Anyone with the slightest doubt that the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is anything other than a coup should be disabused of their credulity by events coming out of that Latin American nation today.
The scenario unfolding in Brasilia has elements of the Nixonian [tapes], touched with good old-fashioned corruption.
We open with the Independent:
Brazil’s interim leader Michel Temer is facing his first full-blown political crisis following the release of tape recordings seemingly showing that the suspension two weeks ago of President Dilma Rousseff was the result less of legitimate constitutional complaints and more of a plot.
After a day of frantic speculation in the capital, Brasilia, the country’s barely installed planning minister and top Temer ally, Romero Juca, announced he was temporarily stepping aside after admitting earlier in the day that his was one of two voices heard on the tape.
Mr Temer became interim president of Latin America’s largest economy earlier this month after the upper chamber of the National Congress voted to suspend Ms Rousseff and begin an impeachment trial against her on charges she fiddled the nation’s books to paper over a dire budget deficit. She and her allies contended however that she was in fact a victim of a “coup”.
The bomb was dropped on the Temer team early Monday when one of Brazil’s leading papers, the Folha de São Paulo, released chunks of a 75-minute conversation from early March between Mr Juca, who was then a Senator, and Sergio Machado, also a former senator and the head of a state oil company. Who made the tape and why is not clear.
Al Jazeera English examines the timing and identifies the suspected Taper, whose motivations weren’t exactly Nixonian:
The scandal threatens Temer only 11 days after taking power from Rousseff, whom the Senate suspended as president on May 12 at the start of an impeachment trial on charges of breaking government accounting rules.
The Folha newspaper released what it said were recordings of conversations in March between Juca and Sergio Machado, a former oil executive.
The recordings were allegedly made secretly by Machado who, like Juca, is the target of an investigation into massive embezzlement centred on state oil company Petrobras.
In the conversations, Juca is heard calling for a “national pact” that he appears to suggest would stop the investigation, known as Operation Car Wash, in which dozens of top-ranking politicians from a variety of parties, as well as business executives, have been charged or already convicted for involvement in the Petrobras scheme.
MercoPress covers embarrassment:
Juca’s decision to take a leave from his post to defend himself is a huge blow for Interim President Michel Temer, who counted on the experienced senator to secure legislative support for key economic measures and reforms.
The new scandal also raises fears of further political instability in Brazil less than two weeks after President Dilma Rousseff was suspended to stand trial in the Senate for allegedly breaking fiscal laws.
In recorded comments made before Rousseff was suspended and published by newspaper Folha de S. Paulo on Monday, Juca told an ally he agreed on the need for a “national pact” to circumscribe the probe known as “Operation Car Wash.”
Asked for help by a friend and former senator under investigation in the probe, Jucá replied, “The government has to be changed in order to stop this bleeding.”
There’s a whole lot more after the jump. . . Continue reading