Posts Tagged ‘Michel Temer’

Brazil’s generals vow to stay out of politics

November 13, 2018

Army chief tries to allay fears of drift to authoritarianism under Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro

The former army captain won a sweeping victory in Brazil’s presidential election. Getty Images

Brazilian voters were not swayed by fears that Jair Bolsonaro would erode the country’s democratic institutions

By Joe Leahy and Andres Schipani in Brasília

Brazil’s senior military leaders moved to calm concerns that the incoming presidency of far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro would usher in the return of the armed forces to power in the world’s fourth-largest democracy.

The election of Mr Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has expressed nostalgia for the country’s 1964-85 military dictatorship, did not “represent a return of the military to power”, said General Eduardo Dias da Costa Villas Bôas, commandant of the Brazilian army.  “The military has been absent from politics since 1985, after the end of the military government, and that’s how it intends to maintain itself, independent of whether the president-elect is a retired captain from our Brazilian army,” he added in an interview with the FT.

Once a fringe-dweller in Brazil’s congress for his views endorsing the country’s former military rule, including its use of torture, Mr Bolsonaro has sought to allay concerns about his democratic credentials after winning elections late last month.

Although he has a strong base of far-right supporters, his victory was also seen as a referendum on the leftist Workers’ Party (PT) which was bidding for a fifth consecutive presidency. The PT presided over the country’s worst recession, biggest corruption scandal and a rising homicide rate in its last years in power, leading many voters to favour Mr Bolsonaro’s promises of greater security and a return to traditional “family values”.

But Mr Bolsonaro’s radical past rhetoric, disparaging remarks about gays, women and black people, and verbal attacks against leftist foes had led some to fear the veteran congressman would lean towards authoritarianism when he takes office on January 1.

“For me there’s an evident risk above all because of the indisposition of the president-elect as regards democracy,” said Francisco Martinho, a historian of conservative and authoritarian governments at São Paulo university. He said the test would come when Mr Bolsonaro faced a moment of civil tension, such as a strike or legal challenge.

Since winning the election, Mr Bolsonaro has sought to underline his commitment to Brazil’s democratic constitution, appearing in congress last week at a ceremony to mark the 30 years of its existence. “In a democracy there is only one north, that of the constitution,” he told lawmakers holding a copy of the document.

General Villas Bôas said the country was “politically mature” with strong institutions. “Brazil will not turn into a fascist country. That’s not in our nature,” he said. “The armed forces adopted the democratic axis of the federal constitution. There is not space for exotic adventures.”

Related image

General Villas Bôas

Military officers are hopeful the new government would provide them with more resources, particularly for patrolling Brazil’s vast land frontier. According to World Bank data, the country is already home to the largest armed forces in Latin America, followed by Colombia which was fighting a Marxist insurgency until 2016.

Mr Bolsonaro is making use of them, having named former generals as possible ministers, including retired general Augusto Heleno as national security adviser. Referring to suggestions from some quarters the presence of generals in the cabinet could signal a resurgence of military rule, General Heleno said: “That is so much nonsense — it is not even worth considering.”

He pointed out that there were already generals serving on the cabinet of incumbent President Michel Temer and also in the US. “The country invests a lot in its military in terms of intellectual preparation, strategic knowledge, political knowledge and principally knowledge of Brazil,” he said, saying this expertise could be put to use in government.

Evan Ellis, professor of Latin American studies at the US Army War College, agreed that having a Brazilian president “that once served as a junior officer and admires the military” would not bring about a return to military rule in Brazil, any more than US President Donald Trump’s appointments, such as retired general John Kelly as chief of staff or HR McMaster as national security adviser, “has brought about militarisation in the US”.

Some of Mr Bolsonaro’s proposals could, however, face opposition from his erstwhile colleagues in the military, including moving the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, analysts said. This would rile trading partners in Muslim countries in the Middle East and also Brazil’s own extensive Arab communities.

Military officers also dismissed expressions of hostility among some in Brazil’s far-right towards socialist Venezuela, which is engulfed in economic crisis, and talk that the border between the two nations would be shut. “Closing the border is a utopia,” General Heleno said, adding that Brazil would remain open to help Venezuelan refugees.

https://www.ft.com/content/4c37269e-e2db-11e8-a6e5-792428919cee

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Brazil votes for new president, far-right Bolsonaro in lead — “He stands up against corruption and crime”

October 7, 2018

Brazilians head to the polls Sunday to elect a new president, with a far-right politician promising an iron-fisted crackdown on crime, Jair Bolsonaro, the firm favorite going into the first round.

