By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian government officials are denouncing a plot against President Michel Temer after the arrest on Thursday of people close to the President. According to Government Secretary, Carlos Marun, the arrest of the President’s former advisor and Temer’s former Agriculture Minister may indicate fear by some that President Temer may try for re-election in October.
“We understand that the president’s decision to possibly run for re-election again points the conspiracy guns against us again. […]. I honestly believe that this is part of a plot, a plot. […]. I do not believe in coincidence,” said the minister on the arrests of Jorge Yunes and Wagner Rossi during an interview on Thursday.
The arrests are part of a federal investigation into Brazilian ports, and if President Temer, by issuing a decree, benefited companies from the port sector in exchange for bribes. In addition to the two persons linked to President Temer, chief executives of two large transport logistics business groups which operate at many Brazilian ports were also arrested.
One of the companies involved in the investigations and whose executive was arrested on Thursday, Rodrimar, said in a statement that ‘it never paid a bribe to any public agent and never authorized anyone to do it on its behalf’ According to the company ‘all companies operating in Brazilian ports actively participated’ in lobbying for the decree and that the measure ‘did not benefit any one company’.
The decree signed by President Temer in May 2017 extended the concession term of the ports in the country from 25 years to 35 years.
President Temer stated this week that the possibility of a re-election bid has not been discarded by him. Temer took the Presidential post on August 31st, 2016, after the impeachment of then-President Dilma Rousseff.