October 20, 2016

BRAZIL: Ex-President Lula, His Wife Charged With Corruption In State-Run Oil Company Petrobras Kickback Scandal. FYI Both Ex-President's Lula and Rousseff Are Marxist Socialist Like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders And Obama.

THIS IS WHAT AMERICANS WILL GET IF THEY VOTE FOR 4 MORE YEARS OF MARXISM  with Hillary Clinton AFTER 8 YEARS OF Obama's Marxist failed economic policies. And don't tell me Brazil is an exception. NAME ONE SUCCESSFUL Marxist Socialist Nation ON THIS PLANET throughout history. ANSWER: THERE IS NONE.

Brazilians voted for Rousseff simply because she was a woman and because she supported the same damn failed policies her Marxist predecessor believed in. Yeah, that makes sense. Let's vote for more of the same crap sandwich please. Because it tastes so damn good. NOT. :/

The Guardian, UK
written by Reuters staff
Wednesday September 14, 2016

Brazilian prosecutors have charged ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with being the “maximum commander” of a vast corruption scheme at the state oil company, Petrobras, in a major blow to the leftist hero’s hopes of a political comeback.

This marks the first time Lula, still Brazil’s most popular politician despite corruption accusations against him and his Workers’ party, has been charged by federal prosecutors for his involvement in the massive graft scheme at the oil company.

Deltan Dallagnol, a public prosecutor, told a news conference that the Petrobras scheme had caused an estimated 42bn real ($12.6 billion) in losses. Lula’s lawyers said in a statement that prosecutors lacked evidence to back up their accusations, which were part of political persecution to stop him running in the 2018 election.

Dallagnol said Lula, who became a hero to many poor Brazilians during his 2003-10 government, was being charged with corruption and money laundering as part of the scheme. “He was the conductor of this criminal orchestra,” Dallagnol said during a detailed presentation of the investigation. “The Petrobras graft scheme aimed at keeping the Workers’ party in power by criminal means.”

The two-year-old Operation Carwash anti-corruption investigation, based in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba, has uncovered how political appointees named by Lula’s Workers’ party and its allies handed overpriced contracts to engineering businesses in return for illicit party funding and bribes.

The scandal helped topple the Workers’ party from power last month by crushing the popularity of Lula’s chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff. She was impeached by congress on unrelated charges of breaking budget rules, amid rising anger over her handling of Brazil’s worst recession since the 1930s.

Dallagnol said that Lula, because of his control of the machinery of the Workers’ party and the Brazilian government, was the central figure in the scheme.

Prosecutors allege that the charismatic former union leader had personally received around 3.7m reals ($1.11m) in bribes, including a luxury apartment on the coast of São Paulo from one of the engineering and construction firms at the centre of the bribery scandal, OAS.

Lula, a charismatic former union leader who was a two-term president from 2003 to 2010, has separately been indicted by a court in Brasília for obstruction of justice in a case related to an attempt to persuade a defendant in the Petrobras scandal not to turn state’s witness.

Lula’s fall, and that of the leftist party he founded in 1980, has been dramatic. Last month, his protégé and successor as president, Dilma Rousseff, was removed from office in an impeachment trial.

Rousseff’s fall was driven by Brazil’s recession and its biggest ever corruption scandal, which has implicated dozens of politicians from her ruling coalition, including several in the Brazilian Democratic Movement party led by the country’s current president, Michel Temer.

Lula, 70, has not ruled out running again for president in 2018 but a criminal conviction would bar him from being a candidate for the next eight years. A former shoeshine boy and union leader who led massive strikes against Brazil’s military dictatorship, contributing to its downfall, he was elected the nation’s first working-class president in 2002 after three failed campaigns.

Lula’s social policies helped yank millions out of poverty and into the middle class and he left office in 2010 with an 83% approval rating and an economy that grew at a blistering 7.5%.

Two years ago, as the Petrobras investigation became public, prosecutors began to slowly put Lula in their crosshairs. Many prosecutors and investigators say they cannot imagine such a powerful figure was unaware of the institutionalised corruption and political kickbacks taking place at Petrobras and other state-run companies.

Marcos Troyjo, a former Brazilian diplomat and co-director of Columbia University’s BRICLab in Rio de Janeiro, said he thinks Wednesday’s charges are the first of many Lula will be facing in the coming months. “That means the Workers’ party, which may have thought it would move comfortably into the opposition after Dilma’s impeachment, will confront extreme challenges,” Troyjo said. “It’s certainly the beginning of the end to Lula’s presidential aspirations for 2018.”

