Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2015
Jonathan Watts, The Guardian:
Brazil desperately needs strong leadership to overcome the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, but the most powerful figures in the country’s government and legislature – president Dilma Rousseff and the speaker of the lower house Eduardo Cunha – are inching ever closer to an impeachment showdown. razil’s fighter survive the turmoil?
It is a spectacularly unedifying spectacle …
Last week, Rousseff’s government was found guilty of fudging public accounts to cover up shortfalls, raising the possibility that she could face an ouster vote in a hostile congress. Days later, Cunha was revealed to have several undeclared Swiss bank accounts.
According to Sylvio Costa, the editor of Congresso em Foco, almost 200 parliamentarians are currently facing criminal charges. “The worst rises to the top because of the way we do politics, exchanging money for power.”
Cunha – the speaker of the house – is allegedly the master of this dark art. In the Brazilian media, he is presented as a figure so sinister he is almost comical, resembling the Simpsons’ Mr Burns but acting like Frank Underwood in House of Cards. His fellow deputies speak of him in awed – almost fearful – tones.
“In all my time in politics, he’s the most machiavellian figure,” says Ivan Valente, who has served seven terms as the president of leftwing opposition party PSOL. “Cunha is a politician who is opportunistic, intelligent, ambitious and corrupt. People can’t claim to be against corruption and then support Cunha. But that’s what the rightwing opposition do. They close their eyes.”
It has become increasingly difficult to do that. An informer in the Lava Jato investigation claims Cunha took $5m in kickbacks. Opponents this week lodged a motion in the lower house ethics committee demanding that he be removed from office.
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