Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Pity the poor Curmudgeon. Every time he writes that something is surreal, he is obliged to read the news and discover, to his op-ed horror, that (sur)reality has written new chapters in Brazilian politics. First is the intromission of the STF. One of the anti-impeachment crowd has managed to get one of Dilma’s appointee Justices to issue a STOP! order to Congress.

The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster.

The Supreme Court has told Congress to cease deliberating on the impeachment process, because someone in Congress alleges that the appointment of an opposition-based Impeachment Committee violated Federal Statute 1.079. That’s absolutely surreal, as under the Constitution, Congress is judge of its own actions.

Not according to the STF, for whom “the law is what we say it is.” We, that is, being an unelected body appointed by the scoundrels who have headed the Executive branch for the past dozen years, and had their appointments confirmed by the “300 picaretas (scalawags)” in Congress who are beholden to the Executive Branch for their (offshore and anonymous) pensions.

Second is the ongoing feud between Dilma and Temer over the letter to the former by the latter. In public, they are not feuding; both say that these are normal civilized discussions between a President and a Vice President over the conduct of government. Both of them, of course, are lying in their teeth; both have their sharpest knives out hoping to skewer the other.

Third, what to say of the Congressional Committee on Ethics? During the “debates” on whether Eduardo Cunha was guilty of “conduct unbecoming a Congressman” because he hid stolen money offshore, his supporters came to blows with the accusers.

Fisticuffs, it seems, are perfectly acceptable decorum in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies.

The Curmudgeon finds that daunting. Were he writing fiction, he could not possibly match today’s (and yesterday’s and doubtless tomorrow’s) Machiavellian machinations.

The Curmudgeon has lived in Brazil for a very long time, but he still doesn’t know where the buck stops. Nevertheless, he’s going to keep looking.


  1. Kudos to the Curmudgeon! In his speech when he won the Nobel in Literature Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marques said that “in Latin America, the line that separates reality from fiction is practically non-existent.”

    Peter Howard Wertheim, international journalist


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