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Blogs debate over Brazil's latest electoral scandal

In the last days before the October 1 vote, the Brazilian electoral process was shaken again by the latest event in a string of scandals tainting the ruling Workers Party (PT). The PT has been accused of paying 1.7 million reals (790,000 dollars) for a smear campaign that attempted to implicate the candidates of the opposition Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) in the corruption scandal that has been under investigation by Congress. The handover of a dossier of the information was ultimately prevented by Federal Police.

As opinion polls show Lula winning in the first round with the necessary absolute majority of votes, the media are suggesting that the dossier was intended to help the PT candidate beat Sao Paulo state governor Jose Serra. But the plot seems to have backfired, giving further ammunition to those who blame the president for such corruption. Lula has firmly denied any involvement in the scheme and is demanding that the Federal Police go deep into the investigation. Since many aspects of the situation remain obscure, the case has drawn a fierce battle over different versions and narratives about the scandal within both the traditional media and the blogosphere. While Lula's supporters blame the media, his antagonists are celebrating the opportunity to revile the popular Brazilian president at a crucial moment.

A crise política detonada pelo envolvimento de petistas na compra de um dossiê contra José Serra está seguindo um roteiro óbvio, cumprido ao pé da letra pela maior parte da mídia, mas também há um outro roteiro, “alternativo”, que começou a ganhar espaço nesta quinta-feira (21). O primeiro roteiro tem como próxima cena a revelação sobre a origem dos R$ 1,7 milhões encontrados com os petistas em um hotel de São Paulo. A Polícia Federal já sabe quais foram as agências bancárias que liberaram o dinheiro, mas os nomes dos titulares das contas ainda permanecem sob sigilo. Dependendo dos resultados dessa investigação, outros petistas e membros do governo Lula podem ir para a berlinda… Mas há também um roteiro “alternativo” para a crise. “Alternativo” porque foi deixado de lado pela maior parte da mídia, mas que tem potencial suficientemente grande para causar estragos nas candidaturas do PSDB. A Polícia Federal, parte da imprensa e parlamentares da CPI dos Sanguessugas investigam as relações da família Vedoin com o tucano Barjas Negri, ex-ministro da Saúde na gestão de Fernando Henrique Cardoso, e ligado a José Serra.
Quem pagou pelo dossiê?Partido de Oposição Permanente

The political crisis ignited by the involvement of PT members in the negotiation of a dossier against José Serra presents an obvious script, which is being meticulously followed by the majority of the media. But there is also an ‘alternative’ script which started to earn attention on Thursday (September 21). In the first script the next scene will be presenting information about the origin of the 1.7 million reals found with PT members in a hotel in Sao Paulo. The Federal Police already know which bank agencies released the money, but the account's owners names are still kept in secret. Depending on the results of these investigations, other PT members and government officials can still be thrown into the fire… But there is also an alternative script to this crisis. I call it alternative because it was put aside by the majority of the media, but it is capable of doing great harm to PSDB candidates. The Federal Police, part of the press and congressmen from the ‘Bloodsucker’ Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry (CPI) are investigating the relations between Vedoin family [who were selling the dossier] and Barjas Negri from PSDB. Negri is the former Health Minister in Fernando Henrique Cardoso's government and is closely connected with José Serra.
Who paid for the dossier?Permanent Opposition Party

A ministra-chefe da Casa Civil, Dilma Rousseff, costuma falar pouco. Sorte nossa. Dos ouvintes. Não faz tempo, Lula comparou-se ao próprio Cristo, num palanque macabro em que exercitou a transubstanciação a seu modo: disse que seu sangue e suas células estavam espalhados no povo. Ontem, em Nova York, onde participaria de uma reunião no Fed, Dilma comparou o PT, que tem 26 anos, à Igreja Católica, que tem quase 2 mil. Assim como esta teria errado e se corrigido, também o partido comete os seus deslizes. O petismo, como se vê, é uma religião. Acho que entendi o que ela quis dizer: quando não estava no governo, o partido era, assim, uma espécie de Tribunal do Santo Ofício, pronto para mandar para a fogueira todos os hereges que não comungavam de sua retidão teológica. Ao chegar ao governo, optou por ser um daqueles curas de Eça de Queirós. Até o pecado da simonia, a venda do perdão, o partido de Lula praticou.
O PT, a ética, a moral e os católicos
Reinaldo Azevedo

The cabinet chief Dilma Roussef does not usually speak much. Lucky for us, the listeners. Not so long ago, Lula compared himself to the Christ, on a dreadful stage where he improvised the transubstantiation in his own way: he said that his blood and cells where shredded in the people. Yesterday, in New York, where she would participate in a meeting, Dilma compared the PT, which is twenty six years old, to the Catholic Church which is almost two thousand. As the latter had done wrong but found a way to correct itself, the party also had its wrongdoings. The PTism, as you can see, is like a religion. I think I got what she wanted to say: when it was in the opposition, the party was something like the Holy Inquisitor, ready to send to the fire all the heretics that would not follow its theological incorruptibility. When in government, the party turned into one of those Eça de Queiros’ characters. Lula's party has even practiced the sin of selling forgiveness.
The PT, ethics, moral and the catholics
Reinaldo Azevedo

