Brazil Court Rules in Favor of Fired Petrobras Workers on Strike

The strike started 18 days ago after occupying the Petrobras' headquarters in Rio de Janeiro and quickly received the support of social movements, labor organizations and students.

Parana's regional labor court temporarily suspended Tuesday the lay-off of more than 1,000 workers of the fertilizer factory Fafen-PR until at least March 6, following a collective strike that lasted more than two weeks.

RELATED: Brazil: Citizens Protest Against Collapse of Social Security

The strike against the Petrobras executive board started in protest against the massive lay-off that was carried out despite a collective convention reached between the workers and the head of the state-owned oil company.

Petrobras' union leader, Tadeu Porto, welcomed the decision of Judge Rosalie Michaele Bacila Batista in an interview with Foro, saying it represented a victory over the obtuse Petrobras' executive board, while warning that the battle had "only begun."

In mid-January, the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro announced the closure of the Parana Nitrogen Fertilizer Factory, a Petrobras subsidiary in which more than 1,000 people worked. The response of the Brazilian working class, however, was immediate.

On February 1, the Single Federation of Tankers (FUP) and the Workers' Single Central (CUT) began an indefinite strike that is becoming a milestone.

In an attempt to contain the workers' unity process, the Bolsonaro administration also tried to hire former employees to replace the strikers but the measure was unsuccessful.

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Corruption Accusation Blurs Brazil Senate President

Brazilian Attorney General's office accused today the president of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, of passive corruption and money laundering in relation to the state-owned oil producer Petrobras.

According to a public note issued by the office, Calheiros and the deputy Anibal Gomez both members of the ruling Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), received bribes for 800,000 reais (about $ 242,000 USD at current exchange rate) from the infrastructure company Serveng in return of political support to obtain contracts with Petrobas.

To pay that money, the company allegedly made an official donation to the PMDB, whose final recipient was actually Calheiros.

In addition, the two involved offered political support to keep Paulo Roberto Costa as Petrobras director of supply who at the same time took the necessary steps to have Serveng participate in the tenders of the public company.

In his defense, Calheiros stated that his electoral accounts 'have already been approved' so he has no fear to clarify 'this one and any other point of the investigation'.

He is also facing investigations related to the Petrobras case, a network of bribes and diversion of public funds, as well as a trial for embezzlement of public funds.

The 61-year-old lawmaker is a powerful ally of Michel Temer's conservative government, who is struggling to pass the main steps of an adjustment plan in Congress to get Brazil out of the economic crisis.

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Lula Responds to Corruption Allegations

"If my adversaries want to bring me down, they will have to fight me with votes," said the former Brazilian President.

Former Brazilian Presidnet Lula da Silva Thursday forcefully denounced corruption charges against himself and his wife and in a snide reference to the unelected government that had overthrown his successor, he said that "it has been shown that bureaucracy is more powerful than the president of the country."

RELATED: Privatizing the Commons: Brazil to Auction off Infrastructure

Popularly known simply as "Lula" said at a Thursday afternoon press conference that his Worker' Party "government was the most inclusive Brazil has ever seen," and invested heavily in education, and had made every effort to rid the country of longstanding corruption. 

The implication couldn´t be clearer. Rousseff is a woman of color, and she'd been replaced by an unelected administration of white-men, nearly half of whom are under investigation for corruption, public malfeasance, bribe-taking and influence peddling while in office. Rousseff, on the other hand, was impeached for "cooking the books" to make Brazil's financial situation appear better than it was in the runup to her reelection campaign. 

Making refference to Dilma Rousseff's senate impeachement, Lula said that "it has been shown that bureaucracy is more powerful than the President of the country," calling the whole process a "spectale." He also hinted that he will indeed run in the next presidential election. 

"If my adversaries want to bring me down, they will have to fight me with votes."

Lula and his wife, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva, are formally accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering. Leo Pinheiro, former president of the construction company OAS, and Paulo Gordilho, an engineer at the construction company, are also accused of corruption.

According to allegations from federal police, Lula was the mastermind of the corruption scheme at the state-managed oil company, Petrobras, and directly benefited in the form of a gifted apartment in Guaruja and a farm in Atibaia, both in the state of Sao Paulo.

Supporters argue the actions against Lula are politically motivated and an attempt to prevent him from running as president in the next election in 2018.

Lula  remains a popular figure, and some believe he is the odds-on-favorite to win the next presidential poll. 

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Brazilian Ruling Coalition Party Abandons Rousseff Government

BRASILIA – The president of the Brazilian Republican Party, or PRB, Marcos Pereira, announced on Wednesday that his party has decided to abandon the government of Dilma Rousseff and give up its Sports Ministry cabinet post occupied by lawmaker George Hilton.

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Rousseff Denies Link to Education Minister Bribery Attempt

BRASILIA – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday issued an official statement denying any link to the “personal initiative” of Education Minister Aloizio Mercadante, who had tried to bribe a whistleblower in the Petrobras scandal.

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Brazilian Prosecutors Charge Lula

SAO PAULO – Prosecutors in Sao Paulo filed charges on Wednesday against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in connection with a corruption scheme centered on Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras.

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Exonerated in Petrobras Scandal

Brasilia, October 20 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have been exonerated of all responsibility in the Petrobras scandal in a report released this Monday by the parliamentary commission in charge of the investigation.

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