Tag Archives: Brazil

What Dilma Rouseff’s Fall Means For Cuba



Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s suspension from office is bad news for newly trendy Cuba, which despite a detente with Washington is feeling the pinch from a downturn ravaging allies’ economies and political fortunes in South America and Africa.

Friends such as Venezuela, Brazil and Angola for years used revenue from a commodities boom to pay for Cuban medical and educational services, turning it into the communist-run island’s main source of hard currency.

President Raul Castro’s detente with the United States has helped drive up tourism to record highs but income from the influx of foreign visitors were only about one-third of the $7 billion from health and education exports in 2014.

Over the last 13 years, Brazil’s leftist governments also provided at least $1.75 billion in credit on favorable terms, drawing fire from opponents who are also angered by a program that put 11,400 Cuban doctors to work in Brazil.

Those projects will now be re-examined after Brazil’s Senate voted on Thursday to put Rousseffon trial for breaking budget laws. She is now suspended from office while the trial takes place in coming months, and a likely conviction would end her presidency.

“There will be a short-term review of our Cuba policy, because the money has run out and because there are some serious governance questions regarding the loans. Everything will be put on hold,” said a Brazilian diplomat who served in Havana.

Some of Brazil’s loans bankrolled a major expansion project at Cuba’s Mariel port with 25-year repayment periods and rates of between 4.4 percent to 6.9 percent, Brazilian data shows. Critics say the terms are too generous given Cuba’s poor credit history.

Support from a bloc of leftist governments in Latin America since the turn of the century helped Cuba get back on its feet after the collapse of the Soviet Union caused a massive economic crisis in the 1990s. Improving relations with the United States and Europe hold the promise of new revenue, but for now Cuba’s economy will suffer as the tide turns against allies.

Centrist politician Michel Temer took over as interim president in Brazil on Thursday. His government is not expected to send home the Cuban doctors working in Brazil since 2013-14 but it will not hire any more.

“Obviously there will be no more Cuban doctors coming here in the future, because this model of assistance is questionable and there won’t be support for it, but I doubt any Cubans doctors will be booted out,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

Continue reading What Dilma Rouseff’s Fall Means For Cuba

Bye, bye Dilma!



Dilma Rousseff suspended as Senate votes for impeachment trial

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff must step aside immediately following a vote in the upper house to move forward with impeachment proceedings stemming from allegations she broke budget laws.

Fifty-five of the 81 members of the upper house voted in favor of the motion early Thursday, with 22 voting against.

Speaking through the night, 71 of the chamber’s members made their cases ahead of the electronic vote, which took hours and ended, ultimately, in Rousseff’s temporary removal from office.

The country’s first female president will now face an impeachment trial and, for the duration of that process — up to 180 days — will be suspended from office.

Vice President Michel Temer will assume the presidency for the time that Rousseff is obliged to step aside.

The past few months have been a roller coaster for the embattled leader, who has been at the center of a fight for her impeachment, including procedural and legal appeals to annul the vote in the legislature.

The Senate and its committees will continue to work normally during this period.

What’s next?

President Rousseff will now have to step down while the impeachment trial proceeds. She retains her title as president by law, but she will not be fulfilling the duties of that office. Vice President Michel Temer will serve as interim president while the impeachment trial takes place.

In the next few hours, Sen. Vicentinho Alves will deliver the senate’s decision to Rousseff at her presidential office.

There, she will host former president and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, universally known as Lula, along with ministers and other authorities, to sign a notification telling her she needs to step aside for the duration of the impeachment trial.

She will then address the media, and vacate the presidential office. Following that, she will return to the presidential residence, Palacio da Alvorada.

Another crook going to jail: Brazilian police detain former president Lula in corruption inquiry


Another supporter and business partner of the Castro brothers, has been arrested for corruption. Just imagine how many millions of dollars all these crooks made during the construction of the Mariel port in Cuba.

The Guardian

En español

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva questioned after police raids in new phase of investigation into bribery and kickback allegations

Brazilian police are questioning the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva after raiding his home and several associated buildings in a search for evidence as part of an ongoing corruption investigation.

The detention of the influential Workers’ party politician – who is best known by his nickname Lula – marks a dramatic new phase of the Lava Jato (“carwash”) inquiry into bribery and kickback allegations involving leading Brazilian companies and dozens of congressmen.

The huge investigation – easily the biggest in the country’s history – initially focused on corruption and money laundering at the oil company Petrobras but has since widened to include construction and brokerage firms.

It is likely to add to the pressure on the government of Dilma Rousseff, who is already struggling with an impeachment challenge, economic recession and the Zika epidemic.

Federal police launched the action against Lula early on Friday morning with raids on his apartment in São Bernardo do Campo, the home of his son Fabio Luiz, the Lula Institute, and addresses in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.

According to local media, about 200 officers and 30 tax auditors were involved in this phase of the operation, which has been named Aletheia – meaning “truth of disclosure” in Greek. Police reportedly have 33 warrants for search and seizure and 11 warrants for the arrest of individuals wanted for questioning, including Lula, his wife, Marisa, his children Marcos Claudio, Fabio Luis, Sandro Luis, and Marlene Araujo, and the head of the Lula Institute, Paul Okamotto.

The warrants were granted by Judge Sergio Moro in Curitiba, where the Lava Jato investigation is based.

The inquiry is said to be based on testimony given in a plea bargain by the Workers’ party senator Delcídio do Amaral, who has allegedly accused the former president of trying to buy the silence of witnesses, including Nestor Cervero, the former Petrobras director.

Police are also looking into newspaper reports alleging that Lula received favours from construction firms in the form of work done at apartments in Atibaia and Guarujá, São Paulo.

The former president – who has recently indicated that he may stand again in 2018 – has denied the accusations against him, saying they are politically motivated. He has not been charged with a crime.

The Lula Institute put out a statement on Thursday saying “former President Lula never participated directly or indirectly in any illegality”.

Union members, who are supporters of the Workers’ party, are reportedly protesting in front of Lula’s house.

Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians demand “Out Dilma!”


Wrapping themselves in the national flag and shouting “Out Dilma!” and “Impeachment Now,” Brazilians swarmed city centers across the country to demand the ouster of their president.
Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s embattled leader, was the main target of demonstrators in cities across the country, from Belém in the nation’s impoverished northern Amazon region to Rio de Janeiro’s fashionable Copacabana beach and middle-class enclaves in the southeastern cities of Belo Horizonte and São Paulo.
Marchers also denounced widespread corruption among the country’s political and business elites and called for the end of more than 12 years of rule by Ms. Rousseff’s leftist Workers’ Party, known as the PT.
Reginaldo Pereira da Silva and his 15-year-old son Felipe took a bus and a subway from São Paulo’s outskirts so they could participate in the action on Avenida Paulista, the center of Sunday’s protest in Brazil’s biggest city.
With a Brazilian flag draped over his shoulders, Mr. da Silva, a 52-year-old mechanic, said he once supported the PT. But a series of scandals, including one alleging massive bid rigging and bribery at state-run oil giant Petróleo Brasileiro SA, has turned him against the party.
“Enough with corruption, our Brazil is broken,” said Mr. da Silva, 52. “I want the best for my son, and that is why I think we have to come to street. I want change, and I want it now.”
Meanwhile, smaller numbers of pro-Rousseff supporters were staging their own counter-demonstrations across the country.  Continue reading Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians demand “Out Dilma!”