One interesting aspect that must be stressed is that the whole case was made public by the Federal Police, which is a government agency under the Ministry of Justice. Its effectiveness in unveiling crimes committed by PT members has been part of Lula's modus operandi of transparency, contrasting his government's stern posture toward its own misconducts with the actions of former presidents who would be quick to reach for damage control and cover up any situation that could menace their credibility.

“Não faz mais do que a obrigação”, dirão alguns com escárnio. Nesse país em que se faz tão menos que a obrigação, é admirável, sim, que a PF tenha tanta eficiência e discrição na condução de seus trabalhos de investigação, e presteza e independência na apresentação de resultados. A revelação, por parte de um órgão ligado ao governo do PT, da participação no crime por parte de no mínimo duas pessoas ligadas ao partido, neste momento crucial do processo eleitoral, é algo sem paralelo na história do Brasil. E, arrisco dizer, raro até em outros lugares do mundo. Ainda há esperança – palavra de que não gosto… – de que este país atinja um patamar mínimo de civilização, quem sabe, antes do fim do século 21.
Desgosto, orgulho, desgostoDesabafo Brasil

“Doing just what it was supposed to do”, that's what they will say. In this country where so many do less than they were supposed to, it is praiseworthy that the Federal Police displays such effectiveness and discretion in its investigations, and also clarity and independence when presenting its findings. The revelation by a PT government agency of the participation of two [or more] persons connected with the party, in this very crucial moment of the electoral process is something with no parallel in Brazil's history. And I dare to say that it is rare even in other parts of the world. There is still hope — a word that I dislike… — that this country will reach a minimum level of civility, who knows, before the end of the 21st century.
Disgust, pride, disgustDesabafo Brasil

The insistence of the media in considering the dossier scandal as an opportunity for invalidating Lula's run to reelection has generated strong rebuttal from the blogosphere. Many recently published articles are suggesting similarities between the present situation and Nixon's Watergate scandal. Bloggers respond.

O Estadão a cada dia, nos seus títulos, mostra o seu posicionamento. Hoje, dois deles chama a atenção: “Dossiê Vedoin provoca crise entre Poderes e contamina economia” e “Nixon ganhou eleição, mas caiu”. No primeiro caso, houve uma tentativa de atacar duas coisas fundamentais, a estabilidade institucional e a economia – esta, aliás, um dos grandes sucessos do governo Lula. O segundo é mais explícito, pois, ao lembrar o caso Watergate, estão investindo em uma linha auxiliar para o golpe.
Pesquisas mostram que o povo está com LulaBlog do Zé Dirceu

The ‘Estadao’ [Sao Paulo's newspaper] shows its stance each day in its headlines. There are two which particularly draw our attention today: ‘Vedoin Dossier causes crisis between institutional powers and contaminates the economy’, and ‘Nixon won the election, but had to resign afterwards’. The first case was an attempt to attack Lula's two fundamental mainstays: institutional stability and the economy, since the latter is one of his government's main achievements. The second one is more explicit as recollecting Watergate means a clear endorsement of a coup.
Polls shows that the crowds are with LulaBlog do Zé Dirceu

Em todo o imbróglio, a imprensa simplesmente abandonou a denúncia sobre a máfia dos sanguessugas e tratou o caso da compra de um dossiê como se fosse o estupro de uma criança de 4 anos. Onde está o crime, não visto até agora por ninguém exceto pelos mesmos de sempre? Os exemplos do papel lamentável da imprensa são legião, mas assistam esse vídeo da entrevista da TV UOL com o Presidente do TSE, Marco Aurélio Mello. A primeira pergunta do repórter já deixa claras as intenções: o que precisa acontecer para que a candidatura de Lula seja impugnada? A pergunta é tão vergonhosa e tendeciosa que o próprio repórter engasgou e sentiu a necessidade de inserir um “ou não” depois do subjuntivo do verbo “ser.”
Contra o golpismo, desta vez com ponderação
O Biscoito Fino e a Massa

In all this case, the media just abandoned the denouncement about the ‘bloodsucker’ gang and treated the negotiation of a dossier as it was a four year old child rape. Where is the crime, not perceived by anyone except the same old same old? There are many examples of the execrable role played by the media in this case, but just watch with the President of the Electoral Justice, Marco Aurélio Mello. The reporter's first question already shows his intentions: ‘what needs to happen in order to invalidate Lula's campaign?’ The question is so despicable and biased that the reporter gasped and felt the need to add a ‘or not’ after the if clause.
Against the coup, this time in a reasonable way
O Biscoito Fino e a Massa

