Many Brazilians are outraged over a brutal gang rape. Others blame the victim

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 05/30/2016

Brazil is still in shock after the highly publicized gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. But while thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest the rape and many more have protested on social networks, there also has been a counterreaction.

The victim, who has not been identified, has told Brazilian media that she went to visit a boyfriend in a poor Rio hillside community, or favela, on May 21. She said she woke up the next day in another house in the neighborhood, naked and surrounded by nearly three dozen armed men. Shortly thereafter, images of the girl, naked and unconscious, began circulating on Twitter, accompanied by boastful, ribald comments from the men apparently involved.

The crime has appalled many in Latin America’s largest nation. More than 100,000 people shared photos on Facebook of one man alleged to have circulated the images and demanded his punishment. But others used the same post to say that the victim shared some of the blame, because she was in a dangerous favela run by a drug gang, or to point to a voice recording being circulated that is supposed to show the victim as a willing participant in a drugged-up orgy.

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Letter to LASA from President Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Dear fellow directors of LASA,

I wish to reiterate my gratitude for your invitation to participate at the celebration  of LASA’s 50th anniversary. I have always followed LASA’s journey and had the pleasure of attending several of its meetings.

I am also grateful for your reaffirmation of the invitation, notwithstanding the statements by researchers and professors who, driven by ideological passions, imagined that I might use the event to discuss Brazil’s internal political problems. Those who are acquainted with me know that I was trained as a social scientist at a time when, despite beliefs and values, intellectuals sought to keep scientific objectivity as a core value in their academic endeavors. And yet, the ideological winds currently blowing at certain academic circles seem to mix the position of activists with that of scientists.

Needless to say, in my whole life I have steadfastly stood for democratic values  in the Brazilian context and in the world at large. Exiled by the military coup d’état of 1964, compulsorily removed from the University of São Paulo by the authoritarian regime in 1969, I created a center of political and intellectual resistance in Brazil (like CEBRAP) and helped, as much as possible, in the struggle against military dictatorships in Latin America. For that I paid a heavy price. I was deprived of the chair I had earned at the University of Sao Paulo, was prosecuted by the military regime and submitted to questionings, blindfolded and hooded, in a notorious torture center in Sao Paulo.

Continue reading “Letter to LASA from President Fernando Henrique Cardoso”

Recording Spurs Anticorruption Minister to Resign in Brazil

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 05/30/2016

The anticorruption minister of Brazil’s interim president, Michel Temer, resigned Monday night after a secret recording seemed to show that he tried to stymie the sweeping corruption investigation revolving around Petrobras, the national oil company.

The fall of Fabiano Silveira, whose title was minister of transparency, dealt another blow to a government that seems to limp from one scandal to the next just weeks after Mr. Temer replaced Dilma Rousseff. Ms. Rousseff was suspended as president to face claims of budgetary manipulation in an impeachment trial.

One of Mr. Temer’s top aides, Romero Jucá, stepped down last week as planning minister after another recording indicated that their centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or P.M.D.B., had sought Ms. Rousseff’s ouster to thwart the inquiry into the Petrobras graft scheme.

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Brazil’s Petrobras Trial Date Set, As U.S. Pension Funds Seek ‘Tens of Billions’ In Losses

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 05/26/2016

Brazil’s oil company Petrobras will finally get its day in a U.S. court on Sept. 19 in a trial that pits 18 former executives and 13 investment banks, including J.P. Morgan Securities, against U.S. and U.K. investors. Claimants are seeking “tens of billions of dollars” in losses.

The company is the centerpiece in what has become Brazil’s crime of the century. The scandal involving contract rigging, bribery and money laundering recently brought down a sitting president and promises to devour a chunk of Brazil’s career politicians in criminal probes.

“We are seeking multiple tens of billions of dollars,” says lead counsel Jeremy Lieberman of Pomerantz, the New York law firm leading the charge against Petrobras. “Not only are we challenging company statements on how it engaged in this bribery scheme and inflated its assets, we are saying that Petrobras’ claim that it lost about $2.5 billion to fraud is wrong. It’s a whole lot more than that.”

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