Posts Tagged ‘Temer’

Brazil court favours indigenous groups in land dispute

August 17, 2017

The Supreme Court rules against Brazilian state seeking compensation for land that had been declared as tribal reserves.

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Brazilian indigenous activists celebrated on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ruled against a state seeking compensation for land that had been declared tribal reserves.

The ruling against Mato Grosso state in western Brazil was seen as a victory for indigenous rights in the face of constant pressure from the powerful agricultural lobby.

The state had argued that the tribal reserves were created out of its land, but the court rejected this 8-0, saying that the territory had long belonged to the native peoples.

“It was a positive result, maintaining the land borders that had been under question,” Raphaela Lopes, a lawyer for the activist group Justica Global, told AFP news agency.

READ MORE: Life for Brazil’s Krenak after Fundao dam collapse

Another case, which involved a controversial bid to reinterpret a constitutional protection for native lands, was shelved when the government department for indigenous affairs, FUNAI, asked for more time to introduce new material.

Brazil’s 1988 constitution guarantees tribes ownership of ancestral lands. But under a proposal being studied by the Supreme Court, the guarantee would not apply to land unoccupied prior to the law coming into effect that year.

The court’s decisions left indigenous protesters outside happy.

Tribal leaders had promised a demonstration of at least 2,000 people in Brasilia, but in the end, just a few dozen showed up.

There had been concerns about the possibility of a repeat of violent clashes that occurred in April, during which riot police fired tear gas at thousands of tribesmen in traditional headgear and paint – and armed with bows and arrows – outside congress.

Al Jazeera’s David Schweimler, reporting from Brasilia, said it was a “rare victory” for Brazil’s indigenous people who had travelled from across the vast country to the capital to protest at the Supreme Court.

“They won that victory, but their fight is by no means over. They still face a threat from big business, from agro-business, from soya farmers, from people trying to de-forest their land,” he said.

“It’s the same fight they say they’ve been fighting since the arrival of the first European settlers more than 500 years ago.”

Tribal lands under pressure

At issue is ownership of swaths of ancestral tribal lands, much of it in the Amazon, where Brazil’s powerful agricultural industry wants to expand soy, cattle, sugar cane and other commodity farming.

“The indigenous people in Brazil are threatened by the absence of demarcation of their territories,” said Lindomar Ferreira, leader of the Terena ethnic group outside the Supreme Court.

Indigenous communities claim that their way of life has increasingly come under fire during the administration of President Michel Temer.

Last month, Temer signed a recommendation to block the demarcation of any land on which indigenous people were not living by 1988, the year of Brazil’s latest constitution.

OPINION: Will Brazil be the next Venezuela?

Indigenous advocates rejected the proposal, arguing that many native communities had been violently forced from their lands before that date. They accuse Temer of signing the recommendation to cater to the interests of the powerful agribusiness bloc in congress whom he depends on to stay in power.

There are more than 700 requests for the demarcation of indigenous land pending and Temer has not signed one of them during his 16 months in power.

Nearly 900,000 indigenous tribe members currently live in Brazil, or 0.4 percent of the entire population, divided into 305 ethnic groups. Indigenous lands cover 12 percent of Brazil.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Brazil: Police and Military continue large-scale crackdown on crime in Rio de Janeiro

August 16, 2017


© AFP/File | Police and troops are involved in a large-scale crackdown on crime in Rio de Janeiro
RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Police backed by army troops swooped on one of Rio de Janeiro’s main suburbs Wednesday in the latest large-scale crackdown against crime in the increasingly violent city, authorities said.

The operation was launched at 5:00 am (0800 GMT) in Niteroi, across the Bay of Guanabara from Rio, which hosted the Olympics exactly a year ago, but is now in the grip of a crime wave.

“The civil and military police, supported by the armed forces, launched a public security operation at dawn today,” the Rio state security office said in a statement.

Officials said the army, called in last month by President Michel Temer to prop up the struggling police force, was “responsible for perimeters in some communities in the region and is stationed at strategic points.”

