Dilma Rouseff Petitions Supreme Court to Review her Case

The former president who was ousted in a parliamentary coup believes she should be reinstated.

As Brazil continues to descend into turmoil as a result of growing calls for the impeachment of President Michel Temer, former President Dilma Rouseff is calling on the Supreme Court to dismiss her impeachment, which has been widely condemned as a farce and parliamentary coup, and reinstate her.

RELATED: Brazil's Temer Govt Revokes Army Deployment Decree Amid Outrage

“The country is currently experiencing an acute political and institutional crisis on a scale as large as it has ever been seen,” said Rouseff.

The latest protests against the Temer administration, installed last year after the removal of Roussef, come on the heels of the most severe scandal to hit the government yet after a wiretap recording revealed Temer had endorsed bribes to keep quiet a powerful witness in corruption investigations.

Temer faces investigations for corruption and obstruction of justice after the damning wiretap.

The president has vowed that he will not step down over the scandal, saying in an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo, "I won't resign, oust me if you want."

Rousseff was charged with spending money without congressional approval and using an accounting sleight of hand to make the government's budget appear better than it was ahead of her 2014 reelection — a technique used by many previous presidents that critics of the process have argued is not an impeachable offense as defined in the constitution.

Defense lawyers initially appealed Rouseff’s impeachment to Supreme Court administrator, Teori Zavascki, who passed away January, 2017. Since then, her petition has been transferred to Alexandre de Moraes, former ex Minister of Justice, while they continue to await a ruling.

"Every day there is more evidence that the current president of the Republic, not chosen by anyone, is not fit for the mandate," said Rouseff of her former vice president.

So far, 12 requests have been made for Temer’s impeachment. According to HispanTV, the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) concluded Thursday there is enough evidence riding against Temer to proceed with the impeachment process.

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Brazil President Temer faces impeachment calls as bribery accusations emerge

Brazilian President Michel Temer is facing mounting impeachment calls from politicians and the public, who are outraged over alleged secret payoffs. It comes less than a year after the impeachment of ex-leader Dilma Rousseff, also over corruption claims.

Prosecutors have reportedly been provided with recordings in which Joesley Batista, one of the two brothers who run the country’s biggest meat-packing company, JBS, tells President Temer he makes payments to the jailed politician Eduardo Cunha to keep him quiet over corruption allegations.

Temer is reportedly heard replying, “You have to keep it going, OK?” according to O Globo newspaper, which didn’t disclose how it had received the information.

Temer’s office released a statement on Wednesday denying the claims: “President Michel Temer never solicited payments to obtain the silence of former deputy Eduardo Cunha. He neither participated nor authorized any activity with the objective of preventing testimonies or cooperation with justice officials by the parliamentarian.”

Brazil: Thousands rally as Temer taped endorsing bribes to silence graft witness

Cunha was a powerful member of the same ruling Brazilian Democratic Movement party as acting President Temer, and was believed to be the mastermind behind the impeachment of former Brazilian leader Rousseff.

Cunha has previously said he had compromising information about several senior politicians linked to a vast political bribery scandal at state oil firm Petrobras.

O Globo also reported that security forces allegedly have audio and video proof that Temer aide Rocha Loures received weekly $160,000 payoffs for decades, supposedly for having helped JBS deal with a fair trade issue.

The tapes also implicate several other politicians, including former presidential candidate Aecio Neves and ex-Finance Minister Guido Mantega, the newspaper reported.

 
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. © Adriano Machado

While no audio or transcripts have been released, the reports have led to widespread outrage among the public. When the claims were shown on TV, shouts and pot-banging – a common form of protest in Brazil – could be heard among protesters, with crowds chanting, “Temer out.”

Several politicians also voiced their anger, with two congressmen submitting impeachment motions to the country’s lower house. It’s not the first time that Temer-linked figures have been entangled in a political scandal. Three of his ministers have resigned, while eight others have been linked to a massive corruption scandal branded the ‘Car Wash’ case.

Temer’s predecessor Rousseff was ousted last year over bribery accusations.