Recent polls have shown that despite the investigations targeting Lula and the Workers’ party, he would be a favorite to win the next presidential election – by far the Workers’ party’s best hope of regaining power. “But these charges are likely too big a blow to the political myth of Lula, to the candidate Lula and to the Workers’ party as a whole for that to happen,” Troyjo said.

The Washington Post, USA
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ousted in impeachment vote
written by Marina Lopes and Dom Phillips
August 31, 2016

BRASILIA — President Dilma Rousseff was stripped of her office Wednesday in the culmination of a political crisis that has left Latin America’s largest nation adrift, with an economy in deep recession and a public sharply divided over the country’s future.

Rousseff was impeached on arcane charges having to do with violating budget laws. But she was swept up in a tide of revulsion against Brazil’s political class as the once-flourishing economy contracted and political parties were tarred by a massive corruption scandal.

Wednesday’s 61-to-20 Senate vote closed out an extraordinary 13-year rule by the leftist Workers’ Party, which boasted of lifting tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty before the economy began to nosedive and its political fortunes soured.

Rousseff was replaced by her former vice president and coalition partner, Michel Temer, who has been running Brazil as interim president since she was suspended to face the impeachment trial in May. He belongs to the more conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, and is trying to introduce austerity measures to right the economy.

But Temer is as unpopular as Rousseff, and whether he can muster the political support for such changes was unclear.

Still, some Brazilians felt a sense of relief that the country had at last reached a decision on an impeachment process it began eight months ago.

“The impeachment does not in any way resolve the political or economic crisis, but it gives us some hope, because for the first time in a long time, we will have a plan,” said Lucas de Aragão, director of Arko Advice, a political analysis firm in Brasilia.

Rousseff’s removal marked the latest setback for Latin America’s left, which had been on the ascendancy just a few years ago in Argentina, Venezuela and other countries but has increasingly struggled amid a continent-wide economic slowdown and a series of corruption scandals.

The leftist governments of Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia recalled their ambassadors from Brazil on Wednesday after the vote, denouncing “a coup” by its Senate.

Indeed, many Brazilians believe Rousseff was removed not so much for her misdeeds as for her plunging popularity ratings. The impeachment trial may leave a legacy of distrust in Brazil’s political system, particularly among Workers’ Party supporters. There were demonstrations in cities across Brazil protesting the impeachment on Wednesday.

Rousseff came to power in January 2011 at a time when the country was booming and the Workers’ Party — led by her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula — was widely popular. She was reelected in 2014. But slumping oil prices­ and what many called inept political management dragged down the economy, which shrunk nearly 4 percent last year while inflation and unemployment surged. The country lost its precious investment grade rating.

Meanwhile, millions of Brazilians took to the streets to protest an enormous corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras that has ensnared politicians from Rousseff’s party and its allies.

The Telegraph, UK
written by Harriet Alexander, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
September 18, 2010

She is a former Marxist guerrilla whose organisation once stole $2.5 million from the safe of the governor of São Paulo.

Locked up and tortured by the dictatorship which ran Brazil during the 1970s, she was once branded by a prosecutor as the "Joan of Arc of subversion".

Yet in less than a month's time Dilma Rousseff is on course to become Brazil's first woman president, entrusted with running the largest and fastest-growing economy in Latin America.

Her first election campaign has gathered the apparently unstoppable force of a steamroller and Ms Rousseff is likely to win the first round of voting outright.

If she pulls it off, it would seem like a miracle for a 62-year-old apparatchik who has never before been elected to any political post and who was unknown to most of Brazil's 192 million people a few months ago - until you look to see who is behind the wheel of the steamroller.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the most popular president in Brazilian history, is ineligible to run for a third four-year term, and has given Ms Rousseff, his former political adviser, his unflinching support.

It will be the first time his name has not been on a ballot paper of some kind since democracy was restored to Brazil in 1985, but, he joked, "to fill that void I will change my name and I will call myself Dilma Rousseff".

Lula, 64, has enjoyed record poll ratings of over 80 per cent in his eight years of power, especially among the poor, who worship the man who rose from being a shoeshine boy to become president.

Since 2004, the number of Brazilians living in poverty fell from almost half to under a quarter. Unemployment has fallen and the economy has boomed, helped by the discovery of vast oil reserves. Brazil is to host the 2016 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup - producing a wave of optimism and energy.

"Here in Brazil we treat presidential campaigns like sambas: if we hear a good one, we go with it," said Araken de Carvalho, a travel agent, drinking coffee in São Paulo, the country's business capital. "It's more about the way the band plays than what is really going on. Dilma's is a very good samba."