Earlier this month, a similar operation was carried out in northern Rio to try to clamp down on gangs responsible for a wave of truck hijackings.

Rio was the first South American city to host the Olympics and although the event passed off smoothly, a mixture of corruption scandals, near collapse in the state budget and crime has combined into a serious hangover for what should be one of Brazil’s richest regions.

In the first half of this year Rio tallied 3,457 homicides, the highest level of violence since 2009 and 15 percent more than during the same period in 2016. So far this year, 97 policeman have been killed in the state.

Brazil set for landmark indigenous land rights ruling — A wrong ruling “would just be a continuation of the massacre of indigenous people in Brazil”

August 16, 2017

Al Jazeera

A ruling on the right to three territories could have far reaching consequences for indigenous people across Brazil.

Judges will decide whether to apply a time limit on indigenous land demarcations [File: Christophe Simon/AFP]

Brazil’s Supreme Court will decide this week on a landmark indigenous land rights ruling, against what activists and international bodies say is a backdrop of rising violence and diminishing rights for indigenous people in the country.

On Wednesday, the court will judge whether indigenous people will have the right to three territories – two in Mato Grosso state and one in Rio Grande do Sul – which experts say could have far reaching consequences for indigenous people across Brazil.

Judges will decide whether to apply a time limit on indigenous demarcations, the process by which indigenous people have legal protection to their land.

The ruling was signed by Brazil’s President Michel Temer last month and proposes to halt any demarcations of land on which indigenous people were not living before October 5, 1988 – when Brazil’s current constitution took effect.

OPINION: How Brazil’s progressive migration bill was sabotaged

“The fear is that if the Supreme Court applies this ruling in these three cases, it is going to massively set back the clock on indigenous rights,” Fiona Watson, campaign director at London based Survival International, told Al Jazeera.

Experts and indigenous groups have blasted the proposed ruling, saying that tens of thousands of indigenous people were forced from their lands before 1988, often under threat of violence.

Many were expelled from their land during Brazil’s 1964 to 1985 right-wing military dictatorship to make way for infrastructure projects and farmland. Today, hundreds of indigenous territories are currently awaiting demarcation.

Indigenous people’s right to land in enshrined in Brazil’s constitution but is rarely respected, and the vast majority of violence against indigenous people in Brazil happens because of disputes over land.

‘Clearly violates the constitution’

Legal experts have blasted the move as unconstitutional, pointing out that in Brazil’s constitution indigenous people have the original right to land with no reference of deadlines for territories to be occupied.

“The ruling clearly violates the constitution,” Luciano Mariz Maia, a prosecutor working with indigenous issues at Brazil’s Prosecutor General’s Office, told Al Jazeera – adding that the ruling is advisory and judges are not obliged to follow it.

Indigenous advocacy groups say that, if approved, the ruling could lead to increased violence against indigenous people in Brazil.

“This ruling legitimises the violence that indigenous people in Brazil have historically suffered,” said Gilberto Vieira dos Santos, deputy secretary at Brazil’s indigenous Missionary Council which is connected to the Catholic Church.

“If this ruling is approved, we will certainly have more invasions of indigenous land,” he told Al Jazeera. “It sets a precedent of not recognising the territorial rights of the indigenous people.”

In June this year, United Nations and inter-American experts warned that indigenous and environmental rights were under attack in Brazil, especially regarding land demarcations.

The warning followed just a month after members of the Gamela tribe in Maranhao were attacked with machetes and rifles in a bloody land dispute.

Killings of environmental and land defenders, including indigenous people, have soared this year. Watchdog group CPT recorded 37 killings connected to land conflict in the first six months of 2017, one-third higher than in 2016.

Protecting small rural producers

Proponents of the ruling, however, say it gives legal protection to small rural producers, many of whom have held land titles for decades but could be forced to abandon their land when it is demarcated to indigenous people.

