“When a rich man steals, he becomes a minister.”
March 18, 2016 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Brazil in Crisis Brazil is suffering its worst economic crisis in decades. An enormous graft scheme has hobbled the national oil company. The Zika epidemic is causing despair across the northeast. And just before the world heads to Brazil for the Summer Olympics, the government is fighting for survival, with almost every corner of the political system under the cloud of scandal. (SLIntercept)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles (72 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
posted by humboldt32 at 4:07 PM on March 18, 2016

The Economist had a good overview last week too. There's a real mess. Not quite Venezuela-level, but then Brasil has further to fall too.
posted by Nelson at 4:31 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Here's a play-by-play of the craziness happening in one of the world's biggest democracies. It's messy to put it mildly. The entire Political class across the spectrum is tainted. The nearest I can describe it is by comparing to Tangentopoli in Italy.
One of the Major problems is the monolithic news network Globo which produces 90 percent of its prime time schedule—including telenovelas, miniseries, entertainment shows, news and sports—and it is not unusual for it to capture 70 percent audience share.
posted by adamvasco at 4:43 PM on March 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

I wonder what Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza is up to these days.
posted by creade at 4:45 PM on March 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the play-by-play, adamvasco, it's very informative in a brief compass. I didn't like the Intercept link because it reeks of special pleading: "Yeah, OK, the government is hopelessly corrupt, but they're leftists, so cut them a break!"
posted by languagehat at 5:17 PM on March 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

I didn't like the Intercept link because it reeks of special pleading: "Yeah, OK, the government is hopelessly corrupt, but they're leftists, so cut them a break!"

I'd imagine that's a function of not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:22 PM on March 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Vox has an Explainer as well.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:23 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

At least the Vox piece goes out into the Petrobras details... The intercept never even names the company at the rotten heart of all this.
posted by chavenet at 5:28 PM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Those who want a resignation should be careful of what they wish for.
The first four in the line of succession are all facing corruption charges.
It is an Augean stable of political filth.
posted by adamvasco at 5:41 PM on March 18, 2016

Jacobin: Brazil on Edge
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:16 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's been interesting as a frequent visitor to Brazil for the past few years to observe this. If you haven't been to Brazil, and been outside of Rio or São Paulo, it can be difficult to appreciate how wide the gap is between the poor and the middle and upper classes.
posted by wintermind at 6:18 PM on March 18, 2016

i wonder if aécio neves or marina silva will be up again: "[Marina] Silva may be in the best position to win, say some commentators, in a snap election now."
posted by kliuless at 6:24 PM on March 18, 2016

wintermind: Oh, I found that very easy to appreciate in Rio (although I've been to Pará as well). All you have to do is look out of the window of the cab hurrying you past the bits of the city they won't enter.
posted by seyirci at 8:59 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Petrobras scandal (Operation Carwash) is, for me, a gift that keeps giving.

Rio Olympics: Mayor Eduardo Paes asks Australians not to come to Brazil with unrealistic expectations

And: The woman who resisted the Games
posted by Mezentian at 9:12 PM on March 18, 2016

In broad terms I'm on the PT's side here, but yeah, that Intercept article . . . I have zero sympathy for Dilma or Lula, and if the party ends up losing every bit of the goodwill it earned, nobody can say they couldn't have seen it coming. I mean, every political party on earth has to deal with people who are trying to defeat it for the purpose of naked self-interest, even not-all-that-lefty ones like the Democratic Party in the US. That's kind of the expected price of entry. If you make it this fucking easy for them, that's on you.

If you can gloss over its weirdly doctrinaire surprise that a leftist party could be corrupt just like The Capitalists (no, really? In Brazil?) the Jacobin article mounts a better defense.
posted by ostro at 11:53 PM on March 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Wow. I learned about this Wednesday - my Uber driver was talking about how he lost all his money, 300G, in Brazil when his company lost all of their government contracts. And he said that the one guy who was actually corrupt is now a minister & no one would touch him.

I nodded along; every taxi driver has a story, right? I had no idea he was actually collateral damage in a major scandal
posted by kanewai at 12:34 AM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wasn't naive enough to think that Lula and other top PT people were squeaky clean, but the scale of this is surprising me. Part of how the PT ended up winning national government was by getting a reputation for running reasonably clean and efficient city and state administrations, so this is a real blow to the party. I assume there is only so long he can try and shelter behind the ministerial position?
posted by Dip Flash at 4:22 AM on March 19, 2016

Perhaps its time to reassess my BRIC investment portfolio.. I wonder how it's doing.
posted by Devonian at 5:04 AM on March 19, 2016

From the Vox article:

the largest corruption scandal, in dollar terms, in any democracy ever.

