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Brazil's Dilma Rousseff's Very Tough Year; Rousseff Opens Up About Facing Impeachment; Blanchett Meets Refugees in Lebanon & Jordan; Annie Leibovitz Portrait Photographer of our Generation. Aired 11-11:30p ET

Aired December 27, 2016 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:30] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to our week of holiday programming when we look back at some of the

highlights of the year.

Tonight, we bring you three extraordinary women in positions of power and influence. The Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett, legendary

photographer Annie Leibovitz and Dilma Rousseff. In terms of world leaders, few had a rougher year than she did.

Brazil's first female president not only had to manage the urgent Zika crisis and prepare for the Olympics, but she was also in the political

fight of her life, trying to fend off impeachment by a Senate who accused her of manipulating the budget, a move that she called an attempted coup.

In September, she lost that fight and she was thrown out of office.

I went to Brazil to speak to her in May. At that point, the impeachment process was just beginning and she was just beginning her fight.


AMANPOUR: Madam President, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: I know that you have been calling this a political coup. There are many, many people who disagree with you and who did not like the fact

that you took that to New York and told the world that there's a coup under way against you here in Brazil.

But even your supporters, Madam President, says that what's happening is constitutional; perhaps the legal basis, according to one of your

supporters, was flimsy. But, nonetheless, this is happening within Brazilian institutions.

Can you tell me why, then, you fiddled the books, cooked the books, in order to hide that budget hole before the 2/14 elections?

And do you think that that is electoral fraud or an impeachable offense under the current provisions?

Why did you do it? And what did you do?

ROUSSEFF (through translator): When we say there's no legal ground to the ongoing impeachment process, it's because we engaged in the biggest budget

slashing exercise in 2015. Never before in Brazil did the government slash spending as much as we did in 2015. And they are questioning the measures

that were taken while implementing the budget.

It has nothing to do with the previous electoral process. Nor it has to do with cooking or fiddling the books or accounts. It does have to do with

something that has always been current, ongoing practice in Brazil by all administrations prior to mine. Even time in office to 2011, '12 and '13.

That was acceptable practice. It was also regular ordinary practice under Lula da Silva and the administration also under the previous Cardoso

administrations. So if then it was not a crime, why say it's an impeachable offense today?

AMANPOUR: But I want to ask you this and there's no easy way to say it.

Madam President, you have been rated one of the worst leaders in the world, one of the worst presidents. Your popularity right now is around 10

percent; that's really, really low. You were impeached by the -- or Congress decided to send your impeachment case by an overwhelming majority

that surprised even your supporters. You don't seem to have very many friends in Congress.

Do you think you are going to survive the impeachment process in the Senate?

ROUSSEFF (through translator): In Brazil's presidential system, just as the case in the U.S., no one can carry out an impeachment process just out

of sheer unpopularity of the president because unpopularity is a cyclical thing.

If it were not so, all presidents or all prime ministers in Europe that experienced 20 percent unemployment rates could inevitably have to go

through an impeachment process because they, too, experience substantial drops in their popularity.

I wish to tell you one thing, more than just thinking that I will survive. I will fight to survive, not just for my term in office but I will fight

because what I'm advocating and defending is a democratic principle that governs political place in Brazil.

Who found the impeachment process against me?

All of them are being charged for corruption charges, especially speaker of the House. My life was turned upside down. They looked everywhere to find

something against me and there's no corruption charge at all against me.

Well, because they have no grounds to legally trigger the impeachment process and notice that the actual -- the ratings of popularity of those

who are undertaking impeachment proves this is lower, much lower than mine today.

[23:05:14] I mean, the level of rejection is much higher. The level of rejection is much higher. So the same rationale or justification that is

not at all in line with the presidential system, after all, I was given 54 million votes. I'm not a prime minister. I am the head of government and

the head of state.

My 54 million votes can only be cancelled and done away by means of free, direct elections in Brazil. The impeachment process of today is

overshadowing and concealing, hiding a free electoral process that is not at all in line with the constitution.

There are several ways to undertake a coup d'etat. One possibility is by resorting to weapons. The other way is by tearing the constitution apart.

Yet, a third method of undertaking a coup is a much more, say, discreet, low-profile and polite coup. But, still, it is a coup.

AMANPOUR: How much do you think the woman thing is playing in this impeachment drama because you're a woman, the first female president of

this country?

