Massive protests in Brazil are posing a grave threat to Dilma Rousseff’s presidency

(c) DR

A protest occurred on March 15th in Brazil to denounce the Petrobras corruption affair and  to demand Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment.

A multibillion dollar corruption affair

In 2014, an investigation by the Brazilian Police placed Petrobras – a state controlled oil giant company- at the center of a multibillion dollar corruption scandal. Mr. Costa, who ran Petrobras’ refining division from 2004 to 2012 accused ministers, state governors, congressmen, and many other politicians to be involved in the corruption scandal –all being part of Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party. He accused them to have packeted 3% of the value of the company contracts. At that time, when the corruption happened, the President, Dilma Rousseff was the chairman of the Company.

The massive demonstrations

On March the 15th a large demonstration happened in Brazil. It was the largest in the country since 1985. At that time the protest had led to the end of the military dictatorship in the country. The protest took place dozens of cities throughout the country like in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or Brasília. According to the military police, 1, 5 million Brazilians were present to protest against the President. In total, 62% of the Brazilian disapprove her. Many of the protesters demanded Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, and a minority asked for military intervention against her. On the 12th April, Brazilians organized another mass demonstration, but fewer participants were registered: about 700 000 according to the police and 1, 5 million according to the demonstrators.

But the President isn’t’ endangered as she isn’t directly involved in the affair, and the events happened before her current term.

The real problem: corruption in Latin America

After the demonstration, Dilma Rousseff announced that measures would be taken to fight corruption in the country. The 18th March she delivered the anti-corruption measures at e ceremony held in the presidential palace. The measures include that now all government member need to have a clean criminal record. She said: « We are a government that does not compromise on corruption … This is a decisive step to increase the government’s ability and power to prevent and combat corruption and impunity”.

But Brazil isn’t the only Latin American country facing corruption affair. According to Transparency International’s “corruption perception index”[1]  most of the Latin America countries have a high elevated corruption level. We can for example mention the kidnapping of 43 students in Mexico in November 2014 that involved a mayor and police officials. Or more lately Cristina Fernandez, Argentina’s president accused of having enriched herself during dozens years in power[2].

 

[1] All Transparency International results can be seen on their official website: http://www.transparency.org/

[2] For more details about corruption in Latin America : http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21646272-despite-epidemic-scandal-region-making-progress-against-plague-democracy

Romina REBOIS

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