Supreme Court Justice defends political reform in Brazil at event in Washington DC

Henrique Gomez Batista – Globo, 07/06/2016

Justice Dias Toffoli, from Brazil’s Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal), stated this Wednesday morning, during a presentation at the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute that he believes that the “Car Wash Operation” investigation is doing a good job. When questioned on his opinion of Judge Sergio Moro, responsible for the “Car Wash” investigation in Curitiba, Toffoli repeated his opinion and stated that whileMoro has done a “good job” he is not responsible for the “judicial transformation in Brazil”.

He stated  “It is not the one judge changing the history of Brazil, but rather civil society in general”

Justice Toffoli reminded the audience that the  “Car Wash Operation” has come this far due to prior modifications of the constitution, which were approved by many politicians who are being investigated, such as the law that allows the use of plea bargains. Toffoli also emphasized that these changes started under Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s government.  It was during Cardoso’s government that the law of Fiscal Responsibility was instituted which gives the Public Ministry the transparency and liberty to elect the new Attorney General of the Republic.

“Obviously, there is also the Mensalão case, which saw big name politicians and business executives become indicted, giving further legitimacy to the rule of law,” he said.

Toffoli also defended the habeas corpus that some Justices granted during the Car Wash investigation by saying that it is a normal part of the legal process. Toffoli also defended a legal reform to end the “coalition presidentialism”, by emphasizing that the best thing for the country would be to adopt the district vote in the Chamber of Deputies, as opposed to the current proportional system implemented in the country.

Original Article (Portuguese) can be found here…

Translated into English By Julia Fonteles and Therese Kuester

A ‘New Chapter’ between Brasília and Washington

Paulo Sotero – O Estado de S.Paulo, 6/29/2015

The relations between Brazil and the United States have been stagnated since 2011, marked by Lula’s failed attempt to mediate a nuclear agreement between Iran and the international community. President Obama tried to reenact the bilateral dialogue weeks after, as soon as President Dilma Rousseff took office, but NSA’s espionage of Rousseff was not well taken by Brazil, and relations went back to where they had been. Both governments kept emphasizing the importance of a bilateral partnership but didn’t actually do anything to enforce it.
According to the White House’s security adviser, Ben Rhodes, a “new chapter” is about to start with Rousseff’s visit to the United States this week. Rousseff’s agenda includes visits to New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco. She will be meeting with presidents of companies, and attend panels for high executive leaders in New York. In California, she will visit Google and discuss new technologies and innovation. In Washington DC, she will be meeting with President Obama to discuss commerce, investment, security and defense, regional cooperation, science and technology, and very importantly, climate issues.
The timing of the visit is also very significant for the Brazilian leader, since her approval ratings are at a record low. She needs a successful visit and U.S.’s support to push away the discredit her government currently faces. The biggest deliverable of the visit is to rebuild trust, but the biggest uncertainty is if the political drama that Rousseff is facing in Brasilia will allow her a happy ending.

Read more…

5 reasons why the impeachment of Dilma is improbable, according to Brazilianists

Alessandra Corrêa – BBC Brasil, 3/2/2015

A series of problems confronted by President Dilma Rousseff in the start of her second mandate was already indicated by some as a signal of a threat to her government.

In response to the Financial Times blog post published last week on ten reasons why Dilma should be impeached, BBC Brasil offers five reasons why this likely will not happen. These reasons include the lack of solid grounds for impeachment and the absence of evidence proving the involvement of Dilma in the Petrobras scandal. Brazil Institute Fellow Matthew Taylor states, “Until now, there is still no evidence that Dilma is guilty of anything other than bad management (in the case of Petrobras).” Taylor also goes on to show why the opposition parties are not interested in having Dilma go through the impeachment process, observing, “I don’t think that the PSDB would have much to gain. Furthermore, they would need the support of the PMDB and other parties in the government’s coalition. And frankly, none of these parties would like to see Dilma suffering an impeachment.”

The article continues with evidence showing that Dilma’s support in congress is still much higher and stronger than that of former president Fernando Collor de Mello, who was impeached in 1992. Another reason for the unlikelihood of impeachment is that the current problems in Brazil are not rare for the region. Brazil is not alone in the lack of investor confidence and therefore unlikely to stand out by themselves by inciting an impeachment process. Taylor concludes by noting that the Petrobras scandal has left the country “warily optimistic.”

For full article [IN PORTUGUESE], click here.

Translation and summary by Brazil Institute intern Erica Kliment.