The problem might be most easily seen if you take a look at the price of Petrobras stock. In 2008 it was 73 dollars a share and yesterday it closed at 5 1/2. As big as this corruption scandal is, the amounts are nothing like the amounts that the bin Laden family has plundered off the Saudi Arabia national oil company.
posted by bukvich at 5:38 AM on March 19, 2016

Good point, seyirci, I wasn't trying to come across as "I'm the American who knows what Brazil's REALLY like," but I kind of did. I've been out in the rural parts of Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul and seen the deep poverty there that doesn't show up in US media very much and was surprised by it. I've also been hosted by very prosperous people in other places. The difference between those worlds is staggering to me. And I've been down often enough to see how the recession is affecting people. It's why I always tip generously in restaurants and leave some money for the maid at my hotel. It's not that I'm rich or anything, but I can try and help a little.
posted by wintermind at 5:41 AM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

As big as this corruption scandal is, the amounts are nothing like the amounts that the bin Laden family has plundered off the Saudi Arabia national oil company.

Since Saudi Aramco is 100% owned by the House of Saud: what is your point?
posted by Mezentian at 5:44 AM on March 19, 2016

My perspective is very limited as I am American and I live in a very middle class neighborhood and work in one of the most affluent areas in Brazil. I also want to say that everyone involved should definitely go to jail. Putting hundreds of politicians and businessmen in jail, all at once, is probably the only way Brazil ever learns how to respect the rule of law.

That said, its very interesting and depressing to see how the upper class has behaved. Even before these scandals the upper class treated Lula, Dilma, and PT with absolute contempt. They self righteously believe that their own wealth and status come from hard work and never from privilege inherent to a corrupt system. So Lula's stated policy goal of bringing people out of poverty is pretty much the worst thing ever for the establishment. Even though it has been wildly, and I mean like miraculously in some cases, successful.

Another thing is that of course they were corrupt. Corruption here is as natural as breathing. And the higher up the power foodchain you go the more necessary it is. I mean, I have a tiny English School. And just to open the damn school I had to bend a few rules. To operate each month I have to ignore some others. These things? Literally everyone does them. They're clearly against the law. But whatever. Now just imagine as you go up the foodchain. Every single decision or action you want to take requires a little bit of grease. And at the national level? To accomplish significant reform in the way Lula wanted? I'm actually a bit impressed at how he used the system against itself, just a little.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:54 AM on March 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm a Portuguese to English translator, specializing in both oil&gas and legal texts, and this Petrobras thing has kept me insanely busy since last summer (the U.S. courts--and hence thousands of pages of documents for translation into English--are involved because Petrobras shareholders are suing the company). We've lost a shitton of money in Petrobras stock (most of which we bought toward the end of 2008 after the global market falloff) but I've made more than what I lost in Lava Jato-related translation work. It is a deeply saddening situation but also in some ways the unsurprising outcome of a clash between the old forces of "business as usual" in a country with a short history of democracy and a long history of strong-man politics, cults of personality, and tolerance of corruption at all levels, and newer forces pushing the country to step beyond developing nation into developed one, where transparency and the rule of law actually mean something.
posted by drlith at 7:27 AM on March 19, 2016 [6 favorites]

I also want to say that everyone involved should definitely go to jail. Putting hundreds of politicians and businessmen in jail, all at once, is probably the only way

2008 called.... and wants you to run for office.
posted by Mezentian at 7:57 AM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I’m an American who’s lived in Brazil since 2009. My Brazilian wife voted for Lula and we both were encouraged when social welfare programs were initiated. Giving the lower classes means and opportunity to enter the middle class is the only true way to grow a country’s economy and strengthen its democracy.

Too bad PT completely fucked it up. They paid no attention to Brazil’s systemic problems, deciding instead to enrich themselves by stealing the people’s money.

What are Brazil’s systemic problems?
A reliance on commodity exports.
High taxes and a tax system that is impossible to follow and expensive to comply with.
Huge barriers to entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses.
Lack of adequate public safety.
Disgraceful health care.
Even more disgraceful education system.
A neglected infrastructure.
And last but not least:
Massive corruption and impunity -- which are endemic across all classes in Brazil.

