Brazil’s Senate-imposed President Michel Temer admitted Sunday in a TV interview that the former head of the lower chamber, Eduardo Cunha, opened the impeachment process against former President Dilma Rousseff because her party did not protect him from an investigation over corruption charges.
Cunha’s decision followed the Workers’ Party’s vote at the ethics committee supporting an investigation into corruption charges against him over four bank accounts hidden in Switzerland. Cunha is currently serving a 15-year sentence on corruption charges involving the state oil company Petrobras.
“At one point, Cunha told me that he was going to shelve the requests for Rousseff’s dismissal because he was promised three votes in his favor at the ethics committee,” Temer said to Band TV.
“Then, I saw on the news that the three members of the Workers’ Party voted against him. Later Cunha called me and said ‘Forget what I said. I am going to call the media and start the (impeachment) process,’” he added.
“If the vote (at the ethical commission) had turned out differently, Mrs. President would likely still be governing,” said Temer.
Rousseff will now include Temer’s declarations in a request to the Supreme Court asking for the annulment of her impeachment and a dismissal order against Temer, her lawyer Jose Eduardo Cardozo reported.
“The Supreme Court now has evidence that Cunha did not accept the impeachment process because of the alleged fiscal irregularities but for revenge because she did not let him blackmail her,” said Cardozo.
Temer detailed the conspiracy against Rousseff just days after Cunha, from his prison cell, threatened to disclose Temer’s role in the plot, according to Pagina 12.
This is the first time that one of the members of the right-wing coalition currently in power has confirmed Rousseff’s version: her impeachment was the result of Cunha’s revenge over the approval of an investigation against him.
Almost 500 Guatemalan Women Still Missing Despite New Law
One year ago in March 2016, a law was passed in Guatemala to create a special body meant to search for disappeared women, but it has still not been implemented, as 428 women are still reported disappeared.
The public ministry and women’s groups are still working on a draft to submit to Guatemala’s government outlining the mechanisms that allow the search body to function in practice.
The composition of search teams remains “an important part to work on,” said Alejandra Gonzalez, head of the Women’s Office at the Public Ministry, “although we agree that the experts are the police officers.”
According to the official estimate issued by the National Police, 3,670 women have been reported disappeared between Jan. 1, 2007, and March 1, 2017, including 428 that have yet to be found.
The most affected departments are Guatemala City, Escuintla, Chimaltenango, Huehuetenango and Suchitepequez.
Plagued by a legacy of brutal military violence, especially violence against Indigenous women, Guatemala continues to suffer a gender violence crisis. Many women in the Central American country are still struggling for justice in decades-old cases, as femicide is again on the rise in recent years.
According to official figures, over 5,000 women and girls were violently killed in Guatemala between 2008 and 2015, with over half of the victims being minors.
In November 2015, a group of 60 Guatemalan women’s organizations condemned the serious deterioration of women’s rights under former President Otto Perez Molina from 2012 to 2015.
Femicides in Latin America
According to activists, militarization is one of the key factors behind the criminalization of gender rights advocates, which often results in violence.
According to U.N. Women in Guatemala, at least two women are violently killed in the country every day. Rampant impunity fuels the widespread crisis of femicide.
Guatemala — along with its neighboring countries El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico — has one of the highest rates of femicide in the world.
Maryland Male Legislators Keep Rapists’ Parental Rights as Law
A nightmare scenario where a rape survivor will have to seek permission from her rapist in order to gain custody of her child will continue to be law in Maryland as an all-male group of legislators blocked passage of a bill protecting women and their children against rapists’ parental rights Monday.
Both houses had passed a bill proposed by Del. Kathleen Dumais — the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act — which would have allowed a woman who conceives a child through sexual assault to deny her attacker’s claim to custody. Proposed for the second time, it was again held up on the last day of the legislative session by a negotiating group of five male members, who were tasked with revising the text but did not do it in time to present to the legislative bodies.
Defending the fact that no woman was appointed to the committee, Joseph F. Vallario Jr. told the Baltimore Sun the group’s demographics were entirely coincidental. Sen. Bobby Zirkin, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, also one of the negotiators blamed the print shop in the state house for not printing the bill fast enough to reach the congressional floor.
The bill will now have to wait to reappear on the agenda in the next session of the Maryland General Assembly scheduled for 2018. But in the meantime, the current law poses a threat to sexual assault survivors and their choice of whether to keep their babies or give them up for adoption.
NARAL’s Maryland branch said in a statement in support of Dumais’ bill, “For those who choose to carry to term, a woman who becomes pregnant through rape runs the risk that the rapist will assert his parental rights. If she chooses to raise the child herself, it could mean her rapist inserting himself into her life for the next 18 years. In some extreme cases, rapists have only agreed to allow an adoption to go forward if the victim promised not to testify against him at the trial.”
Maryland, supposedly the fifth most progressive state in the U.S. for women to live and work in, is only one of the seven states that have no laws protecting the rape victim over parental custody and visitation rights, instead granting parental rights to the rapist. According to CNN, Alabama, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming are the other states with no legislation protecting mothers and children who are victims of rape.