Enquanto os dois lados do cabo-de-guerra-eleitoral disputam se o mais grave é a compra de documentos de acusação ou a acusação em si, a Fundação Getúlio Vargas publicou um outro dossiê. Este aponta uma queda significativa da pobreza no Brasil de 2003 para cá. A imprensa brasileira não publicou nada (ou quase), pois faz turbilhão só com o que lhe interessa…
Dossiês, dossiês: A queda da pobreza não atinge a mídiaVírgula-Imagem

While both sides of the electoral tug-of-war contend over which is more hazardous, negotiating for the dossier or the accusations it contains, the Getulio Vargas Foundation has published another dossier. This one indicates a significant decrease in Brazil's poverty from 2003 to now. Brazilian media has published nothing (or almost) about this, because it only promotes its own interests…
Dossiers, dossiers: Poverty decrease do not impact the mediaVírgula-Imagem

Even PT supporters are ready to admit that the political situation in Brazil has reached an unbearable point. The inflamed debate in the election campaign is intensifying the antagonism between factions, and by now it seems difficult to imagine how the parties will manage to promote the needed political dialogue after elections. It seems clear also that interests particularly related to the contest for state governor in Sao Paulo — the richest state — are being radiated to the rest of the country.

Dias atrás, falei da minha decepção em relação ao PT. Surgia, até 2002, como partido de verdade e no poder mostrou-se igual a todos os demais. Assistimos, agora, a esse novo caso relacionado com um certo dossiê cuja autenticidade quem sabe esteja além da dúvida. À decepção causada por comportamentos inadequados para uma agremiação política séria, compenetrada do seu papel e autenticamente envolvida com os interesses do país, junta-se a percepção de uma incompetência clamorosa por parte de segundos escalões, e talvez primeiros. É possível que nem mesmo esse novo caso altere o resultado final da eleição. Ainda assim, aqueles que urdiram esse lamentável enredo exibem uma falta de tino político de todos os pontos de vista assustadora. A eleição de Lula estava garantida, e provavelmente ainda está. Mas por que correr o risco de comprometê-la? Por que oferecer tanta munição ao tucanato e aos seus aliados? Por que beneficiar a mídia com um prato tão cheio?
A decepção e a incompetênciaBlog do Mino

A few days ago, I expressed my disillusionment in relation to PT. Until 2002 it has emerged as a true party but when in power showed itself similar to the others. Now we watch this new case of a certain dossier, the authenticity of which may be beyond doubt. The disillusionment caused by behaviors that are plainly inadequate for a serious political party is augmented by the blatant incompetence showed by its second rank members — and even it's first rank members. It is possible that even this new case does not alter the election final result. Still, thus according to any reasonable point of view, those who managed to create this deplorable plot showed an astounding lack of political discernment. Lula's election was guaranteed, and probably still is. But what is the reason that justifies taking risks this way? Why offer so much ammunition to the PSDB and its allies? Why hand the media such a full plate?
The disillusionment and the incompetenceBlog do Mino

Tucanos ou petistas, não importa. Estamos no meio de uma guerra paulista. PT e PSDB são partidos paulistas, dedicados a uma guerra assassina, movidos por motivos paulistas e tentando exportar esta guerra para todo o país… Consumidos num fogo interno, petistas e tucanos, paulistas, devotados a assuntos paulistas, destruindo-se mutuamente, exportam para todo o país esta guerra paulista. O restante do Brasil não compreende direito, não aceita ser um simples espectador desta guerra paulista. Embora esteja pagando a conta.
Ecos de uma guerra paulista (por Lucia Hippolito)Blog do Noblat

PSDB or PT, it doesn't matter. We are in the middle of a war in Sao Paulo State . PT and PSDB are Sao Paulo parties who are dedicated to an assassin war caused by Sao Paulo motives, and they are trying to export this war to the country as a whole…. The rest of the country does not understand the situation, and they don't accept being a mere audience to this Sao Paulo war. They are paying the bill.
Echoes from a Sao Paulo war (by Lucia Hippolito)Blog do Noblat

São tantos “cumpanheiros” com a cabeça decepada, membros amputados de um corpo disforme, que nunca como agora a palavra “partido” teve tanto significado. Só que as células que sobreviveram à infecção generalizada que tomou conta do PT, ao invés de se unirem para providenciar a cura com urgência, preferem disparar xingamentos à esmo contra a mídia e os adversários (aliás, ambos não modelos de sanidade nem de santidade, registre-se). A dose da anestesia geral chega a um nível alarmante. Do tamanho da popularidade do sorriso botox do presidente.
ANESTESIA GERALBlog do TAS

