New denunciations of political corruption create severe political crisis in Brazil

Monday, June 6, 2005

Brazil — The Brazilian Deputy Roberto Jefferson told the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo that the ruling Workers' Party (PT) has paid Brazilian deputies 30 thousand Brazilian Reals (US 12 thousand) each, every month. Deputy Jefferson is the President of the Brazilian Labour Party (PTB) and he is accused of directing a corrupt scheme that involves the Brazilian postal service. The PTB is an ally of the government.

Jefferson's allegations increase the severe political crisis regarding the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula has convened a special meeting to discuss the crisis in the government. Because of the recent scandal Brazilian stock markets went down and the U.S. Dollar increased its value in relation to the Brazilian Real.

The Brazilian Senate and the Chamber of Deputies are discussing the installation of a special congressional commission to investigate the allegations. The first attempt of the Brazilian government to prevent the creation of the Congress' special commission (convincing some deputies not to endorse the commission's creation) has failed. Now the government is trying to stop the creation of the commission in the Senate and is lobbying against it in the Congress, trying to influence both senators and deputies.

The opposition party, PSDB, criticized recently the efforts of the Brazilian government to stop the special commission of investigation, using the influence of the Minister of the Economy Antonio Palocci.

The Workers’ Party published in its webpage a note denying Jefferson’s allegations and saying that it supports investigations by Brazilian authorities. The Brazilian Minister Waldir Pires has said in an interview with Agencia Brasil that the denunciations of corruption are appearing more because the government is fighting against them. He also blamed previous governments by the corruption.

In a note in the Workers’ Party website, the party accuses the former-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso government of corruption.

On April 2005, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Cesar Maia, denounced the Workers’ Party payment to deputies.

The allegations of Jefferson marks the beginnings of a severe crisis in Brazilian government. This is the most severe crisis since the impeachment of the former President Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992.

Politicians from the opposition said that they don't want the impeachment of Lula, however they demand the investigation of all denunciations and that the guilty be punished.

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Some excerpts of the interview of Roberto Jefferson: