Brazil Judge Takes on Fresh Corruption Compliant Against Temer

The former president spent four days in jail last week on other corruption charges.

A Brazilian judge has taken on a new case of corruption against the country's former President Michel Temer Thursday.

RELATED: Brazilian Ex-President Temer Released by Appeals Court

The decision of Judge Rodrigo Bentemuller is based on a supposed bribe of about US$128,000 received by one of Temer's assistants, whom the police arrested in 2017 with a suitcase containing the money which was supposedly intended for the former president.

Temer, who stepped down from power as Jair Bolsonaro assumed office Jan 1, spent four days in prison on the order of a judge last week for another of 10 cases he faces in court.

The most recently accepted complaint concerns the money found in a suitcase carried by Rodrigo Roucha Loures, a close associate of Temer, which was in fact intended for the former unelected president and had been agreed on with the then-owners of the meat company J & F, brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista.

Loures was filmed by the police when she ran out of a restaurant in Sao Paulo, with the suitcase full of money, which had been delivered to her by a J & F executive. 

A month and a half before the arrest of Loures, the local press had released audio in which Temer could be heard talking with Joesley Batista about measures that the government could adopt to benefit the meat company.

At the time the Prosecutor's Office requested the dismissal of Temer who presidential immunity, in order for him to be investigated, but such a request was denied by Congress.

Temer, 78, is the second president in Brazil's history to go to prison for a case linked to the Lava Jato operation, which saw the investigation of charging of dozens of politicians and businessmen since 2014. The first was Lula da Silva, who is serving a sentence of 12 years and one month over corruption and money laundering, charges that experts say lack enough evidence.

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Brazilian President Fears Being Arrested when He Leaves Power

Brazilia, Dec 24 (Prensa Latina) Brazilian President Michel Temer told reporters that he is afraid of being arrested after leaving office in January, according to a journalist quoted today by the UOL website.

According to the source, close to the ruler recognize that the risk is real and Temer was advised to spend some time abroad. Portugal and possible classes at the University of Coimbra were mentioned.

According to the reporter Josias de Souza, 'a few days after passing the presidential band to Jair Bolsonaro, the outgoing president lives the syndrome of what is to come.

The blog noted that, in explaining to advisors why he ruled out his departure through the international airport, Temer was categorical: 'they're going to say I'm running away, and I'm not going to run away, I'm going to face the situation.

Temer's fear was revived when Attorney General Raquel Dodge accused him of passive corruption and money laundering, with an estimated diversion of R$32.6 million (a little over US$8 million) between August 2016 and June 2017.

The criminal actions are of greater concern to the head of state because he is involved in two other denunciations made by the former attorney general Rodrigo Janot, based on the denunciations of the JBS group, which have been frozen since last year and will be withdrawn from that level.

On January 1, Temer will hand over the presidential sash to Bolsonaro, who won the October elections with more than 55 percent of the vote.

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If Temer falls, who is going to take his place?

Writing nowadays about Brazil is a problem because…where to begin? There are lots of things going on right now inside the South American giant that demand our attention. Such events certainly show how the Empire is messed up in its own actions aiming for a change in democratically-elected governments and therefore, rooting for governments that follow neoliberal standards.

You may ask yourself: why is still Temer there? Taking into account that his “popularity” fell somewhere between 3% and 7%. Not to mention that 80% of the electorate disapproves his work, even Center-Right voters.

Backed by the U.S., following the orders, he has been loyal to everything Washington has commanded in order to avoid Brazil joining efforts with China and Russia —BRICS members— to spread the positive influence of trade and investment.

Brazil’s subdued economical growth —barely more than 1%— during Temer’s two years in office, was achieved thanks to a severe fiscal adjustment that limited public spending, including those meant for health and education.

Temer implemented a labor reform fought off by labor unions that limited the rights earned decades ago by Brazilian workers. He also insisted on other unpopular reform to change the pension systems that finally did not see the light of day.

The recovery of the Brazilian economy, nonetheless, has not been evident to the population. The number of unemployed citizens grew from 11,4 to 13,7 millions in two years.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded two judicial processes against him, but the Supreme Court was prevented from doing so due to the Chamber of Deputies, where Temer has strong support and has the final word on any demand against the Head of State, closed both cases.

