Thursday, June 30, 2005

 

Another scandal: Furnas

In another interview, Roberto Jefferson came up with another accusation.

This time, Jefferson said that the board of Furnas, a major electricity generator company, is envolved in illegal operations.
According to Jefferson, the Directors of Furnas, appointed by Political Parties, had to collect R$ 3 million monthly. This money was split in the following way: 1 million to the National Worker´s Party, R$1 million to the Regional Worker´s Party in Minas Gerais, 0.5 million to the Directors, and 0.5 million to a group of Federal Deputies.
Today, a few hours after the interview was published, the Government fired the Directors who are being accused.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

 

Brazil is champion of Confederation Cup

Brazil beat Argentina by 4 x 1 to become Champion of the Confederation Cup, in
Brazil wins Confederation CupGermany (Brazil had already won this cup in 1997, in Saudi Arabia).
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira tried out a new line up for this tournament, based on four players: Ronaldinho, Robinho, Kaka and Adriano. Robinho is still playing in Brazil, but is soon to leave to Real Madrid; Adriano, who plays in Italy, confirmed his status of one of the most important Brazilian players today.
Three important Brazilian players didn´t come to Germany: Cafu, Roberto Carlos (dismissed by the coach) and Ronaldo (who was called by the coach but asked to be dismissed, which created an awkward situation).

Monday, June 27, 2005

 

Weekly magazines

All three weekly magazines, again, published reports about the Federal scandal.

IstoÉ came up with the most contundent news: Valério Marinho, the man accused by Roberto Jefferson of carrying loads of money around to pay bribe to legislators (on behalf of the Worker´s Party), used to withdraw large amounts of cash (over R$ 100,000.00 each time) from his bank. Valério withdrew a combined amount of more than R$ 20 million (about US$ 8 million).

Valério argues that he used the money to buy premium cows and horses for his farms; according to him, farmers didn´t take checks, so he had to bring cash.

Friday, June 24, 2005

 

Inflation target for 2007 is 4.5%

The Monetary Council defined yesterday that the inflation target to be seeked by the Central Bank is 2007 is 4.5%.
The Council also confirmed that the target for 2006 is also 4.5%.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

 

More troubles for the Government

1) The Supreme Court ruled that a Probing Comission to investigate the Waldomiro affair. The oposition parties collected the number of signatures to start the Comission, but the government supporting parties avoided its effective instalation by not appointing the members.
2) A Federal Deputy, Raquel Teixeira, currently on leave, confirmed before a Comission that she was offered R$ 30 thousand to change Party; the proposal came from Sandro Mabel, who is accused by Roberto Jefferson of being one of the leaders of the bribing scheme which operated in the Congress.
3) Maurício Marinho, the employee of the Postal Service who was filmed accepting a bribe, also spoke in Congress and, despite denying he was a criminal, suggested that there is corruption in other areas of the Postal Service company. His accusations involve Luiz Gushiken, Minister of Communication and Public Relations of Lula´s government.
4) Ex-Minister José Dirceu returned to the Federal Camara, and his first speech was far from being peaceful. The Worker´s Party brought many sympathizers to the plenarium of the Camara to give support to Dirceu. Some opposition Deputies said that Dirceu and government were corrupt. There were corporal agressions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

Dilma Rousseff is the new Chief of Staff

Dilma Rousseff is the new Chief of Staff, replacing ex-Minister José Dirceu.
Since the start of Lula´s Government, Mrs. Rousseff had been the Minister of Energy. Before joining the federal Government, Mrs. Rousseff had been Secretary of Finances and Secretary of Energy of the State of Rio Grande do Sul.

Mrs. Rousseff was an activist during the dictatorship period. She belonged to a few extreme leftist group, which employed guns to combat the military government. She was arrested in 1970, she was submitted to torture, she spent three years in jail.

Analysts say that Mrs. Rousseff, as Chief of Staff, will put efforts into improving the administrative performance of the government, pushing ahead projects of infrastructure which are halted today. Mrs. Rousseff will not deal with the political management, which used to take a good time of José Dirceu; President Lula himself shall assume the political articulation.

Read what Reuters wrote about changes in Brazilian Government.

Monday, June 20, 2005

 

Weekly magazines


As expected, all three major weekly magazines mention the scandal in Government.

Veja brings an artistic photo of President Lula and the question: "Can it be fixed?". According to the magazine, Lula´s reputation, cultivated during more than two decades, was severely damaged by the recent accusations; Veja wonders if there is any way to fix the damages.

