Politics in Brazil
Friday, November 8th, 2019
President Jair Bolsonaro: Closing Ceremony of Vocational Training Courses of 2019, for entry into Federal Police career at 9am. Departure from Brasilia / DF to Goiânia / GO at 1pm. Hearing to the Governor of Goiás,
Ronaldo Caiado at 1:40pm. Solemnity of delivery of school buses to municipalities of the state of Goiás at 3pm. Departure from Goiânia / GO to Brasília / DF at 6:05pm. Arrival to Brasilia / DF at 6:30pm.
Minister Ernesto Araújo: Opening of the Extended Session of the XVIII Meeting of
Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Lima Group at 10:30am. Restricted Beginning of the XVIII Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Lima Group at 11:35am. Lunch offered to the Heads of Delegation of the XVIII Meeting
of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Lima Group at 1:30pm. Official Photography at 2:55pm. Press statement at 3pm. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, Mr. Gustavo Meza-Quadra at 6pm. Mass for the souls of Ambassadors Orlando
Soares Carbonar and Ivan Cannabrava and Councilor Rolemberg Estêvão de Souza at 7pm.
2nd Instance Trial
After long trial, STF makes decision and imposes setback
on Car Wash (November 8th)
After five trial sessions , the Federal Supreme Court (STF) prohibited, by six votes
to five, the execution of the prison after conviction in the second instance . With this, the Court reversed its understanding between 2009 and 2016, imposing a setback in the fight against corruption and a severe setback
to Car Wash Operation. At least 38 defendants investigated by the task force must be released, according to a survey by the Federal Prosecutor of Paraná. The effect of the decision is immediate, and as soon as the
minutes of the judgment are published, lawyers may request the release of convicts who are imprisoned as a result of a second-degree ruling. Among the beneficiaries is former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
In addition to the petista, thousands of prisoners must be released to await appeals
to the STJ and STF. According to the National Council of Justice (CNJ), the decision reaches 4,895 detainees in all states. Among those convicted in the Car Wash Operation that could be released on the Supreme Court's understanding
are former Minister Jose Dirceu, sentenced to eight years and 10 months in prison for crimes of passive corruption and money laundering under Petrobras contracts; former Petrobras manager Pedro Augusto Cortes Xavier; former
PT treasurer Delúbio Soares, as well as former Petrobras director Renato Duque and rancher José Carlos Bumlai.
In a note published shortly after the trial, the Car Wash task force stated that
the STF's understanding undermines the fight against corruption and favors impunity. “The Supreme Court's decision must be respected, but, like every judicial act, it can be the subject of debate and discussion. In addition
to the solid arguments made by the five ministers who were defeated in the thesis, the decision to reverse the possibility of arrest in the second instance is in dissonance with the feeling of repudiation of impunity and the
fight against corruption, priorities of the country ”, highlighted an excerpt from text.
Lava-Jato prosecutors pointed out that the large amount of possible appeals in the
Brazilian legal system even results in status of limitations. “The existence of four instances of trial, peculiar to Brazil, associated with the excessive number of appeals that exceed one hundred in some criminal cases,
results in delay and status of limitations, leading to impunity. Recognizing that the decision will impact the results of their work, the task force expresses its commitment to continue seeking justice in the cases in which
it operates, ”amended the note.
The president of the National Association of the Public Prosecutor (Conamp), Victor
Hugo Azevedo, regretted the outcome of the trial. "I reaffirm the concern of the Brazilian Public Prosecution Service with the probable legal setback, which makes it difficult to suppress crimes, favoring the serious
crimes to reach status of limitation, generating impunity and legal instability," he said.
Justice Edson Fachin, rapporteur of Car Wash Operation at the Supreme Court, said
work related to the operation would continue normally in court. “I do not think it is sufficient to just blame the criminal procedure system for the circumstances raised in this judgment. The rapporteur for this operation
will continue with his work which is to promote accountability. ”
Justice Dias Toffoli, who broke the scoring, countered criticism that the measure
will generate impunity and stressed that each magistrate must assess the prisoner's situation when he receives the request for freedom. “In Brazil, over 300,000 people are under arrest for conviction in the first instance.
And they will remain in jail because they are dangerous people, ”said the President of the Court, arguing that convicts be arrested soon after trial in the Jury Court, which acts in cases of heinous crimes, that is, malicious
intent against life. This matter will still be discussed by the plenary of the Supreme Court.
