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Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Just when you thought things in Brazil couldn’t get worse, they do. Yesterday’s startling events may herald even more startling events soon, now that Lula has been sworn in as Dilma’s Chief of Staff, and Congress has begun impeachment proceedings.

The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster.
The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster.

Early in the morning, Lula agreed to become Chief of Staff. Shortly thereafter, PT and the Administration publicly announced that he would be sworn in next Tuesday, March 22nd, along with two other newly appointed ministers.

At 11:32 AM Judge Moro issued an order to the Federal Police (PF) to stop monitoring calls to Lula’s cell phone. Two hours later, the PF taped a conversation where Dilma told Lula she was sending him a form he needed to sign in order to become a Minister — to be used “in case of necessity”.

Later on, Judge Moro ordered the taped call to be released, Dilma ordered a special edition of the Diário Oficial da União to be printed confirming Lula’s appointment, and announced that the swearing-in ceremony would be held today, March 17, at 10AM.

Why was Dilma in such a hurry? And what was the “necessity” she foresaw?

The obvious answer is that she had been advised (by whom?) that Judge Moro was about to indict Lula and call for his imprisonment. To nullify Judge Moro’s investigation, Lula had to be appointed Minister, so as to be investigated only by the STF.

Moreover, if Lula was indicted for corruption and arrested, Dilma could not possibly nominate him as her Chief of Staff and de facto Prime Minister.

Faced with these prospects, Dilma didn’t dither. She warned Lula by phone, and sent him a “safe conduct” letter in case he was arrested. She advanced the date of the induction ceremony five days and, to compound the felony, printed up a special, single-purpose edition of the DOU, without which there could be no official induction.

Taken together, Dilma’s hasty actions amount to obstruction of justice, one of the statutory grounds for impeachment of an elected official. The call, the letter, the advanced induction date and the special edition are four bullets from a smoking gun.

The Curmudgeon will emit more dismal Smidgens opportunely—stay tuned.

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The Curmudgeon moved to Rio almost forty years ago, and has pretty much remained here ever since. He's been writing political commentary for The Rio Times for almost seven years. He used to refer to himself as a WASP (look it up) but doesn't any more because it embarrasses him.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I hope you are right. Something drastic has to happen soon. Brazil is reverting to a prototype banana republic.

  2. Hilarious that the simple arrest of Lula will change anything when 2/3rd of Congress is under investigation. Also no mention of the judiciary overstep in tapping the Presidents phone then releasing it directly to the media instead of using as evidence. Why? Because it revealed no wrong doing rather only a plan to evade the witchunt. Impeachment solves nothing without a discussion on what comes next.

  3. I’ve never felt so sad for being Brazilian!

    I think the people in this country have gone totally bonkers, nobody is thinking straight, there is a undercover power war and Manichean thought rules, although the light side are just a pack of wolves under sheepskins.

    Horrid, depressing, most people are in some sort of frenzy picking sides as if their lives were a football match.

    Nobody wants a solution, just power, the upper classes seem to see a chance to perpetuate the cultural/economical enslavement of most of the population, to bring back the time when the poor did not have a voice, mind you in Brazil, you can not live on a minimum salary, Some poor follow the rich, perhaps in the hope of some money rubbing-off effect?

    People’s memory are extremely biased and short at the moment, so much so that they do not mind to fuel the turmoil which is sinking their own lives in the process.

    I find it all absurd, very absurd!

    The cats and I are free to be adopted by any kind family in the first world, it seems the only way out of this mess is the airport.

    Honestly I find it all harder than the skyrocketing inflation during the 80’s.

    Goodness save us all!

    P.S. I am against the impeachment because I do not see many motive beyond a power struggle.

  4. And honestly I believe all should pay for mishaps, but this judge was totally irresponsible, and threw the country in complete chaos in a single day, that is what we feel and I rather have the devil I know.

    All the politics in this country reeks, and this is a coup in the making for other to be as corrupt, obstruction of justice is a judge to think he is bigger than the Constitution, to be bias and protect the other corrupt side, so how comes? Is Justice only valid when it favours a specific side or is it a higher value?

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