Brazil 2016 – 18

Written by  //  April 4, 2018  //  Americas, BRICS  //  No comments

These 5 Facts Explain Brazil’s Crippling Scandals
(TIME) 24 July 2015
See also Brazil 2013-2015
Rio 2016 Olympics

Accused of corruption, popularity near zero – why is Temer still Brazil’s president?
Michel Temer may escape impeachment, but the ongoing political crisis undermines democracy and opens the door to authoritarian hardliners
(The Guardian) If Brazil’s recent decline could be plotted in the falling popularity of its presidents, Michel Temer represents the bottom of the curve.In 2010, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ended his second term with an 80% approval rating. In March 2016 – four months before she was impeached – his protege and successor Dilma Rousseff’s administration had a 10% rating.
Last month, the government of Temer, Rousseff’s former vice-president, plunged to 3% in one poll. Among under 24-year-olds, Temer’s approval hit zero.
Temer has been charged with corruption, racketeering and obstruction of justice. Yet there have been none of the huge, anti-corruption street protests that helped drive Rousseff’s impeachment on charges of breaking budget rules.

4 April
Brazil’s top court ruled that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva can be sent to prison while he continues to appeal his corruption conviction.
It’s an explosive decision that appears to quash Mr. da Silva’s bid to return to power. The 72-year-old is a towering and divisive figure in his country’s politics — with a considerable lead in the polls for October’s presidential election. Mr. da Silva has called his prosecution a ploy to keep him off the ballot.

24 January
Upending Brazil’s Presidential Race, Court Upholds Ex-Leader’s Conviction
A Brazilian appeals court on Wednesday upheld a corruption conviction against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, jeopardizing his quest to win a third term in office and raising the prospect that Mr. da Silva, Brazil’s most popular politician, could be behind bars when ballots are cast in October.
The ruling was a major victory for prosecutors in what may be the highest-stakes case in the yearslong showdown between Brazil’s judiciary and the political elite. Prosecutors have portrayed Mr. da Silva, who has also been charged in six other corruption cases, as a linchpin of Brazil’s endemically corrupt political system.


27 June
(The Economist) Scandal in Brazil: Temer tantrum Michel Temer was charged with bribe-taking this week. It is the first such charge against a sitting Brazilian president. The administration of Mr Temer, who protests his innocence, was already the most unpopular on record. But for the case against him to proceed, the charges must be approved by two-thirds of lower-house deputies. The president is still backed by enough congressmen to make that improbable, writes our Brazil correspondent
The Corruption Charges Against Brazil’s President
Michel Temer is accused of accepting bribes, but the country’s Congress will decide if he ultimately faces trial.
(The Atlantic) The charges come a month after the release of an audio recording of a conversation between Temer and Joesley Batista, the chairman of JBS, Brazil’s largest meatpacker, in which Temer can apparently be heard approving bribes. Batista, who presented the recording to prosecutors as part of a plea deal, accused Temer of negotiating millions of dollars in illegal campaign donations for his ruling party, Brazilian Democratic Movement. Though Temer is the latest Brazilian leader to face corruption allegations, he is hardly the first. The country’s massive corruption scandal has implicated virtually every member of its political class, including dozens of lawmakers and a third of Temer’s cabinet. More than 90 people have been convicted.As I previously reported, if Temer is forced to step down, then House Speaker Rodrigo Maia, a Temer ally who is also implicated in the country’s scandal, would become president in the interim.

8 June
Brazil’s Argentina Moment
By Filipe Campante and Dani Rodrik
(Project Syndicate) Brazil’s economy has been in free fall, a casualty of years of economic mismanagement and the vast corruption scandal that has engulfed the country’s political and business establishment – and which now threatens to bring down the second president in as many years. It may seem hard to focus on policy developments amid the political and economic turmoil, but the fact remains that Brazil must overcome fundamental challenges if it is to lay the groundwork for sustainable growth. Few loom as large as the country’s fiscal woes.

29 May
The Genocide of Brazil’s Indians
Unless there is a public outcry in defense of Brazil’s indigenous people, they will continue to die — cut off from their lands, officially silenced, murdered, ravaged by malnutrition and disease — and the genocide will be complete.
(NYT Op-ed) Every week seems to bring reports of a new atrocity committed against indigenous people in some remote part of the country. But nothing seems to shock our society anymore. Not even when, a few weeks ago, a 1-year-old from the Manchineri tribe was shot in the head.
These attacks are part of a larger pattern of abuse, marginalization and neglect. Since 2007, 833 Indians have been murdered and 351 have committed suicide, according to the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health — rates far above the national average. Among children, the mortality rate is two times higher than in the rest of the Brazilian population.