Following the removal of Rousseff, it has appeared difficult for Temer to win the public’s trust, with thousands of protesters regularly taking to the streets, especially over a controversial bill set to freeze government spending on healthcare, education, pensions, infrastructure, and defense until 2037, adopted back in November.

Rousseff repeatedly slammed Temer during an Al Jazeera interview in December, calling him “a traitor” and “illegitimate.”

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Impeachment of Dilma Must Be Annulled, Brazilian Professor Says

The express recognition by Michel Temer that the coup against the constitutional president Dilma Rousseff was a consequence of the fact that she did not give in to the blackmail of former Congressman Eduardo Cunha does not leave today another alternative to the Supreme Court that to annul the impeachment.

The opinion was supported by the doctor in Criminal Sciences Leonardo Isaac Yarochewsky, who in a commentary published on the website Justificando remarked that in a moment of serious institutional crisis respect to the Constitution of the Republic is expected to prevail over economic, political and other interests.

'Faced with the facts publicly admitted by one of the protagonists of the coup (Temer), the Supreme Court has no alternative but to annul the impeachment, if it does not want to definitively enter history as an ally of the process that removed a president from power who did not commit crime of responsibility,' the academic said.

In a TV interview last Saturday, Temer acknowledged that the former member of the Chamber of Deputies, Cunha (who is serving 15 years in prison for corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion) agreed to start the trial of Dilma in revenge against the then ruling Workers' Party.

'From the outset, and during all stages of the process -Yarochewsky said- the defense of the former president argued that Cunha had a deviation from purpose or abuse of power upon receiving the complaint against Dilma and the request for admission of impeachment.'

Yesterday, the defense lawyer of the deposed president, José Eduardo Cardozo, asked the Supreme Federal Court (STF) to include the interview granted by Temer to TV Bandeirantes in the process opened there, and that have yet to be tried, which requests the nullity of the Political trial to Roussef.

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Brazil Court Launches Trial that Could Boot Temer from Office over Illegal Campaign Funds

If Michel Temer is removed as president, it would mark the second transition of a government in Brazil in less than one year.

A Brazilian court kicked off a trial Tuesday over illegal election campaign financing that could unseat unelected President Michel Temer less than one year after he was installed as head of state through a parliamentary coup against his predecessor Dilma Rousseff.

RELATED: Literally Unelectable: Court Bars Temer from Running for Office

The country's top electoral court, known by its Portuguese acronym TSE, will head the case related to years-old accusations of illicit funding in Temer's campaign when he was Rousseff's running mate in her successful 2014 bid for re-election. 

Temer's right-wing PMDB party was formerly in a coalition with Rousseff's Workers' Party, also known as the PT, before a rupture last year that helped pave the way for the controversial and ill-footed impeachment process, widely condemned as a parliamentary coup. Temer, then Rousseff's vice president, became a key backer in ousting Rousseff, aligning more closely in the process with the conservative PSDB, which lost the 2014 election to Rousseff and is ironically behind the complaints filed with the TSE. 

After the TSE recognized Rousseff and Temer's win in 2014 against PSDB candidate Aecio Neves and his running mate Aloysio Nunes, who is now Temer's foreign minister, the PSDB filed complaints to reopen the legitimacy of the election victory, alleging irregularities in campaign financing linked to the corruption scheme in the state-run oil company Petrobras. 

The outcome of the trail could annul the results of the 2014 election, but justices could also rule to throw out the case since Rousseff is now longer in office. 

Both Temer and Rousseff are involved in the case and deny the allegations. Their defense teams will make their cases in the coming days.

Despite being ousted in a process her rivals painted as a bid to root out government corruption, Rousseff has not been accused of personal enrichment or financial impropriety, but rather was impeached on the basis that she cooked the books with common accounting tricks ahead of her re-election campaign.

Temer, on the other hand, is a target in Brazil's central corruption investigations known as Operation Car Wash and has already been found guilty of breaking election financing laws in a regional election court in São Paulo. As a result of the case, the sitting president has been banned for running for office for eight years — a fact that did not prevent him being installed as president as year. 