The Petrobras scandal ignited the protests. Regardless of what Mr. Greenwald thinks, the working classes do not need Globo TV to tell them to protest when unemployment is high, inflation is skyrocketing, and workers will now have to decide between food or rent. They are seriously facing a slide back into poverty.

As I said, corruption is endemic across all classes. The graft a businessman pays to speed the ungodly slow process of forming a business, the tax revenue that is lost when the richest hide their wealth offshore due to increasingly higher taxes (seriously, since when in the history of economics has increasing taxes led to decreasing tax avoidance?), to the bribes paid to traffic cops, to the kickbacks film producers pay to film sponsors (from public tax incentive money), to more common forms of thievery, petty crime and embezzlement by the lower classes on each other and on their employers.

Impunity is both a function of the law, and of enforcement. Just one example:
A few years back Brazil instituted a zero-tolerance law to combat drunk driving. “Zero” in this bar-and-beer-centric culture is a joke. “Designated drivers” do not exist here. So the law does not get obeyed. And because the law is not obeyed -- on a massive scale --, it does get enforced. Because the law does not get enforced, it is a meaningless law.

This is the same pattern for criminal law. Judges are given a lot of leeway in ruling on criminal cases. A Brazilian friend tells me of how her older brother was shot and killed on the streets of São Paulo. He was an innocent bystander during a routine robbery. The killer was caught, arrested and found guilty. However, the judge did not sentence him to jail, citing that his impoverished background was more to blame.

In Brazil about 30% of violent crimes are committed by adolescents. But sending them to adult prison will only give them a graduate degree in crime. Rehabilitation is not only expensive and difficult; it may ultimately fail if the drug trade is the only employer in the favelas.

Also, criminal law allows eligible inmates to spend up to five holidays with their family. While most voluntarily return (whose family do they feel closer to?) thousands never do.

Meanwhile, the police have some of the worse records in the world for brutality and outright murder with virtually no consequences!

Oh, and don’t believe that Brazil is the multi-cultural center of the world. Black Brazilians ages 12 to 18 are almost three times more likely to get killed than their white counterparts. 58 percent of all people killed in the state of São Paulo by the military police were black.

And as commodity prices continue to plummet and unemployment rises, the government has done little to grow new jobs. Instead of focusing on job creation, they turned to unfettered stimulus spending -- mostly to non-competitive protected businesses with strong personal ties to those in government (who could have guessed?). And the supposedly autonomous central bank began to allow higher inflation as a way of boosting growth.

The bureaucracy for new and existing businesses here is staggering. It takes an average of three months to open a new company. And don’t think you will be able to close a company, it will never happen.

The social costs of employing workers is almost insupportable. The unit labor cost in Brazil is the highest in Latin America and increased faster in the last 5 years than the wages and the productivity of labor in its competitors.

Here are the condensed stats on Brazil’s economy:
The overall tax burden amounts to 33.4 percent of GDP. Public spending equals over ONE-THIRD of GDP, and fiscal stimulus efforts have increased chronic deficits. Public debt equals about 65 percent of GDP.

In 2015 the country realized a negative growth of 3.8% The forecast of GDP this year is also negative growth of 4%. During the last 3 years, the economy shrunk more than 10%. There were more than 9 million unemployed Brazilians in 2015. This year there will be over 10 million.

Oh yeah, don’t forget that PT brazenly stole from Petrobras resulting in a loss of R $ 88 billion and pocketed R $ 30 billion to finance a pet power project.

So, how does PT deal with this? Give Lula a Minister post to make him almost entirely immune from prosecution. Then, PT hands out money to the unemployed to join in the pro-PT demonstrations in support of the ruling party.

And yes, all of the politicians are corrupt, from every party. So just eliminating PT will only partially solve the problem.

What should be done:
I am quoting from Roberto B. Motta: "Impeach the president, dissolve Congress and write a new Constitution, a new penal law, a new labor law and new tax law.

“Dissolve all courts and start from scratch with a new legal process code and strict external controls.

“Abolish mandatory vote and implement voting districts and one-term limits.

“Cancel mandatory union contributions and union monopoly.

“Revamp school curriculums from scratch." (I would add make the curriculum as political neutral as possible -- by not spinning how great Communism was.)

