Brazil’s Top Court Suspends Impeachment of Rousseff

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 12/09/2015

Brazil’s Supreme Court suspended impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff until it rules on the validity of a secret ballot that stacked a congressional committee with opponents seeking to oust the leftist leader.

The ruling provided respite for Rousseff as she struggles to survive splits in her ruling coalition and fend off the effort to unseat her. She is also dealing with a severe recession and a widening corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras that has implicated many of her allies.

Rousseff is not under investigation in the kickback scandal. But her former point man in the Senate, Delcidio Amaral, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of obstructing the Petrobras probe, has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. That could lead to new disclosures involving her ruling Workers’ Party (PT).

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Brazil: Oily mess

Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 05/14/2015

In Brazil’s hyper-consumerist society, people are accustomed to paying for everything in instalments, from fridges and televisions to silicon breast implants. But less commonly known is that even bribes to political parties can allegedly be paid parcelado, as the practice of paying in instalments is called.

That is what Augusto Ribeiro de Mendonça Neto, a former board member of oil and gas services company Toyo Setal, claimed in testimony in March. He alleges that he paid bribes to the ruling centre-left Workers’ party, or PT, between 2010 and 2013 in exchange for winning contracts with state-owned oil company, Petrobras.

The allegations form part of an investigation into a vast corruption scandal at Petrobras known as “car wash”. As part of the probe, Mr Mendonça told prosecutors that João Vaccari Neto, former PT treasurer, asked him to disguise the bribes as payments to a printing and advertising company named Editora Gráfica Atitude.

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Brazil police arrest Worker’s Party treasurer Joao Vaccari Neto

Rogerio Jelmayer, Luciana Magalhaes – The Wall Street Journal, 04/15/2015

Brazil’s federal police arrested João Vaccari Neto, the treasurer of Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party, or PT, as part of an investigation of alleged corruption involving contracts between state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA PBR 1.95 % and construction firms.

Mr. Vaccari is accused of receiving “irregular donations” from companies for the party, according to a federal police spokesman. The spokesman didn’t elaborate on the allegation and said more details would be given at a news conference later Wednesday.

A Workers’ Party spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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An escalating corruption scandal rocks Brazil

Mary Anastasia O’Grady – The Wall Street Journal, 04/15/2015

Former Brazilian presidential candidate Aécio Neves speaks for a lot of his compatriots when he says President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) used stolen funds to defeat him in Brazil’s runoff presidential election in October.

In an interview in Lima last month I asked Mr. Neves—who is president of the Social Democracy Party of Brazil (PSDB)—whether he lost the election because the socialism of the hard-left Ms. Rousseff had greater appeal to Brazilians than his more market-oriented platform.

He denied the possibility. He lost, he told me, because of “organized crime.”

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Brazil opposition party not seeking impeachment: Cardoso

Brian Winter – Reuters, 03/23/2015

Brazil’s biggest opposition party has no interest in impeaching President Dilma Rousseff despite recent street demonstrations calling for her ouster, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso told Reuters.

Cardoso, who at 83 remains an influential leader in the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), said removing Rousseff so soon after she was re-elected would be destructive to Brazil’s 30-year-old democracy, especially since prosecutors have found no evidence she participated in a corruption scheme at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

“Nobody should want impeachment, it’s a very complex thing,” said Cardoso, who led Brazil from 1995 to 2002.

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Electorate hopes for a government that unites growth with inclusion, says professor

Leonardo Avritzer

Leonardo Avritzer

Gabriel Manzano – O Estado de S. Paulo, 8/4/2014

For Avritzer, the challenge of the candidates for the Planalto is to show that they can better the economy without putting social achievements at risk.

The Brazilian electorate is communicating to the candidates for Presidency two clear messages: it wants growth, but without discontinuing the enlargement of social inclusion. “The candidate that convinces the voter that it will continue to stabilize the current (economic) crisis in a manner of greater inclusion and greater increase of the job market will most likely be the one who receives the greatest support,” notes the political scientist Leonardo Avritzer, from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and president of the Brazilian Association of Political Scientists (ABCP).

His evaluation constitutes, in practice, a challenge for the three main candidates for the presidency. In short, President Dilma Rousseff (PT) valued inclusion but the country didn’t grow. Aécio Neves (PSDB) promises changes in the economy but his agenda for inclusion still is unclear. Eduardo Campos (PSB) speaks of reconciling the two halves but has not yet “sold” the message.

For this electoral scene, the impact of the economy on the polls and the social agenda are in the center of discussions of the 9th National Congress of Political Scientists, promoted from today until Thursday, in Brasilia, by the association presided over by Avritzer. The event will bring together 1,100 people in more than 800 lectures and roundtable discussions. In a conversation with O Estado, it created an intersection of the themes of the campaign with those of the meeting, which will receive scholars from Argentina, Chile, and the USA, among others. Following are the main excerpts from the interview. Continue reading “Electorate hopes for a government that unites growth with inclusion, says professor”

Rousseff remains favorite to win Brazil re-election

Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 2/23/2014

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff remains the favorite to win re-election in October with a comfortable lead over possible contenders, according to a poll published Sunday.

The Datafolha polling institute said Ms. Rousseff has recovered much of the support she had lost in the wake of mass street protests in the middle of last year.

Millions of Brazilians demonstrated in cities across the country of 200 million people. They had many complaints, but most were focused on perceived corruption and on the poor quality of public services, such as health care and education.

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Brazil opposition settling on presidential candidate as rival bows out

Reuters, 12/16/2013

Brazil’s main opposition party moved closer to selecting a presidential nominee on Monday, after its candidate in the last election backed Senator Aecio Neves, former governor of Minas Gerais, the country’s second-most populous state.

Jose Serra, a two-time presidential runner-up who took 44 percent of votes in the 2010 race against President Dilma Rousseff, said on his official Facebook page that the center-right PSDB should not lose time in nominating Neves.

Serra’s go-ahead clears the stage for 2014, when Neves is expected to take on Rousseff. Her popularity suffered with public protests this year, but has rebounded thanks to low unemployment and well-regarded social programs.

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Why Lula was better fro Brazil than Dilma

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 12/09/2013

Say what you want about the Workers’  Party, or the PT of Brazil, but the blue collar, quasi-illiterate, nine fingered leader of the Brazilian Workers’ Party, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was a whole lot better than his successor, Dilma Rousseff.

The market is now pretty unanimous on who to blame for Brazil’s investment woes these days, both from portfolio and corporate investors, and that lies firmly on the shoulders of the Dilma administration.

Let’s back up for a second.  In 2002, the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Sao Paulo, a hop, skip and a jump away from Avenida Paulista, hundreds of media and union workers lined up waiting for Lula to make his first speech as president elect. Cameras from Globo and SBT television lined the wall. I stood maybe thirty feet from the stage, waiting. I remember some guy who was in a machinist union talking my ear off about Lula. I was there for The Boston Globe. Lula arrived late after beating José Serra in the second round; cities around the country had the Lula campaign jingle cranking at full blast for days. I remember the lyrics: “É so você querer/que amanhã melhor assim será/agora é Lula/agora é Lula, Lulaaaaa.”

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