Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer: I Want to Regain the People’s Trust

Shasta Darlington, Flora Charner, Catherine E. Shoichet – CNN, 04/26/2016

Signs on the way to Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer’s house offer harsh words for the man who could take the helm in the South American country if its President is impeached.

Posters along the route say “golpista,” Portuguese for “coup monger.”

Brazil’s Vice President, unpopular and under scrutiny, prepares to lead

Simon Romero –  The New York Times, 04/21/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — One recent poll found that only 2 percent of Brazilians would vote for him. He is under scrutiny over testimony linking him to acolossal graft scandal. And a high court justice ruled that Congress should consider impeachment proceedings against him.

Michel Temer, Brazil’s vice president, is preparing to take the helm of Brazil next month if the Senate decides to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial. A simple majority would suspend her for six months while she battles claims that she illegally covered budget shortfalls with money from state banks.

That would leave Mr. Temer in charge of Latin America’s biggest country as it grapples with its worst economic crisis in decades, a Zika epidemic, seething political discord and the 2016 Summer Olympics — all at the same time.

Read More…

Brazil’s Political Crisis, Explained

Zack Beauchamp – Vox, 04/21/2016

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is in the midst of a stunning fall from grace.

In 2013, Rousseff had a roughly 80 percent approval rating. Today, it’s around 10 percent. Just this Sunday, one house of Brazil’s Congress voted to impeach her.

The story behind Rousseff’s collapse is extraordinary — but also a bit complicated. If you’re just learning about it, it might be a little bit difficult to parse why Rousseff is in so much trouble, and why this is all blowing up now.

Read more…

Brazil’s Temer would downsize government if Rousseff ousted

Anna Edgerton – Bloomberg, 04/19/2016

Brazil’s Vice President Michel Temer intends to downsize the government, slash spending and replace most of the cabinet and heads of state companies if President Dilma Rousseff is impeached, according to person with direct knowledge of his plans.

Temer’s first measures would be to reduce ministries by about a third, trim the number of civil servants, and cut current expenditures, according to the person who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential. He will first seek a finance minister and then assemble the rest of the cabinet around that post, including the central bank chief, the person said.

Following a lower house vote on Sunday in favor of Rousseff’s impeachment, Temer has intensified talks at his private home in Sao Paulo this week with economists and political leaders to help shape policy and a cabinet.

Read More…

 

 

Road to Rio: Brazil’s troubled path to summer Olympics

Carter Dougherty   – Newsweek, 04/17/16

Pinning business woes on a feckless government can sometimes stretch the bounds of logic, but Robert Mangels can make a pretty persuasive case from where he’s sitting in São Paulo.

The CEO of Mangels Industrial, a metalworking company, Mangels steered his family business into “judicial recuperation”—Brazil’s version of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code’s Chapter 11—in late 2013. He then squeaked through 2015 by paying the firm’s creditors on time and paying careful attention to the bottom line.

Mangels, whose business activities include making aluminum wheels for Toyota vehicles and refurbishing steel propane tanks, watched the Brazilian economy begin to crater in 2014 as prosecutors crept ever closer toward implicating President Dilma Rousseff in an unimaginably wide-ranging corruption scandal that has ensnared dozens of Brazil’s senior politicians. To him, cause and effect appear pretty obvious.

Read More…

 

A test of “Brazilience”: What next for Brazil?

Thomas Kamm – Brunswick, 04/15/2016

Brazil is on the verge of what could be the biggest crisis this crisis-prone nation has ever faced – or a cathartic break from its past. It is being subjected to a massive stress test that can either lead to a prolonged downward spiral or prove to be a pivotal moment that ultimately sets the country back on a more sustainable political and economic course. Call it a new test of what could be called “Brazilience,” Brazil’s resilience and resourcefulness in the face of crisis.

So where does all this leave Brazil? Brunswick Partner, Thomas Kamm, looks at three possible short-term scenarios, all fraught with uncertainty.

Read More…

 

Isolated, Rousseff Faces Diminishing Chances to Survive Impeachment

Paulo Sotero – Brazil Institute, 04/13/2016

The loss of support to President Dilma Rousseff intensified after the Chamber of Deputies special committee approved, on April 11, a motion to move forward with impeachment proceedings against the embattled Brazilian leader. The action is grounded on evidence that Rousseff’s government manipulated budget accounts and made unauthorized expenditures to hide an exploding fiscal deficit at the root of the country’s ongoing economic disaster.

The impeachment process has been fueled by revelations of the ongoing investigation of a $3 billion corruption scandal involving state oil giant Petrobras, Brazil’s largest company. The crimes, exposed by multiple defendants through plea bargain agreements with federal authorities, started during the administration of popular former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and continued under Rousseff. Prior to being elected president, Dilma Rousseff was minister of energy and chaired the Petrobras board of directors for five years. Although the president has not been charged in the Petrobras case, politicians closely associated with her have been arrested and accused of a variety of crimes. And she may be charged with obstruction of justice for trying to shield Lula from a criminal investigation related to Petrobras by naming him to her cabinet.

Following last month’s decisive break between the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), Brazil’s largest party, and the government, other members of Rousseff’s fraying coalition have cut ties with the unpopular president, leaving her increasingly isolated to face the Chamber of Deputy plenary vote on impeachment, scheduled for April 17. Her survival depends on ensuring the allegiance of members of small parties who are driven by their interests in accessing federal agencies budgets and patronage jobs.

Read more…