If the election were held today, according to recent polls, Ms Rousseff would pick up 50 per cent of the vote, putting her far ahead of her main rival José Serra, a former health minister, on 28 per cent.

Her extraordinary success, despite her own lack of pzazz, owes much to slick, Hollywood-style television advertisements which have linked her firmly to Lula - and made a powerful first impression in a country which still has high levels of illiteracy.

In Ms Rousseff's first such 10-minute broadcast the camera soared over scenes of Brazil until she came into focus, declaring: "With Lula, we learnt to move forwards... Now we must continue advancing. Brazil doesn't want to stop, and can't stop." On banks of the Amazon, Lula was shown declaring a new era – and Ms Rousseff the person to lead Brazil.

"The Oscar for best supporting actor certainly goes to Lula," said Dr Timothy Power, director of Oxford University's Latin American Centre.

"Many weren't aware of who Rousseff was until that first campaign programme, but once people knew she was Lula's candidate, they backed her."

Ms Rousseff's campaign has been helped by donations which exceed all her rivals combined, plus a make-over transforming her from stern-looking technocrat into "the mother of all Brazil," as Lula calls her. Gone are the gaudily-coloured jackets and wire-framed glasses, with Ms Rousseff sporting carefully-applied make-up and elegant suits.

She has also been encouraged to show a more personal side, talking about overcoming lymphoma cancer, and discussing her hopes of becoming a grandmother.

"I am going to govern this country with the attention of a mother, the care of a mother, and the strength of a mother," she said.

For someone who was once an active member of an armed Marxist group, fighting to overthrow the dictatorship, it is quite a change.

The daughter of a middle class Bulgarian immigrant and a schoolteacher in Belo Horizonte, southeastern Brazil, she realised upon leaving a privileged school that the world was "not a place for debutantes".

She was 16 when Brazil fell prey to a military coup in 1964 and like many was soon drawn into the world of underground opposition.

Introduced to Marxist politics by the man who became her first husband, Claudio Galeno, she helped build up one of the guerrilla organisations trying to overthrow the government - at one point spending three years in prison.

After democracy was restored she had a daughter, Paula, now a 33-year-old lawyer, with her second husband Carlos Araújo, a revolutionary leader who had met Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. She trained as an economist she entered conventional left-wing politics and professional public service.

In 2001, by now divorced again, she joined Lula's Workers' Party and her experience in the country's energy ministry quickly impressed the new president. A cabinet job as energy minister followed before she was appointed his chief of staff in 2005.

But many have questioned how she can be running for the presidency.

Critics say she was simply the last senior Lula crony standing since one aide after another was forced to quit in scandals over alleged slush funds, bribery or blackmail - including, last week, her own former aide who had followed in her footsteps as Lula's chief of staff.

Her lumbering speaking style and lack of personal charisma do not make her an obvious candidate and - in what was seen as a thinly-veiled attempt to protect Ms Rousseff - the government made it illegal for television and radio broadcasters to make fun of the candidates.

Others wonder whether she has the skills needed to hold together the 14 parties of Lula's business-friendly coalition, dominated by his Workers' Party, or to keep it to the pro-business approach that Lula, a former trade unionist, adopted.

Yet the only real obstacle between Ms Rousseff and the presidency is José Serra, 68, the leader of Brazil's biggest opposition party, the centre-left Social Democrats (PSDB) - and his campaign has failed to take off.

Voters from São Paulo, the shiny heart of modern, professional Brazil, would not typically throw their support behind Lula. The educated wealthy elites baulk at his populist policies, and laugh at his rural, unpolished accent.

Yet in the latest poll of the province's almost 40 million voters, Ms Rousseff was seven points ahead of her rival.

"I don't think she is particularly nice, she doesn't come across as pleasant and she isn't charismatic," said Gabriel Malard, 39, a trendily-dressed photography teacher in the central business district of São Paulo. "Her success is entirely down to Lula. But I'm still going to vote for her."

Yet others have not been swayed. Carloz Vereza, a popular actor and political blogger, told The Sunday Telegraph: "Dilma doesn't have any experience. She has always made appointments on the basis of party allegiance, not merit.

"Lula chose Dilma because Dilma means a third Lula term and the continuation of his populist-authoritarian project. She's only doing so well in the polls because his government ignores all the institutional limits on power and manipulates the population through welfare programmes."

He predicted that as president, Ms Rousseff would censor the media, appoint cronies to key jobs and turn Brazil into a "carbon copy" of Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, the country's firebrand socialist leader.

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