ROUSSEFF (through translator): I think there is a very strong element that has to do with the fact I am a woman, number one, because they have often

said that I was a very harsh woman and I have always replied as follows, yes, I'm a harsh woman, surrounded by cute, polite, gentle and kind men

around me.

And only women are described as being harsh when they take office in a high position. Now the same time in parliament, in the past 15 months,

something has consistently been there in the opposition assessment about me.

There was a point in time when they said that because I was so much under pressure that I had to be either depressed or going through a major nervous

breakdown. They even wrote entire articles and published news about my alleged nervous breakdown. And they forget that we have a tremendous sense

of resistance to challenges, difficulties and crises.

I mean, lessons were learned in life as women because of the social role we perform, especially those of us who belong to a generation that began to

have many more opportunities to take part in public life or work in professions that were unavailable to women up until recently. We have had

to, of course, face up to a myriad of challenges.

AMANPOUR: You're also a woman who has gone through prison and torture. Not many other women running for office have.

How has that informed your state of mind and your resistance right now?

ROUSSEFF (through translator): Without a shadow of a doubt, my entire life experience makes me stronger. I believe I am able to realize that, under

any circumstances -- I mean any, any circumstances, whatsoever -- it is always much better to live in a democracy than in a dictatorship. I have

that certainty and firm conviction in my mind.

AMANPOUR: You won't talk about yourself, your fortitude. I'm trying to find out from you not the benefits of democracy versus dictatorship but

about your character.

ROUSSEFF (through translator): I prefer to live with as much freedom as possible. I do not believe that we can flourish as human beings, of

persons in time, when one is a cry for freedom and that is a source of strength to me. I have huge resistance and strength to fight for my


AMANPOUR: You've just spent considerable time right now, putting your case, defending your case. In retrospect, in hindsight, are there any

lessons learned?

Is there anything that you might have done differently?

ROUSSEFF (through translator): During the demonstrations that went on in Brazil in 2013, and, by extension, in the quite a few other places in the

world, we have always had very democratic relations with the demonstrators.

My government never cracked down on demonstrations ever. Everyone in Brazil enjoyed the right to demonstrate and protest, even if they were

against me. So in that regard, I rest very much at ease.

Back then in 2013, we talk about establishing a constitutional, a new constitutional drafting exercise to trigger a political reform in Brazil

because this country needs not just economic reforms. Brazil also needs a political and deep political reform.

Now a political reform to enable anyone who sits on my chair to manage the country and do so with public interest in mind and, therefore, engage in a

proper working relationship with Congress in the interest of people at large.

And it is also necessary to lower the cost of this election campaign in Brazil. That's absolutely needed. I support any changes in Brazil but

provided that they be based on free, direct, secret votes.

I am not utterly attached to the position of president. I am against indirect elections. But I will always accept direct, free, secret

elections by the people.


AMANPOUR: And when we come back, the Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett takes the world stage. Her newest, very different starring role as a UNHCR

Goodwill Ambassador. That's next.


[23:13:16] Welcome back to the program.

The Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett has played everything from a depressed socialite in "Blue Jasmine" to Kathryn Hepburn in "The Aviator"

to Queen Elizabeth I. And now she is taking on one of the most important roles yet as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency which named

her to the position in May.

And as we've reported, the most pressing humanitarian crisis of our time comes from Syria with 12 million refugees both inside and outside the

country since the war started five-and-a-half years ago.

After a visit to some of the camps, Blanchett came here to London where we discussed a challenging issue that has also contributed to turning western

politics upside down.


AMANPOUR: Cate, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: Am I right? Is it the most important role yet?

BLANCHETT: Well, one could say motherhood is perhaps the most important role. But it's a balance, isn't it.

And for me, I mean, I've long been engaged remotely in the refugee crisis just as a human being. I mean, like millions of people around the world.

And when UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, approached me and asked me a year ago, would I be a Goodwill Ambassador, I was very -- I felt compelled to go

on that journey with them, because I think, as you suggest, the global displacement crisis is completely unprecedented, with 60 million people

around the world.

AMANPOUR: It is huge.

BLANCHETT: And those figures are very, very difficult to relate to, in a way. You feel very powerless.

But in the last year, having gone on missions with the UNHCR and meeting these families, women, children, you know, single men, first-hand, the

points of connection, I think, and the stories that you hear, suddenly the human face and the similarities between everyone become really apparent.

