Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three articles at the NYT about the Brazilian scandalous elections

With comments in bold added by me.

Brazil's Rousseff Takes Heat In Televised Debate (September 12, 2010):
Early during a two hour debate on Rede TV with three other candidates, Rousseff was repeatedly on the defensive, forced to defend her party against allegations of corruption and dirty tricks politics, as well as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's close ties to Iran. "Their democracy is one that uses the state apparatus to protect their comrades and persecute their adversaries," Serra said. (...)

Rousseff, a career civil servant, has benefited enormously from the support of Lula, who has become Brazil's most popular president thanks to his folksy charm and a booming economy. Lacking that charisma and common people's touch, Rousseff stood her ground and stumbled less than she did during the first nationally televised debate more than a month ago. [which was still terrible, like coming from an essay mill]

But she left unanswered growing questions in a fresh graft scandal during her tenure as Lula's chief of staff. Leading news magazine Veja at the weekend accused Rousseff's former aide and current chief of staff, Erenice Guerra, of involvement in a kickback scheme for public works contracts run by her son's consultancy. [and major newspapers found other connections between members of the Guerra family and illegalities after the accusations from the magazine]
Scandals Not Slowing Brazil Front Runner (September 14, 2010):
Analysts say the immense popularity of her political mentor, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has swamped any concerns over revelations that members of Rousseff's party illegally accessed tax records of Serra's daughter and allegations one of her former top aides was involved in a kickback scheme.

Late Tuesday, the government took strong measures to stamp out both scandals -- saying tax records would be further secured and that an investigation into the corruption allegations was opened. [tax records from politicians only, regular people will continue to have their tax information devastated - and the investigation is a limited one, just to find a fall guy] (...)

In a televised debate on Sunday, he dropped his usual civil tone and aggressively questioned Rousseff about revelations that Workers Party members last year accessed the tax records of Serra's daughter and other members of his party. Rousseff's backers argue it is common to leak tax records in Brazil and said there were no political motivations because the violations took place long before campaigning began. [she is campaigning  unofficially  since 2008  at least, and the dismissal of illegal access as common practice does not work in her favor as a chief of staff]
Scandals Dominate Brazil Campaign as Vote Nears (September 14, 2010):
The so-called tax scandal has been rumbling on for weeks as evidence of new violations emerge in the media but has yet to resonate with voters. (...) A key reason why the mudslinging over tax records is not having an impact on polls may be that only about 15 percent of Brazilians pay income tax and therefore have little understanding of the scandal, he said. [most don't even know what "breach of secrecy" means]

Residents in the interior of northeastern Pernambuco state were mostly clueless about the issue when questioned by a reporter from O Globo newspaper, as quoted in a story on Sunday. "I don't know what a tax privacy code is, but I'm following it on TV," said Edmilson Felix da Silva, a 50-year-old plowman. "For me, this is just being done to hurt Dilma." (...)

A similar scandal involving Workers' Party officials trying to buy information about the opposition was seen as one factor preventing Lula from winning in the first round in the 2006 election.
Oh, and did I mention that the elections in Brazil are completely electronic, using the infamous Diebold machines?

1 comment:

  1. There's an update on the resignation of Erenice Guerra after other scandal involving her relatives appeared (link in pt_BR).

    The articles at NYT from Reuters make the same mistakes and simplifications as the militants from the Worker's Party: this is not just a plot by the opposition; the scandals and the wrongdoings are real, not just ventilated suppositions; it does not suffice to describe Dilma's party as the left-wing, since the politicians from the opposition are also left-wing (PSDB stands for "social-democrat party of Brasil"); the article tries shamelessly to victimize Dilma. She was, after all, the chief of staff when the crimes took place at her office. And she can be accused of at least incompetence for neglecting that her closest coworker had relatives in "strategic public posts" (summing up to 14 places!).

    Maybe if the reporter also interviews other people, with less contractual and ideological involvement with the government...


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