"Prohibit the State from spending money with anything other than education, health services and public security.

“Privatize all 300+ state companies.

“Reduce the number of federal government appointees by 80%.

“Require candidates for legislative and executive branch offices to have at least a university degree and a few years of work experience." (I would add reduce the bureaucracy especially for small and new businesses and provide tax incentives to employers instead of penalizing them for starting and running a business.)

It is very important not to reward corruption with impunity, ie: don't let Lulu off the hook. That would be a bad example to set to all Brazilians: you can be corrupt and rob with no consequences.

How can it be done:
Time and Youth.
The younger generations realize the problems. They have the energy, the enthusiasm and idealism to make the changes needed.

Brazil is a very young democracy and has a lot to learn. What we are seeing these days is real proof that the country we can survive (hopefully!) These are moments of revolt against the ruling systems, and they prove that Democracy can make change happen.
posted by joetrip at 8:58 AM on March 19, 2016 [9 favorites]

I have a different perspective on this, in that I wonder if it might be possible to build an argument that one of the results of this scandal is some legal version of negligent homicide.

In 2001 Petrobras killed 10 workers and 1 fireman in a series of gas explosions, on what was at the time the largest semi-submersible oil platform in the world, due to its shitty practices and construction; it spilled 2000 bbls. The platform sank (also due to shitty construction and practices - it shouldn't have); the platform at the time cost 350 million USD.

That's the kind of accident that usually results in a complete overhaul of a company's business, if the company survives. (And it sure makes me wonder about timing and motivation of other executives beyond Costa: the scandal begins just a few years later.) But in the last few years, Petrobras has been involved in a huge uptick of accidents, including several injury/fatal ones. I can think of 2 accidents in 2014 - in one a rig tilted over, another an explosion at a refinery. In 2013 there were fires and explosions at a rig and refinery. There have been multiple oil spills in the last few years, including in the bay of Rio de Janeiro. (They're not the only ones though, Chevron.)

Last year alone, accidents at Petrobras killed 11 people - 9 in one explosion - and seriously wounded several others, including severe burns.

I don't want to make the claim that all of these accidents are due to shoddy construction and engineering, but the majority of them certainly are, like pipe construction that doesn't follow specs for oil and gas work. (Closely followed, of course, by shoddy safety practices.) And I'm definitely not making the claim that all other oil companies are innocent in that regard. But whereas other companies seem to have a variety of factors involved (i.e. poor judgement, communication, safety, not caring about the environment) accidents within Petrobras are consistently related to construction and engineering. (Or maybe another way to say it would be that other oil companies have engineering related accidents, but in general the engineering was well done enough that it took other factors to compound the problem or make an accident deadly, whereas ones at Petrobras are straight up basic construction and/or engineering problems.)

All that's to say that this scandal isn't just costing the Brazilian people in money and misery (and from there indirect harms) - but those helicopters, 3k wine bottles, and all that cash exchanging hands for construction and politician placed executives may have been killing Brazilians straight up. Maybe that is a leap. At the very least, though, these multiple deaths should be placed within that context.
posted by barchan at 9:16 AM on March 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

Now just imagine as you go up the foodchain. Every single decision or action you want to take requires a little bit of grease. And at the national level?

It is a deeply saddening situation but also in some ways the unsurprising outcome of a clash between the old forces of "business as usual" in a country with a short history of democracy and a long history of strong-man politics, cults of personality, and tolerance of corruption at all levels, and newer forces pushing the country to step beyond developing nation into developed one, where transparency and the rule of law actually mean something.

Brazil's Lula wiretaps mark watershed moment - "The president of the lower house is screwed, the president of the senate is screwed, I don't know how many congressman are under threat, and everyone is in the belief that a miracle will save them."
The battle between Brazil’s judiciary and the government’s executive branch is in danger of becoming a battle between two personalities: Mr Lula da Silva and Mr Moro, says Carlos Melo, political scientist at business school Insper.

“A stable country depends on institutions, not people — when the country ends up in the hands of one person this is not a good sign,” Mr Melo says.

“There is a lack of collective political leadership so we end up creating heroes,” he said, referring to Sebastianism, a mythology inherited from Brazil’s Portuguese colonisers. According to the popular belief, King Sebastian, who went missing in battle in the 16th century, would return one day to fulfil Portugal’s great destiny.

