June 14, 2019
1. Bolsonaro wins congressional support and secures larger budget
Last Tuesday, Brazil’s Joint Budget Congressional Committee approved an extra R$ 249 billion (USD $63.8 billion) for the federal budget. The vote onlyhappened after a political agreement between Bolsonaro administration allies, independent parties and theopposition was reached. President Jair Bolsonaro said paying for pensions and social benefits could have been halted if the extra credit was not approved. The Constitution forbids the federal government from going intodebt to pay for regular expenses such as salaries and social benefits. To do so, the government needs congressional approval. This is referred to as “the golden rule.”
2. Leaks leave Minister of Justice and Operation Car Wash exposed
A story published by news website The Intercept Brasil on Sunday revealed conversations between former federal judge Sérgio Moro (currently Minister of Justice) and Federal Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol. During the conversations, which took place via the popular messaging app Telegram, Moro and Deltan planned strategies and shared information about lawsuits against Operation Car Wash defendants. Former president Lula is one of the people mentioned in the conversations. Opposition parties have criticized the close nature of the communications between the judge and the prosecutor, accusing them of acting with bias. They said they would request courts to nullify the lawsuit that put Lula in jail. Sérgio Moro and Deltan claim that the evidence was obtained illegally, through cell phone hacking. Neither Moro or Deltan have confirmed that the conversations actually happened. American journalist Glenn Greenwald, one of The Intercept Brasil’s editors, said that there are even more indications of illegal acts and that it will all be published over the next few days.
The Intercept Brasil: As mensagens secretas da Lava-Jato
Folha de S. Paulo: Mensagens mostram colaboração entre Moro e Deltan na Lava Jato, diz site
G1: Site divulga trechos de mensagens atribuídas a procuradores da Lava Jato e a Sérgio Moro
3. Senate Committee vetoes easing of gun laws
On Wednesday, the Brazilian Senate’s Committee on Constitution, Justice and Citizenship voted for a bill to suspend a decree by President Bolsonaro that altered firearm ownership rules, making it easier for Brazilians to get guns. The bill will now go to a vote in aplenary assembly followed by a Chamber of Deputies vote. The event marks a defeat for President Jair Bolsonaro, who heavily campaigned oneasing gun control. Opposition parties had already questioned the decree before the Federal Supreme Court, which has not yet ruled on the matter.
4. Petrobras loses R$ 180 billion over 10 years
Petrobras President Roberto Castello Branco revealed that the state-owned company has lost R$ 180 billion (USD $46.1 billion) between 2008 and 2018due to the price controls on fuel imposed by previous administrations. The statement was made to political representatives during a public hearing organized by the Mines and Energy Committee at the Chamber of Deputies. According to Castello Branco, the best way to bring fuel prices down in Brazil is to increase competition. He also stated that the price controls were an erratic political decision, that ignored changes in the international market. In Brazil, the price of fuel helps to measure satisfaction levels among Brazilians, which is how price controls became a short-term solution for political gain.
5. Leftist movements, labor unions organize general strike
This Friday, the leaders of some of Brazil’s labor unions have organized a general strike against Jair Bolsonaro’s administration. The movement’s primary complaint is against the pension reform currently under debate in the Chamber of Deputies. Workers are also asking for more jobs and fewer budget cuts in sectors like public education. Bankers, road workers, metal workers, port workers and public servants have joined the strike. Protests are happening all over the country in every state capital and major city. Essential public services such as transport and classes in schools and universities are operating well below full capacity. Protests are happening on the opening day of the Copa América – the continent’s biggest soccer event outside the World Cup.
Estado de S. Paulo: Tudo o que se sabe sobre a greve geral desta sexta contra a reforma da Previdência
Folha de S. Paulo: Greve no dia da estreia preocupa organização da Copa América