The bishops of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil have lent their support to the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, voicing their opposition to a campaign to impeach the embattled political leader.
The bishops of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) have lent their support to the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, voicing their opposition to a campaign to impeach the embattled political leader. President Rousseff’s opponents were motivated by their opposition to “social policies that have changed the lives of millions of Brazilians in recent years,” the bishops said in a document entitled: “Message to the Church and the Brazilian Society”. On 13 March 2016 approximately 3.5 million people took to the streets in 300 cities across the country. Marchers wrapped themselves in the Brazilian flag or wore the country’s national colors, and changed that they wanted “their country back.” They also called for the impeachment of President Rousseff, the arrest of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and an end to corruption. In last week’s statement the bishops said: “we express our understanding that the process of impeachment is steered by political leaders, many of which are being investigated for corruption, are well known defenders of the business sector which historically has benefitted from public funds.” The bishops further said: “For the goodness of the Brazilian society and its citizens, the fight against corruption should continue at all levels. We advocate a comprehensive reform of the political and electoral system in Brazil through a referendum which establishes clear procedures to finance campaigns, eliminating abuse and focuses on the welfare of the Brazilian people. . .” However, a series of high profile public corruption trials, a contracting economy, inflation, growing unemployment, and a sharp decline in the value of the Brazilian real against overseas currencies has led to a sharp decline in President Rousseff’s approval ratings, with only 11 per cent expressing strong support for her policies in a poll taken at the end of February. A series of corruption trials centered round the state Petrobas Oil Company and the governing Worker’s Party, of which Rousseff served as a director before taking office, has also damaged her reputation and fostered charges of corruption. In recent years the leaders of the IAEB have voiced their support for the social and economic policies of the left wing Worker’s Party and have defended the government from attacks by the conservative opposition parties.