[23:15:15] AMANPOUR: What was it like for you? Because you have just returned from visits to the camps. I mean, even before you were named, you

had been to see the refugees out there in some of those camps in the front- line countries.

What sort of struck you the most? What was something that you didn't expect? Or was it all as bad as you expected?

BLANCHETT: One hears, I suppose, about this mass exodus. You hear about the numbers. And what -- I went -- just recently was in with my husband,

Andrew Upton, was in Azraq camp and Zaatari in Jordan, and also visiting refugees who were in an urban context who's without UNHCR's help, obviously

in a much more fragile position, in a way less safe than those in the camp.

I think what struck me most was the resilience and fortitude and pride. There was one woman I met in the education center and she could see a

fairly privileged white woman walking through. And she summoned me over and she asked me why I was there. And she asked me what I did. And I told

her what -- I said I was here to try and amplify the voices of the refugees, that one can hear these things from afar but you want to get the

human stories back out and to decrease the level of xenophobia that seems to be arising.

And she said, well, tell people that Syria is full of strong women who want to rebuild Syria -- and the pride. She doesn't want to be in that camp,

she doesn't want to be outside Syria. She doesn't want to be resettled in Europe. She wants to be home but Syria is not safe.

AMANPOUR: You connected very profoundly when you were out there, you've just described a little bit of what you saw and what people asked you for

in the camp.

There was, when you went to the camp, also some acting that was going on. I think you saw a play, some of the children learning how to act. We want

to play a little bit of it and then talk about it.


BLANCHETT (voice-over): Medi (ph) likes to act. And this group of children, about 15 of them, had chosen to create, through a series of

scenes, this play about early marriage.

So it was drama as therapy. This community center and the chance for them to enact their fears, their worries, their stories, their hopes, it became

a really important outlet for them.


AMANPOUR: So obviously, you're narrating that piece of UNHCR video but you're an actress, we have you on the red carpet, you've won Oscars.


AMANPOUR: What do you think for these people, who have got nothing, who fled in the circumstances that we've all been reporting and you've seen

first-hand now, what does that give them? Is it escapism? Is it something else?

BLANCHETT: I think it's a way to start to deal with the intense trauma that they have experienced because obviously these people are not migrants.

They're refugees. And there's a very important distinction between those two states.

If you're migrating somewhere, you have time to prepare your exit and plan your entry somewhere. But if you're a refugee, you're fleeing from, you

know, a terrifying situation.

And these children, I mean, the amount of stress that they have suffered, losing siblings, losing parents, some of them actually being shot. I saw

one -- the exit wound of a bullet on a 13-year old -- you know, I've got a 14-year old in Zaatari camp.

And these children, the drama, I think, actually gives them an outlet to tell the -- what's concerning them most. And they're all -- this is a

middle class problem, the people in that community center, the parents of these children that I met, they were architects, they were doctors, they

were pharmacists, they were lawyers, they were engineering students. And these children don't expect to be put into an early marriage.

AMANPOUR: Cate Blanchett, thank you very much indeed.

BLANCHETT: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thanks for joining us.

And after a break, with some of the life-affirming portraits that have defined a generation, legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz tells me about

her exhibit, woman on her mind and in her frame -- next.


[23:21:24] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, from Johnny Depp to the Queen to John Lennon and the Obamas, the legendary Annie Leibovitz has shot them

all, making her the portrait photographer of our generation.

It was Leibovitz who snapped Caitlyn Jenner's coming out for "Vanity Fair," and it was Leibovitz who decades earlier captured this stunning image of

John Lennon and Yoko Ono for the cover of "Rolling Stone."

Despite financial troubles in recent years and the death of her long-time partner Susan Sontag, Leibovitz keeps going. She's just unveiled an update

to her series "Women," including Misty Copeland, the African-American dancer breaking race barriers in the world of ballet. And the world's most

famous feminist, Gloria Steinem.

I talked to Annie Leibovitz about what keeps her going when we met at her larger-than-life installation here in London.


AMANPOUR: Annie, welcome to the program.

LEIBOVITZ: OK, thank you.

AMANPOUR: We're sitting here and I have to ask you about the queen. It was such an amazing shoot and very few people get close to the queen.

What did you think of her?

LEIBOVITZ: Oh, my god, I -- she's feisty. She's feisty. I mean there was -- you know, there was -- that was the session that had so much controversy

over it. And I said, what are you talking about?

