Brazil Court Suspends Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha

BBC, 05/05/2016

Brazil’s top court has suspended Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha from his mandate, following a request by the country’s attorney general, officials say.
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He has been accused of trying to obstruct a corruption investigation against him and intimidating lawmakers.

Mr Cunha is an outspoken critic of President Dilma Rousseff and has led an impeachment drive against her.

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Flame Lands in Troubled Brazil for 94-Day Relay to Games

Reuters/The New York Times, 05/03/2016

President Dilma Rousseff lit the Olympic torch in Brazil’s capital on Tuesday and pledged that political turmoil engulfing her nation would not harm the first Games to be held in South America.

The Olympic flame was flown into Brasilia on Tuesday to start a three-month relay through more than 300 towns and cities that will end with the opening of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracaná stadium on Aug. 5.

A smiling Rousseff waved to crowds as she lit a green cauldron with the Olympic flame on the ramp of Brasilia’s modernistic Planalto presidential palace.

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Brazil’s Corruption Culture ‘can be beaten’

Paul Moss – BBC, 04/26/2016

Even a visitor who detests shopping can admire the building’s quirkiness, a semi-arch that seems almost to fall on to the pavement, embodying the modernist curves which define architecture in Brazil’s capital.

This is a city that was constructed virtually from scratch in the 1950s and which is supposed to proclaim the new, progressive side of the country.

Yet the man I had come to meet at the mall had a story as old as his country’s creation: “When you bid for a government contract in Brazil, they usually say ‘what can you do for us? What can you do to make this contract a win-win for all of us?’ They want a percentage of the contract…which means bribes.”

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Brazil Impeachment Countdown Begins as Senate Elects Committee

Arnaldo Galvao – Bloomberg, 04/25/2016

Brazil’s Senate took its first major step forward in the impeachment process on Monday by electing members of a committee that will recommend whether to oust President Dilma Rousseff.

Senators approved in a vote the 21 members of the committee, who are scheduled to pick their president and rapporteur during their first meeting on Tuesday. The committee is made up of multiple parties and has as many as 10 days to hear Rousseff’s defense and make a recommendation to their peers whether to try the president.

Monday’s meeting reinforced a timetable that could see Rousseff’s ouster as early as May 12, as the full chamber can vote two days after the committee finishes its work. The president would have to step down temporarily if the opposition garners the simple majority it needs to start the Senate trial, which surveys conducted by local media show it currently has. Without the power of the presidency at her disposal, Rousseff will have a difficult time winning over enough lawmakers to prevail in the trial, said political analyst Rafael Cortez.

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VP Leads Brazil While Embattled Rousseff Travels

Rafael Romo – CNN, 04/21/2016

It’s a new chapter in Brazil’s deep political crisis, which at times reads like a tropical telenovela. The South American country now has a new president, although it will only be for a few days.

Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer is technically in charge of Brazil — albeit temporarily. How is this possible? It’s all thanks to a particular clause in the Brazilian Constitution which implies that if the president in power leaves the country, the vice president assumes control of the executive power.
His former running mate and current political rival, embattled President Dilma Rousseff, is visiting the United States and plans to attend a climate conference in New York on Friday. That means Temer is not only calling the shots at home, but has effectively become the president … until she returns.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso na LASA

Simon Schwartzman, 04/20/2016

The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) prides itself on its mission to serve as a forum for scholars and practitioners of diverse academic and political perspectives to discuss and debate issues of relevance to Latin America. Moreover, LASA is highly respectful of the political and social processes in each country in the region. For this reason we would never consider disqualifying a reputable academic from participation based on his or her political position. We now feel obliged to reiterate this policy, given that we have received opposing petitions to rescind or reconfirm our invitation to Dr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso to participate in LASA ‘s 50th Anniversary Congress in New York City this coming May. Cardoso is scheduled to participate in a presidential panel along with other speakers that will debate the challenges that have faced the development of democracy in Latin America over the past half century. Those who request that we cancel our invitation base their petition on the public position that Dr. Cardoso has taken in recent Brazilian political events, most notably the contested impeachment of the current President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. Those who request that we reconfirm our invitation to Dr. Cardoso argue the same reason as their principal rationale.

Brazil’s Shrewd Senate Boss Unlikely to Rescue Rousseff

Brad Haynes, Alonso Soto – Reuters, 04/18/2016

Dilma Rousseff is not the first Brazilian president forced to contemplate the loyalty of Renan Calheiros on the eve of her possible impeachment.
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Nearly 25 years ago, Calheiros, the current president of the Senate who will decide the pace of debate over Rousseff’s impeachment, weighed the fate of a fellow politician from his tiny northeastern state of Alagoas: Fernando Collor de Mello.

Calheiros was a key advisor in Collor’s successful presidential campaign in 1989. Just three years later, his explosive revelations of government corruption to journalists and congressional investigators helped topple Collor in a corruption scandal.

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