This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, June 1, 2016:
When this writer reported that President Dilma Rousseff was being replaced by another Brazilian corruptocrat, Michel Temer, he wondered just how long the new administration might last.
That was three weeks ago.
In a tape that secretly recorded Temer in April as assuming Rousseff’s removal from office and his own ascension to it, Temer said:
I don’t want to generate false expectations. Let’s not think a possible change in government will solve everything in three or four months.
Over the weekend another secret tape surfaced, this time recording a private conversation between his new “transparency” minister, Fabiano Silveira, and the president of the Senate, Renan Calheiros. Silveira, an attorney, was giving Calheiros “legal advice” about how to avoid prosecution in the Operation Car Wash investigation into the Petrobras scandal. When Temer initially said he was going to keep Silveira on, protesters marched on his office and soaped his windows, indicating their disgust and providing a sign that Temer and Silveira both needed cleansing. On Monday Silveira resigned.
One irony is that, until Monday, Silveira had served as head of Temer’s newly-created agency titled Ministry of Transparency, Supervision and Control.
Another irony is that Silveira’s resignation is the SECOND one under Temer’s brief reign. A week earlier another tape surfaced capturing the voice of Romero Juca, Temer’s Planning Minister and head of Temer’s political party PMDB, talking about the need to slow down the Operation Car Wash investigation somehow before it indicted everyone in the congress. At least half of those presently sitting are under investigation in the scandal. When Juca learned of the tape he naturally claimed innocence but resigned anyway.
Out of the seven ministers in Temer’s new administration currently under investigation, the loss of Silveira and Juca leaves him with five. At that rate his administration will be lucky indeed to last three or four months.
What caught the miscreants is the strategy those investigators are using: plea bargaining in exchange for reduced sentences. It’s turning out to be very effective as most pols caught in the snare would rather rat on their colleagues than rot away in some Brazilian prison. In Silveira’s case it was Sergio Machado, a former high exec with Petrobras, who agreed to be wired while attending the meeting with Calheiros. The strategy is turning out to be very effective indeed. The scandal, now measured in the billions, has resulted in hundreds of arrests and dozens of convictions, with many more pending.
Even Temer himself is hip-deep in the scandal. Not only is he barred from running for office for eight years thanks to violating some campaign finance laws, he is also under investigation for taking $1.5 million in bribes from a company that received construction contracts from Petrobras. One reporter noted sardonically that that explained why Temer’s personal net worth has more than doubled in just the past seven years.
How long Temer’s administration might last before it too is booted is an open question. How deep and wide the corruption at the highest levels of Brazil’s ruling establishment isn’t.
Wall Street Journal: Brazil Minister Resigns After Leaked Recording in Graft Case
The Globe and Mail: Brazil’s transparency chief quits over corruption probe tape