I mean, she was just incredible to work with. I mean, there was a thought that she walked out of the shoot and, of course, she was --

AMANPOUR: Walking in.

LEIBOVITZ: She was walking into the shoot. And because --


AMANPOUR: Was she fun to shoot?

LEIBOVITZ: Because the reality is she is a woman with a great sense of duty. I mean she -- and she not only -- she stayed the entire 25 minutes,

30 minutes, but she waited for me to say I was done. And then I said thank you. And she didn't get up and leave. She's feisty.

I mean, it's like photographing your great-aunt or something like that. It really is -- you know, she has so much energy and so much drive. And --


LEIBOVITZ: She definitely has opinions, you know. She said, "I don't think I'm going to be wearing this cape thing -- " I mean, it was a 75-

pound, you know, cape that she's walking around in, very heavy with these ceremonial robes.

You know what I loved about her the most?

She does her own hair and makeup.

AMANPOUR: Are you serious?

LEIBOVITZ: No. She does her own hair and makeup.

AMANPOUR: The queen of England does her own hair and makeup?

That's news, Annie Leibovitz.

LEIBOVITZ: That is impressive. That's impressive.

AMANPOUR: Fast forward to this amazing exhibition that you're doing about many you special and many ordinary women.

The Perrelli calendar that you have just shot, I think has swept women and perhaps men as the -- you know, daring to do something different.

What was your objective this time around?

LEIBOVITZ: Well, this time -- and I will say that the Perrelli came in this time and they said, we want you to do distinguished women. And I

said, this is not going to happen.

AMANPOUR: What wasn't going to happen, distinguished women nude or -- ?

LEIBOVITZ: No. Just photographing them -- I mean, not nude but they definitely -- they still wanted -- they're Italian. They still wanted it

racy. They would go, well, you know, you know, and I said, you can't do this.

And I came back with an idea that -- I said let's do female comedians through history or something and do something like a takeoff on the

Perrelli calendars.

And then I said, OK. We're going to do this. We're just going to go all out and do this. And this is -- these are going to be very straight

portraits and that's it. You know, I made a list. I made some personal calls to people like Patti Smyth, you know, Amy Schumer, who I admired, and

Serena Wiliams.


AMANPOUR: What were you trying to say, because --

[23:25:00] LEIBOVITZ: You know, you know, I wasn't really trying to say anything and I was really upset when the pictures first hit the media

because they put out Serena -- Serena Williams and Amy and they made it look like the calendar was just nude again and it's not. They were the

only ones, you know, and as you know, Amy was a punchline. So yes.

AMANPOUR: Well, I was going to say, the Amy one went viral. I mean, it was so unusual and she's so honest and so raw in her performance that it

felt to me like she was saying something and maybe you were helping her say something.

LEIBOVITZ: You know, she's really smart but she is a great actor. And she sat down and she just, you know -- it was like, you know, well, she'd wear

this -- you know, I think I forced her to put the underpants on. Because she would have done it completely --

AMANPOUR: But that tummy roll was heard around the world.

LEIBOVITZ: She has gotten very savvy about it and she didn't wait. She immediately issued -- tweeted a comment about, you know, how, you know,

"Look at my body in all these -- in this configuration and I love it."

AMANPOUR: A lot of your pictures have been ahead of the zeitgeist and have been trendsetters. Let's just go back to the one I remember, which was

obviously Demi Moore pregnant and to the profile.

Again, fast forward and your picture of Caitlyn Jenner stunned the world.

Did you expect that impact?

LEIBOVITZ: Not quite -- I didn't expect it to be quite as big as it was. But I -- let's just say I was more prepared for this one than I was for

Demi Moore.

Caitlyn, I think we knew -- I knew was going to be important and big, but I didn't know at what level. I think that's the social media aspect to it.

I mean, there was a lot of talk about it being how great this was for magazines but I don't think the magazine had anything to do with it.

Everyone saw the picture in the first 10 seconds online, you know. And that was what was -- the phenomenon was, you know. But in the Caitlyn

situation, I wanted nothing more than for her to be happy with herself. And so it was a huge responsibility to see her come emerge. So it was

powerful stuff. It was powerful stuff.

AMANPOUR: Annie Leibovitz, thank you very much indeed.

LEIBOVITZ: OK. Thank you, Christiane. Oh, my god. It's so great to see you.


AMANPOUR: Three extraordinary women tonight, and that is it for our program. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.