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Issue #1724      March 23, 2016

“Corruption” and leaked tapes

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff condemned the leak of a tape of her talking to her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva yesterday as right-wing protests erupted across the country. Judge Sergio Moro released a recording of Ms Rousseff telling da Silva she was sending him a document to use “if necessary,” relating to his appointment as her chief of staff.

Critics accuse her of appointing him to shield him from prosecution – while in office, only the Supreme Court can try members of the cabinet – and argue that the “if necessary” refers to protecting him from potential detention, but the presidency retorted that his appointment was already public knowledge when the conversation took place and she meant he would only need to use the document if he was unavailable to be sworn in in person.

Protests erupted in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo demanding that Rousseff step down over allegations that key allies in the Workers’ Party, including da Silva, are guilty of corruption. Defenders of the government argue that the prosecution is a politically motivated attempt to unseat the left-wing administration.

Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) national president Luciana Santos said: “They have already looked into [da Silva’s] accounts and found nothing.

“This is an eminently political struggle, as was proved last week when Lula was taken [into custody] by force without the slightest need. We will defend the legacy of a political project that has changed the lives of Brazilians and ensure that we turn the page of this political crisis and resume the generation of growth, employment and income that matters to the Brazilian people.”

PCdoB’s parliamentary leader Daniel Almeida said the whole prosecution was an attempt was an attempt to “embarrass” da Silva and “deconstruct the image of Lula, popular leader and icon of the left.

“The prosecutor has a prejudged position and keeps repeating accusations where the facts have already been clarified.”

Da Silva’s recent announcement that he would consider standing for the presidency again when Rousseff steps down has enraged Brazil’s right, which sees him as a difficult candidate to beat.

Morning Star

Next article – Workers pay for Osborne mess

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