The lessons of the mensalão trial in brazil

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The lessons of the mensalão trial in brazil

  1. 1. THE LESSONS OF THE “MENSALÃO” TRIAL IN BRAZIL Fernando Alcoforado * The outcome of the trial which condemned all those involved in the "mensalão" process of political corruption whose sentence will start today (15/11/2013) based on the decision of the Supreme Court is a historic decision for Brazil because denuded the ills of Brazilian politics in the contemporary era while also allowing the Brazilian people realize that it is imperative to make not only a profound political reform , but the reform of the State and Public Administration in Brazil so there is no repetition of facts such as those unfortunate object of this process. Role in this historic decision of the Supreme Court was met by its chairman and rapporteur of the "mensalão", Minister Joaquim Barbosa. The Brazilian nation owes much to Joaquim Barbosa for the outcome of the process of “mensalão”. To lay bare the ills of Brazilian politics, the process of "mensalão" made it clear that there was a scheme to buy political support of parliamentarians by the federal government. The Supreme Court decision that puts the chain leading figures of the PTWorkers Party and allied parties, group that a decade governs Brazil, shows that the holders of political power in Brazil does not deserve the trust of the nation. The PT, which the government is putting in place economic policies diametrically opposed to what stood before assuming power in 2002, ceased to be a party also advocate for ethics in politics to have several of its leaders convicted of corrupt practices and training gang. In other words, the PT betrayed the historic compromise he had taken in the past. Another lesson to be extracted from the process of "mensalão" is the fact that, when deciding whether to arrest José Dirceu, José Genoíno, Marcos Valerio and Delúbio Soares, among others, the Supreme Court shows that , in Brazil, there isn´t no more certainty of impunity. When analyzing the case of the "mensalão" still on trial in the Supreme Court with the so-called embargoes infringing, most people attribute this fact to misconduct policy ethically that result from human greed for money and power that if they are properly punished those responsible, that shall not be repeated. However, the punishment of the responsibles by "mensalão" crime by the Supreme Court is not sufficient to prevent recurrence. New " mensalões " may occur in the future in a less ostentatious as occurred in 2003 and no whistleblowers as Roberto Jefferson because the main cause of the "mensalão" refers to the need of holding the Executive to constitute the necessary majority in Parliament in order to get governance, ie avoiding the paralysis of government action if the central government does not get a parliamentary majority seeking the approval of projects of interest. As long as the current Constitution, there is great possibility of new "mensalões". Importantly, the imperative of the parliamentary majority in Brazil resulted largely from the Constitution instituted in 1988 because his whole conception was based on the parliamentary model in which power is exercised jointly by the Executive and by Congress. The political system in Brazil is a mixed presidential and parliamentary, in which the president needs a parliamentary majority to govern. The ""mensalão" appeared before the Lula government's need to obtain a parliamentary majority seeking the approval of projects of government interest in Congress. In politically advanced countries, the Executive obtains a majority in parliament through agreements ideologically grounded. In Brazil, the case of "mensalão" shows 1
  2. 2. that Lula tried to form a parliamentary majority seeking approval for their projects in Congress to buy votes for parliamentary parties linked to physiological as the PMDB, PL, PTB, etc. using fraudulently, public resources, in the same way also conducted an outright purchase of votes of the "bottom" in the social scale with the institutionalization of the “Bolsa Família” program to reach the electoral support of the poor in Brazil, under the pretext to develop social programs to support the poor. Both actions, parliamentary and social make up part of the strategy of maintaining the power of the PT in Brazil. In the context of this strategy were implemented over two actions: one, to provide facilities "to the top" in the social scale, especially in the financial system that has achieved the highest profits in the history of Brazil, and another, paralysis of social movements in their claims against the government and the ruling classes with the offer of benefits offered by the Lula government to union leaders parties and ideological support that control the unions. The ruling classes have nothing to complain of the Lula government nor the union movement stagnated in the past 10 years. Only recently, during the government Dilma Rousseff is that the movements demanding left the lethargy in which they were in default of their leaders. Not only the "mensalão" is the result of a poorly made constitution as 1988. There are other anomalies as that determines the choice of the members of the Judiciary is made by the President, many of which are chosen without the necessary legal knowledge as is the case of Ricardo Lewandowsky and Dias Toffoli who are on the Supreme Court thanks to their past links with the former president Lula. Although most members of the Supreme Court have been appointed by former President Lula, most of them are having behavior authentic magistrate, except for the two mentioned above who have tried at all costs to avoid the condemnation of the mentors of "mensalão". All these facts show that Machiavelli was right when he said in 1513 that the most ambition of politician is the conquest, maintaining and expanding power. This is the case of Lula and the PT. To achieve and maintain this power no matter the means. The political world in Brazil is being ruled by acts, adjustments and unorthodox arrangements, that has its own rules, not following the logic of Ethics governing the moral conduct of people in general as well epitomizes the "mensalão". In general, the ethical politician is in the midst of people ambitious, corrupt, violent and insolent. If he does not behave "realistically", loses its power. Representative democracy in Brazil shows clear signs of exhaustion not only by corruption scandals in the powers of the Republic, but especially to discourage popular participation, reducing political activity to electoral processes that recur periodically in which the people elect their representatives in which, with few exceptions, after the elections come to defend the interests of economic groups in opposition to the interests of those who elected them. In practice, everything works as if the people offered every leader of every parliamentary and executive power a blank check to do what they want after they occupy their elected positions. The facts of the reality show that is the need to put a stop to the escalation of corruption in Brazil with the mobilization of civil society with a view to convening a Constituent Assembly in order to conduct a thorough Reform Political, and Reform of the State and Public Management in Brazil. The Constituent Assembly wouldn´t be composed of the current members of Congress. Its members would be elected by the people with the sole mission to accelerate reform in the Constitution now being implemented in Brazil in the 1-year horizon. Without reform of the Constitution in the terms proposed above, Brazil 2
  3. 3. will continue to be the stage of the ethical and political debacle which led to the "mensalão". * Alcoforado, Fernando, engineer and doctor of Territorial Planning and Regional Development from the University of Barcelona, a university professor and consultant in strategic planning, business planning, regional planning and planning of energy systems, is the author of Globalização (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1997), De Collor a FHC- O Brasil e a Nova (Des)ordem Mundial (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1998), Um Projeto para o Brasil (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2000), Os condicionantes do desenvolvimento do Estado da Bahia (Tese de doutorado. Universidade de Barcelona, http://www.tesisenred.net/handle/10803/1944, 2003), Globalização e Desenvolvimento (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2006), Bahia- Desenvolvimento do Século XVI ao Século XX e Objetivos Estratégicos na Era Contemporânea (EGBA, Salvador, 2008), The Necessary Conditions of the Economic and Social Development-The Case of the State of Bahia (VDM Verlag Dr. Muller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010), Aquecimento Global e Catástrofe Planetária (P&A Gráfica e Editora, Salvador, 2010), Amazônia Sustentável- Para o progresso do Brasil e combate ao aquecimento global (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2011) and Os Fatores Condicionantes do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2012), among others. 3

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