The Prosecutor’s Office is working on a third cause against Temer due to corruption and his two years in office coincided with the leak of a witness testimony who claims to have given high sum of money in cash to the office of a man close to Temer.

However, these sorts of men rarely face trials and go to jail and it happens when they are not useful to the Empire anymore. Others are in jail without substantiated evidence because they are annoying to Washington, and feared by the country’s oligarchy and owners of its wealth. We are talking about former president Inacio Lula da Silva, who has the green light —legally— to run for Brazil’s presidency next October.

Lula should serve a 12-year sentence for confusing crimes, with no substantial evidence against him and handled by even sworn enemies. He has the highest approval and popularity rate and even though he is still in prison, the main political parties of the opposition fear him, including Temer’s.

Temer has thought about running for the office again. But he would only take the job under false pretences. Nevertheless, the strong candidature of Lula, the growing opposition movement and the Empire’s dealings to find a “decent” successor, are against his wishes.

The deaths of disabled people in places where they must have had special care as well as the deaths of young people in a fire inside a detention facility portray the degree of abandonment in which Brazil is immersed in. Not to mention the “illegal” truck drivers’ strike, men who protest against the rising diesel fuel prices.

According to the statement from the Oil Workers’ Federation (FUP), one of the goals of the strike is “to lower the prices of cooking gas and fuel”, and thus, to prevent the privatization of PETROBRAS.

The mobilization, led by FUP and related labor unions, already achieved the resignation of PETROBRAS chairman, Pedro Parente, who “plunged the country into an unprecedented crisis.”

The union members of oil companies announced that cuts and delays will be experienced in four oil refineries and fertilizer plants that are under a sale process.

There is much to be said about Temer. He is clearly backed by the Empire, but a new successor must be found in a hurry. Its faithful and loyal collaborator in the illegal “soft coup” to bring Dilma Rousseff’s government down cannot stand it any longer.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz // CubaSi Translation Staff

Lula's Trial Follows Antidemocratic Script in Brazil

Brasilia, Jan 16 (Prensa Latina) The national leader of the Workers' Party (PT) of Brazil, Gleisi Hoffman, said today that the trial of former President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva is the continuation of the democratic rupture that started in 2016.

In a speech at a public rally, Hoffman noted that it would be the third stage of the coup d'état against the democratic system, and recalled that the first stage was the expulsion of Dilma Rousseff from the Planalto Palace.

She pointed out that the second stage was the government's annulment of the rights conquered by the workers, 'and now they want to strip the Brazilian people of their right to elect Lula again as president'.

The ex-president will be tried on January 24. The case refers to the first sentence granted by Judge Sergio Moro, who is in charge of Operation Lava Jato in Curitiba, Parana.

Experts say that whatever the result is, it will be a time of definition for Brazilian politics in 2018 and the next few years, according to the website www.brasildefato.com.br.

Lula is being tried because he 'allegedly' received a triplex apartment in Guaruja, in the state of Sao Paulo, from the Brazilian company OAS as part of a bribe.

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Protests in Several Brazilian Cities Against Temer's Labor Reforms

Social movements aim to stop labor reforms passed by the lower chamber and set to be voted on in the senate.

Demonstrations are taking place throughout Brazil Thursday as momentum builds in support of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who was sentenced to nine years and six months on charges of corruption and money laundering by judge Sergio Moro.

RELATED: Sao Paulo Forum, Meeting of Latin America’s Left, Defends Venezuela

Organized by the Popular Front of Brazil, the Worker's Party and a host of unions and other social movements, Thursday's demonstrations also build off previous demands by the Brazilian people that include the immediate removal of current president Michel Temer, free democratic elections, and an end to approved labor reforms and pension reform proposals.

The FBP stated that it wants "to relate the persecution of the ex-president with the agenda of regression in the labor laws and to reaffirm, against this picture of intense political and institutional crisis, the need for direct elections for the presidency of the Republic."

According to the FBP, there is no evidence supporting the charges against the former head of state. Following the decision, Lula's lawyers appealed the court sentence, contesting ten of the deciding factors in the case, while the Federal Public Ministry filed an appeal against the ruling Monday.

President Vander Freitas of the Central Worker's Union, said, "For the 'Casa Grande', Lula represents the danger of a popular and workers' government coming back to power to restore democracy, equality, justice and social inclusion."