Surveys suggest the 63-year-old former paratrooper, who wants to cut spiralling debt through sweeping privatizations and embrace the United States and Israel, could count on more than one in three voters in the vast Latin American nation.

But at least as many in the 147-million-strong electorate reject the veteran federal lawmaker, who is known for repeated offensive comments against women, gays and the poor, and for lauding the military dictatorship Brazil shucked off just three decades ago.

Demonstrators opposed to Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have their picture taken with lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro, the main right-wing candidate for the October presidential election, during a protest in Brasilia, Brazil.Demonstrators opposed to Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have their picture taken with lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro, the main right-wing candidate for the October presidential election, during a protest in Brasilia, Brazil.

(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

If Bolsonaro gets more than 50 percent of the vote to lead the field of 13 candidates, he will win the presidency outright. Otherwise, a run-off will be held on October 28.

Analysts say a first-round victory for Bolsonaro is possible — but unlikely.

The last surveys released late Saturday credited Bolsonaro with 36 percent against 22 percent for his nearest rival, leftist former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad.

With blank and invalid votes stripped out, Bolsonaro could pocket 40-41 percent of the vote to 25 percent for Haddad, polling firms Ibope and Datafolha said.

© AFP | Brazilian election authorities prepare electronic ballots in Rio de Janeiro on the eve of Sunday’s vote

A run-off was seen as too close to call, given the plus-or-minus two-point margin of error, though Bolsonaro was seen with a small edge: 45 percent, to 41-43 percent for Haddad.

– Voting marked by ‘fear, anger’ –

Haddad, 55, has picked up support that still exists for ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Workers Party icon jailed for corruption who was declared ineligible from making a comeback because of a failed appeal.

Image result for Lula da Silva, Photos

Lula da Silva

While Brazil lived its economic heyday during Lula’s 2003-2010 presidency, it was also plunged into its worst-ever recession under Lula’s chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached and booted from office in 2016 for financial wrongdoing.

Many blame the Workers Party for the country’s current economic malaise.

The result is one of the most polarized elections Brazil has seen. Voter rejection of the two leading candidates is bigger than their polled support.

Voters stuck between the far right and the left are likely to make their choice “more from fear or from anger than from conviction,” said Geraldo Monteiro, a political analyst at Rio de Janeiro State University.

The run-off round could be “even more radical, maybe with violence,” he warned.

The winner will rule the world’s eighth biggest economy: a nation with 210 million inhabitants and abundant natural resources whose top trading partner is China.

Should Bolsonaro become president, he will have to form legislative alliances.

His ultraconservative Social Liberal Party has just eight deputies in the outgoing, 513-seat lower house of congress.

After Sunday’s general election, in which new federal and state legislatures will also be chosen, it might at best pick up only a handful of seats.

But Bolsonaro, a Catholic, is close to the evangelical church lobby that counts many lawmakers. Deputies linked to Brazil’s powerful agro-business lobby are also siding with him.

– A ‘clean’ candidate –

Bolsonaro’s profile and anti-crime agenda got an unintended boost a month ago when the far-right candidate was stabbed by a lone assailant who police said had political motives.

Forced off the campaign trail for weeks, Bolsonaro intensified his deft use of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reach switched-on Brazilians.

In the week before the election, his poll figures soared, while Haddad’s stalled.

Even those opposed to Bolsonaro admit that he is a “clean” candidate, unsullied by corruption scandals that have mired many other politicians.

At a last pro-Bolsonaro rally in the capital Brasilia, supporters said they saw him as a savior.

“Bolsonaro is the best for the country today — he is the hope of a better country. If we don’t have Bolsonaro, we will become a Venezuela,” said one demonstrating government worker, Cacio de Oliveira.

The current president, Rousseff’s center-right former deputy Michel Temer, is not contesting Sunday’s election.

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Marcela Temer ao lado do marido na posse de Dilma Rousseff e Michel Temer, em 2015. Fonte: O Globo

He will leave office at the end of the year as a deeply unpopular figure in a country suffering with 13 million unemployed, climbing public debt and inflation, and record violence.

Voting on Sunday was to start at 8:00 am (1100 GMT) and end at 5:00 pm (2000 GMT), with initial results expected a couple of hours later.

AFP

See also:

The understandable rise of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-understandable-rise-of-brazils-jair-bolsonaro

Massive fire guts Brazil’s 200-year-old National Museum

September 3, 2018

A massive fire tore through a 200-year-old museum in Rio de Janeiro late Sunday, lighting up the night and sending large plumes of smoke into the air.