“There are families that have had land titles for 100 years. The right to property cannot be changed because of an anthropological report,” congressman Luis Carlos Heinze, one of the most vocal supporters of the ruling, told Al Jazeera by phone.

“They can’t be penalised because someone thinks that 100 years ago, 200 years ago there were Indians there,” he added. “Those who produce in Brazil, agriculture, industry, services, they need legal protection.”

Heinze, elected by Rio Grande do Sul state in southern Brazil – home to one of the indigenous territories that the ruling could be applied to on Wednesday – said that he believes as many as 90 percent of the hundreds of demarcation processes are irregular or fraudulent.

READ MORE: Life for Brazil’s Krenak after Fundao dam collapse

But indigenous advocates accuse Temer of signing the ruling to please a powerful agriculture caucus in congress, two weeks before he faced a congressional vote that could have removed him for corruption. He survived the vote with heavy support from the agriculture caucus.

Brazilian indigenous organisations have planned protests in the capital Brasilia on the day of the judges’ ruling.

“This ruling would just be a continuation of the massacre of indigenous people in Brazil,” said Tonico Benites, a spokesman for the Guarani Kaiowa indigenous tribe, who was in Brasilia to protest.

Source: Al Jazeera News

Brazil President Weakened by Graft Charge, Losing Fiscal Battle

August 12, 2017

Aug. 11, 2017, at 3:29 p.m.


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Brazil’s President Michel Temer reacts during a ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 8, 2017. REUTERS/Leonardo Benassatto REUTERS

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Michel Temer has burned through political capital fighting corruption charges and is struggling to push forward his economic agenda meant to rein in a gaping budget deficit.

Even allies in Congress now doubt he can achieve anything but watered-down measures, likely delaying any fix to Brazil’s fiscal crisis until the economy recovers from deep recession.

With continued deficits, Brazil risks further downgrades in its credit rating. It lost its investment grade two years ago, adding to the cost of financing mounting public debt.

In a sign of Temer’s failure to restore fiscal health, the government is expected to revise upward its 2017 and 2018 deficit targets on Monday due to falling tax revenues in an economy that is barely growing.

More pessimistic analysts worry the insolvency already faced by some Brazilian states that cannot pay employees or provide basic services will reach the federal government.

Temer had a window to pass a pension overhaul earlier this year, but it closed in May when allegations emerged that he condoned bribes in a taped conversation with the then CEO of the world’s largest meatpacker JBS S.A..”We are dancing samba at the edge of the precipice,” said Sao Paulo-based wealth manager Fabio Knijnik. “I don’t see the political class at all concerned with resolving this.”

The deeply unpopular president won enough backing in Congress on Aug. 2 to block a corruption charge that could have led to his suspension pending trial by the Supreme Court. To survive, he approved about $1.5 billion in pork barrel spending to keep lawmakers happy.

His closest ally in Congress, the center-right Democrats Party of Speaker Rodrigo Maia, does not believe Temer has the 308 votes, or three-fifths of the lower chamber, needed to pass pension reform, the key measure in his fiscal rescue plan.

Speaking in Rio on Friday, Maia said Temer’s political troubles and lower-than-expected tax revenues had created the crisis. He said Brazil had no alternative but to seek whatever pension fix it could, given Congress would not raise taxes.

Congressman Efraim Filho, the Democrats whip, told Reuters Temer must dilute the pension bill to get it past Congress. He said the measure had to be stripped down to its most important provision, a minimum age for retirement of 65 years for men and 63 for women in a country where people only work on average until age 54.


Temer’s government coalition is in disarray. Parties who stood by the president are now demanding they be rewarded with cabinet positions, such as the big-budget Cities Ministry. It is now controlled by the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), which split over whether to abandon the scandal-plagued president.

Until they get their way, the allies at the core of his coalition have said they will not put his proposed pension bill to the vote. Maia said the “climate” was not right to move to a floor vote and the bill could languish and miss a legislative window likely to close in December as an election year approaches in 2018.

