Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – “O tempora! O mores!” Cicero’s famous phrase, usually translated “Oh the times! Oh the customs!” ended a speech in the Roman Senate where he chastised his brethren for not having condemned a fellow Senator accused of conspiracy.
The latest investigation in the Lava Jato scandal has been dubbed “Catalinárias”, Portuguese for the Ciceronian speeches denouncing the conspiracy led by Senator Catiline. The first speech begins “How long, o Catiline, will you continue to abuse our patience?”
Brazilian pundits have had a field day – no one can resist replacing Catiline with Cunha, the name of the President of the Chamber of Deputies. Cunha’s days in that position may be numbered, though, as yesterday the Ethics Committee voted to continue the case against him for a breach of ethics.
Worse yet, the STF ordered the federal police to raid Cunha’s home and office looking for evidence of corruption. Moreover, several political parties have requested the STF to order Cunha to step down from his presidency.
But today, December 16th, the STF will consider how to deal with the impeachment of President Dilma.
One of Cunha’s last maneuvers was to work with the opposition and, by a (secret) ballot, select committee members known to be pro-impeachment. PT filed for an injunction; Justice Fachin granted it so the full STF could decide whether that vote was consistent with the Constitution and the 1950 Impeachment Law.
The STF meets every Wednesday and impeachment will be the only matter before the court today, December 16, 2015.
Speaking of which, today, December 16th is the 200th Anniversary of the date when Brazil ceased to be a colony and became part of the short-lived United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves.
Today, December 16th, should also see anti-impeachment rallies across Brazil, hoping to exceed in numbers and enthusiasm those of last Sunday, when the pro-impeachment zealots hit the streets, but almost no one cared.
O tempora! O mores!
The Curmudgeon lives in hope but will continue to abuse his readers’ patience by writing dismal Smidgens.