A fire burns at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 2, 2018. (REUTERS)

Firefighters worked to put out the blaze at the esteemed National Museum in northern Rio, which houses artefacts from Egypt, Greco-Roman art and some of the first fossils found in Brazil.

© Carl De Souza / AFP | A massive fire engulfs the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro on September 2, 2018.

In a statement, the museum said the blaze began around 7:30 p.m. There were no reported injuries and the fire began after it had closed to the public, said the statement. It wasn’t immediately clear how the fire began.

In a statement, President Michel Temer said it was “a sad day for all Brazilians.”

“Two hundred years of work, investigation and knowledge have been lost,” said Temer.

Rádio BandNews FM

@radiobandnewsfm

Vídeo do incêndio no Museu Nacional, no Rio de Janeiro:

According to the museum’s website, it has more than 20,000 items related to the history of Brazil and other countries, and that many of its collections came from members of Brazil’s royal family.

Connected to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the museum has expositions that include anthropology, archaeology and paleontology, among others.

The vice director of the museum, Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, told Globo news the museum suffered chronic underfunding.

“Everybody wants to be supportive now. We never had adequate support,” he said.

Brazil has struggled to emerge from its worst recession in decades. The state of Rio de Janeiro has been particularly hard hit in recent years thanks to a combination of falling oil prices, mismanagement and massive corruption.

Sgt. Moises Torres from the state’s firefighting headquarters said firefighters were working to put out the blaze.

(AP)

Brazilians Denounce Their Leader, but Economists Offer Praise

August 16, 2018

Unpopular President Michel Temer, who steps down after October elections, righted a falling economy but didn’t revamp a troubled pension system

Brazilian President Michel Temer
Brazilian President Michel Temer PHOTO: EVARISTO SA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
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BRASÍLIA—Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, has been called a coup plotter, charged with corruption and is highly unpopular with voters.

But as Mr. Temer prepares to leave politics after national elections in October, many economists credit him with taming his country’s high inflation, reviving private investment with business-friendly policies and pulling the country out of a steep recession.

There’s still plenty of unfinished business. During his two years in office, he failed to make dents in a huge budget shortfall and national debt load, nor accomplish a key goal—reforming a pension system that eats up nearly half of Brazil’s budget.

“It’s an important issue for the nation,” Mr. Temer told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. “Candidates should be talking more about it.”

Many Brazilians view Mr. Temer with suspicion. The 77-year-old former vice president came to power in 2016 after Congress removed President Dilma Rousseff on charges of mishandling the budget. Many accuse him of orchestrating her ouster, an accusation he denies.

His image was further tarnished in 2017, when as president he appeared to endorse the payment of hush money to a jailed lawmaker in a recording leaked to the press. He denied the ensuing charges of corruption and avoided a trial during his term.

Still, 82% of Brazilians disapprove of his governance, according to a recent Datafolha poll.

“Temer is so bad,” said Djanira da Hora, a 64-year-old retiree who sells homemade sweets on the streets of Brasília, the capital. “There is nobody you can trust in the government.”

Many of those who track Brazil’s economy assess his reign more positively than most ordinary Brazilians.

Mr. Temer’s economic team, led by retired banker Henrique Meirelles, cut red tape, reined in spending and took steps to boost business confidence and spark new investing after it had plummeted under Ms. Rousseff, many economists say.

Many of the changes were opposed by unions and the powerful leftist Workers’ Party of Ms. Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But they helped set the stage for the first economic growth in 24 months. The economy is projected to grow 1.5% this year.

“Temer made policy changes that stopped the bleeding caused by the recession,” said economist Monica de Bolle of the Peterson Institute, a Washington think tank. “It helped the economy muddle through the crisis.”

The team cut inflation from 9% when Mr. Temer took office to 3% last year, the lowest since 1998, helping to alleviate the strain on household budgets. In a country beset by budget overruns and high public debt, his administration won constitutional approval limiting government spending for the first time.

Mr. Temer also cobbled together the legislative backing to loosen labor law restrictions, leading to a 25% drop in job-related lawsuits. His administration opened up a moribund oil sector to foreign investment, auctioning deep-water oil fields that won the government a nearly $2 billion signing bonus.

Under his watch, Brazil’s central bank trimmed its main interest rate to a 6.5% historic low from 14.25% two years ago.

“Given the circumstances and the state of public finances there were some solid advances,” said Geert Aalbers, a senior analyst at Control Risks, a global risk consultancy.

