Since 2014, the Brazilian political establishment has been on the cusp of a total collapse. Operation Car Wash, the massive investigation into corruption in Petrobras, has thrown most Brazilian politicians against the ropes. On their list of priorities is one thing: avoiding jail time. And that has led to some horrible decisions, mostly detrimental to the country. It seems that Congress wants to stage a general amnesty, no matter what, and have essentially told Brazilians to go screw themselves.
But what’s possibly most troubling is this: politicians are making no effort to disguise their true intentions. In that spirit, we’re bringing you a roundup of the most outraging acts carried out by our political establishment in the last two weeks alone. Because otherwise, the list would be too freaking long.
Minister of Justice on a leave of absence
On Monday, President Michel Temer nominated incumbent Minister of Justice Alexandre de Moraes to the Supreme Court. So far, not a problem. However, Alexandre de Moraes has taken a leave of absence to visit the Senate and talk to senators – who will approve or reject his nomination. And there’s nothing wrong with that either – every soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice has done the same. But has Moraes forgotten about the major security crisis in Espírito Santo?
The military police are on strike. Over the span of just 10 days, over 120 people have been murdered. The morgues in the state capital of Vitória have no more space for new bodies. And meanwhile, the Minister of Justice is having tea with senators? It’s so surreal that it almost seems like a joke. By the way, police forces in other states have threatened to strike, too. Clearly, there couldn’t be a worse time to take a leave of absence.
And if that weren’t enough, Moraes went out for a night of intense partying in the Brasília Paranoá lake. Seriously?
Amnesty to corrupt parties
On Tuesday, Brazil’s Lower House approved an amnesty bill for political parties who do not publish or present their financial accounts. The legislation would prohibit the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) from punishing parties who do not present their financial accounts for legal approval. Essentially, the bill provides amnesty for a full range of shady political dealings.
Creating a ministry to help a friend
When President Michel Temer took office, he promised to reduce the gigantic federal administration – starting with his own cabinet. However, he has just recreated a spot to help out his longtime friend Wellington Moreira Franco. And if that weren’t sketchy enough as is, the nomination also came days after the Supreme Court approved Odebrecht’s plea deal statements.
Essentially, politicians at the federal level can only be prosecuted by the Supreme Court. This differentiated treatment often allows for trials to drag out indefinitely. The new ministry was a clear move to help Moreira Franco avoid jail time.
Senate’s Justice Committee
The Senate has elected members of its committees. The most important one, the Justice Committee, is anything short of a joke. Eleven of its members are under investigation for corruption. They have all been connected to corruption schemes in Petrobras. Those men will approve or reject Alexandre de Moraes for the Supreme Court. Remember: in the future, Moraes will likely be ruling on cases involving those same men. Textbook Banana Republic.
House Speaker and Senate President
In any country, whoever heads both congressional houses is a big deal. That is especially true in Brazil, as after Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment the country has been without a vice-president. It means that the Speaker and the Senate President are first in the presidential succession line. Last week, both houses chose their leaders for the next two years. The House of Representatives re-elected Rodrigo Maia, while the Senate elected Eunício Oliveira.
The catch? Both are under investigation in Operation Car Wash, the massive investigation into corruption in Petrobras. This week, the Federal Police have accused Rodrigo Maia of corruption and money laundering. Eunício Oliveira has been implicated in corruption scandals by three collaborators of Operation Car Wash. On Odebrecht’s bribery list, he received the nickname “the Indian.”