The government has already made concessions on the pension bill provisions that will reduce planned fiscal savings by up to 25 percent in 10 years and nearly 30 percent in 30 years, according to Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles.

The pension overhaul is vital for Brazil to comply with a 20-year spending cap that was Temer’s first move to restore fiscal discipline, albeit without a full impact on accounts until 2019.

“That ceiling was like saying you are going on a diet two years from now,” said Daniel Freifeld of Callaway Capital, a Washington D.C.-based investment firm.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Brazil: President Michel Temer accuses chief prosecutor of bias

August 9, 2017

Lawyers defending Brazilian President Michel Temer against allegations of corruption have asked the Supreme Court to remove the attorney general from the investigation. Tension between the two has been rising.

Brazil's President Michel Temer (Reuters/A. Machado)

President Michel Temer’s defense team has accused the top prosecutor of bias in the ongoing investigation into the president, asking for him to be removed.

Temer’s lawyers said Brazil’s Attorney General Rodrigo Janot, who has charged the president (seen above) with taking bribes, was acting “beyond his constitutional limits.”

Read more: Rio’s Olympic legacy: Corruption and people power

Rodrigo Janot (picture alliance/dpa/A.Machado)Temer’s lawyers have alleged that Janot (photo) has a personal vendetta against the president

The lawyers lodged a petition demanding that another prosecutor take Janot’s place. Supreme Court Justice Luiz Edson Fachin, a judge with the Supreme Federal Tribunal, will be reviewing the petition.

There is no set timeline for a decision. However, Janot’s post is due to end on September 17 when the new chief prosecutor takes over the post. Therefore, it may be likely that the Supreme Court justice will just wait.

“The motivation, it seems, is personal,” the petition read. “We are witnessing obsessive, persecutory conduct.”

Janot has alleged that Temer arranged to eventually receive a total of 38 million reais ($12.14 million/10.4 million euros) from the world’s largest meatpacker JBS SA.

Unending corruption scandal

Tensions between Temer and Janot have risen in recent weeks after Janot filed an indictment in June accusing the president of corruption. Lawmakers decided last week, however, that the president would not stand trial on the bribery charge while still in office.

Under Brazil’s constitution, any criminal charges made against a president must be approved by two-thirds of the lower house of parliament, and only then can the Supreme Court decide whether to put a leader on trial.

Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva (Getty Images/AFP/M. Schincariol)Former President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva is one of many accused of involvement in the graft scandal

Janot could still try to bring more charges against Temer before he steps down in September. Temer’s opponents hope a second or even third charge from Janot could be based on more solid evidence of Temer’s links to political bribes, pushing lawmakers to vote against protecting Temer from a trial.

Temer is Brazil’s first sitting president to face formal corruption charges. The case against the president is part of an unprecedented anti-corruption push that Brazil’s federal police, prosecutors and some judges have been pursuing for over three years.

More than 100 people have been convicted in the case, including former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is currently appealing his conviction.

Brazil Eyes Pension Vote, Budget Target After Temer Dodges Trial

August 3, 2017

BRASILIA — Brazil’s Congress is expected to reopen the door for a modest pension overhaul as soon as October, lawmakers said before returning to normal business on Thursday following a vote to block a corruption trial against President Michel Temer.

Still, legislators warned that Temer must spend some of his newfound political capital either on measures raising tax revenue or a new, less ambitious 2017 budget target. The choice could quickly put him at odds with allies and even erode market confidence in his austerity agenda.

President Michel Temer of Brazil in Brasília — Congress voted NO for a corruption trial.  Credit Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

Since May, uncertainty over whether Temer would be suspended from office and tried by the Supreme Court had paralysed talks on a proposed pension reform, the cornerstone of the president’s plan to eventual close Brazil’s gaping budget deficit.

The government, emboldened by a 263-227 vote to block the charges on Wednesday, now wants to resume talks with legislators by early next week, gauging support for the proposal, a government source told Reuters, requesting anonymity to freely discuss the government’s strategy.

