Corruption

Why Moving Up Brazil’s Elections is a Terrible Idea

As Brazil’s president is looking more and more unlikely to complete his term in office, the country is divided as to how he should be replaced. Some are arguing to move up direct elections – a process that would require amending Brazil’s constitution. This would be a long, contentious and most likely pointless, if not potentially dangerous, exercise. Better to just follow the currently outlined constitutional procedure and wait for the next scheduled elections, which are only a little more than a year away. Instead of “Diretas Já” (direct elections now), how about “Diretas Já Já”(direct elections soon)?

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JBS and Impunity

Forget Odebrecht. JBS is the new king of Brazilian corruption, and revelations from the company's founders, the billionaire Batista brothers, threaten to take down President Michel Temer. But the real scandal is that despite admitting to some egregious crimes, the Batistas themselves have been granted full immunity and will continue to run their multi-billion dollar empire from abroad. 

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UPDATED: In Brazil, the Legislative and Judiciary Face Off

After a brief period of respite, tensions are once again building in Brazil at the end of what has been a singularly tumultuous year. Recent moves by Congress to shield itself from anti-corruption investigations have set off the latest round of widespread popular protests, but it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. A series of missteps, corruption allegations and controversial measures by the government of Michel Temer, combined with continued negative economic forecasts, have been trying the Brazilian people’s patience.

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Two Former Rio Governors Arrested

Within the last 24 hours, two former governors of the state of Rio de Janeiro have been arrested. Anthony Garotinho is accused of rigging his wife’s mayoral election in a cash-for-votes scheme. Sergio Cabral is accused of taking bribes from the construction companies responsible for public works projects in the state, notably some related to the World Cup and Olympic Games.

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What happened at Petrobras?

There is a saying that the most profitable business in the world is a well-run oil company, and the second-most profitable business is a poorly run one. Well, according to that logic, Brazil’s Petrobras defies categorization. It is a state-owned oil company, essentially a monopoly, in one of the biggest countries in the world, and yet it has been losing money for years. How is this possible?

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Post-Impeachment Brazil: What happens now?

The events leading up to the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff have been simultaneously traumatic and cathartic for Brazil. As this chapter of Brazilian history draws to a close, many unanswered questions remain. Will the new government have the clout to push through the hard reforms needed to pull Brazil out of its worst ever economic crisis? Will the Lava Jato corruption investigation be allowed to continue, or will politicians get in the way, risking the country’s future to save themselves?

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What now? The trade-offs and budget cuts needed to fix Brazil’s finances (Entire series)

As Brazil’s interim government gets to work, its main task is fixing Brazil’s finances after identifying a record budget deficit. Although the specter of austerity looms large, the good news is that budget cuts don’t need to affect Brazil’s social programs. The country’s real fiscal problems can be alleviated by addressing large-scale inefficient and wasteful spending elsewhere. The following five-part series examines where some of these savings could come from.

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What now? The trade-offs and budget cuts needed to fix Brazil’s finances

As Brazil’s interim government gets to work, its main task is restoring Brazil’s finances after identifying a record budget deficit. Although the specter of austerity looms large, the good news is that budget cuts don’t need to affect Brazil’s social programs. The country’s real fiscal problems can be alleviated by addressing inefficient and wasteful spending elsewhere – this five-part series examines where some of these savings could come from.

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Why the threat of military intervention in Brazil is overblown

If we consider the current local context, in which Brazil has robust if flawed democratic institutions; the international context, in which terrorism has replaced communism as the global threat du jour; and the regional context, in which leftist regimes all over Latin America are collapsing on their own, it becomes clear that the Brazilian military is not primed to intervene on this occasion. 

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Has the Western media gone too easy on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff?

It’s time for the media to reconsider the narrative that has been used to describe the Brazilian crisis and to turn a more critical eye to President Rousseff, as well as her predecessor Lula and the Workers’ Party in general. They have, after all, been in charge for the past 13 years, and the economic and political crises and corruption scandals currently tearing Brazil apart have happened on their watch. 

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What is the impeachment in Brazil about? Author of request explains

Yesterday, lawyer and law professor Janaína Paschoal testified before the Brazilian Senate’s Special Impeachment Commission to explain the request that she filed, along with Helio Bicudo and Miguel Reale Jr., for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Here is a translated and annotated transcript of her remarks. 

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Impeachment moves forward, stocks move back and the Rio Olympics face new challenges

In a rowdy hearing last Sunday, the lower house of Brazil’s Congress voted to move forward with impeachment proceedings against president Dilma Roussef. Financial markets had a mixed response as enthusiasm for potential new economic policies was tempered by the reality that there are no short-term solutions for Brazil's dire economic situation. Meanwhile, the Rio Olympics experienced new setbacks when a brand new elevated bicycle path in the city collapsed, killing two people, and news broke that several Olympic construction projects may become the target of corruption investigations.

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