Those are who voted in favor of the arrest after conviction in the second instance
justices Alexandre de Moraes, Edson Fachin, Luis Roberto Barroso, Luiz Fux and Cármen Lúcia. Opponents of detention before presenting all possible appeals were Marco Aurélio (rapporteur), Rosa Weber, Ricardo
Lewandowski, Gilmar Mendes and Celso de Mello, and Toffoli.
After the result, supporters of former President Lula who were in the Three Powers
Square set off fireworks, and the noise could be heard inside the court. Military Police have tightened security.
At the trial, Minister Cármen Lúcia asked that contrary views be respected.
“Who likes unanimity is dictatorship. Democracy is plural, always. Different is not wrong just because it is not mere reflection ”, She stressed. She stated that she knows the problems of the country's penal system, but
that precariousness cannot serve as a basis for not applying the law. According to the magistrate, overturning the possibility of arrest in the second instance increases impunity. "If one is not sure that the penalty
will be imposed, that it will be served, what prevails is not the uncertainty of the penalty, but the certainty or at least the belief in impunity."
Justice Gilmar Mendes pointed out that even in the Superior Court of Justice (STJ),
considered the third instance, it is possible to annul the sentence of a person convicted in lower courts. "The STJ can correct facts about the guilt of the agent, even reaching the dosimetry of the sentence," he
Lula's lawyers will request realease of Lula today; PT
prepares political agenda (November 6th)
The trial, this Thursday (7/11), in the Supreme Court ( STF ) paved the way for
former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to leave the prison in Curitiba, where he has been since last year's April, when he was convicted in the second instance for corruption and money laundering in the Guarujá
triplex lawsuit. In a statement after the decision of the Supreme Court, the defense of the former president said that will file the request of release of the petista this Friday.
If Lula receives permission from the Criminal Court to leave prison, he will not
be prevented from traveling around the country or participating in political acts, as provided for in the Criminal Procedure Code ( CPP). On the other hand, as has already been condemned by two instances, Lula cannot run for
public office under the Clean Record Law.
In theory, the law also does not require you to comply with measures such as retiring
at home, wearing an electronic anklet or handing over your passport to the police. There is one exception, however. If the Federal Prosecutor's Office ( MPF ) finds that the defendant poses any risk to the investigation, prosecution
or witnesses, it may seek a pre-trial detention or some precautionary measure, such as a ban on leaving the country, for example.
Since he was first investigated in Car Wash Operation, however, the former president
was not the subject of any such decision. PT leaders have been in Curitiba since yesterday to prepare Lula's possible departure from the Federal Police office where he is detained. They work on the assumption that the former
president may leave the place today.
"Lula has not committed any wrongdoing and he is a victim of the strategic
use of law for the purpose of political persecution," Lula's lawyers said in a statement.
Despite the expectations of petistas, prosecutors and federal police working in
Paraná believe that the release of Lula should still take a few days.
Jurists heard by O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper said that the Supreme Court's judgment
means that, if released, Lula will be entitled to the same freedoms as a citizen who does not respond to any lawsuit and may enjoy the presumption of innocence while process does not reach the final court.
"Lula may have to comply with some precautionary measure, but that depends
on a request from the prosecutor," said Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) professor Davi Tangerino.
According to article 282 of the CPP, the determination of precautionary measures
is linked to the fulfillment of requirements. "Lula responded to the entire process in freedom, did not give rise to any precautionary measure or request for pre-trial detention. So, at first, will be enjoying his full
freedom," said the president of the Criminal Law Commission of the Brazilian Bar. São Paulo section (OAB-SP), Daniella Meggiolaro Paes de Azevedo.
Even before the Supreme Court's judgment was over, PT leaders began discussing a
political agenda for Lula. The idea is to organize as many trips as possible before the end of this year. According to MP Gleisi Hoffmann, the party's national president, the PT will continue to hit the "free squid"
key until the former president has been convicted of passive corruption and undone money laundering. The pressure is to have the judgment of the suspicion of former judge Sérgio Moro .
Petistas believe that Lula's first public appearance will be at the vigil that was
set up on a plot in front of the PF superintendency in Curitiba. The great political stage for Lula, however, should be the PT National Congress, between November 22nd and 24th, in São Paulo.
