Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 06/27/2016
A technical report into whether or not Dilma cooked the books on fiscal accounts in 2014 turned out in her favor. Come to find out, she did not push forward accounts, but still — according to one Brazil economist I spoke with — did commit crimes of fiscal responsibility. That will still be for the Senate to decide when suspended president Dilma Rousseff goes to trial at some point in late July, early August.
What appears clear for Brazil watchers is that the back and forth of corruption allegations and now this latest study suggests that if the country was a chicken, it would be running around with its head cut off. It’s not very appealing except for the hungriest of vultures looking for a cheap meal.
Hedge funds that like regime change politics are watching the political play-by-play closely. The latest study might have moved the needle against impeachment, though 60 senators are still expected to vote for her ouster.
The Associated Press – ABC News, 06/14/2016
One of Brazil’s most powerful men was dealt a major blow on Tuesday, when a legislative ethics committee voted in favor of a motion to strip the former speaker of Congress’ lower house of his mandate over allegations he lied when he denied possessing foreign bank accounts.
Eduardo Cunha has been regarded as one of Brazil’s most skilled political operators, and even though he’s been beset by corruption allegations and was removed from the post of speaker, he still wields considerable influence in Congress. It came as little surprise, then, that Tuesday’s long-awaited vote by the Chamber of Deputies’ ethics committee was a nail-biter. Many observers predicted that Cunha’s supporters would succeed in defeating the measure.
The 11-9 result hinged on one single vote, that of Rep. Tia Eron from the northeastern Bahia state. The vote was postponed last week after Eron failed to show up to the committee.
Ryan Lloyd and Carlos Oliveira – The Washington Post, 05/25/2016
There’s a new twist in the already twisted saga of the Brazilian legislature’s attempt to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, who is currently suspended. On May 23, Brazil’s largest newspaper, the Folha de Sao Paulo,published a story about a leaked conversation between Planning Minister Romero Jucá — a key instigator of Rousseff’s suspension and an important political insider for the past 30 years — and Sérgio Machado, the former head of Transpetro (the transportation arm of Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil company).
In the audio clip, Jucá — who has since taken leave from his post in Michel Temer’s interim government, which stepped in for Rousseff — says clearly that impeachment was a way for a coalition of politicians to avoid being prosecuted for corruption. Rousseff was unwilling to protect these politicians, Jucá claimed. Removing her from office and forming a “national pact” to “stop the bleeding” would be the best way for them all to protect themselves.
Some media outlets suggest that Machado recorded conversations with other key players in Brazilian politics. If so, more leaks could put Temer in a still worse position. Temer worked actively behind the scenes to dethrone his predecessor, but doesn’t have popular support himself.
Lisa Desjardins, Paulo Sotero, Uri Friedman, Monica de Bolle and Brian Winter – NPR, 05/03/16
Last month in Brazil, the lower house of the country’s National Congress voted to impeach the president, Dilma Rousseff. There are the legal grounds for the move — alleged cooking of the government books. And then there are the political motives, which as many observers have pointed out, are what’s really driving the impeachment. Those have to do with a massive corruption scandal at Petrobras, the state owned oil company. Add to that a severe recession, and many Brazilians are not happy with how their country is being run. Guest host Lisa Desjardins gets an update on the political crisis in Brazil from our panel of guests.
Listen to the podcast…
BRASÍLIA — Paulo Maluf, a Brazilian congressman, is so badly besieged by his own graft scandals that his constituents often describe him with the slogan “Rouba mas faz.” Translation: He steals but gets it done.
But like an array of other scandal-plagued members of Brazil’s Congress, Mr. Maluf says he is so fed up with all the corruption in the country that he supports ousting President Dilma Rousseff.
“I’m against all the dubious horse-trading this government does,” said Mr. Maluf, 84, a former São Paulo mayor who faces charges in the United States that he stole more than $11.6 million in a kickback scheme.
Mapa do Impeachment – Vem da Rua
The Impeachment Map is a tool created by the volunteers of the “Vem Pra Rua” movement, in order to mobilize civil society in favor of the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, clarifying the positions of the representatives in Brasilia concerning the process.
The Impeachment of President Dilma is a judicial and political process and many support its approval by the National Congress. Because of popular support for the impeachment, the “Vem Pra Rua” movement supports those representatives who have already declared their position in favor of impeachment, urges those indecisive representatives to make a decision in favor of impeachment and mainly, highlights for voters those representative against impeachment.
The Impeachment map is the result of intensive research that cross-references sources including the Congress, Senate, Electoral Court, IBGE, Registro.br, as well as Google searches and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.
The representatives and their opinions on impeachment are broken down into three categories: those who are undecided, those who have already announced their support for impeachment and those who have been vocally against impeachment. The website allows visitors to contact those representatives who are against or undecided by providing contact information, website links and relevant information about the representative. The map also breaks down the representatives in a various ways, whether by state or by legislative body.
