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AP book examines impeachment of Brazil’s 1st woman president


NEW YORK – A new book from The Associated Press explores and brings to life the dramatic and divisive impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first woman president.

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“Dilma’s Downfall: The Impeachment of Brazil’s First Woman President and the Pathway to Power for Jair Bolsonaro’s Far-Right,” chronicles the ouster of former President Rousseff, which many Brazil watchers cite as a root cause of some of the biggest problems plaguing Latin America’s largest nation today.

Through interviews with key players, including Rousseff, deep research and personal experience covering Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016, Sao Paulo-based correspondent Mauricio Savarese and former Brazil Bureau Chief Peter Prengaman present a detailed and essential examination of this critical period in Brazil’s history. 

The book outlines the rise and fall of Rousseff, a former Marxist guerilla turned politician, along the way showing how betrayal, deep frustration with her handling of the economy and bare-knuckled politics fueled the ouster of a democratically elected president based on controversial accusations of mismanaging the federal budget.  

“’Dilma’s Downfall’ provides a window into Brazil’s political divisions, corruption scandals and an economic slump that has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said AP Director of Programming Peter Costanzo. “Each chapter is a glimpse into the complex political culture of one of the world’s most racially diverse and famous countries.”

Prengaman and Savarese describe the larger-than-life personalities of the impeachment’s main players, including a backroom dealing vice president accused of leading the charge to oust his boss, and detail how the deeply polarizing process provided an opening for Brazil’s current president, Jair Bolsonaro, at the time a fringe lawmaker of Brazil’s far right.

AP is releasing the book on Aug. 31, exactly five years after the Senate voted to remove her from office after the bruising process through much of 2016.

The book looks at how Rousseff’s career trajectory, with complex turns that eventually ended in her impeachment, is also the story of modern Brazil and a cautionary tale on the fragility of democracy anywhere. 

The book includes dozens of photos by AP photographers, with curated galleries on Rousseff’s rise, the 9-month impeachment process and the aftermath. A foreword is written by New York Times Latin American and Caribbean Editor Juliana Barbassa, a former AP Brazil correspondent.  

“Dilma’s Downfall” is available in paperback and e-book wherever books are sold.


Lauren Easton
Global Director of Media Relations and Corporate Communications
The Associated Press

Patrick Maks
Media Relations Manager
The Associated Press

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