Posts Tagged ‘Michel Temer’

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)

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

May 2, 2018

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 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

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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

Brazil corruption scandal: President Temer slams judiciary

September 13, 2017

BBC News

    • 12 September 2017

Brazil"s President Michel Temer attends a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil September 12, 2017

Michel Temer has the lowest approval ratings of any Brazilian president in decades. Reuters photo

Brazil’s President Michel Temer has accused his country’s judiciary of using allegations of corruption to destroy reputations.

Mr Temer’s statement came just hours before a Supreme Court justice authorised a new corruption investigation into the president.

The president, like dozens of other Brazilian politicians, is already implicated in Operation Car Wash.

Mr Temer has denied all accusations of corruption.

In a statement released ahead of the anticipated announcement of the new charges, Mr Temer’s office slammed those investigating alleged corruption.

The biggest investigation of all is known as Operation Car Wash, said to involve bribes at the highest level. Among those implicated in the three-year investigation are two former presidents.

“We have reached the point where they try to convict people without even hearing them – without ending the investigation, without uncovering the truth, without verifying the existence of real proof,” Mr Temer’s office said.

“Individual rights are being violated every day without the slightest reaction.”

The statement went on to question prosecutors’ methods, which favoured the use of wire taps and statements from those who make plea deals.

The latest investigation is hinged on a recording of one of Mr Temer’s former aides, according to news agency Reuters.

“Reputations are shattered in conversations founded on clandestine actions,” the president’s statement said. “Bandits concoct versions based on hearsay in exchange for impunity or to obtain a pardon, even partial, for their innumerable crimes.”

Supreme Court justice Roberto Barroso decided on Tuesday investigators could probe Mr Temer’s link to corruption allegations surrounding a decree regulating ports that the president signed.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41248075

Related:

Brazil’s Top Court Approves New Graft Probe of President Temer

September 12, 2017

BRASILIA — Supreme Court Justice Roberto Barroso authorized federal prosecutors to investigate Brazilian President Michel Temer in an alleged corruption case involving a decree regulating ports, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The investigation was based on a wiretapped conversation of a former Temer aide, Rodrigo Rocha Loures, who allegedly discussed using his influence to shape the decree in return for bribes from a company.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Brad Haynes and Daniel Flynn)