Check out the Map (In Portuguese)…
The Economist, 03/22/2016
ON MARCH 18th Brazil’s political crisis entered a new phase. After months of procedural wrangling, congressmen voted to commence impeachment proceedings against Dilma Rousseff, the country’s embattled president. On paper, Ms Rousseff’s main sin is resorting to accounting trickery in order to disguise the true size of the budget deficit. In practice, she is paying the political price for mismanagement of the economy and a corruption scandal centred on Petrobras, the state oil company, which has engulfed her left-wing Workers’ Party (PT). Will she survive the ordeal?
This is not the first time that Brazil’s young democracy has gone through the trauma of impeachment. In 1992, seven years after the end of the military regime in power from 1964 to 1985, Congress booted out Fernando Collor. Mr Collor, the first post-dictatorship leader chosen by popular vote, was accused of taking bribes (his criminal conviction was later overturned on a technicality; he is now a senator, and under investigation in the Petrobras imbroglio, which he denies having any involvement in). Back then, there was agreement that Mr Collor must go, both among ordinary Brazilians and their representatives in the capital, Brasília. The impeachment motion easily cleared the constitutional hurdle of at least two-thirds of votes in favour in both houses of Congress.
To avert a similar fate, Ms Rousseff first needs to convince at least 172 lower-house legislators out of 513 to back her. She has ten congressional sessions, or two or three weeks, to present her defence to a special commission. This body then has five sessions to issue a recommendation to the full house, which must vote on it within 48 hours. If Ms Rousseff’s foes fall short of 342 votes, the case is buried. Should they succeed, senators must then approve, by an absolute majority of 41 out of 81, to accept the lower-house motion. If they do, a trial of up to 180 days begins, presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. During this period, Ms Rousseff steps down and her vice-president, Michel Temer, temporarily takes her place. If at least 54 senators subsequently vote to remove her, Mr Temer would probably serve out the rest of the term, which ends in 2018.
The Economist, 12/22/2012
SO RARELY has political corruption led to punishment in Brazil that there is an expression for the way scandals peter out. They “end in pizza”, with roughly the same convivial implication as settling differences over a drink. But a particularly brazen scandal has just drawn to a surprisingly disagreeable close for some prominent wrongdoers. The supreme-court trial of the mensalão (big monthly stipend), a scheme for buying votes in Brazil’s Congress that came to light in 2005, ended on December 17th. Of the 38 defendants, 25 were found guilty of charges including corruption, money-laundering and misuse of public funds. Many received stiff sentences and large fines.
The supreme court must still write its report on the trial, and hear appeals—though it is unlikely to change its mind. So in 2013 Brazilians should be treated to an unprecedented sight: well-connected politicos behind bars. José Dirceu, who served as chief of staff to the former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was sentenced to almost 11 years; Delúbio Soares, former treasurer of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT), got almost nine. Under the penal code, at least part of such long sentences must be served in jail. The justices also decided that the three federal deputies found guilty will automatically lose their seats if and when those verdicts are confirmed.
Lula was not charged, and has always insisted he knew nothing of the scheme. But Marcos Valério, a former advertising man sentenced to 40 years, claims to have evidence that Lula knew what was going on, and that some of the dirty money paid his personal expenses. These allegations may be merely a desperate attempt by a condemned man to bargain down his jail term. The attorney-general characterised Mr Valério as a “player”, and said his claims should be treated with caution. But if he has significant new evidence the mensalão may yet rumble on.
Maria Luiza Rebello – Bloomgberg, 09/25/2012
Brazil’s Congress yesterday concluded voting on a decree to revamp the country’s forest code, handing President Dilma Rousseff a second defeat on her plan to limit deforestation.
The president’s decree signed May 25 required that cleared areas bordering rivers wider than 10 meters be replanted out to 20 meters on each bank. Lawmakers reduced that distance to 15 meters. On larger tracts, the protection was lowered from 30 meters to 20 meters. Lawmakers have also authorized the use of fruit trees for replanting.
“The president has repeatedly showed that the government is only committed to the original version of the decree,” Senator Eduardo Braga, leader of the government coalition in the Senate, said. “The possibility of another veto is real,” he told reporters in Brasilia.
A professional clown who won a seat in Brazil’s Congress has to disprove a lawsuit claiming he can’t read or write before taking up his mandate, a judge has ruled.
Francisco Oliveira, a 45-year-old television comic better known by his stage name Tiririca, has 10 days to show he is not illiterate, the judge for the central electoral zone in Sao Paulo, Aloisio Sergio Rezende Silveira, ruled late Monday.
The judge overturned another magistrate’s decision to throw out the lawsuit after hearing that a police forensic examination raised suspicions over whether it was Tiririca’s handwriting on his official electoral application.
Under Brazil’s constitution, federal deputies in Congress have to be literate to pass laws.