Saturday, July 30, 2005


Robinho to go to Real Madrid

Robinho, who was playing with Santos Futebol Clube, signed a contract with Real Madrid, from Spain. Robinho is, by far, the greatest star of the Brazilian Championship this year; along with Ronaldinho, he is also one of the most important players of the Brazilian National team.
Santos tried to retain Robinho, at least till the end of the 2006 World Cup, when Robinho should be worthy much more. A clause of the contract determined that, if Robinho left before 2006, a fine of US$ 50 million should be paid; however, US$ 20 million of that money should eventually be given to Robinho.
Robinho gave up his share, and Real Madrid deposited US$ 30 million into Santos´ account. At first, Santos refused to release Robinho, but it was confirmed this week that the young player will go to Real Madrid.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Weekly Magazines

Epoca #375: Illegal Money. The magazine investigated how Marcos Valério managed to collect so much money. Época focus not on who received the money, but who paid the money to Valério. Very likely, much of that money was given by State and private companies, which didn´t declare those funds on their balances.
Brazilian magazinesIsto É brings in capital letters: DISILLUSION.
This is a reference to the feelings that Brazilian citizens are having towards the politicians and institutions.
Brazilian magazines
Veja: Blackmail.
Marcos Valério tried to blackmail President Lula. Early this month, Valério called José Genoíno (who still was President of the Worker´s Party), and threatened to tell everything he knew; according to Veja, Valério said "tell the beard man (Lula) that I have much to say about him".
According to Veja, to remain quiet, Valério demanded to collect a comission for trading bonds about Banco Economico, which failed a few years ago; the comission would be R$ 200 million.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Brazilian is killed by British police

On Friday, July 22nd 2005, the Brazilian citizen Jean Charles de Menezes was mistaken by the British Police as a terrorist, and was shot to death in London.
Jean had been living in London for three years. Police reports say that he didn´t obey orders to stop; he run into an underground station, and was shot inside a train. The police shot him eight times, seven on the back of his head.
Brazilian Chanceller Celso Amorim travelled to London to meet British Chanceller Jack Straw.
Jean´s family (parents and brothers) live in Gonzaga, a small town (about 5,000 inhab.) in the interior of the State of Minas Gerais. Like many other Brazilians, he emigrated in search of better work opportunities; Jean worked as an electrician in London. Contrary to what has been published by the British media, Jean was not in illegal situation in Britain (as confirmed by Jack Straw); the British government is studying a financial compensation for the family.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Lula admits that his Party commits crime

President Lula visited France last week.
In an interview given to an unknown Brazilian journalist living in France, Lula admitted that his Party, PT, collected money from private parties and did not declare it to the Electoral Justice; Lula said that "this practice is systematically used by all Parties in Brazil."
Comments by Brazilian analysts:
1) again, Lula confessed to have committed crime: Parties collecting money without declaration is against the law, and the President learning about crimes and not reporting them is also against the law. A few months back, Lula said that a high advisor of his told him that there were evidences of corruption during the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, but Lula told the advisor to keep silent.
2) Lula gave only one interview to Brazilian journalists during his term so far; now, during this epoch of crisis, Lula chose an unknown journalist to speak to the Nation;
3) Lula is trying to separate his government from the Worker´s Party, blaming the latter for all the recent occurrences of corruption; by coincidence (?), on the eve of Lula´s interview, Marcos Valério and Delúbio Soares went to television to declare that they admitted to having committed electoral crimes (which, by Brazilian law, are punished with lighter penalties than corruption), but denying any other kind of crime (paying legislators, for example). General consensus is that Valério, Soares and Lula spoke in combination.

Read what Villas Boas Correa, a respected political journalist, wrote about this case.
Read what Reuters wrote about the interview.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Weekly Magazines

weekly magazines BrazilIsto É: "Why Lula is still Lula". The magazine analyses why, despite all the scandals, Lula still maintains high levels of popularity (see here).
Época: "Brasilia in Panic". Marcos Valério, the man accused of collecting money on behalf of PT, spoke to the Attorney General last week; as the subject of the conversation were not disclosed, the rumors are bringing panic to politicians in Brasilia.
Veja: "How much Lula knew". President Lula didn´t come up to state how much he knew about the payments to Deputies. Other parties (including Governors and ex-Ministers, besides Roberto Jefferson) say that they informed the President about the scheme. Veja interviewed important politicians and concluded that Lula knew more about the facts than what he admits to do.