Obscure for most of his career, Mr. Temer in 2105 made a series of business-friendly proposals as vice president that ran squarely against his boss’s program. Congress removed President Rousseff from power a year later and installed Mr. Temer.

Then in 2017, a prominent industrialist secretly taped Mr. Temer appearing to endorse the hush money, prompting the attorney general to press corruption and money laundering charges against him. The president lobbied Congress to shelve the proceedings.

But the scandal consumed Brazil much of last year, contributing to Mr. Temer’s failure to overhaul the pension system amid a lack of political support.

In the interview, Mr. Temer denied wrongdoing and called the accusations part of “a plot meticulously organized to derail pension reform.” He has offered no evidence of his assertions.

“I want to be remembered as a reformist,” Mr. Temer said. “I don’t want to leave with the stigma of immorality on my shoulders.”

The challenges for Brazil remain sizable: The government struggles to tame a gaping budget shortfall equal to 7% of gross domestic product and a debt load equivalent to 77% of output.

“Looking at the brief Temer administration, what it really tried to do was to fix the fiscal problem,” said UBS economist Tony Volpon. But the “fiscal situation is extremely bad” and the next leader “will have to keep making adjustments to avoid total disaster.”

Most economists, and Mr. Temer himself, agree that the new president must address a pension system that permits some government workers to retire in their 40s with a full salary for life.

The electoral landscape is still fluid, with the most popular choice, Mr. da Silva, barred from running, and other candidates distancing themselves from Mr. Temer.

Mr. Temer, who will leave office when his successor arrives on Jan. 1., expects to face corruption charges he says are likely to be revived when he’s a private citizen. He is also writing a book.

“It will be fiction but based on real-life characters” from his years in power, he said. “I already have them all in my mind.”

Write to Paulo Trevisani at paulo.trevisani@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/brazilians-denounce-their-leader-but-economists-offer-praise-1534411800

Brazil’s President Michel Temer will not seek re-election — “Too many scandals.”

May 23, 2018

Brazil’s President Michel Temer ended speculation on Tuesday that he might seek re-election despite dismal poll ratings, saying he would instead endorse his finance minister for the presidency in October’s election.

© Evaristo Sa, AFP | Brazilian President Michel Temer in the capital Brasilia on May 22, 2018

Temer‘s decision Tuesday to put his weight behind Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles came after months of weighing whether to run for re-election.

The decision was an acknowledgement that Temer’s single-digit approval rating and mounting legal troubles made a competitive candidacy unlikely.

Temer was vice president when he came to power in 2016 after President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office for illegally managing the federal budget.

While overseeing a handful of reforms, including a rewriting of labor laws, Temer’s government has suffered numerous scandals.

(AP)

44 missing in Sao Paulo squatter-building blaze and collapse: firefighters — “31 fire department vehicles, 78 firefighters” involved

May 2, 2018

Image may contain: outdoor

 Police officers look as firefighters work to extinguish the fire in a 24-story building that collapsed after catching fire in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday. | AFP-JI

Forty-four people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building used by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster on Tuesday only three were unaccounted for, including one man who was seconds from being successfully rescued by firefighters before the building suddenly crashed down.

 

“The fire department is continuing to search, currently with 31 vehicles, 78 firefighters,” the department tweeted.

“44 missing.”

There was no indication whether the large number of missing were considered likely to have been killed and buried under the rubble, or whether they simply were not there at the time.

The building, a disused former police headquarters, was occupied by 146 homeless families, officials say, blaming lack of even basic fire prevention measures for the accident.

Officials have not given a specific cause for the blaze.

Sao Paulo is Brazil’s financial capital and the most populous city in Latin America, but suffers huge economic inequality. Poor families often squat in disused buildings or set up tents and shacks on vacant land, sometimes next to wealthy areas.

President Michel Temer, who is Brazil’s most unpopular leader on record, with single-digit approval ratings, got a hostile reception when he briefly visited the scene.

“We want housing!” a crowd chanted before he hurriedly left.

AFP-JIJI

New graft charges filed against Brazil’s Lula

May 1, 2018

Brazilian prosecutors have filed new graft charges against imprisoned Workers’ Party founder and ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as well as the party’s current chief.

AFP

© AFP/File | The Solaris luxury seaside building where jailed former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva allegedly owns a triplex apartment that he received as a bribe, a charge he denies

Lula and Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, along with former Lula government ministers Antonio Palocci and Paulo Bernardo, allegedly were promised $40 million by corruption-riddled construction giant Odebrecht.

