By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A movement is on among Brazil’s Workers’ Party (PT) to block President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in Congress. On Wednesday, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told union leaders in São Paulo that even if he is not confirmed as the Administration’s Chief of Staff he will help the Rousseff government.
“Even if it is the last thing I do in life, I will help Dilma [Rousseff] govern this country with the respect the population deserves,” said Lula in the more than one-hour speech given. “The economy we fix tomorrow, today we try to avoid a coup.”
A request for the impeachment of President Rousseff is in Congress with allegations that the leader allegations that she violated Brazil’s fiscal laws and manipulated government finances. Yet these charges could be revised to include illicit electoral funds.
Now a list given by engineering conglomerate, Odebrecht, one of the main participants in the Lava Jato scandal may link Rousseff’s 2014 election campaign to illegal fundraising.
The Odebrecht list shows funds given by the company to at least eighteen political parties and as many as 200 politicians. Officials are now trying to determine which, if any, of these donations were illicit and illegal.
Lula, Rousseff and the PT have been battered with allegations of money-laundering, mismanagement of public funds and corruption for the past few weeks, with most of the accusations linked to the mega-bribery scandal known as Lava Jato (Carwash).
Former President Lula, as well as politicians and former government officials from the PT party, have been accused of receiving bribes from large construction and engineering companies for contract advantages with Brazilian state-owned oil giant, Petrobras.
Government officials and PT supporters, however, continue to call the impeachment process a coup against democracy, claiming that ‘opposition forces’ are trying to take down a legally-elected president. Protests and hostilities, for and against the government, have filled the streets and social media, but no serious face-to-face confrontations have yet been reported.