Friday, July 15, 2005


São Paulo wins Libertadores da América

São Paulo Futebol Clube won yesterday the Libertadores da América, most important tournament in Latin America.
São Paulo won Atlético Paranaense by 4 x 0; this was the first time ever that two Brazilian teams reached the finals of the tournament.
This is the third time that São Paulo won; it had been champion in 1992 and 1993; on those two other occasions, the team also became world champion. This year, São Paulo will go to Tokyo with the champions of the other continents, to decide which one is the best team in the world.


President Lula visited France

Lula in FrancePresident Lula visited France during three days, where he participated of the celebrations of the 14th July, French National Day.
The photo was published by French newspaper Liberation. According to Liberation, Lula hasn´t worked miracles, but is keeping, even if at a slow pace, the promises he made during the campaign; the paper says also that the recent denounces of corruption are compromising Lula´s abilities to promote further reforms. Read what Liberation wrote about Lula.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Receita Federal and Policia Federal raid luxury shop

DasluToday, federal tax auditors and police raided Daslu, the poshest fashion shop in Brazil.
The owner never disguised: their shop cattered only for the richest people in Brazil. Only the best international brands were sold. Prices were high, even for international standards. They recently moved from a rich vicinity in São Paulo to a new building, with 20,000 square meters.

Police accused the owner, Eliana Tranchessi (photo), of dodging taxes and frauding importation. She was put under temporary arrest.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Despite the scandal, Lula´s ratings rise

Results of a survey conducted by Institute Sensus published today show that President Lula is not being affected by the recent scandals.
The survey was conducted between 5th and 7th July and interviewed 2,000 people.

Lula´s Government was rated as "positive" by 40.3% of the interviewed people, up from 39.8% in May; personal approvation of President Lula is at 59.9% in July, up from 57.4% in May.
For 47.8% of people interviewed, President Lula has been acting in accordance with his duties; for 31.9%, he is not.
More than 77% have heard about the Post Office scandal, and more than 76% have heard about the Congress scandal (of those, 67% believe that Roberto Jefferson is telling the truth).

So, who is to blame, if not the President? For 35.4%, the Congress is responsible for the scandals; and for 31.2%, the Worker´s Party is the main responsible for the scandals.

Read what the Financial Times published about this survey.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Weekly Magazines

Isto É #1865: the Probing Comission is set on fire
Epoca #373: Worker´s Party going down

Brazil LulaVeja #1913 brings a question on the cover: Did He Know?
The following reports were published by Veja this week:

1) A recent survey shows that 55% of Brazilians think that President Lula knew at least something of what was going around him
2) An advisor of the Worker´s Party was arrested with R$ 200,000 and US$ 100,000 in cash (Brazilian legislation says that anyone travelling with more than R$ 10,000 must report to the Revenue Service). Such advisor works in Ceará, in the office of one of the brothers of José Genoíno, ex-President of Worker´s Party
3) José Genoíno resigned to the Presidency of the Worker´s Party last Friday; before him, Delúbio Soares, the treasurer, and Silvio Pereira, general secretary, had also resigned. The three of them had been accused by Roberto Jefferson of coordinating the mensalão (monthly payments to Deputies, in exchange of votes)
4) the son of President Lula was caught in a strange business transaction with a major company. Fabio Luis Lula da Silva, with a majoring in Biology, gathered with friends to found a tech company in 2003; during the period of Lula´s government, Fabio sold a participation of his company to giant Telemar, the biggest telecom company in Brazil. According to Veja, the following points are strange: Fábio had no previous knowlegdge on this field; his company sold for almost R$ 5 million; the transaction used a few accountancy tricks to hide the operation.

A word which has been avoided is now starting to show on the pages of the major magazines: impeachment.


