Rio De Janeiro / AP
Like Brazil itself, Dayse Limaâ€™s family is deeply split over the political firestorm threatening to force President Dilma Rousseff from power.
Lima, a 54-year-old government worker and staunch Rousseff supporter, got so angry at her son Gustavo for bashing the president that she stopped speaking to him.
Gustavo, a 27-year-old energy analyst who lived with his mother, then decided to leave home and move in with his girlfriend.
Brazil, a sprawling country of great diversity and huge inequalities, is a house divided as the Senate prepares to vote on impeaching Rousseff.
And the vitriolic political debate has sometimes played out over kitchen tables and between friends.
Often, the fights break out through the screen of a computer or cell phone, and that was how Dayse and Gustavo started their spat.
â€œMy son was making provocative comments on Facebook, so I unfriended him,â€ Dayse said.
Dayse, who lives in a middle-class neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro and works at the National Nuclear Energy Commission, is a fierce defender of the progressive social programs rolled out by Rousseffâ€™s Workersâ€™ Party, which has governed Brazil for the past 13 years. Like the embattled president, she calls the impeachment proceedings a â€œcoup.â€
Her son Gustavo claims no party, but says he likes the right-wing protest movement pushing to oust Rousseff and jail the corrupt politicians implicated in the swirling scandal at state oil company Petrobras.
To his motherâ€™s ire, he has also posted comments on social media criticizing the Workersâ€™ Party for creating a â€œwelfare cultureâ€ with its pro-poor programs. â€œItâ€™s been very hard to handle,â€ said Dayse.
After reaching a truce of sorts in the wake of their Facebook fight, she and Gustavo are on speaking terms again.
But the tension flares any time politics comes up.
â€œHeâ€™s more interested in disagreeing than contributing ideas. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re all living through these intolerant times. I see that rivalry everywhereâ€”at work, among friends and of course at home,â€ Dayse said.
Those divisions are repeated across the country.
Pro- and anti-impeachment protesters have flooded the streets in recent months, and outside Congress police have set up a huge metal barricade to separate the rival camps during the Senate vote.
– Less football, more politics –
The tension has had a visceral effect on Dayse. She was so upset the day the lower house of Congress voted to impeach Rousseff, on April 17, that she broke out in a rash.
She says social networks have only made things worse in Brazil, a highly connected country that has the third-most Facebook users in the world, after the United States and India.
But Gustavo welcomes the heightened interest in politics in a nation where football is often the only topic capable of arousing such passion.
â€œThere had never been such a large political debate in Brazil, and that is mainly driven by the increased reach of the media,â€ he said. â€œBut Iâ€™ve started trying to voice my opinions less on social networks, because you canâ€™t have a true political debate there. It just creates friction.â€
Jose Antonio Martinuzzo, a political analyst and professor at the Federal University of Espirito Santo, said Brazilâ€™s â€œpolitical polarizationâ€ online reflects its deeper divisions.