There are so many beheaded ‘cumpanheiros’ [PT's members] — amputated members from a deformed body — that the word ‘party’ never before had so much meaning. The cells that survived from the generalized infection that took over PT, instead of reforming themselves in order to urgently provide the needed cure, prefer to unleash attacks against the opposition and the media (which are not examples of sanity or sanctity either). The general sense of anesthesia is reaching alarming levels, as big as the President's botox-lifted smile.
General anesthesiaBlog do TAS

O episódio do dossiê Vedoin mostra, claramente, um PT em pedaços. As demissões dos presidentes da campanha de Lula à presidência, de Aloizio Mercadante ao governo São Paulo, é clara evidência do racha.Do lado do PSDB o quadro não é melhor. Há um conjunto de tucanos, liderados por Fernando Henrique Cardoso, que só conseguirá sobreviver em ambiente de guerra. Uma outra ala, liderada por Aécio Neves –e que certamente contará com o apoio de Geraldo Alckmin após as eleições—aposta em uma disputa política civilizada. O terceiro grande nome do partido, José Serra, ainda está quieto, sem definir publicamente qual será sua posição. Neste momento, está propenso à guerra. Baixada a temperatura das eleições, poderá repensar sua estratégia. Tem-se, portanto, em crise os dois principais partidos políticos brasileiros formados na redemocratização. O PT perdeu-se nessa estratégia guerrilheira aloucada; o PSDB, nessa ceia de cardeais definindo, sem consulta alguma, os candidatos do partido. Vinte e um anos após o início efetivo da democracia civil, o país não conseguiu consolidar um sistema partidário digno do nome. Daí a relevância da reforma política, assim que começar o próximo governo, seja quem for o vencedor.
Sem partidos
Luis Nassif

The Vedoin's Dossier episode clearly shows that PT is torn in pieces. The dismissal of Lula's and Aloizio Mercadante's [PT candidate for Sao Paulo state governor] campaign coordinators is clear evidence of this breaking apart. In the PSDB, the situation is not better. There is a group of PSDB members leaded by Fernando Henrique Cardoso that needs to maintain open political war in order to survive. Another faction, leaded by Aecio Neves — and who will count on Geraldo Alckmin's support after elections — wants a more civilized political discourse. José Serra — the party's third name — is still quiet without publicly defining his strategy. So we have crisis in the two main parties formed in the re-democratization process. PT got lost in its crazy guerrilla strategy. The PSDB cardinals also got it wrong in choosing candidates without any party consultation. Twenty one years after the festive start of civil democracy in this country, we have not reached a consolidated party system. That's why the political reform is so important and has to be started as soon as possible, no matter who wins.
Without parties
Luis Nassif

3 comments

  • En idioma español y desde São Paulo, hacemos seguimiento del proceso Brasileño. Lea nuestros post: CASO DOSSIERGATE DE LAS SANGUIJUELAS, ¿DE DONDE SALIÓ EL DINERO DEL DOSSIER?, ACTUANDO COMO EL PRÍNCIPE.
    Pero sentimnos que la discusión del Brasil, no se ha dado realmente del lado de la oposición ni del fundamentalismo del PT. Que es si de verdad solo basta con el voto de los pobres que reciben limosnas para ser válido la aprovación de un Presidente.
    Es muy fuerte que Lula insista en que no sabe de nada de lo pernicioso que sucede a su alrededor, y que apenas consiga articular que se trata de golpismo de elites, el caso de que puede ser derrotado.
    Lamentablemente Lula esta más valorizado de lo que realmente vale, y un segundo mandato correría de manera tragicómica, porque ya no reune las condiciones necesarias para mantener la cordura política.
    Saludos desde São Paulo.

    Bruz

  • […] The new scandal that blew up two weeks ago [about the bugging and cash – blogger Luis Assumpcao has covered this well, too here and Global Voices has a good scandal roundup here] led to the resignation of the chairman of his campaign committee, the man in charge of intelligence, a director of Banco Do Brasil, a former undersecretary of state, a personal assistant of the President himself and a few party (officials, all now indicted) – they all conspired to buy doctored information from a convict, trying to blame the former administration for bribes that actually went to MPs of the current administration. […]

  • […] On the tragic Friday afternoon that GOL Flight 1907 — which was expected to arrive in Brasilia at 6:12pm — plunged into the Amazon forest with 154 people aboard, this was not the important story in the Brazilian broadcast media. With two days left to the first round of the presidential election, the widely viewed Globo Network nightly news program Jornal Nacional placed greatest emphasis on showing pictures of the money captured by the Federal Police in the alleged election scandal called dossiergate. Strange as it seems, this news program which aired at 8pm did not say a word about the crash, and Brazilians were startled to be informed about the country’s greatest airline tragedy by cable CNN. […]

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