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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Tension between Brazil’s President Michel Temer and the PT (Workers Party) increased on Thursday, on the eve of the inauguration of the conclusion of the Eixo Leste (East Axis) of the São Francisco River transposition project, in Northeastern Brazil.

President Michel Temer at a ceremony inaugurating a station on the Rio São Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
President Michel Temer at a ceremony inaugurating a station on the Rio São Francisco, photo by Beto Barata/PR.

Both Temer and former PT leaders have claimed the success of the river’s transposition as their own.

According to government officials it was the R$602 million disbursed by the Temer administration in the past ten months that allowed for the conclusion of this important stretch of the project.

“Thanks to this [investment], it was possible to complete the remaining 217 kilometers of the Eixo Leste, deliver three of its six pumping stations and install other structures that are bringing the São Francisco’s waters to the municipalities of Pernambuco and Paraíba,” the President’s spokesperson, Alexandre Parola told reporters on Thursday.

Meanwhile former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took to social media to claim the success of the project for his administration. “Many people said that it was impossible to transpose the São Francisco River.

Those in power studied, studied, but did nothing. Until Lula went there and did it. In 2007 the works began. The water began to reach Pernambuco, Ceará, Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte,” said the former President in a post on his Facebook page.

Brazil,Former Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff at São Fracisco River works,
Former Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff at São Fracisco River works, photo by Ricardo Stuckert/Instituto Lula.

Impeached leader Dilma Rousseff also issued a press release stating that the transposition was always on her Administration’s agenda.

“Unlike what journalists and even the illegitimate government of Michel Temer try to make everyone believe, the [transposition] work was never paralyzed during Dilma Rousseff’s administration. It was initiated in the Lula government, in 2007, and was almost completely built and completed under the former president’s [Rousseff] government.”

President Temer is expected to go to Monteiro, Paraiba on Friday to watch the arrival of the waters from the river. Parola said that the latest step in the project shows the “priority” that the federal government has given to the development of the Northeast and reiterated the government’s promise that the Eixo Norte (North Axis) which is already more than ninety percent completed will be finalized this year.

“For President Michel Temer, it is fundamental to ensure that prosperity is extended to all regions of the country, but the focus must be on the most needy areas. Therefore, the projects and initiatives that benefit the population of the Northeast have received priority attention from officials of the several ministries,” the spokesman said.

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