It is expected that Temer's defense will attempt to stall the trial as much as possible in attempts of postponing the conclusion until the 2018 presidential election to avoid being booted from office early. His ally Eduardo Cunha — also a member of the PMDB party and former speaker of the lower house of Congress who was the chief architect behind Rousseff's ouster — was notorious for using stall tactics when he faced suspension last year, dragging out the process for months. 

At the beginning of the trial, TSE rapporteur Judge Hernan Benjamin noted that the case has already been pending for about two and a half years and urged the court to "avoid procrastination" and "expedite" the process with this fresh trial. 

"The 2014 election will be known as the longest in Brazilian history, closing the ballot boxes and counting the votes, but the result is being discussed through the judicial process," he said, according to Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo. 

Benjamin has prepared a more than 1,000-page report on the case. Judges can request time to study the report during the proceedings, which could drag out the trial for days or even months. 

TSE Judge Gilmar Mendes said last week that it is not yet clear how long the trial will take. 

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Brazil Coup Architect Eduardo Cunha Sentenced to 15 Years for Corruption

The man who led a campaign to paint Dilma Rousseff as a corrupt politician has drowned in his own fraud scandals.

A Brazilian judge sentenced Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the lower house and mastermind behind the parliamentary coup against former President Dilma Rousseff, to 15 years in jail Thursday for corruption charges.

OPINION: Democracy Is Dead in Brazil

The sentence is the result of a criminal suit investigating Cunha for fraud related to millions of dollars in kickbacks he received for the 2011 purchase of an oil field in the West African country of Benin by the state-run oil company, Petrobras, which has been at the center of a major anti-corruption probe in the South American country known as Operation Car Wash.  

Federal Judge Sergio Moro handed down the sentence over charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. The former head of the lower house has been held in pre-trial detention since last October. 

"The responsibility of a federal parliamentarian is enormous, and therefore so is his guilt when he commits crimes," said Moro. "There is no bigger crime than that of trying to use one's parliamentary mandate and the sacred trust the people place in it to obtain personal gain."

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According to Moro, Cunha received US$1.5 million in bribes for the Benin oil field contract, which, according to an internal Petrobras investigation reported by local media, resulted in US$77.5 million in losses for the state-run oil company after no oil was found at the site. 

While Cunha's defense team has said that they will appeal the decision, Moro confirmed that the politician will remain behind bars while the appeals process moves forward. 

IN DEPTH: The Coup That Ousted Brazilian Democracy

Despite himself facing multi-million dollar bribery and fraud charges, Cunha was a key architect in painting the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff as a campaign to root out government corruption.

A member of unelected President Michel Temer’s PMDB party, Cunha is accused of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion linked to raking in at least US$5 million in illicit kickbacks between 2006 and 2012 and hiding the wealth in Swiss bank accounts.

Cunha was removed from his position as speaker of the lower house last September after being suspended in May 2016 — just weeks after the lower house pushed through the impeachment bid against Rousseff — to face an impeachment process over accusations that he intimidated lawmakers and hampered investigations. The Congress voted overwhelmingly by 450 to 10 to remove the unpopular politician.

The overwhelming decision to remove Cunha also stripped him of the parliamentary immunity he long enjoyed, opening him up to the corruption charges. Authorities arrested him at his apartment in Brasilia last October over accusations he hid laundered money in secret Swiss bank account while in office.

Despite the power he has wielded over Brazilian politics, polling over the past year has repeatedly unmasked Cunha as one of the most unpopular politicians in the country, including among his own party.

Several other top Temer allies have also been targeted in the Operation Car Wash investigations that have led to the arrests of dozens of politicans and economic elites over bribery schemes and corruption linked to Petrobras.

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'Coup Not Over': Lula, Rousseff Lead 1000s in Brazil Rally

The former presidents attended the inauguration of a popular water diversion project.

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and ousted President Dilma Rousseff attended the San Francisco River Transposition, organized Sunday by leaders of social movements, artists and intellectuals in the Brazilian city of Monteiro.

