[Marxism] Brazil: Amid Scandals, Lula Remains Bullet-proof
walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 1 21:44:54 MDT 2005
(A more critical report was also published
today by COHA, the Council on Hemispheric
Affairs. It's also longer and provides
more details. We'll see how this corruption
scandal unfolds over time, and if the kind
of assessment we get hear pans out. So far,
however, no one has caught Lula with his
hands in the cookie jar.)
Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit
InterPress Service - Aug 1, 2005
Lula Remains Bullet-Proof as Scandal Rages On
Analysis by Mario Osava
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 1 (IPS) - Despite growing evidence of corruption in
Brazil's ruling Workers Party, there is little doubt that President Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva will remain safely in power until the end of his
term in January 2007, especially now that even the opposition is
striving to shield him from the fallout of the ongoing scandal.
Party leaders from one end of the political spectrum to the other have
begun working together to keep the crisis under control, because it has
reached such a dimension that from this point forward, everyone would
lose, said political analyst Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos.
Even the chief justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court, Nelson
Jobim, has joined the efforts to seek conciliation. During informal
talks with a group of political leaders, Jobim warned of the dangers
involved in seeking to impeach the president, whose leftist Workers
Party (PT) is facing a host of allegations of corruption, from bribing
members of Congress to illegal campaign financing.
According to the chief justice, initiating impeachment proceedings in
Congress would create an untenable climate of confrontation, given
Lula's continued personal popularity and strong base of support, making
the country ungovernable for years to come.
Jobim speaks from his own experience as a former lawmaker and minister
of justice. He has also been identified by many as a likely presidential
candidate for the 2006 elections, one who would be able to unite various
centrist forces around the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, of which
he was an influential member before leaving politics for the judiciary.
In the meantime, the right-wing opposition Liberal Front Party (PFL),
which had been threatening to pursue impeachment proceedings against the
president, has now backed down and adopted a more conciliatory attitude.
No actions will taken to interrupt Lula's term and worsen the crisis,
pledged Senator Heráclito Fortes, a PFL leader.
Efforts by diverse sectors to seek a consensus aimed at riding out the
crisis were stepped up after an alarming drop in both the Sao Paulo
stock exchange and the real (the local currency) early last week. These
were interpreted as warning signs of the potentially disastrous effects
of the corruption scandal on the financial market.
The threat of economic turmoil, capital flight and a freeze on
productive investment has shaken up those who continued to believe that
the economy was immune to the scandal hanging over the PT, a number of
allied and opposition parties, and the Brazilian Congress.
Moreover, as investigations into what has become a spate of alleged
wrongdoings continue to move forward, numerous opposition parties have
been given even more reason to hold their fire against Lula and the PT.
The ongoing investigations - which now involve three congressional
inquiry commissions, the Federal Police and the Attorney General's
Office - have revealed that leaders of the opposition Brazilian Social
Democratic Party (PSDB), and particularly its president, Eduardo
Azeredo, were among the recipients of illegal funds from advertising
executive Marcos Valério, who has emerged as a central figure in the
Valério is believed to have channelled hundreds of millions of dollars
through his advertising companies in backdoor business deals with
political parties, public companies and government officials since 1998.
He has admitted to obtaining 16 million dollars in bank loans that were
funnelled to the PT, but the investigations show that much larger sums
were diverted and handed over in cash to dozens of lawmakers and
Many have come to suspect that the huge sums involved included funds
diverted from public companies and undeclared political contributions
from the private sector, which Valério's companies were subsequently
used to launder and distribute.
PSDB president Azeredo is alleged to have received at least 3.7 million
dollars through these channels to finance his unsuccessful bid for
re-election as governor of the southeastern state of Minas Gerais in 1998.
In addition, one of Azeredo's closest aides was named financial director
of SMPB, an advertising firm owned by Valério and used for many of the
illegal financial operations now under investigation.
José Pimenta da Veiga, another PSDB leader and former minister of
communications under the previous administration, also received money
through the scheme managed by Valério.
In fact, there is growing evidence that this intricate network of
illegal campaign financing and purported corruption on the part of state
company officials and party leaders actually originated with the PSDB in
Minas Gerais, and subsequently expanded when the PT took power.
And if the ongoing investigations reveal that the corruption extended to
pension funds from public and privatised companies, as many suspect,
both parties could be implicated in even further irregularities.
It was during the administration of Lula's predecessor, Fernando
Henrique Cardoso (1995-2003) of the PSDB, that a large number of
state-owned companies were privatised, and the pension funds from these
firms are now managed by banks with close links to the PT.
At least one lawmaker from the PFL, the country's second most powerful
opposition party, has been revealed as a beneficiary of the illicit
financial scheme, while two other PFL deputies were caught earlier this
month trying to smuggle large sums of cash out of the country on an
The two claimed that the money belonged to the Universal Church, a
Protestant denomination in which they are both bishops, and had come
from tithes paid by parishioners. This justification, however, did not
spare them from being expelled from the party.
The blot of corruption has come to stain so many parties in Brazil that
it is clearly in everyone's best interest to find the least traumatic
solution possible to the current crisis.
Moreover, a Congress weakened by evidence of corruption that could take
down dozens of lawmakers would obviously lack the credibility and
political capacity to pass judgement on Lula.
As a result, the president appears to be shielded from this hail of
corruption allegations, thanks to a combination of his continued
personal popularity, the fear of economic upheaval, and the severely
compromised moral authority of those who might have challenged him.
.NY Transfer News Collective * A Service of Blythe Systems
. Since 1985 - Information for the Rest of Us .
.339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012 http://www.blythe.org
.List Archives: https://olm.blythe-systems.com/pipermail/nytr/
More information about the Marxism