By Ben Tavener, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s popular former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has called on embattled Sports Minister Orlando Silva and the PCdoB (Communist Party of Brazil) to stand up to pressure and not give up the Sports Ministry.

Embattled Sports Minister Orlando Silva
Sports Minister Orlando Silva has been in the spotlight since accusations of corruption emerged last week, photo by Jose Cruz/ABr.

In a call to PCdoB president Renato Rabelo, ex-President Lula – who belongs to the PT (Brazil’s Workers’ Party), but is reported to be working behind the scenes to keep Orlando Silva in government – said that it was the time to stand up and dig their heels in.

Shortly afterwards Rabelo opened the PCdoB’s seventeenth State Party Conference in Rio, which effectively turned into a rallying call for Orlando Silva – who has been embroiled in a scandal following accusations of corruption.

The event appeared to reunite party members from other states and also other leaders of the string of other parties which make up President Dilma Rousseff’s ruling coalition.

The PCdoB made it clear it will be fighting to keep Orlando Silva in government as he is the party’s only minister in the coalition.

Last week FIFA said it expected Silva to be removed from 2014 World Cup duties after Veja magazine accused the Sports Minister of embezzling money from a social program aimed at getting poor children into sports.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.



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