Brazil: Net-citizens have fun shooting corrupt politicians

After finding himself the target of a Federal Police investigation as the leader of the latest corruption network to scandalize Brazil, José Arruda, Governor of the Federal District, can now be shot by net citizens in an online video game. Launched by the Movimento Brasília Limpa [Clean Up Brasília Movement, pt], the game features Arruda and panettone (once simply a popular Christmas cake, but now a symbol of the fight against corruption in the country) flying through the air. Paola Lima [pt] explains how to play:

O passatempo é simples – e feito em cima do que se tornou o símbolo da crise, o panetone. O jogador tem de destruir os quitutes natalinos que aparecem na tela, assim como os bonequinhos do governador José Roberto Arruda. Ao fim do jogo, a mensagem: “Você ajudou a limpar Brasília”.

The game is simple and is based on what has come to be the symbol of the crisis, panettone. The player has to destroy the Christmas delicacies that appear on the screen, along with images of Governor José Roberto Arruda. At the end of the game the message “You have helped to clean up Brasília” is displayed.
Movimento Brasília Limpa

Movimento Brasília Limpa

Arruda's panetone. Hit the corrupted politician to clean up Brasília.Panetone is 1 point, Arruda is 5 points. We support the Clean Up Brasília Movement.

The inspiration for the game was the events of November 2009, when the Federal Police accused Arruda of being in charge of a syndicate based on bribery and passive and active corruption that allegedly distributed a monthly sum of R$ 600,000 (approximately US$ 340,000) to its allies. His misdeeds were caught on camera and spread around the country via YouTube. Arruda denied all charges and claimed that the money had been donated to buy panettone for the poor.

Needless to say, this excuse only added to the scandal and has given rise to a number of jokes; even children have been poking fun and calling for Arruda’s removal from government. Many songs, animations and video clips have appeared on YouTube, all using the ready-made public footage to retell the story, seasoned with a lot of mockery. It seems that Brazilians are using humor and the Internet to make sure that the public – famous for their short memory when it comes to politics – does not forget about this case.

In this series of clips (in Portuguese) the actors recreate scenes based on the images of the Governor and his allies tucking money into their underwear, socks and jackets, substituting panettone for the money.

MC Paulada has created two funk songs (both in Portuguese) to celebrate the “Pandora's Box” scandal.

MC Paulada/You Tube

MC Paulada/You Tube

In the “Arruda Out! Pandora's Box Funk” (above), the video clip begins with a voice saying, “OK, let’s count the profits. Oh no, the Federal Police! We’re fucked, what can we do? Tuck the money into your underwear, no, your socks… no, your underwear! It doesn't matter, let's go, let's go!!!”
MC Paulada/You Tube

MC Paulada/You Tube

In “Arruda and the funk of the stashed money”, MC Paulada inserts a voice saying: “Where is our money? It’s all stashed in our socks, suits, underwear and bags.”

The “Pandora's Box” police investigation will be resumed after the Christmas and New Year’s Eve recession, when the Supreme Court and the Federal Chamber will set up a Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) to analyze the case. If the institutions do not choose a more effective method of investigation, slow bureaucratic procedures will make the chances of an impeachment scarce, and Arruda could end his term before the next election, due in October 2010.


“Arruda's Panettone” is not the first online game featuring Brazilian politicians accused of various misdeeds. The President of the Senate, José Sarney, accused of nepotism back in July, has also been a target. The aim of the following game is to shoot Sarney's head with a cannonball while he is surrounded by other legislators. It is a lot of fun, and you can work your way up through different levels. The game was created by the website Parece Piada. Click below to play:

Knock Sarney down! It‘s your turn to put the Congress in order!

The tradition goes back to the 1990s, when former Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello, who was impeached in 1992, was the target. According to Futepoca [pt], Collor's was the first game of its kind:

O primeiro escândalo de corrupção a ganhar as telas de vídeogames e computadores foi o que envolvia o então presidente Fernando Collor de Mello. Com o nome “Roxo”, o objetivo do passatempo era acertar a figura de um caricato mandatário – com faixa presidencial a tira-colo – com um martelo. Ao garantir o sucesso da empreitada, o pequeno Collor no joguinho, seu membro ganhava a cor roxa e surgia um balãozinho com o dizer: “Ui!”. Tudo em alusão à declaração do próprio alvo da piada, ainda em campanha eleitoral, de que ele teria “aquilo roxo”.

The first corruption scandal to be enjoyed on gaming and computer screens featured former President Fernando Collor de Mello. The goal of the game, called “Purple,” was to use a hammer to hit the ludicrous figure of the politician wearing the presidential sash. If successful, Collor's penis became purple and a little speech balloon appeared saying “U!”. The game alluded to a remark made during an electoral campaign by the butt of the joke himself, saying that his “thing [was] purple” [meaning that he was a brave, courageous, fearless, “real” man].

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