Posts Tagged ‘Michel Temer’

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.

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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)

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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.”

Brazil’s President Temer to face congressional vote on whether he should stand trial — “He knows how to use the machine and to find the necessary support.”

October 23, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Louis GENOT | The first president in the country to face criminal charges while in office, Michel Temer is accused of obstruction of justice and racketeering

BRASÍLIA (AFP) – He may be Brazil’s most unpopular president in decades and charged with serious crimes, but Michel Temer, the ultimate teflon leader, is expected to breeze through a congressional vote on whether he should stand trial.In Portuguese, Temer means “to be afraid,” but the canny 77-year-old veteran of Brasilia’s notoriously corrupt political scene appears to be full of confidence ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

The first president in the country to face criminal charges while in office, Temer is accused of obstruction of justice and racketeering. He denies any wrongdoing and has argued that the country needs him at the helm to bring in market-friendly reforms after two years of deep recession.

A two-thirds majority is required in the lower house of Congress to have his case sent to the Supreme Court. Just as occurred in August when Congress threw out another charge, his allies are expected to reject the idea.

Constitutional law professor Daniel Vargas is not surprised.

“Temer is a professional in politics. He knows how to use the machine and to find the necessary support,” Vargas said.

Ironically, what makes it easier for Temer is that many of those judging him in the lower house — 185 of the 513 deputies — are themselves targets of anti-corruption probes.

The mentality among those scandal-plagued politicians is clear, Vargas said.

“Temer represents the survival of the old guard,” the analyst added.

“If he falls, who’ll be next?”

Critics say the president is also boosting his chances of survival through blatant vote buying, opening up the budgetary purse to give congress members the projects back in their home states that will help their own causes.

“Despite the damage already suffered by this government, deputies looking for favors can benefit from it,” said Antonio Queiroz, an analyst with DIAP, a congressional watchdog representing trades unions.

– Risky business –

There’s risk for deputies who decide to shore up Temer.

He has record low ratings, with only three percent considering his government “good” or “very good,” according to the latest opinion poll in September.

General elections are scheduled for October 2018 and the mood, analysts say, is already deeply anti-establishment.

However, for Temer, the situation is different, since he is not going to run in the election.

After taking over the presidency in controversial circumstances following impeachment of his leftist predecessor Dilma Rousseff last year, he has never had any illusions about his popularity.

The center-right leader from the PMDB party says that he’s there to take the difficult decisions needed to bring discipline and growth back to Latin America’s biggest, but floundering economy.

“Temer simply doesn’t care what the population thinks about him,” Vargas said.

At the same time, the opposition is fragmented and ordinary Brazilians seem too exhausted to bother repeating the huge demonstrations that were common against Rousseff.

“Without pressure from the streets (and) in the absence of a real opposition alternative, the Congress will not go against Temer,” Vargas said.

The reforms have also endeared Temer to the markets and politically powerful lobbies, like the agricultural industry bloc which counts some 200 deputies in the lower chamber.

“Without the support of the markets, Temer would fall in a week,” Queiroz said. “He’s become their tool.”

by Louis GENOT

Accused of corruption, Temer is still Brazil’s president with approval ratings near zero…

October 19, 2017

Michel Temer may escape impeachment, but the ongoing political crisis undermines democracy and opens the door to authoritarian hardliners

Brazilian President Michel Temer attends a celebration of small enterprise at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on 4 October, 2017. He faces charges of corruption, racketeering and obstruction of justice.
 President Michel Temer attends a celebration of small business at Planalto Palace in Brasília earlier this month. He faces charges of corruption, racketeering and obstruction of justice. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

If Brazil’s recent decline could be plotted in the falling popularity of its presidents, Michel Temer represents the bottom of the curve.

In 2010, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ended his second term with an 80% approval rating. In March 2016 – four months before she was impeached – his protege and successor Dilma Rousseff’s administration had a 10% rating.

Last month, the government of Temer, Rousseff’s former vice-president, plunged to 3% in one poll. Among under 24-year-olds, Temer’s approval hit zero.

Temer has been charged with corruption, racketeering and obstruction of justice. Yet there have been none of the huge, anti-corruption street protests that helped drive Rousseff’s impeachment on charges of breaking budget rules.

And unlike Rousseff, Temer has retained the support of financial markets who like the austerity measures he has introduced, such as privatising government services, a 20-year cap on expenditure and a planned pensions overhaul.

There are signs of economic recovery. But spending has been so pared to the bone that some basic functions of the state are now at risk.

Critics say Temer’s austerity drive hurts the poor more than the rich. According to a survey by Oxfam Brasil, richer Brazilians pay proportionally less tax than the poor and middle classes and the richest 5% earn the same as the rest of the population put together. Yet the highest rate of income tax is just 27.5% .

Markets don’t care much about inequality, but the damaging graft allegations against the president and his allies also threaten to inflict further damage on the country’s institutions.

Temer seems likely to survive this latest crisis – he is expected to win a second vote in the lower house of congress this week on whether to suspend him for a trial – but trust in Brazil’s political leaders has been drastically undermined.

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That lack of trust is feeding support for an authoritarian solution to the crisis – which could have serious consequences in next year’s presidential elections.

The lower house of congress first voted not to suspend the president for a trial after Temer was charged with corruption, shortly after his government agreed to spend $1.33bn on projects in the states of lawmakers who were due to vote, according to independent watchdog Open Accounts.

Many of those lawmakers are allied with powerful agribusiness and evangelical Christian lobbies, and face their own graft investigations. Environmentalists say Temer’s administration is reducing Amazon protection in return for their support.

“Our country has been kidnapped by a band of unscrupulous politicians,” former supreme court justice Joaquim Barbosa said afterwards.

Temer has since been charged with obstruction of justice; along with six leading figures from his party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, he was charged with racketeering.

Janot has also filed charges against Lula, Rousseff and leading members of their Workers’ party – former allies of Temer’s PMDB – and said both parties were part of a criminal organisation that for 15 years had accepted bribes for decisions relating to ports, airports, droughts, oil rigs, tax breaks and hydroelectric plants in the Amazon.

Former prosecutor general Rodrigo Janot – who unveiled the charges against the three former presidents – said Temer’s party abandoned Rousseff’s governing coalition because it had failed to stop the graft investigation, which in turn led to the lower house of congress approving impeachment proceedings.

“All the members of his criminal organisation, independent of the nucleus they belonged to, had a common interest that united them,” Janot wrote. “The maximum, undue economic advantage for themselves and the others, independent of whether such business attended the public interest or not.”

All of the accused have denied the accusations. Temer has said he is the victim of a conspiracy.

As supreme court justice Luís Barroso told foreign journalists recently in Rio, formidable interests are protecting themselves.

“These people are powerful, they have allies, partners and accomplices everywhere, at the highest echelons, in the powers of the Republic, in the press and where one would least imagine,” he said.

But 78% of Brazilians support the graft investigation. And their disillusionment over the way it is playing out at the highest levels opens a dangerous gap for populists and extremists in next year’s presidential elections.

Lula is seeking a return to the presidency in 2018 – and currently leads polling, but he has been handed nearly a sentence of nearly 10 years in prison for corruption and money laundering, and may well be ruled ineligible to stand.

A likely rightwing candidate is João Doria, the flamboyant, multimillionaire mayor of São Paulo. Like Donald Trump, he is a former host of Brazil’s version of the TV show The Apprentice, only assumed power last January, and has no prior administrative experience.

Read the rest:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/17/accused-of-graft-popularity-near-zero-so-why-is-brazils-president-still-in-office