The economy of Brazil is shrinking so rapidly it could trigger a depression. The Zika virus endangers health of newborn babies. It appears ill-prepared for the coming Summer Olympics. Worst of all, a ginormous corruption scandal threatens the current government and previous president Lula. This is now ordinary scandal. It involves their ginormous energy company Petrobras and the ruling party. Dozens of high ranking politicians and business leaders have already been convicted are are in or are going to prison.
Former president Lula apparently became corrupted so quickly that one wonders he he ever actually believed the left wing platforms he championed.
“Lula’s dealings with construction tycoons and ranchers have nothing in common with his militant origins as a leftist,” said Marcelo Rubens Paiva, a columnist for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. “He was hanging out with figures that comrades on the left should be combating,” he added. “So, let Lula explain the origins of his assets.”
Now, Mr. da Silva’s handpicked successor, President Dilma Rousseff, is fighting to remain in office, fending off impeachment proceedings on charges of using money from state banks to cover budget shortfalls. Confidants of Mr. da Silva are in jail on charges of cashing in from billions in bribes surrounding the state-controlled oil company, Petrobras. And investigators are looking into whether proceeds from the scheme were used to finance Mr. da Silva’s and Ms. Rousseff’s presidential campaigns.
80 big fish have already gone to prison. Hey, maybe we should all congratulate Brazil of cleaning up their mess and use that as inspiration to put our obviously corrupt politicians and investment bankers in prison too.
As of last Friday, 80 notable politicians, business executives, and associates had been convicted in federal courts of embezzling public funds, conspiracy, and money laundering, and had served or were serving hard time.
The problems are compounded by the bigger predicament in which Brazil finds itself: the exhaustion of its variety of state capitalism and political system, long controlled by self-serving politicians with not much to offer.
This in a country already facing its longest recession in more than 80 years and a health emergency brought on by the Zika virus epidemic just as it prepares to attract global media attention as host to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.