By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The state of Rio de Janeiro has seen two former governors arrested in the last two days. Former governor, Anthony Garotinho, was arrested on Wednesday, November 16th, accused of vote tampering, and less than 24 hours later, former governor Sérgio Cabral was arrested early Thursday, November 17th, accused of receiving kickbacks from state construction works totaling R$220 million.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,Former Governor Sergio Cabral was responsible for the the preliminary infrastructure works in the city of Rio for the 2016 Olympics
Former Governor Sergio Cabral was responsible for the the preliminary infrastructure works in the city of Rio for the 2016 Olympics, photo by Alex Ferro Rio 2016.

The kickbacks are linked to the Operação Lava Jato (Carwash Operation) corruption scandal. According to the federal police, there is strong evidence that Cabral was involved in the creation of a cartel to administrate and execute large construction venues, including the restoration of Maracanã Stadium, using federal resources.

Investigators state that the contracts were won through the payment of bribes to public agents, including Cabral. Cabral served two terms as governor of Rio de Janeiro state. Neither Cabral nor his lawyers released press statements about possible involvement in the Lava Jato investigations.

Anthony Garotinho served, starting in 1999, as governor of Rio de Janeiro, stepping down in 2002 to become a Presidential candidate. The politician surprised political analysts by coming in third place in the Presidential run-offs. Throughout the years, however, Garotinho, has often been linked to corruption and fraud scandals. After an unsuccessful bid to return to the governor’s mansion in 2014, he now works as a municipal secretary in Campos dos Goytacazes where his wife Rosinha Matheus is currently mayor.

Garotinho’s lawyers say that the arrest was arbitrary and that there is no concrete proof that the politician, now working as municipal secretary for his wife, had anything to do with the purchasing of votes in the October municipal elections.


  1. A major part of any long lasting and credible political and subsequent social reform in Brazil, is the ongoing purging of corrupt government officials from public office. Not just at the Federal level but at the State and Municipal levels as well. Duplicity is endemic in Brazil. Unfortunately criminality has become an intricately woven part of the Brazilian social fabric. Corruption is the basis for most, if not all, of the breakdown and dysfunctionality of the most basic social programs. From public hospitals running out of medical supplies, classrooms without basic learning materials, to daily random violent criminal activities, the system is broken.

    Fundamental to any democratic society, there is an inherent desire and expectation among citizens to enjoy inalienable rights necessary for human self respect and dignity. Access to quality health care, education and the ability to travel freely without fear of being accosted or murdered are the nominal foundations upon which social development and progress are based.

    Before rampant social violence can be eliminated and respect for human values embraced, government corruption must be eradicated. Who does the common person have to emulate when they look at their political leaders. Leaders are supposed to lead by their actions and set an example for the people. Why expect the people to act differently?

  2. I just can’t believe what a 180 degree turnaround has happened in the last 5 years! But I’m glad to see any crocked politician go to jail, especially the ones that steal so much from the people.


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