While Workers Party (PT) supporters see Mr Lula da Silva as their only saviour, the rest of Brazil increasingly sees Mr Moro, or “Super-Moro” as he is known by protesters, as their only hope after opposition politicians have also faced corruption allegations.

“The king will not come back to save us though,” Mr Melo says. “Better institutions will.”
oh and: "Even US whistleblower Edward Snowden weighed in on the scandal to ridicule Ms Rousseff, making reference to 2013 revelations that the US spied on her. 'Three years after the wiretap headlines she's still making unencrypted calls', he wrote on Twitter."
posted by kliuless at 9:35 AM on March 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

Interesting to me that Greenwald now identifies as a leftist, when previously he was a libertarian. Times change, I guess.

Also, debt to GDP ratios are bullshit.
posted by wuwei at 9:52 AM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been to Brazil off an on over the years, really all over.

I just recently was staying with more wealthy friends in Copacabana.

The most frightening thing right now is not corruption. Corruption in Brazil is sort of a national joke. This is nothing new. However, the outward righteous anger against PT is revolutionary. Protests that are directly encouraged by the biggest media outlets (Veja, Globo) that turned a blind eye to corruption before; protests that are largely made up of upper white/middle class...

Brazil has a problem right now. But the anger at Lula and Dilma has so much more to do with their policies - mainly expanding the social welfare of the bolsa familia and raising the minimum wages. Ask any middle class Brazilian what has changed over the past few years - bet you they don't have a maid anymore!

There is a rising right wing middle class, and it echoes many of the statements of the American tea-party. The Brazilian mid/upper class I was around actually were in favor of Trump, so that should tell you something. It's a class that is spouting of some of the most ugly things that we hear from the right wing america - the same unchecked privilege, denials at existence of racism, hatred of feminism, fear of socialism, and portrayal of the poor as criminal and lazy.

And this is really what's happening in Brazil - the coming to terms with the end of aristocracy. That you can't treat the poor as a servant class. That all that privilege has come at a cost, and it's time to pay up.
posted by iamck at 11:05 AM on March 19, 2016 [10 favorites]

Brazil is a very young democracy and has a lot to learn.

And I know JUST the guy we can send down there to get them all straightened out. Oh, it might be hard to live without his great sense of humor, but hey ... it's the White Man's Burden.
posted by Twang at 3:56 PM on March 19, 2016

Fascism is alive and well and not very far away. From last August this includes a woman holding a sign "Why weren't they all killed in 1964".
Then in the mainly white demonstration along Copacabana last Sunday this bit of blackface.
posted by adamvasco at 4:07 PM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

So it's come to this: demonizing anti-corruption protests because the target has leftist leanings and the protesters fit neatly into a pro-Trump box.
posted by micketymoc at 4:51 PM on March 19, 2016

So it's come to this: demonizing anti-corruption protests because the target has leftist leanings and the protesters fit neatly into a pro-Trump box.

Is pointing out the fact that these protests have little-if-anything to do with anti-corruption called "demonizing" where you come from?
posted by Anoplura at 6:19 PM on March 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

I come from the Philippines, where we've had several middle-class led revolutions against populist but corrupt leaders before. Revolutions in non-Western countries tend not to fit neatly in leftist-vs-imperialist boxes imposed by westerners from elsewhere.

"Little if anything to do"? I'd rather hear from an actual Brazilian citizen with an actual stake in the matter. Westsplaining is a bit tiresome to hear.
posted by micketymoc at 7:04 PM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Westsplaining? Sorry but no. There are plenty of Brazilian sources included in this thread for you to read without trying to silence those you don't agree with by using a variation of "splaining".
posted by iamck at 9:49 PM on March 19, 2016

micketymoc the main link of this post article is written by a Brazilian resident. Greenwald lives in Gavea in Rio de Janeiro about four miles down the road from where I live in Botafogo. Glibpaxman lives in Sao Paulo. Rachel Glickhouse who I linked to above is a journalist who lived in Rio and is married to a Brazilian. It was her love of Rio and Brazil which decided her to learn more and become a writer. Although few people speak Portuguese, Brazil itself is not some isolated backwater - though like your country it has many. So to summarize please read moar.
posted by adamvasco at 6:13 AM on March 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Also you might want to find a better perjorative than "Westsplaining", given the geography involved.
posted by Nelson at 7:58 AM on March 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