Speaker Rodrigo Maia wants the lower house to vote on the reform by the end of August, he said earlier this week, which means the proposal could be approved by the Senate as soon as October, according to a second government source.

The government will not draw red lines in the negotiation, the first source added, in the hopes that lawmakers will agree to approve a meaningful overhaul now instead of resorting to piecemeal changes over the next few years.

Some remain sceptical that even a watered-down pension bill can pass, saying the window of opportunity for a pension reform may have closed ahead of next year’s general elections.

The risk of prosecutors pressing new charges against Temer could also darken the outlook.

Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot charged Temer last month with taking bribes from meatpacker JBS SA which the president denies. Congress voted on Wednesday to block those charges from proceeding to the Supreme Court, but Janot may still bring additional charges in the case.

Wary of opening battles on several fronts, Temer is unlikely to move immediately on a plan to simplify the tax system.

The government prefers to wait a few weeks to test support for pension reform before deciding its strategy on tax reform, the second government source told Reuters.

Temer’s minister in charge of relations with Congress, Antonio Imbassahy, acknowledged that the pension reform faces a more challenging outlook than the tax overhaul, but said Temer would seek to approve both.


The government will also need a quick answer to growing questions about missing its annual budget target.

So far Temer has raised fuel taxes, frozen spending and stepped up asset sales to avoid changing the target – a decision that investors could read as a sign of weaker fiscal discipline.

This week Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles reiterated the government’s commitment to a 2017 fiscal deficit of 139 billion reais before interest payments.

The so-called primary deficit in the 12 months through June, however, rose to 167.2 billion reais, equivalent to 2.62 percent of gross domestic product and well above the official target.

Changing the target is a last-resort measure that could be announced later this month, the second government source told Reuters, adding that a new target would still not exceed last year’s 161 billion reais deficit.

More tax increases could face stiff resistance in Congress.

“It will not be prudent to change the target,” said Marcos Montes, whip of the government-allied Social Democratic Party (PSD) in the lower house. “But I don’t think society would stand even higher taxes. The government will have to cut even deeper.”

(Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Additional reporting by Ricardo Brito and Maria Carolina Marcello; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Brazil’s Temer Seen Likely to Defeat Corruption Charges in Congress

August 2, 2017

BRASILIA — The lower house of Brazil’s Congress began debating whether President Michel Temer should stand trial on a corruption charge for allegedly taking bribes, ahead of an unprecedented vote on Wednesday that he is expected to survive.

The deeply unpopular leader is trying to shake off a scandal that has paralyzed his administration, saying he wants to focus on passing legislation needed to end a budget crisis and help pull Latin America’s largest economy from its worst recession.

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President Michel Temer  (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Opposition lawmakers chanted “Out with Temer!” on the House floor and walked in with briefcases stuffed with fake money.

Brazil’s top prosecutor Rodrigo Janot in June charged Temer with arranging to eventually receive a total of 38 million reais ($12.16 million) in bribes from the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS SA in return for political favors.

Temer and his legal team deny any wrongdoing.

The congressman responsible for recommending whether to proceed with the charge against Temer, Paulo Abi-Ackel, of the government-allied Brazilian Social Democracy Party, said the charge filed by Janot lacked proof.

He credited Temer with turning around Latin America’s largest economy, with inflation, interest rates and record unemployment falling, and incipient signs of renewed growth.

“Is this the right time to be removing the president?” Abi-Ackel said on the House floor, appealing to his peers to support Temer.

The president’s allies are confident his opponents would not muster the two-thirds of the full house vote needed to send the charge to the Supreme Court, where Temer could be put on trial.

According to Arko Advice, a Brasilia-based consulting firm, their survey of lawmakers shows Temer will win between 257 and 270 votes, enough to avoid trial, but less than the president’s supporters have said they need for a real show of strength.


The lower house vote will gauge how much political capital Temer still has to block additional charges federal prosecutors are preparing to file against him and to advance a crucial overhaul of Brazil’s costly pension system.

