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.

Will Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff be Impeached?

Paulo Sotero – Wilson Center NOW, 04/12/2016

Will Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff be impeached? As the process progresses, the likelihood of that outcome seems to increase almost daily. Paulo Sotero, Director of the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute is traveling to the country and will be there when the next vote occurs. Prior to his departure, we spoke to him about the overall situation and what we might expect next as Brazil’s political crisis unfolds.

Watch the interview…


Brazil Congressional Committee Votes in Favor of Impeachment

AP/The New York Times, 04/11/2016

A congressional committee voted Monday to recommend that the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff move forward, bringing the possible ouster of the embattled leader a step closer.

Rousseff is facing impeachment proceedings over allegations her administration violated fiscal rules to mask budget problems. Her opponents say the process is in line with the wishes of the majority of Brazilians, while Rousseff’s supporters call it a blatant power grab by her foes.

The special congressional commission voted 38-27 to recommend the continuation of the impeachment process — comfortably more than the 33 votes needed to hand the pro-impeachment camp a victory.

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Effort to Impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Clears Congressional Panel

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 04/11/2016

The effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff cleared a congressional panel on Monday, setting up a cliffhanger vote on her ouster in the coming days in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies.

Tempers flared ahead of the 38-27 vote, with members of Congress screaming at each other during the nationally televised proceedings. The panel was charged with investigating the accusations against Ms. Rousseff and deciding if it was warranted to recommend impeachment to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the National Congress.

Ms. Rousseff’s supporters are now scrambling ahead of the floor vote in the lower house, where they hope to prevent two-thirds of the 513 deputies from voting for impeachment.

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Brazil’s Ex-Leader, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Is Held for Questioning

Simon Romero – NY Times, 03/04/2016

Brazilian police officers raided the home of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president who is under investigation in the colossal graft scheme involving the national oil company Petrobras, on Friday morning.

Officers from the Federal Police swarmed Mr. da Silva’s home in São Paulo, according to reports on television. He was taken to a police station at Congonhas Airport for questioning. Although he was in custody, he has not been arrested or charged.

Mr. da Silva, 70, has been facing an array of legal challenges related largely to his close ties to giant construction companies that profited from lucrative government contracts.

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Brazil police probe payments to ex-president’s lover

Latin America and the Caribbean – BBC, 02/27/2016

Former TV journalist Mirian Dutra says Mr Cardoso arranged the $3,000 monthly payments through the firm, Brasif.

The transfers began in 2002 – a year before Mr Cardoso left office.

Mr Cardoso denies the allegations. Brasif also says Ms Dutra was paid for work she did for them and the former leader had nothing to do with it.

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Brazil Supreme Court moves to curb impunity loophole

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 02/29/2016

A decision by Brazil’s Supreme Court could prove as decisive as the country’s sweeping corruption investigations in curbing impunity in Latin America’s largest country, proponents claim.

The ruling this month by Brazil’s highest court ordered that a worker, who had already been convicted by a court for robbery and again on appeal, should begin serving a five-year jail sentence while awaiting the results of a further appeal to Brazil’s higher courts.

The decision sets an important precedent by closing a loophole in which convicted criminals are allowed to remain free until they have exhausted every avenue of appeal, including in the country’s higher constitutional courts. Skilled defense lawyers are able to draw out the process in the overburdened higher courts for so long that many convicted criminals can go free for decades pending appeal before serving time.

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