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.

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