IstoÉ brings a photo of José Dirceu and the title: "Now, it´s War". José Dirceu is going back to the Chamber of Deputies. Dirceu himself said that, in Congress, he will have more freedom to defend the Party and the Government.

Época investigated the recent life of João Carvalho Genu. Genu is an close advisor of José Janene, leader of the Popular Party, accused by Roberto Jefferson of being involved in commerce of votes. Época shows the spetacular growth of Genu´s wealthiness, at the same time that he was the Treasurer of his Party.

Friday, June 17, 2005

 

José Dirceu leaves government

Chief of Staff José Dirceu left the government yesterday.
President Lula didn´t ask him to leave, but didn´t ask him to stay either.

Dirceu was, along with Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, the strongest Minister of Lula´s government.
Dirceu is also (differently from Palocci) a strong leader of the Worker´s Party.

Dirceu said that he is leaving to as to have more freedom to defend himself, the Government and the Party.
The troubles of Dirceu started in February 2004, when Waldomiro Diniz, Dirceu´s advisor, was caught involved in acts of corruption.
More recently, with the explosion of cases of corruption in Federal corporations, the name of Dirceu gained the headlines again. As chief of staff, Dirceu was the person who appointed persons to hold key positions in all State companies and all State bodies.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

 

Interest Rate: no changes

On the Wednesday, the Central Bank of Brazil maintained the basic interest rates at 19.75% p.a.
The board of Central Bank meet every month to deffine the interest rates. It was the first time in nine months that there was not a increase in rates.
It has been also the first time in several months that analysts forecast a downturn in future inflation; currently, the estimatives for inflation are around 6.3% for 2005, slightly above the inflation target of 5.5%.

The real interest rate of Brazil is still by far the highest in the world. With a nominal rate of 19.75%, and inflation of around 7%, the real interest rate in Brazil is around 12%.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

 

Police arrests owners of Schinchariol

The Federal Police and the Revenue Agency arrested today owners and directors of Schinchariol, a large industry in the beer and soft drinks sector; read more about Brazilian beer.

The operation happened simultaneously in 13 States. More than 60 people were arrested, including several members of family Schinchariol who held positions of the board of the company.

Police and Tax Auditors say that the company was dodging more than R$ 600 million per year in taxes. This was the largest case of tax evasion ever uncovered in Brazil.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

 

Roberto Jefferson speaks before the Comission of Ethics

Tuesday, June 14th, Brasilia stopped to listen to Roberto Jefferson, who spoke before the Comission of Ethics of the Deputies Chamber. This Comission is composed only by Deputies, who judge the conduct of Deputies who may have acted unethically; this Comission is a step towards lost of mandate. The Comission of Ethics does not preclude the work of a Probing Comission.

Jefferson repeated all the declarations he had given to the press a few days before. He declared that Delubio Soares, cashier of the Worker´s Party, was paying cash to leaders of some Parties (namely, PP and PL) to obtain political support. Even under extrem pressure, Jefferson didn´t flinch. He mentioned the names of politicians who he is certain to have received money, like Valdemar Costa Neto (President of Liberal Party) and Pedro Correia (leader of the Popular Party).
Jefferson repeated that a few important Ministers had been already communicated about the ilegal situation; among them, Finance Minister Palocci and Chief of Staff José Dirceu. Jefferson tried to make it clear, though, that President Lula was not aware of the situation, and, as soon as he learned about it, the payments stopped.

Jefferson came up with new charges: he said that the Worker´s Party agreed, in exchange for political support, with paying R$ 20 million to PTB (Jefferson´s Party); however, only R$ 4 millions were actually paid. Jefferson said that he and Genoino, President of PT, agreed in not declaring that money transfer to the Electoral Justice, as prescribed by the law.
Jefferson admitted so to being a criminal, but he also involved PT and Genoíno. Jefferson said he doesn´t want to defend himself or his mandate; all he wants is to protect his Party, PTB, from a conspiration which, according to him, was setup by the Government and the Press.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

 

Weekly Magazines

Veja #1909 and IstoE #1860 both bring on the cover reports about the Worker´s Party.