As a brazilian, I would say that the Intercept article is very accurate. I find it very difficult to defend Dilma or Lula at this moment and the appointment of the latter was a very bad move and a blatant abuse of power. But what the opposition and the media is doing is even worse, using the (rightful) discontent of the population in favor of a hypocritical impeachment that will only serve to their interests. I really don’t see any chance of improvement with Dilma’s resignation, only a more conservative right-wing (and still corrupt) government.
posted by florzinha at 2:38 PM on March 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

I have to agree with florzinha. I have really tried to defend PT over the years because I want to believe that they want to help the poor. But appointing Lula broke my spirit and left me really embarrassed. Everyone I have argued with about these things is now saying "I told you so!" and being as entitled as possible. But at the same time, having any faith in the opposition to right this wrong is impossible. And still, deep down, if forced to choose between PT or the alternative, I would choose PT. The forces of wealth and inequality in Brazil are equally corrupt. And they don't even make the effort of being inclusive. I happen to think that programs like Bolsa Familia are good, but even if they are blatant vote buying schemes... at least poor people are getting money! And I say thats a damn good thing.

Also, this video of a gringo explaining the intricacies of the current situation in 10 minutes is pretty good.
posted by Glibpaxman at 2:54 PM on March 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Couple few questions for folks that know better:

So, last time I really delved into the details of Brazilian politics was back when Lula was just being elected and I was taking a bunch of Development/Latin America/Revolution polisci classes, so they were du jour. If I recall correctly, one of the big predictions was that because the IMF/Post-Breton Woods institutions were refusing to write down debt taken on by the previous oligarchical dictatorship, Lula would be extremely constrained on delivering on anti-poverty pledges, at least without a commodity boom. Which they did get, but I'm gonna assume that, contra Keynes, they didn't invest that in savings.

But the claims about the debt being linked to a lack of confidence in the economy seem to contradict the experience of every country that went through the Great Recession — countries that embraced austerity and anti-debt spending had longer, shallower recoveries. So why, aside from neoliberal dogma, would concerns about the deficit be linked to unemployment?

As a broader question, anybody know any good studies of corruption in developing economies from the last decade or so? Anything that specifically deals with why problems with public corruption seem endemic in Latin America? Or, since this always reminds me of Mayor Curley and Mayor Daley shit (which is why I'm not at all surprised by it coming from populists notionally on the left), anyone looked at how places like the U.S. historically cleaned up our corruption (since while we still have it, we're better than we were in the 1800s)? Just wondering if there are any policy options that aren't a see-saw of endless hypocrisy.
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on March 20, 2016

Maybe one of my fellow Brazil residents would like to comment about this which I translate
PSDB & PMDB have reached an agreement. Dilma will go and Temer will ascend. PSDB becomes the ruling party and procedes to dismantle Lava Jata to help Renan, Aecio etc.
posted by adamvasco at 6:49 PM on March 20, 2016

Klangklangston, I believe that Lula was able to pay all of the foreign debt back during his presidency. If I'm wrong, someone should correct me, but I remember an interview where he said that was his greatest accomplishment. He was so proud to be free of the IMF and world Bank.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:39 AM on March 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

John Oliver weighs in.
posted by prefpara at 5:38 PM on March 21, 2016

Actually the Olympics is famously corrupt everywhere it goes. It's interesting ithe right-wing who got their fingers into that pie.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:24 AM on March 22, 2016

The gift that keeps on giving.
Seized spreadsheets list payments to top Brazil politicians
The list (Portuguese) plus their codenames, state, political allegencies and amounts.
Lava Jato is now investigating Olympic construction scandals (also Portuguese) I guess this will all be in tomorrows English language Newspapers.
posted by adamvasco at 4:29 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

The “bribe department” within the Odebrecht, the largest engineering firm in Latin America, complete with its own separate management hierarchy, accounting methods and code-worded internal communications.
posted by adamvasco at 10:19 AM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now: Is It A Coup? What Is Happening in Brazil is Much Worse Than Donald Trump
posted by homunculus at 3:02 PM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

holy fuck, that Greenwald interview... its so good
posted by Glibpaxman at 7:15 PM on March 25, 2016

Collapsing Narrative – The Week The World Noticed Brasil’s Coup
The obfuscating semantic debate about what constitutes a modern Coup is over – Call it Regime Change, call it Democratic Subversion, or more the descriptive Judicial/Mediatic Coup.
Yes, Coup.