Brazil yields to US, breaks 27-year tradition and does
not condemn Cuba embargo (November 7th)
For the first time in 27 years, Brazil gave in to US pressure and voted against
the UN annual resolution condemning the US economic embargo on Cuba. Only Israel and the United States voted in the same way as Brazil.
In recent weeks, the US government, through the State Department's Western Hemisphere
division, has twice asked Itamaraty to change its historic position of rejection of unilateral economic measures and to align itself with the US in the vote.
The Americans argued that by condemning the embargo against Cuba, Brazil would send
the message that the Caribbean country can continue to intervene with impunity in Venezuela and that the Brazilian government condones the human rights violations of the Cuban dictatorship.
According to the Americans, Venezuelans and Cubans have already won a victory with
Venezuela's election to the UN Human Rights Council in October, and Brazil's vote would be another international asset for the regime today led by Miguel Díaz-Canel.
Brazilian Chancellor Ernesto Araújo has given in to US pressures, despite
strong resistance from Brazil's current UN ambassador, Mauro Vieira.
Even countries that are closely related to the US and heavily dependent on US economic
aid have resisted pressure from Washington. Colombia and Ukraine, for example, abstained from voting.
Guatemala, the only country to accompany the US and transfer its embassy in Israel
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, voted in favor.
In total there were three votes against the resolution, two abstentions and 187
votes in favor of the text condemning the US embargo imposed 50 years ago at the beginning of the revolution promoted by Fidel Castro. Moldova has not voted.
Brazil's vote contradicts Itamaraty's historic position of condemning unilateral
economic measures against countries vetoed by international law and the UN.
In telegrams in recent months, Ambassador Mauro Vieira tried to argue that a vote
in favor of the resolution would not be a sign of support for the Cuban dictatorship's human rights policy, but rather a traditional position of the Brazilian government regarding interference in other countries.
He also argued that a contrary vote would not only be seen as a gesture against
the country, but a position against the principle of non-interference, which would displease all countries subject to such measures.
Vieira also argued that such a vote could harm Brazilian interests - for example,
in the case of the possibility of economic sanctions against Brazil due to environmental policy in the Amazon.
Thus, the Bolsonaro government would have difficulty garnering support from countries
against such interference.
In responding to Vieira's arguments, messages from Chancellor Ernesto Araújo's
office were always dusty, only stating that the Brazilian government will keep the previous instruction.
Vieira would have argued that if Brazil wanted to send a signal to the Cuban regime,
it could ask for the floor during the session vote and make a statement, making it clear that the gesture is not in support of human rights violations in Cuba.
Finally, the ambassador suggested that Brazil abstain instead of voting against
the resolution, because it would not be such a serious movement nor would it isolate the country. Again, it was ignored.
"Indiscriminate sanctions such as embargoes negatively affect the general population
and, as such, have been considered an inappropriate measure for years," says Camila Asano, program coordinator for Conectas Human Rights.
"The vote change is also concerned to be yet another example of Brazil's automatic
alignment with US foreign policy without such dramatic changes being properly debated in Brazil, as with the National Congress."
The Brazilian government has been systematically aligning with US interests. The
country has given up special and differential treatment at the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the request of the United States, which wants to modify the mechanism not to benefit China in trade negotiations.
Bolsonaro even announced the transfer of the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,
but eventually retreated and opened only a commercial office, facing threats from Arab countries, major importers of Brazilian meat.
Brazil expanded and renewed this year quotas without tariff for imports of ethanol
and wheat, American claims. On the other hand, frustrating expectations, the US has not removed the health barriers that prevent imports of fresh beef or announced changes in the protection of American sugar, another Brazilian
US support for Brazil's entry into the OECD, the club of rich countries, promised
by President Donald Trump in March, has not materialized either. Bolsonaro's government views membership as a seal of quality for macroeconomic policies.
Recently, in a letter to the organization, Washington reiterated its support for
Argentina and Romania's candidacies in the OECD, but opposed a larger expansion in its membership, which in practice undermines Brazil's ambitions.
The Trump administration had been opposing the OECD expansion, implying that too
quickly new members would distort the organization, which would become bloated and purposeless - beyond the natural leeway of the current White House management to multilateral institutions.