However, the trip is expected to have little or no effect directly on the ongoing impeachment proceedings.
Rousseff will take the floor before the UN General Assembly, which has gathered to sign a climate change agreement, on 22 April. Two of her close aides told Reuters that Rousseff will speak to the international media during the tour to defend herself. The UN has no power when it comes to domestic prosecution.
Rousseff is accused of manipulating government accounts in 2014 just prior to the elections, to make the economy looker brighter than it was. Following a series of political drama, which witnessed her key allies deserting her and anti-government protesters demanding her removal, the lower house of Congress — the Chamber of Deputies — overwhelmingly voted in favour of prosecuting the Latin American leader. The matter will be taken up by the Senate in roughly three weeks, which will seal her fate.
Quipping at the timing of her New York visit, Temer's spokesperson Marcio de Freitas said: "This is a rather unusual coup. She is going to the UN to denounce a coup but handing over power during her trip to the man she says is trying to overthrow her." Earlier in March, she had cancelled her Washington visit reportedly because she did not want to leave power with Temer. Rousseff has labelled Temer as a "traitor" and the "captain of the coup".
Brazilian Congressmen Jose Carlos Alleluia and Luiz Lauro Filho — both opponents of Rousseff — will also travel to New York to give a counterpoint to her claims.