posted by adamvasco at 7:35 PM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Overthrowing Dilma Rousseff: It’s Class War, and Their Class is Winning
posted by adamvasco at 5:13 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Brazil in free fall
This was supposed to be a triumphal year for Brazil. Instead, Brazil has entered the year of ungovernability
posted by adamvasco at 12:28 PM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

“The first protests against Dilma happened in 2013, when we were preparing to host the FIFA Confederations Cup. At that time, the unemployment rate was at record low, inflation was in single digit, wages were rising and Dilma had 70% approval ratings, and yet people were demanding change. It made no sense. But that was the beginning of a colour-coded regime change operation in Brazil,” says a party official who did not wish to be named. “It was all organised and promoted over social media. It was almost like an intelligence operation,” he adds.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:21 PM on March 29, 2016

In the middle of all the bitter fights in courts, Congress and streets, the Brazilian senate recently passed a bill that would “cancel the requirements that Petrobras be the operator and hold at least a 30 percent working interest in all pre-salt fields”. If the bill, sponsored by Jose Serra, becomes law it will end Petrobras’s control over the country’s oilfields. Though strongly opposed by some senators like Roberto Requiao from the state of Paraná, the bill was passed by the senate by a thin majority. Surprised at the rush to privatise the oil ventures, Requiao said the whole process is being done in a “hurry without going through committees, while lobbyists are attending offices on behalf of multinationals like Shell and British Petroleum”. But in the face of massive lobbying by oil firms, Requiao’s opposition to the bill was not enough. “Has Brazil lost the majority in the Senate to the transnational oil companies? I still hope not,” the senate veteran tweeted after the vote.

Now the bill goes to Congress and then to the president for approval. Rousseff, as president, could still veto the bill. But if vice president Michel Temer, who has fallen out with Dilma, takes over from her there is little doubt about the bill becoming law. Finally, the whole Brazilian drama – Lula’s detention, Dilma’s impeachment and the hounding of PT is boiling down to oil.

posted by Glibpaxman at 6:23 PM on March 29, 2016

is there a simple way to explain this complex disaster to someone? I don't even try to talk to people about this because no one would listen to me for 10-15 minutes to really explain it. And that's a conservative estimate. In reality it takes much much longer.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:27 PM on March 29, 2016

is there a simple way to explain this complex disaster to someone?

via prefpara above: john oliver in 2m 50s
posted by kliuless at 9:18 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

John Oliver skips the whole coup / right wing conspiracy narrative. In this case, it's the whole story.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:08 PM on March 30, 2016

Because he's just a sneering Brit liberal, that's why.
posted by wuwei at 9:25 PM on March 30, 2016

> John Oliver skips the whole coup / right wing conspiracy narrative. In this case, it's the whole story.

It is not "the whole story"; it's one part of an incredibly messy situation. Please don't tell me you think everybody in Brazil except for evil right-wingers is thrilled about Dilma and her fellow corrupt rulers because they're on Our Side.
posted by languagehat at 8:22 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

From the Oxford University Politics Blog
Have the mass media fuelled Brazil´s Turmoil? (hat tip)
posted by adamvasco at 9:35 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Brazil's political process 'damaged by partisan press' claim journalists.
The country's media ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few domestic conglomerates which dominate the market, and are owned by a wealthy elite.
posted by adamvasco at 7:00 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Backroom dealing begins as Brazil awaits Rousseff impeachment vote
Of the 513 deputies who will pass judgment on Rousseff’s alleged wrongdoing on Sunday, 53 have been charged with crimes and another 100 or so are under investigation.
posted by adamvasco at 7:19 PM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

And so the vote.
Here is a good twitter feed for anybody interested - about 3 of us I think.
The dispicable Rep. Eduardo Bolsonaro has just defended the military of 1964. They threw a coup and ran a 21-year-dictatorship.
This is just a slow motion car crash.
If you think N. American or European politicians are venal, they are mere beginners in comparison with this lot.
Poor poor Brazil.
posted by adamvasco at 3:50 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Glenn Greenwald's twitter feed is also good. Apparently as some representatives are voting for impeachment they are praising the dictatorship and the torturer of Dilma... yikes.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:31 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

This nytimes video gives a sense of the chaotic atmosphere within the Chamber of Deputies (live stream)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:51 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I guess I couldn't believe they would really do it. But they did.
posted by prefpara at 7:19 PM on April 17, 2016

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