Minister of Education to quit

Tarso Genro is going to quit his position as Minister of Education to assume the Presidency of the Worker´s Party.
Over the past few days, ex-President José Genoino, ex-treasurer Delubio Soares and ex-Secretary Silvio Pereira resigned from the Worker´s Party; they are all accused of collecting illegal money and bribing Deputies.

Tarso Genro decided to quit the Government and assume the Party.
Tarso was already the second Minister of Education of Lula´s government. The first Minister, Cristovam Buarque, an eminent educator, was sacked from the government for having had disagreements with ex-Minister José Dirceu; mr. Buarque stayed less than one year.
The new Minister is still to be defined; temporarily, Secretary Ronaldo Teixeira will take over.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Brazil Volley Team wins World League

On July 10th, Brazil beat Servia Montenegro to win the World League of Volleyball.
Now, the Brazilian team is champion of the Olympics, the World Cup, and three times in a row champion of the World League.
Brazil line-up: Ricardinho, André Nascimento, Rodrigão, Gustavo, Giba, Dante and Serginho; substitutes: Anderson and Marcelinho.
Brazilian coach is Bernardinho, probably the Brazilian who best fit into Intel´s President Andy Grove´s definition: only the paranoid survive. Bernardinho is known to put the team to train even during stop overs of international flights (and he drives the van himself).

Friday, July 08, 2005


Lula changes Cabinet

In an attempt to gain more political support in Congress, President Lula is changing Ministries.
To attract PMDB, the largest Brazilian Party, Lula is giving them two new Ministries (and replacing another Ministry who had already been appointed by PMDB). New Ministers are Saraiva Felipe (Health) and Silas Rondeau (Mines and Energy); the new Minister of Communications is Helio Costa, also PMDB.
Lula also appointed Luiz Marinho as the new Minister of Labor. Marinho is President of CUT, the largest Union Central in Brazil.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Lula to participate in the G8 meeting

President Lula will fly to Scotland, where he will participate as an invited guest of the meeting of G8 (seven richest countries of the world plus Russia).
This shows that the international prestige of President Lula was not affected by the recent internal troubles.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Weekly Magazines

Once again, the three major magazines bring news about the scandal in Lula´s government.

This week, Isto É was the mildest of the three: with a cover reading "Time to Clean Up", the main article says that it´s time to promote deep changes in the way that Politics is conducted in Brazil.

Brazil scandalÉpoca 372 brought an important revelation: a man who donated money to Lula´s campaign in 2002 saw his companies make huge profits contracting with State companies.
According to Epoca, Antonio Augusto Morato Leite Filho, owner of Promodal, a company working in the fields of logistic and transportation, donated R$ 800,000 to Lula´s campaign in October of 2002 (when all polls indicated Lula´s victory). After Lula took office, Promodal signed contracts with ECT, the Postal Company, in a total of R$ 104 million.
Read a part of the report here.

PT scandal>Veja came with a yet more amazing denounce.
Veja found out that Marcos Valério (photo in the cover), the man accused of carrying around bags full of money to distribute to Deputies who agreed in sell support to PT, was the co-debtor of a loan in name of PT.
Documents show that, in February 2003, the Worker´s Party signed a loan operation with Bank of Minas Gerais, in the amount of R$ 2,400,000.00 (about US$ 1 million, at current rates). The main debtor was the Party itself, but three people signed as co-debtors: President of PT, José Genoíno; treasurer of PT, Delúbio Soares; and Marcos Valério, owner of a few Marketing and Propaganda Companies, with no official relation with PT.
Even worse: in July 2004, when the debt was due, PT didn´t pay; Marcos Valério then paid the interest due, in the amount of nearly R$ 350,000.00 (the principal is still owed).
The natural conclusion, according to Veja, is that Valério and PT have a kind of joint fund; Valério doesn´t care to pay PT´s debt, because PT would make sure that Valério would gain contracts with state companies which more than would pay Valério´s debts.
In fact, the companies which belong to Valério, which were unknown before Lula´s government, received more than US$140 million from Ministries and State companies (like Banco do Brasil, Ministry of Sports, the Chamber of Deputies and others) over the past two years.
José Genoíno, who had previously denied any relationship between PT and Valério, now recognizes that contract, and says that there was a "misunderstanding" in his previous statements.

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