The fund “was in exchange for political decisions that would benefit the group,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement late Monday.

 Image result for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva,, photos
former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Workers’ Party politicians used the slush fund to finance campaigns, including Hoffmann’s failed 2014 run for governor of Parana state, it said.

Lula was jailed in April to start serving a 12-year sentence for accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from another huge Brazilian construction company, OAS.

He faces six more graft cases but says he has been framed in order to prevent him from running in October’s presidential election, for which he leads opinion polls.

Hoffmann, leader of the Workers’ Party, said the new charges were “founded on unproven allegations.”

“In addition to being false, they don’t make sense, because they attempt to link decisions in 2010 with a campaign in 2014,” she tweeted.

The charges are part of operation “Car Wash,” Brazil’s biggest ever anti-graft crackdown. It has targeted several former presidents, current President Michel Temer and politicians from all major parties.

Investigators discovered that politicians and their parties were allegedly taking money from Odebrecht and other big companies in exchange for political favors and contracts with state oil company Petrobras.

Brazil Workers Keep Lula’s Presidential Bid Alive

April 10, 2018

The party of embattled — and imprisoned — ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has pledged to register his presidential bid in August. The Workers Party considers Lula to be a “political prisoner.”

Large poster of jailed leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the headquarters of the Metalworkers' Union (Getty Images/V. Moriyama)

Former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, will be registered as a presidential candidate despite being in currently in jail for corruption and money laundering, the Workers Party said on Monday.

The party said that it considered Lula to be a “political prisoner” and that the former president had been victim of “a violent arrest.”

After an eight hour meeting, Workers Party members announced that Lula will continue to be their leader for the presidential bid, and that they planned to register the bid on the August 15 registration deadline.

Party officials also announced the decision to move their organization’s headquarters to Curitiba, the southern city where Lula is being held.

Read more: Opinion: What path will Brazil take?

Lula gives himself up to policeLula turned himself in on April 7 after being holed up for three days in union headquarters

Lula, a popular two-term president, started a 12-year prison sentence on April 7. He gave himself up to police when the Supreme Court of Brazil rejected his appeal to continue delaying the sentence while he challenged the ruling.

The move could be thwarted by Brazil’s electoral court, as it holds the power to reject Lula’s candidacy due to his conviction. The Workers Party would be able to appeal such a decision, but if that effort fails and they are not able to register a new candidate before September 17, the party would be left without a candidate at all in the October presidential election.

Read more: Opinion: Lula, Brazil’s tragic hero

The leftwing ex-president comfortably leads the presidential election polls, despite the political storm surrounding his conviction. By announcing that he will remain a candidate, the Workers Party hopes to keep his presidential bid alive in case he is able to get out of jail in time for the election.

Lula’s lawyer, Cristiano Zanin, said to reporters on Monday that the ex-president was doing well.

“Lula sees himself as a political prisoner. But he has confidence that the courts will soon overturn not only his prison order but also the conviction that was put on him in an unjust and illegal way,” Zanin said.

jcg/rt (AP, AFP, EFE)

http://www.dw.com/en/brazil-workers-party-keeps-lula-presidential-bid-alive/a-43316223

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Lula’s arrest leaves volatile Brazil stumbling

© AFP / by Pascale TROUILLAUD | Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s imprisonment on corruption charges is seen as creating further divisions in politically polarized Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – The imprisonment of ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has given already chaotic Brazil another push down an ever more unpredictable future.His arrest on Saturday took place against a backdrop of impassioned speeches, crying supporters, demonstrations and tear gas fired by riot police. It was not the picture of a country at ease with itself.

“The climate of polarization and radicalization… worries us all,” warned Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann.

With six months to go before a presidential election, Lula’s imprisonment for corruption has created ever deeper divisions.

He is the frontrunner, according to polls, yet is hated just as much as he loved, known alternately as “warrior of the Brazilian people” and simply “bandit.” Some ask whether an election without such an outsized player can be considered fair.

“Brazil is going through a democratic crisis, a crisis that reveals that the political and judicial systems are exhausted and under huge tension,” said Christophe Ventura, at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations in France.

– Volatility –

Lula’s almost certain exit from the election has sent the other candidates scrambling.

His own Workers’ Party is in the lurch, since he is by far their most popular figure. He’ll keep on being a candidate, even from behind bars — and hoping to get out — but it’s clearly a risky strategy.

“The imprisonment of Lula symbolizes the end of an era,” said Andre Cesar at Hold consultants.

