The government asked to delay the impeachment process because the special congressional panel which recommended impeachment debated topics other than the main accusations against her, reports the Wall Street Journal. Justices said it wasn't their role to get involved at this stage of the process.
The Chamber of Deputies opened up three days of debate this morning, on whether to impeach Rousseff on charges of budget manipulation. (Follow the proceedings live at El País.)
She is widely expected to lose the vote on Sunday, according to Reuters. A local site, Atlas Político, put her chances of getting impeached by the lower chamber at 97 percent, after coalition partners jumped ship earlier this week, reports El País.
Confused over the what she is accused of? El País analyzes the charges. (See Tuesday's post.)
A vote tracker at Folha de S. Paulo shows that the pro-impeachment camp has 338 votes, of the 342 it would need to pass the motion. The pro-Dilma camp has 123 and 44 legislators said they were undecided or would not share their vote.
Both sides are reportedly courting votes with promises of cabinet posts -- either in the current administration, or in a post-Rousseff government, reports the WSJ.
Yet, while Rousseff herself has not been accused of illicit enrichment, the legislators who will potentially oust her are themselves besieged by graft scandals, notes the New York Times. (There have been several pieces in other newspapers recently along these lines.)
The Washington Post has a piece on how the "darling of the developing world" has fallen so far in just a few years. "The plunge that Rousseff and the country have taken has laid bare the frailty of Brazil’s commodity-driven growth. Big parts of the Brazil model, it turns out, were glued together with kickbacks, dirty money and lies."
- The newly appointed head of Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council said the country will not meet the April 24 deadline to hold presidential elections, but did not say when a new date for the vote would be, reports Reuters.
- The U.S. has announced plans to ship 500 metric tons of surplus peanuts to Haiti, to help feed 140,000 malnourished schoolchildren. But the project has set off debate over whether food aid does more harm than good. Farmers argue that surplus dumping harms their ability to produce, but aid organizations say it's necessary in the face of "unprecedented food insecurity," reports Associated Press.
- The Miami Herald has a feature on a bill that would recognize over 40 community radios in Haiti. They currently operate out-of-law, and are an important lifeline for Haiti's isolated rural population.
- The U.N. General Assembly meets up next week for a a special session to discuss global drug policy. It's a unique chance to change the tone of debate around drug policy, though it likely won't be as radical as that hoped for by civil society groups, which are lobbying for future drug reform, reports InSight Crime. The piece reviews what arguments several Latin American countries will take to the sessions.
- An InSight Crime piece explains the background of the Michoacán upheaval reported in yesterday's briefs. Citizens in several municipalities have been protesting the intervention of federal forces, who are installing a base in the area. They say law enforcement officials violated human rights when detaining people accused of gun law violation, some of whom are allegedly associated with Los Viagras, a criminal organization operating in the area.
- A witness to the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students in 2014 suggests that federal police witnessed their abduction by local officers and may have actively participated, reports the Guardian.
- Colombian authorities announced the first two cases of Zika-related microcephaly, reports the New York Times. But health officials said they did not expect the level of birth defects to reach that of Brazil, which has more than 1,000 cases. The announcement comes a day after the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the mosquito-borne virus is a cause of microcephaly, reports the Wall Street Journal.
- Colombia's defense minister says the criminal groups known as BACRIM will not get a formal demilitarization process, nor will they obtain a special legal framework to surrender arms, reports InSight Crime.
- A four day Communist Party congress in Cuba starts tomorrow, and is is in charge of setting the nation’s economic path until 2030, reports the Wall Street Journal. Observers will be watching to see whether the party signals further market reforms, or slows down the pace. (See yesterday's briefs.)
- A Panamanian official defended his country, arguing it is not responsible for the scourge of offshore tax evasion. Speaking at the Wilson Center, he said the founding partner of the law firm at the head of the "Panama Papers" scandal will face the law like any other citizen, despite having served as a close adviser to President Juan Carlos Varela, reports the Guardian.