RELATED: Make Brazil Great Again: Top Leftists Want Lula as President

"The coup is not over yet. It is underway with systematic lies like the one lived here in Monteiro, where someone, who never raised a finger to the diversion of these waters, dares to take credit for it now," Rousseff said, referring to the administration of Michel Temer.

The rerouting of the river São Francisco to supply water to the population of Monteiro in the state of Paraíba, as well as other cities in the area, is an accomplishment of the previous governments of Lula and Rousseff.

"I am very proud to see the water come here, I fought a lot for this together with Lula," the former president said.

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A large gathering received the leaders of the Workers Party, or PT, in an event organized by social movements, who had prevented Temer from inaugurating the beginning of work on the water delivery days earlier.

"They always knew that the democracy of our government benefited the Brazilian people, they know (the right-wing) that during four elections we won and they lost, because they never got to present projects for the development of the country," Rousseff added.

RELATED: Brazil's Temer Could Face Impeachment as Key Witness Testifies in Fraud Case

During his speech, Lula thanked those present.

"Leaving where I left and getting where I am, was only with the hand of God and the Brazilian people," he said.

"I'm not a professional, I'm not a lawyer, I did not go to college, but ... I know what it's like to have a big belly full of bad things from drinking dirty water, I have honor, and I am proud to be able to contribute to the fact that this town has water today."

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Former Brazilian Presidents to be at Castro's funeral

Rio de Janeiro: Former Brazilian Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff will attend the funeral ceremony of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the Lula Institute announced.
 
They will travel to Havana this weekend, Xinhua news reported on Friday.
 
Castro passed away on November 25, at the age of 90. The revolutionary leader lead Cuba for almost five decades.
 
Castro was cremated, and his ashes travelled through Cuba this week and would be buried on Saturday.
 
Both Lula and Rousseff have met Castro. During the Lula administration, Brazil and Cuba improved their ties, a policy continued by Rousseff, Lula's successor in office.
 
Both the Brazilian leaders published heartfelt statements regretting Castro's death hours after the Cuban government confirmed his passing. 
 
They hailed Castro's leadership and legacy. Lula compared losing Castro to the loss of an elder brother.
 
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Int'l Seminar in Brazil to Make Amends for Lula and Dilma

Brasilia, Sep 23 (Prensa Latina) The 11th International Seminar of Struggle aganst Neoliberalism organized by newspaper Inverta, will close with a ceremony to make amends for expresidents of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, announced its organizers.

The venue, which will have the presence of guests from Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, China and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, will be held next Saturday at the High Institute of Education of Rio de Janeiro.

Two tables of analysis and debate are in the program of the meeting. The first on 'The 2016 Coup in Brazil: international and national aspects', and the second will center its attention on the resistance to the parliamentary-judiciary coup that cut the mandate of Rousseff, elected for over 54 million Brazilians to govern until 2018.

The seminar will commemorate 25 years of Inverta's foundation, organ of the Communist Marxist-Leninist Party (PCML) of Brazil, which occurred on September 20, 1991.

The editor in chief and founder, Aluisio Pampolha, said the paper was created by popular organizations, neighbor associations, movemernts of rural workers, tradeunionists and intellectuals that form the Center of Popular Education and Economic and Social Research (Ceppes).

Among the attendants to the Seminar will be exministers of Justice

Eugenio Aragao, Science and Technology, Roberto Amaral; the former ambassador of Brazi8l before the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) Samuel Pinheiro Guimaraes, and Vitor Guimaraes, of the Movement of Roofless Workers (MTST) / Front Fearless People.

Also participants of the Movement of Rural Landless Workers (MST), the Front Brazil Popular, the Union of Negroes for Equality, the People's Levante of Youth, the Central of Workers of Brazil (CTB), The Single Central of Workers (CUT) and the Oilmen Trade Union of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Sindipetro RJ), among others.

The guest list also includes the Movement of Struggle against Neoliberalism and for Socialism, the Network of People's Women and Men Doctors, the group Casa de las Americas of Nova Frigurg, the Cultural Institute Karl Marx, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the Workers' Party (PT) and the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), to only mention some.

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