BRASILIA, April 18, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff makes a statement at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on April 18, 2016. The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, or the lower house of parliament, voted in favor of impeaching President Dilma Rousseff on Sunday. (Xinhua/AGENCIA ESTADO)
BRASILIA, April 18, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff makes a statement at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on April 18, 2016. The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, or the lower house of parliament, voted in favor of impeaching President Dilma Rousseff on Sunday. (Xinhua/AGENCIA ESTADO)

The Union of South American Nations (Unasur), a regional bloc comprising of 12 countries, said it has been “closely following” the development in Brazil, and the legislative process that voted in favor of ousting the president “raised many concerns.”

BRASILIA, April 18, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff makes a statement at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on April 18, 2016. The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, or the lower house of parliament, voted in favor of impeaching President Dilma Rousseff on Sunday. (Xinhua/AGENCIA ESTADO)
BRASILIA, April 18, 2016 (Xinhua) — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff makes a statement at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on April 18, 2016. The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, or the lower house of parliament, voted in favor of impeaching President Dilma Rousseff on Sunday. (Xinhua/AGENCIA ESTADO)

The Brazilian Senate voted early Thursday for an impeachment trial against Rousseff, suspending the president from office for six months.

Rousseff is charged with being “criminally responsible” for her administration’s alleged cover-up of public deficits in 2014 and 2015 in an attempt to get reelected. The legal term means she encouraged or facilitated the “crime,” even if she did not carry it out.

However, impeachment does not apply if “she did not personally commit the crime,” Unasur Secretary General Ernesto Samper told reporters Thursday in Quito, Ecuador, where the bloc is headquartered.

“Brazil’s Constitution is very clear on the matter,” he added.

Rousseff has said she did nothing wrong, and the accusation is being used as an excuse to oust the ruling Workers’ Party from power.

Unasur will work to “guarantee the president’s right to legitimate defense,” Samper said, warning that what was happening in Brazil could endanger other democratically elected governments in the region by making them vulnerable to legal action for alleged administrative failings.

In Venezuela, a member of Unasur, which also comprises Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay, the foreign ministry was more blunt, calling the impeachment trial a “coup.”

“Venezuela categorically rejects the parliamentary coup d’etat underway in Brazil through a travesty of justice by the oligarchy and imperialist powers, which aims to overthrow President Dilma Rousseff … endangering the Constitution and democracy,” the ministry said in a statement Thursday.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said his country was “concerned” about the events in Brazil, “which have generated uncertainty at the international level.”

In Ecuador, the foreign ministry expressed its “deep concerns” and reiterated “its decisive support for the Brazilian people and the constitutional government of President Rousseff.”

The ministry also said that “not a single accusation links her to committing a crime.”

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega wrote to Rousseff on Thursday, expressing his solidarity and condemning the legislative decision to subject her to a trial.

“We have followed, with indignation and condemnation, the unseemly and anti-democratic process that has marred the seriousness and strength of the institutions” in Brazil, Ortega wrote.

He blamed the “political games of the right wing …that aim to weaken” welfare programs designed to reduce poverty.

After the Senate’s vote on Thursday, Rousseff must vacate the presidency for the impeachment trial, which could take six months.

Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer, who was made acting president Thursday, has hinted at spending cuts and pro-business measures, saying his priority was to revive a sluggish economy. Endi

Source: Xinhua

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