27 May
Brazil’s Crisis: How Fighting Corruption Could Imperil Political Stability
(NYT) On Wednesday, Mr. Temer deployed the military in the streets of the capital, Brasília, after thousands of protesters clashed with the police. Although the defense minister said the troops had been sent merely to “restore order,” many saw the move as a sign of profound insecurity from an already weak government.
Political science suggests this is an example of how the “islands of honesty” in corrupt systems — like independent prosecutors and courts with the willingness and authority to enforce the rule of law — can clash with networks of entrenched corruption, both provoking and spoiling efforts by political elites to protect themselves.
The politicians who pushed for Ms. Rousseff’s impeachment appear to have wrongly assumed that the powerful prosecutor’s office and judiciary would fall in line, and that a Temer government would be able to shut down or limit the corruption investigation.
That has not happened. The corruption prosecutions have continued under Mr. Temer’s presidency, and have focused on some of the most powerful people in the country.

22 May
Brazil president retreats from attempts to suspend investigation
(BBC) Brazil’s President Michel Temer has asked the Supreme Court to proceed with an investigation against him for obstruction of justice and corruption.
His lawyers say that a secret recording that appears to incriminate him has been edited 70 times.
On Saturday Mr Temer filed a petition at the Supreme Court to have the investigation suspended.
But his lawyers now say they want the investigation to go ahead to have the president’s name cleared.
How Brazil’s New Political Crisis Might Play Out: QuickTake Q&A
(Bloomberg) Brazil plunged back into crisis when the Supreme Court authorized an investigation into President Michel Temer on accusations of passive corruption and obstruction of justice. The allegations are the latest development in Operation Carwash, a sprawling corruption probe that has implicated many of the country’s business and political elite and helped bring down Temer’s predecessor, Dilma Rousseff. Temer has repeatedly denied the allegations, but several opposition legislators have called for impeachment, as has Brazil’s influential bar association, the OAB

11 May
Brazil’s ex-president Lula decries persecution as he faces corruption charges in court
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the most popular president in Brazilian history, was questioned by Sérgio Moro, a national hero for jailing the rich and powerful

10 May
Brazil’s archaeologists join fight to preserve country’s ancient lands
The plan, to be debated by Congress on Wednesday, would roll back licensing rules for infrastructure projects, making it easier for construction companies to bulldoze sites of ancient Amazonian civilisations before they have been excavated.
Critics argue this is a new front in a battle for the country’s identity, since it could literally bury irreplaceable records of indigenous civilisations and reinforce the widely held but incorrect view that Brazil’s history began with settlement by Europeans.
“We draw upon the past to build our identity as a pluralist nation. This identity is now at risk, being sidelined by the image of a white and racist country,” archaeology lecturers from the Federal University of Western Pará wrote in a letter to congressmen.
Historians believe more than six million people lived in the Amazon forest before the arrival of predominantly Portuguese and Spanish explorers, gold miners and slavers, whose guns and viruses wiped out the vast majority of the native population over the following centuries.
Studies of pot fragments, black earth and contours of moats and walls suggest some of these communities were far more advanced than the later Victorian-era stereotype of “jungle savages” suggested.
[Stone age etchings found in Amazon basin as river levels fall — Drought in Brazil reveals engravings up to 7,000 years old – evidence of ancient civilisation]

23 April
Stadium deals, corruption and bribery: the questions at the heart of Brazil’s Olympic and World Cup ‘miracle’
The two mega-events were framed as a reason for Brazilians to be proud of a modern and forward-looking country; instead the economy has been shattered and a supreme court investigation keeps unearthing unsavoury allegations
Beyond the debate about the use of the stadiums, legacy and the projection of a young nation, it was the police that took centre stage as soon as athletes from all over the world left the country. Over the seven months that followed, politicians would be arrested and formally accused, while sports officials, judges and many of the venues would be the target of police operations.
What began as an investigation into the former state oil company Petrobras in 2014 soon also became a criminal process about the organisation of the two mega-events, paid for mostly with public funds and presented to citizens as a reason to be proud. The latest release of official documents by the Brazilian federal supreme court, seen by the Observer, shows that the venues were not only cathedrals of new world records but are alleged to have channelled millions of dollars worth of bribes. Brazil’s supreme court opened investigations into around 100 politicians, based on hundreds of hours of testimonies by past and present executives at the construction and chemicals conglomerate Odebrecht.

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