"The condemnation of Lula by (Judge Sergio Moro) is a further blow to the already weakened Brazilian democracy because when justice takes sides, condemns without evidence, acts only for presumption of guilt and a judge becomes accusatory, there is something serious happening," said Guiljerme Boulos, the national coordinator of the Landless Workers' Movement.

RELATED: Brazil: Lower House Committee Rejects Charges Against President Temer

During a televised press conference July 13, the 71-year-old Workers’ Party leader said that his prosecution is politically motivated and is intended to destroy his group’s reputation ahead of the 2018 elections.

However, despite the trial and his pending sentence, surveys conducted ahead of Brazil’s 2018 presidential elections puts Lula as the top choice for voters in the country.

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Lula Says He'll "Do More and Better" as President of Brazil

Lula emphasized that democracy “demands commitment. Democracy entails that our capacity to listen is equivalent to our ability to speak.”

During a ceremonial launch of the second phase of the Lula Institute Democracy Memorial, former Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva emphasized that speaking about “democracy at this moment is very important and necessary. It's almost like the air that we breath.”

RELATED:  Rapporteur Recommends Sending Brazilian President to Trial

The statement came Monday as Lula addressed the crowd about the need to discuss the terms of democracy during the current political climate.

“For inasmuch as we remain silent and accept what's being told to us on a daily basis, such measures start to gain traction,” he said. In the same breath he noted, “soon, we start to believe the world to be normal and soon enough we start to believe that somebody like Bolsonaro, the result of hate spewed by Globo Television Network, to be normal.”

Lula was referring to Jair Bolsonaro, a congressman and 2019 presidential hopeful who, like U.S. President Donald Trump, has become renowned for his abrasiveness. Some of his more infamous statements include that the error committed by Brazil's military dictatorship “was to torture and not kill," adding that “Pinochet should have killed more people.”

In contrast to his presidential opponent, Lula emphasized that democracy “demands commitment. Democracy entails that our capacity to listen is equivalent to our ability to speak.”

RELATED: Right-Wing Brazil Govt Continues Attacks on Indigenous Agency

Acknowledging that Brazil is far from building a just democracy, Lula promised that he wouldn't return to serve as president to “do the same” but to “do more and better.” He stressed that one of the things that he could have done better in his previous administrations was in “relation to the media.”

Also on Monday, Lula signed a petition titled, “Brazilian People's Manifesto for the Annulment of the Impeachment – Dilma Return.” The document demands the revocation of the impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

It reads, in part, that Rousseff, having been democratically elected by 54 million voters, should be reinstated as president to complete her term. “We speak on behalf of those who chose her to govern Brazil and also on behalf of those who didn't elect her but who perceive the impeachment as a coup against democracy.

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In Latest Scandal, Brazilian President Temer Accused of Buying Votes to Block Impeachment

Temer is accused of buying support to block the trial against him for corruption that could lead to his suspension or impeachment.

Brazilian President Michel Temer is facing accusations that he bribed lawmakers to assure their support ahead of his possible trial for corruption, a decision which is currently in the hands of the Lower House of Congress.

RELATED: Brazil's Temer Won't Resign and Says Nothing Will Destroy Him

Lawmakers from the leftist Worker's Party, or PT, will deliver the formal accusation to the Attorney General's office on Wednesday.

Paulo Pimenta, Wadih Damous and Paulo Teixeira allege the appointed president used his position and power to secure support against the corruption charges presented by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot to the Supreme Court, which is now being evaluated by the Lower House.

This week Temer received at least 30 lawmakers in the Planalto Palace in Brasilia according to the official agenda.Among them were 11 members of the Constitution and Justice Commission of the Lower House, who will decide if the charges against the president will proceed or not, according to Brasil 247

Temer's lawyer Antonio Claudio Mariz de Oliveira is expected to present part of his defense to the commission on Wednesday. For the accusation to be admitted it needs to have the vote of 34 of the 66 members of the commission.

RELATED: Second General Strike against President Temer's Reforms

After this, it will have up to five sessions to debate and vote on the final report by the commission speaker, Sergio Zveiter, who also belongs to Temer's ruling PMDB party.

The report will then be submitted to the Lower House for a vote, that needs the approval of 341 of the 513 lawmakers to be accepted.

Temer and his aide Rodrigo Rocha Loures are accused of receiving and approving bribes in the largest corruption investigation in the country known as Operation Car Wash.

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