As ISIS Posts in Portuguese, U.S. and Brazil Bolster Olympics Security

Simon Romero, Michael S. Schmidt – 08/01/2016

Worried about possible terrorist attacks at theOlympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s government is working closely with American law enforcement and intelligence services to identify threats and thwart potential disasters at the Games.

Despite its notorious battles with violent crime, Brazil has largely been spared the kind of brazen terrorist attacks that have rattled much of the world in recent years, with Brazilian officials long playing down the nation’s vulnerability to homegrown extremism.

But jihadists are calling for mayhem at the Olympics, building on a wave of killings in Europe, the United States and elsewhere over the last year, including the massacre of 130 people in Paris and “lone wolf” attacks inspired by the Islamic State, that has raised broad fears about Brazil’s security preparations for the Games.

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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”

Questions and Answers on Brazil’s Presidential Crisis

Vinod Sreeharsha – The New York Times, 05/12/216

Q. Why is Dilma Rousseff facing impeachment proceedings?

She is charged with violating budgetary laws in order to conceal a deficit before what she anticipated would be a tough 2014 re-election campaign, borrowing money from banks that the executive branch controls to fund domestic programs, and making changes to the federal budget without congressional approval.

Q. What did the Senate vote on?

The Senate voted on whether to start a trial of Ms. Rousseff. Last week, a Senate committee formally presented charges against her when it approved a document detailing the accusations.

Q. What exactly are those charges?

Ms. Rousseff is accused of violating Articles 85 and 167 of Brazil’s 1988 Constitution and the 1950 Law of Impeachment in making changes to the budget without congressional authorization. She is also accused of violating the Constitution and the same 1950 law in borrowing money from an institution that the state controls.

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Brazil Crisis: Rousseff Impeachment Process ‘Back on Track’

BBC, 05/10/2016

An impeachment process against Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff appears to be back on track after the acting speaker of the lower house revoked his surprise decision to suspend a crucial vote.

Speaker Waldir Maranhao did not give any reason for his U-turn, which came less than 24 hours after he had called for a new impeachment vote.

The Senate is now expected to vote on Wednesday on an impeachment trial.

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Brazil’s Impeachment Proceedings — Just What is Going On?

Euan McKirdy – CNN, 05/10/2016

It’s enough to make even the most seasoned Brazilian political watcher’s head spin.

The mess that is Brazil’s current political situation took another twist Monday when the new chief of parliament’s lower house said he wanted to strike down impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.

The motion to impeach Rousseff was first initiated in December, and in April the lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly to begin proceedings.

Conservative’s Star Rises in Brazil as Polarizing Views Tap Into Discontent

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 05/07/2016

In one verbal assault from the podium of Brazil’s Congress, Jair Bolsonaro told a fellow legislator that she was not worthy of being raped by him. “You don’t merit that,” said Mr. Bolsonaro, a former army parachutist.

In another episode, the congressman described his abhorrence of homosexuality. “I would be incapable of loving a gay son,” said Mr. Bolsonaro, 61, the father of five children. “I prefer that he die in an accident.”

Then Mr. Bolsonaro justified his vote last month for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff by praising Col. Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, who oversaw the torture of dissidents during Brazil’s military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985.

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Justice Orders Brazilian Lawmaker Behind Rousseff’s Impeachment to Step Down

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

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ruled on Thursday that the powerful lawmaker who orchestrated the effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff must step down as he faces graft charges, ratcheting up tensions in the country.

And in a further blow to Brazil’s scandal-plagued political establishment, Vice President Michel Temer, the man preparing to take control of the government from Ms. Rousseff, had his conviction on charges of violating limits on campaign financing upheld earlier this week, a ruling that makes him ineligible to run for elected office for eight years.

The rulings are not expected to save Ms. Rousseff’s presidency. Support for her ouster remains strong in the Senate, which is preparing to vote next week on whether to remove her from office and put her on trial over claims of budgetary manipulation. But the decisions reflect the potential for greater political turmoil in the country.

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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’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.

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