By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – While hundreds gathered on the streets of São Paulo calling for his impeachment, Brazil’s President Michel Temer held a press conference on Sunday, November 27th, to guarantee to the population that he will block any attempts to give amnesty to politicians who received illegal campaign contributions.
“We are here to state that, regarding the amnesty, there is unanimity among the leaders of the Executive and Legislative Branches. We have established that it is necessary to listen to the voices of the streets, which means complying with a constitutional device that says: power is not ours; it is neither the President’s nor the Senate’s nor the Chamber’s. It is the people’s,” said Temer, during the press conference also attended by the presidents of the Senate, Renan Calheiros and Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia.
According to Temer, an “institutional adjustment” was made in order to prevent the acceptance of any proposal aimed at the so-called amnesty. The President also guaranteed that ‘it would be impossible for the President to sanction a bill of this nature’ if by any chance it were to pass in Congress.
With widespread criticism being hurdled at the Brazilian Congress for once again trying to close ranks and save their own members by suggesting that the anti-corruption laws should be applied only to future irregularities and not past transgressions, Chamber of Deputies President, Rodrigo Maia, tried to improve Congress’ image. “Today’s meeting is important to clarify that this amendment never actually existed because it was never presented by any party leader. Therefore it does not exist. We are not voting for measures to render amnesty to any crime,” he said.
In São Paulo, a crowd closed off one of the city’s icons, Avenida Paulista, to call an end to the never-ending corruption scandals in the federal government. “It did not help impeaching Dilma (Rousseff). Corruption continues strong in Brasilia,” said Maria Eugenia da Silva, who came out to the protest with her husband and daughter.
Silva, a retired state employee stated that she was present at every protest against the PT/Rousseff government last year and the beginning of this year, and had hoped that public officials had understood the message shouted on the streets. With the latest scandals, however, she has become disillusioned. “Every week we hear of someone else who has stolen or used their influence to get something for themselves,” she sighed.
Last week Government Secretary Geddel Vieira Lima resigned after being accused by another cabinet member, Culture Minister Marcelo Calero of pressuring him to approve the building of a luxury building in an historical location in Lima’s hometown of Salvador, Bahia. Lima was one of the owners of the exclusive building. “I don’t think any of these politicians really care about the people,” Silva concluded.
Congressional representatives are expected to vote on an anti-corruption bill on Tuesday, November 29th.