Even some Temer opponents say it is unlikely the charge against him would advance on Wednesday.

“It is very hard to get 342 votes,” said Congressman Rubens Bueno of the Popular Socialist Party, which quit Temer’s coalition after the leader was caught up in the corruption investigation.

“What matters is how many votes he gets. If Temer does not have a comfortable majority, his government will become unstable,” Bueno told Reuters.

Temer has scrambled for support in recent days to avoid becoming the second president to be ousted in a year in a deepening crisis fueled by massive corruption investigations.

Temer’s hold on office could become precarious if new corruption charges are brought against him as expected. With the 2018 election year approaching, key lawmakers have told Reuters they would find it harder to back him again later his year.

Janot, has said he will file at least two more graft-related charges against Temer before he steps down in mid-September.

Janot is considering filing the charges of obstruction of justice and racketeering sooner if lawmakers reject the first corruption charge on Wednesday, an official with direct knowledge of the investigation told Reuters.

Janot’s team has to provide evidence linking Temer to a payment made by JBS to his right-hand man, Rodrigo Rocha Loures, who was arrested in June after a police video caught him rushing out of a Sao Paulo restaurant carrying a bag full of cash handed to him by a JBS executive.

Brazil has impeached two presidents, including Temer’s leftist predecessor Dilma Rousseff, whom he succeeded last year, in a move Rousseff called a ‘coup’ orchestrated by Temer and allies in an attempt to disrupt the corruption investigation.

But Temer would be the first to face trial for corruption if any charge against him is eventually approved.

($1 = 3.1240 reais)

(Additional reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello, Ricardo Brito and Lisandra Paraguassú; Editing by Paul Tait and Alistair Bell)



Will Brazil’s President Michel Temer Survive Today’s Congressional Hearing Against Him?

August 2, 2017


© AFP/File / by Damian WROCLAVSKY | Brazilian President Michel Temer could face a corruption trial — he should find out his fate on Wednesday

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — President Michel Temer appeared to have the upper-hand Wednesday going into a key vote by the lower chamber of Brazil’s Congress on whether to suspend him and put him on trial over an alleged bribery scheme to line his pockets.

Despite a 5 percent approval rating in opinion polls and myriad calls for him to resign the last few months, Temer has been able to maintain most of his governing coalition in the Chamber of Deputies, where he was the presiding officer for many years.

Opposition lawmakers are hoping at least some of his support will be eroded by members having to publicly back a toxic president on national television. Major broadcaster Globo plans to transmit Wednesday’s proceedings live and all 513 members of the house are up for election next year.

The opposition also believes that if it can’t muster the necessary votes to suspend Temer, it can at least stall a resolution by keeping enough members from entering the chamber so a quorum can’t be reached.

“Brazil and the world are watching the absurdity of the negotiations taking place in the middle of the night (at Temer’s residence), the videos, the recordings, the proof of so many crimes,” said Assis Carvalho, a lawmaker in the Workers’ Party, the leading opposition party. “It would be absurd not to authorize the continuity of this process.”

Still, the numbers appeared to be on Temer’s side. To suspend the president, two-thirds of the 513 members, or 342, would have to vote against him. The government said it had at least 50 more supporters than necessary for Temer to survive.

Speaker Rodrigo Maia, a Temer ally, told reporters late Tuesday that victory was assured.

“This will be resolved by Wednesday afternoon,” Maia said, adding it would be a relief for the country to be able to move on.

The months-long crisis is the latest fallout from a colossal corruption investigation that has led to the jailing of many of the country’s elite, including Marcelo Odebrecht, the former CEO of giant construction company Odebrecht, and Eduardo Cunho, the former lower house speaker who is serving a 15-year sentence.

Temer, who was vice president, came to power a little over a year ago when President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and later ousted for illegally managing the federal budget.

