Former Brazil president Lula poised for corruption trial, associates fear

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 06/15/2016

Family members and associates of former Brazilian president Luiz Ináçio Lula da Silva fear he will soon be put on trial for what is alleged to be a central role in a massive corruption scheme at the state-run oil company Petrobras.

The Workers’ party leader – who is unquestionably the most influential figure in Brazil’s recent history – has been named in plea bargains by former allies and business executives who have been arrested in the Lava Jato investigation into revelations that construction firms secure inflated contracts in return for kickbacks to executives and politicians.

Among them is Delcídio do Amaral, the former Workers’ party leader in the upper house, who has recently testified that Lula – as he is universally known – attempted to impede the inquiry. The former senator, who was stripped of his mandate, told the Guardian he expected judges to make a decision shortly on his deposition.

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3 revealing myths about Brazil’s crisis

Brian Winter – Vox, 05/11/2016

To many observers, Brazil appears one swarm of locusts short of a full-fledged Biblical plague. Whether it’s the off-again, on-again impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, the country’s worst recession in 80 years (or maybe ever), the spread of the bizarre and frightening Zika virus, or its continued struggle with drug gangs and homicides, Brazil looks anything but ready to host the world at the Summer Olympics this August.

Without a doubt, it has been a terrible 2016 — and a huge letdown after Brazil’s economic boom of the 2000s, which helped it win the Olympics in the first place. But the particularly confusing nature of this crisis, paired with the convergence of the world’s media hordes on Rio de Janeiro, has also produced a truly epic amount of misinformation, stereotypes, and wishful thinking.

So, in the spirit of better understanding the Land of Samba and Surf (oops, a stereotype!), and trying to gauge where the political and economic crisis might be headed next, here are three common myths about Brazil’s current crisis. The myths themselves are revealing in what they say about the country’s image — among locals and rubbernecking visitors alike.

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A test of “Brazilience”: What next for Brazil?

Thomas Kamm – Brunswick, 04/15/2016

Brazil is on the verge of what could be the biggest crisis this crisis-prone nation has ever faced – or a cathartic break from its past. It is being subjected to a massive stress test that can either lead to a prolonged downward spiral or prove to be a pivotal moment that ultimately sets the country back on a more sustainable political and economic course. Call it a new test of what could be called “Brazilience,” Brazil’s resilience and resourcefulness in the face of crisis.

So where does all this leave Brazil? Brunswick Partner, Thomas Kamm, looks at three possible short-term scenarios, all fraught with uncertainty.

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Brazil’s Attorney General recommends da Silva be barred from post

Reed Johnson and Marla Dickerson – The Wall Street Journal, 04/07/2016

SÃO PAULO—Brazil’s Attorney General recommended Thursday that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva be barred from taking a cabinet post, undercutting President Dilma Rousseff just days before a critical impeachment vote.

In a 50-page report citing wiretapped conversations and other evidence, Attorney General Rodrigo Janot said there are “enough elements to conclude” that Ms. Rousseff had named Mr. da Silva as her chief of staff to shield him from possible arrest related to his alleged involvement in a massive corruption scandal.

The attorney general’s decision supports an opinion rendered last month by Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes that temporarily blocked Mr. da Silva’s cabinet appointment.

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Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil, resists calls for her resignation

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 03/24/2016

BRASÍLIA — Striking a defiant tone as scandals engulf her government, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil insisted in an interview on Thursday that she would not resign, even as momentum builds in Congress for her ouster.

Ms. Rousseff described the efforts to remove her from office as “lacking legal foundations,” and she lashed out at Eduardo Cunha, the speaker of the lower house of Congress, who has been plagued with scandals of his own. Ms. Rousseff said that Mr. Cunha put impeachment proceedings into motion as a way of deflecting attention from his own legal troubles over charges of bribery and money laundering.

“Why do they want me to resign?” Ms. Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, asked in the interview. “Because I’m a woman, fragile. I am not fragile. That is not my life.” She said that investigators should leave no stone unturned in examining her actions.

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Brazil Opposition Lawmakers Demand Rousseff Resignation During Session

Reuters/New York Times, 03/17/2016

Dozens of lawmakers opposed to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff chanted “resign” at a Congressional session late on Wednesday, in a sign of rising political tensions in Latin America’s largest economy.

The lawmakers gathered around a microphone interrupted the session to demand Rousseff’s resignation, according to images broadcast live by news channel GloboNews. Rousseff’s administration is struggling with fallout from a sweeping corruption probe, known as “Operation Car Wash.”

In a bid to stave off impeachment proceedings in Congress, Rousseff named her predecessor and political mentor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as her chief of staff on Wednesday.

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Brazil tumbles like ‘House of Cards’ in crisis

Daniel Gallas – BBC, 03/17/2016

The plot to Brazil’s political crisis has become so complicated that even makers of political drama ‘House of Cards’ joke they are now following events.

There is even an online quiz where one has to guess: did it happen in Brazil or in House of Cards, or both?

But this is no laughing matter in Brazil.

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