Veja 1909Veja asks on the cover "Who else?". Besides Roberto Jefferson and Delubio Soares, who else is involved with corruption inside the government?
Veja also interviews Fernando Gabeira. Gabeira was mentor and one of the executors of the kidnapping of the American Ambassador in Brazil, Charles Elbrick, during the dictatorship; his group released the Ambassador in exchange for the freedom of some political prisoners, including today´s Chief of Staff Jose Dirceu; read more about Gabeira.
Gabeira is much respected by the leftists of Brazil. In 2004, he left the Worker´s Party, saying that Lula and his government had diverted too far from the social ideals that inspired the creation of the Party. In this interview, Gabeira says that the Worker´s Party is over; "today, the marketing is more important than the social", he says, noting that Lula spent more time talking to and artists than to the Minister of Education. The full interview is here.

Isto EIsto É writes on the cover "The Hope is under siege".
During his Presidential campaign, Lula's motto was "Let the Hope win the Fear". Right after his winning, Lula said "at last, the Hope won the Fear". Lula always said that he would bring Hope to the poor, but the Fear instigated by the elites would prevent him from winning the elections.
Isto É is now putting into doubt how much of the Hope can be realized.


From now on, this Blog is proudly listed at
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Thursday, June 09, 2005

 

The scandal in Brazil - a summary

Lula won the elections in 2002, but his Party (PT) got only about 20% of seats in the Parliament; there were other Parties in the coalition which elected Lula (like PL, Party of the vice-President, and PC do B, the Brazilian Comunist Party), but those were small, and could not give majority in Parliament to Lula.
From the start, Lula seeked new Parties to join the government. Except for three Parties (PSDB, PFL and PDT), which remained in the opposition, all other Parties agreed in giving support and having participation in the government.
Two Parties are worthy mentioning: first, PMDB, the largest Brazilian Party. PMDB is very ample, not rightist or leftist; there are defenders of any ideology within the Party. Some defend full support to Lula, some defend immediate rupture. PMDB has, today, two important Ministers in the government: Communications and Social Security. Because PMDB is unpredictable, it was not enough to give majority in Parliament to Lula.

Then, Lula approached PTB. Despite being a Labour Party (founded by ex-President Getulio Vargas), PTB is known as the most fluid Brazilian Party. It was seen giving support to all Presidents, from Collor, then Itamar, then Fernando Henrique, now Lula.
PTB commited to support Lula, but wanted to have participation in the government. PTB was given only one Ministry, the Ministry of Tourism.
Seeing that PTB was fundamental for the Government to have majority in the Parliament, the President of PTB, Roberto Jefferson, demanded to appoint some people to key positions in the federal administration. Today, it is known that PTB appointed his affiliates to take positions in the Postal Service Company, the Electricity Federal Company, the Airports Administration Company, the Reinsurance Company, among others.

The big mess started three weeks ago, when Veja published a report about corruption in the Postal Service. A man was taped accepting bribery to facilitating a bidding. The man clearly mentioned the name of Roberto Jefferson, and said that the money he was receiving would be directed to PTB. According to him, an agreement was going on: PTB would appoint someone to a federal position, and this person would oblige to collect money to give to the Party.
The news set the government on fire. Jefferson denied, but the opposition wanted to create a Probing Comission. The government tried all means to stop the Comission (including, according to the news, using Finance Minister Antonio Palocci to release federal funds to Deputies who gave support to the government).
Over the past two weeks, more and more evidences that PTB setup a corruption scheme within the federal administration gained the headlines. The government could not stop the Probing Comission.

Then, last Monday, Jefferson came up with a bombastic denounce. About the reasons why he spoke, some say that he felt abandoned by the government, others say that he doesn´t want to take all the blame alone.
Jefferson said that the treasurer of the Worker´s Party, Delubio Soares, offered him to pay R$ 30K for each Deputy who voted unconditionally with the Government. Jefferson still said that two other Parties, PP and PL, had already accepted that offer. Worse still, Jefferson said that he had previously communicated the fact to several Ministers and to the President of the Republic, but nothing had happened.

The situation today: a Probing Comission was created to investigate corruption in the Postal Service; government wants to restrict investigations, but opposition wants to investigate corruption in any Ministry, agency or other body of federal administration.
Jefferson said he has many other denounces to present. He says that he has proofs of his charges.
Nobody knows how deep the Probing Comission will go, how many people of government are involved, how much responsibility the President and Ministers may be charged with.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

 

Pelé´s son is arrested

Edson Cholbi Nascimento, 35, son of famous football player Pelé, was arrested by the Police, for "association for drug traffic".
Edson, who is known as "Edinho", is son of Pelé and Rose, first wife of the player. He was a somewhat famous goal-keeper of Santos, the team of Pelé, during the 1990s.