Rousseff, a member of the left-leaning Workers’ Party, accused Temer, from the ideologically barren Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, of being behind her ouster. She said Temer and others wanted her removed in part because she refused to stop the sprawling “Car Wash” corruption investigation. Temer denied that.

Since taking power, Temer’s administration has been rocked by one scandal after another while still managing to move unpopular legislation forward, such as a loosening of labor rules and proposals to trim pension benefits.

The ambitious economic overhaul agenda, supported by the business class in Latin America’s largest economy, has helped the 76-year-old Temer stay in office so far despite the uproar over corruption allegations against him.

A recording purportedly made in March emerged in which Temer apparently supported the continued payment of hush money to Cunha, the powerful former speaker believed to have dirt on many politicians.

As part of the probe, it came to light that Temer allegedly orchestrated a bribery scheme in which he would get payouts totaling millions of dollars for helping JBS, a giant meat-packing company, resolve a business issue. A former aide was arrested while carrying a suitcase with $150,000, much of which was allegedly destined for Temer.

Attorney General Rodrigo Janot opened an investigation into Temer for bribery, obstruction of justice and being part of a criminal organization. Janot ultimately filed a bribery charge against the president, though at least one of the other charges is expected by the end of August, which would prompt another suspension vote in the Chamber of Deputies.


Associated Press video journalists Renata Brito and Mario Lobao in Brasilia contributed to this report.


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Just 5 pct approve of Brazilian leader Temer’s government amid scandals, corruption

July 27, 2017
Brazilian president Michel Temer has been charged in connection with a scheme involving the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS.
 Brazilian president Michel Temer

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Michel Temer’s approval rating has fallen to just 5 percent and 87 percent of those asked say they do not trust the corruption-plagued leader, according to a survey released on Thursday by pollster Ibope.

The result comes just days before Congress votes on whether a charge that Temer took bribes from the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS SA (JBSS3.SA), should proceed to the Supreme Court, where he could be put on trial.

The government’s approval rating was 10 percent in the last Ibope poll taken in late March. But that was before Temer was hit by the corruption charge.

Temer’s rating has fallen below the worst result former President Dilma Rousseff received in an Ibope poll, when 9 percent of respondents said in late 2015 they approved of her government.

Rousseff was impeached last year and her then-vice president, Temer, took over. Rousseff called that a “coup” orchestrated by Temer and allies so they could impede the corruption investigations.

Despite Temer’s low approval rating, Brazilians remain split on whose government they disliked more, with 52 percent of respondents telling Ibope that Temer’s is worse than Rousseff’s.

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Thursday’s poll was commissioned by the National Confederation of Industry lobby, which surveyed 2,000 people between July 13-16 across Brazil. It has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Key Vote

Brazil’s lower house of congress is expected to vote next Wednesday on Temer’s corruption charge. Under Brazil’s constitution, two-thirds of deputies must vote in favor of the charge for it to proceed to the top court.

Despite slipping support in Congress for the unpopular president, Temer is widely expected to survive the vote.

Brazil’s top prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, has said he will file at least two more graft-related charges against Temer in the coming weeks.

That would force congress to vote again to protect the unpopular leader, which several key lawmakers have told Reuters increases the political pressure on them to approve a charge.

If that occurs and the Supreme Court votes to accept the case, Temer would be suspended and the speaker of the lower chamber of Congress, Rodrigo Maia, would take over as head of state.

The top court would have 180 days to convict or acquit Temer.

Brazil Prosecutors Triple Budget for Corruption Probe

July 25, 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO — The Brazilian Attorney-General’s office has tripled its 2018 budget for a probe of a sprawling corruption scandal that has engulfed political and business leaders across Latin America.

Federal prosecutors decided Tuesday to boost spending on the so-called Car Wash investigation from $165 million initially allotted in January to more than $500 million.

The probe could get an additional $165 million later this year, though that is not certain.

High-profile targets of the investigation include former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former lower house Speaker Eduardo Cunha and business mogul Marcelo Odebrecht.