In Brazil, as in many other places in the world, 2017 has gotten off to a very rocky start. Indeed, anyone who has been following the Brazilian news has been met by a barrage of crazy headlines.
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.
There is evidence that Brazil’s former president benefited from the corruption scheme at Petrobras, which he has also been accused of masterminding. Could this be the beginning of the end for the man who was once the most popular politician in the world?
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?
As a Secretary in the Finance Ministry of Michel Temer’s interim government, economist Mansueto Almeida is one of the people tasked with the seemingly impossible task of fixing Brazil’s finances in the face of a crushing recession and a record budget deficit of some R$ 170 billion. Unsurprisingly, he is frustrated. Frustrated with the difficulty of it all, for sure, but even more so with the widespread speculation and unrealistic expectations coming from analysts and commentators about how it should be done.
Today was another busy day for Brazil’s anti-corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash. Several senior political figures, predominantly from the Workers’ Party (PT) of suspended president Dilma Rousseff and former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, were arrested or taken in for questioning.
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.
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.
The political drama in Brazil continued to unfold during what has been an especially eventful week, even by recent standards. In other news, the economic outlook remains bleak, preparations for the Rio Olympics appear to have finally gotten on track, and concerns are being raised about new laws that would affect net neutrality and strengthen censorship on the Brazilian internet.
It was a tense day in Brazil today, with police raiding the properties of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the early morning and taking him in for questioning as part of the 24th phase of the Car Wash corruption investigation.
The man responsible for marketing during both Lula's and Dilma's campaigns has been arrested for allegedly receiving millions of dollars worth of illegal payments to offshore bank accounts. Lula is being investigated for improprieties regarding his potential real estate holdings. Former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso has been accused of illegally sending money to his mistress abroad.
Carnaval celebrations are kicking off this Friday in Brazil. This year, in the midst of a devastating economic crisis, Zika epidemic, and numerous corruption scandals, current events will play an even more prominent role in the celebrations than usual.
A São Paulo state prosecutor is investigating a luxury beachfront apartment believed to belong to former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula has denied any impropriety and recently stated that “there is no soul alive more honest than I.”
Amidst high inflation, a negative economic outlook, a plunging currency, a slow response to environmental disaster, a growing public health crisis, and new proposed limitations on freedom of expression, this week saw a number of negative stories coming out of Brazil.