Ventura argues that Lula’s conviction for accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from a huge construction company was not convincing enough to merit knocking the leftist out of the race.

“The country has been through some unstable and crazy times but this is unprecedented. Never in Brazil has a former president been imprisoned on such a controversial conviction,” he said.

The Supreme Court could change a law in a vote this week that would effectively win Lula’s release. If that happens it would signal “total uncertainty and volatility in Brazilian political life,” Ventura said.

Adding to the tension, the head of the army, General Eduardo Villas Boas, made a call last week that appeared to demand Lula’s imprisonment — a rare and, some say, disturbing intervention into politics by a top officer.

It comes at a time when the army is playing an ever higher profile role after President Michel Temer ordered the military to take over security in Rio de Janeiro, where police struggle to cope with violent crime.

– Corruption war –

A big driver of instability in Brazil is a four-year war on corruption known as operation “Car Wash.”

The crusade has investigated or convicted scores of politicians, including Lula, and seen the filing of corruption charges against Temer, although for now he is protected by presidential immunity.

With 12.6 percent unemployment, “the combination of economic recession and quasi-pornographic exposure of corruption is explosive,” Folha de S.Paulo newspaper said.

It’s a mix that has seen a remarkable rise for Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing former army officer who praises the dictatorship of 1964-85 and whose platform is heavy on law-and-order.

Bolsonaro, who comes only second to Lula in polls, has also stirred up his base by capitalizing on widespread dislike of Lula.

Even imprisoned, the leftist icon continues to raise warring emotions. For some he is a political prisoner, while others see him as a showman who knows how to manipulate his followers and Brazil’s institutions.

A recent campaign trip by Lula saw his buses attacked with eggs, stones and even gunshots.

An O Globo editorial blamed him: “with his rhetoric of hatred he creates the greater potential for attacks and violence.”

As Ventura said, now “anything can happen.”

by Pascale TROUILLAUD

Temer warns pension reform failure will hurt Brazil’s credibility

December 22, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person, suit

Brazil’s President Michel Temer

Reuters

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s President Michel Temer warned on Friday the country would face economic volatility and loss of international credibility if a bill overhauling its costly social security system is not passed by Congress early next year.

Speaking to reporters, Temer acknowledged that corruption accusations had undermined his popularity and delayed passage of a pension reform bill that is now scheduled to be put to a vote on February 19.

He said his government would not support a candidate in the 2018 presidential elections that does not back pension reform.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Daniel Flynn

Brazil corruption probe could be in final phase: “It’s essential in 2018 that every voter acts carefully and supports the anti-corruption agenda.”

November 28, 2017

AFP

© AFP | A leading prosecutor in Brazil’s massive “Lava Jato” corruption probe says next year’s elections will determine the fate of the fight to hold officials accountable, as seen in this protest November 17

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – 

A top Brazilian prosecutor says general elections in 2018 will be the climax of the country’s biggest ever corruption probe, known as Operation Car Wash.

“2018 will be the final battle of Car Wash, because the 2018 elections will determine the future of the fight against corruption in our country,” said Deltan Dallagnol, a central prosecutor in the probe, during a conference Monday in Rio de Janeiro.

The presidency and Congress are up for election in October next year, the first major polls since the Car Wash probe plunged Brazil into political crisis.

Car Wash was launched in early 2014, uncovering a vast web of embezzlement and bribery through the Brazilian government, legislature and corporate world, especially the state oil company Petrobras.

Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been convicted of bribe-taking and current President Michel Temer is charged with racketeering and bribe-taking. Dozens of lawmakers also face charges or probes.

Although the anti-corruption campaign has been popular with Brazilian voters, lawmakers led by Temer have repeatedly pushed back against prosecutors, arguing that they are on a politicized crusade and have exceeded their authority.

In a joint statement, prosecutors from Rio, Sao Paulo and Curitiba states warned at the conference that “attempts to guarantee impunity for powerful politicians are intensifying.”

“It’s essential in 2018 that every voter acts carefully (voting for) deputies and senators with a clean sheet and committed to democratic and republican values, and who support the anticorruption agenda,” the statement said.

The next batch of congressional deputies and senators “will determine whether there is a retreat in the fight against corruption or if there will be reforms and advances that create a fairer country,” Dallagnol said.

The Car Wash team said that it has so far opened 416 criminal cases and secured sentences against 144 people, totalling 2,130 years prison.

Another prosecutor, Eduardo El Hage, warned that there would be new operations next year.

“We are planning concrete actions,” he said. “It will be a year of a lot of work.”