The police say that investigations were conducted over 8 months, and revealed that Edinho was part of a gang which distributed drugs in the city of Santos.
Edinho says that he was just an addicted to marijuana, not a trafficker.
Edinho was involved in another incident a few years back: he was participating of a street race (forbidden in Brazil), and his car killed an assistant; he is still on trial for this accident.

Pelé visited Edinho on jail. He said that maybe he had been working too much, and neglected the education of his son. Pelé is also father of a couple of twins, aged 3, from his second marriage.

Read more about the son of Pelé arrested

Monday, June 06, 2005

 

Roberto Jefferson: Worker´s Party pays for the votes of Deputies

In an interview to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo today (June 6th), Roberto Jefferson came up with a bombastic declaration: the cashier of the Worker´s Party, Delubio Soares, for more than a year, paid R$ 30,000 monthly to Deputies of two Parties (Partido Popular and Partido Liberal), so as to have their votes in matters of interest of the government.
Donations to Parties and candidates are allowed by Brazilian legislation. Also, every affiliate of the Party must donate a share of the salary to the Party. Delubio is the man who, since before the 2002 elections, controls the cash flow of the Worker´s Party; rumors go that he is sitting on a large amount of cash.

Jefferson said, furthermore, that several high caliber politicians and the President himself were made aware of the situation.
Jefferson said that his Party was invited to take part in the scheme, but he refused. He said that he alerted a few Ministers (including Chief of Staff Jose Dirceu and Finances Minister Antonio Palocci), but to no avail. Then, early this year, he talked with President Lula, and the payments were ceased.

The denounce puts Parties under suspicion of creating a corruption net inside the Parliament; worse, it puts the President under suspicion of learning about the corruption, and not doing anything about it.

Read what ABC wrote about this scandal.

 

Brazil hosts Anti-Corruption Forum

From June 7th through June 10th, Brasilia will be hosting the IV Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity.

From the official site: "The IV GF will be organized around the theme “From Words to Deeds,” which will guide the event’s workshop, panel and seminar discussions. The objective is to address the key issues on the international agenda with regard to violations directly or indirectly connected to corruption and consider the concrete measures adopted by individual countries to prevent and fight corruption".

Click here to see the agenda of the Forum.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

 

Weekly Magazines

The cover of IstoÉ #1860 brings a report about medicines: new drugs not yet fully known may cause troubles to users.

Amazon for SaleVeja #1908 reads in the cover: Amazon for Sale.
It is a well known fact that there is illegal exploration of timber in the Amazon.
Last week, some administrators of IBAMA, the Brazilian Agency for the Environment, were caught accepting bribery to provide the papers that would legalize the timber and permit its commercialization.
Veja mentions that such administrators were appointed by the Worker´s Party.

corruption in BrazilEpoca #368 brings a bombastic denounce.

Epoca found an "orange": orange, in Portuguese, is a person whose name is used to cover up illegal activities.
The magazine interviewed a man who would be a long time friend of Roberto Jefferson, the politician charged of collecting bribery within the Government. That man is very poor (he runs a small, nearly failing ice-cream parlor), but still he is co-owner of two radio stations in Rio de Janeiro; he says that he never received any money from the other co-owner. The other co-owner is a close friend of Jefferson´s.
Jefferson says that he gave the radio to his old friend in recognition of friendship; the co-owner says that the poor man never got any money because the radio never turned a profit.
Epoca suggests that there are illegal activies involved. The profits of the radio, which should go to the co-owners, are given another destination (possibly, Jefferson´s pockets).
The poor man (the "orange") never sees any money, but, for all tax and commercial purposes, he is the one receiving the profits.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

 

Popularity of the government falls

Sensus Institute released a survey yesterday showing that the popularity of the Government and the popularity of the President fell in May, for the third month in a row.
These surveys are interesting because Sensus performs interviews periodically, even when there are no elections coming; other institutions condut surveys, but only in electoral times or when there is a major political event.

Results of the Sensus survey:
President Lula had approval of 65.4% in December, 66.1% in February, 60.1% in April, 57.4% in May.
The Government had approval of 44.5% in December, 42.6% in February, 41.9% in April, 39.8% in May.
Survey showed also that, if elections were held today, President Lula would be re-elected.
It is interesting to see that the approval of the President has been way above the approval of his government; the difference used to be smaller in 2003, right after Lula took office, but has been only growing.

Visit the website of Sensus Insitute for more details.

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