“Every Toucan For Himself, As Baldy Drops the Other Shoe”


Marco Valério Fernandes de Souza: Kojak fan, mineiro, ad man and indicted slush-fund facilitation defendant. The hand gesture pictured in this Wikipedia portrait, in Brazil, by the way, means “shove it up your ass” rather than “okay.” A little Brazilian Wikihumor by the poster. Though the man’s maracutaias demonstrated a lack of partisanship rare in Brazilthe same has not been true of the two separate trials involving what looks an awful lot to me like the self-same money-laundering scheme.

The PSDB has decided to wash its hands of the issue of Azeredo’s involvement in the scheme. Party leaders avoided defending him in any way ahead of time and are waiting to see what the federal prosecutor has to say on the episode. Behind closed doors, Azeredo, who met this week with PSDB president Jereissati of Ceará and Senator Vãnia of Goiás in the office of Senator Guerra of Pernambuco, is demanding the party take a firmer stance in his defense. But that did not happen. He will have to defend himself alone.

In the view of this publication, an article cannot merely be “technically correct.” The journalist may write: “So-and-so is involved in a robbery.” Or the journalist may write: “They stole So-and-so’s wallet.” Both can be understood as “technically” correct. But the first version induces the reader into the erroneous belief that So-and-so may have stolen something. –Editorial manual of Último Segundo (Brazil)

Another exercise in journalistic selective attention for the day.

The Folha de S. Paulo headlines the story:

“Aécio Neves defends Eduardo Azeredo, calls him ‘a good man.'”

O Globo headlines it as follows:

That is

“Aécio Neves says Azeredo owes society an explanation over charges [that he headed, and knowingly benefited from, a scheme to launder embezzled public money into a political slush fund].”

The tenor of which is: No one in his party is defending Azeredo.

A follow-up to

BELO HORIZONTE E BRASÍLIA – O governador de Minas, Aécio Neves (PSDB), falou pela primeira vez sobre o inquérito da Polícia Federal que poderá resultar em denúncia ao Ministério Público contra o senador Eduardo Azeredo (PSDB) e 157 políticos de Minas. O próprio governador e o ministro das Relações Institucionais, Walfrido dos Mares Guia, estariam entre os acusados de envolvimento com o mensalão mineiro.

Minas Gerais governor Aécio Neves (PSDB) spoke today for the first time over the federal police investigation that could lead to a federal indictment of Senator Eduardo Azeredo and 157 Minas Gerais politicians. The government himself and the current minister of institutional relations, Mares Guia [of the PTB, Azeredo’s former lieutenant governor] might be among those charged of involvement with the [so-called] “Minas big monthly.”

– Acho que cada um tem que responder em relação às denúncias. Os homens públicos devem, todos eles, em qualquer momento, estar absolutamente prontos para dar explicações à sociedade – disse o governador nesta terça-feira.

“I think everyone has to provide an answer with respect to these charges. Public men, all public men, have the duty to be absolutely prompt at all times with explanations to society,” said the governor [yesterday].

O documento da PF cita o envolvimento dos políticos num esquema de caixa 2 durante a eleição de 1998, quando Azeredo tentou se reeleger governador de Minas. Segundo Aécio, há uma diferença muito grande entre o que ocorreu no plano federal – no episódio conhecido como mensalão – e os problemas que ocorreram na campanha do então candidato Azeredo. O governador argumentou que conhece bem o senador e ex-governador, que é um homem de bem.

The federal police report cites the involvement of these politicians in an illegal campaign finance scheme during the 1998 elections, when Azeredo was trying to win reelections as Minas governor. According to Neves, there is a big difference between the scheme at the federal level, known as “the big monthly” — and that the problems of the Azeredo campaign. The governor said he knows Azeredo well and that he is a “good and decent man.”

Yes, well, then again: perfectly nice people sometimes do wrong things.

Neves seems to be well advised in the public relations department, I always find.

He almost always makes a fair amount of tactful sense. Forewarned by the example of Mr. and Mrs. Fox in Mexico, he must have fired his sister and hired some solid professionals. Politics as a family business can be a bad business indeed, it seems.

Oddly, however, this report does not report what the current governor says he thinks those differences are between the two phases of the case.
Some observers are predicting the major difference will turn out to be that the scheme in Minas Gerais involved the embezzling of public money in the form of illegal donations by state-owned companies.

So this will be an interesting factoid to fact-check as the case unfolds.

The senior PT figures who will be tried in a separate matter, but involving the same colorful, Abramoff-like central figure — the man I like to refer to as Belo Horizonte Baldy, just to amuse myself — were not indicted on charges related to misuse of public funds, if I understand the case correctly.

Aécio não falou sobre a citação do próprio nome na lista anexada ao inquérito da PF. Na semana passada, a assessoria de imprensa do Palácio da Liberdade divulgou nota alegando que o governador considerava a lista falsa, opinião que já havia expressado em 2005, quando o assunto veio à tona pela primeira vez.

Aécio did not address the mention of his own name on the list appended to the report. Last week, his press office issued a statement saying the government believes the list to be a forgery — an opinion he also expressed in 2005 when the subject first came up.

And then disappeared during the election season, when Azeredo headed the “Coalition for a Decent Brazil” candidacy of São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin.

Until it came up again in 2006 and he had to resign over it.

O PSDB decidiu lavar as mãos em relação ao envolvimento de Azeredo com o mensalão mineiro. A cúpula do partido evitou fazer qualquer defesa antecipada e vai aguardar a posição da Procuradoria Geral da República em relação ao episódio. Nos bastidores, Azeredo, que se reuniu nesta terça com o presidente do PSDB, Tasso Jereisasati [sic] (CE) e a senadora Lúcia Vânia (PSDB-GO) no gabinete do senador Sérgio Guerra (PSDB-PE), cobrava uma postura mais firme do partido em sua defesa, o que não ocorreu. Ele deverá ficar sozinho em sua defesa.

The PSDB has decided to wash its hands of the issue of Azeredo’s involvement in the scheme. Party leaders avoided defending him in any way ahead of time and are waiting to see what the federal prosecutor has to say on the episode. Behind closed doors, Azeredo, who met this week with PSDB president Jereissati of Ceará and Senator Vãnia of Goiás in the office of Senator Guerra of Pernambuco, is demanding the party take a firmer stance in his defense. But that did not happen. He will have to defend himself on his own.

According to the Folha de S. Paulo, however, Neves is defending him.

Which seems to be true.

On a personal level, that is.

As a nice guy.

As in, “I wish him luck. He’s going to need it.”

– Ele (Azeredo) tem apresentado as suas justificativas e caberá ao procurador, em primeira instância, analisá-las e, obviamente, na seqüência, ao Supremo Tribunal Federal – disse Aécio.

“He (Azeredo) has presented his explanations and it will be up to the prosecutor to analyze them, followed, obviously, by the Supreme Court,” Neves said.

The Supreme Court will decide whether to accept the indictment or not. Azeredo was predicting last week he would not even be indicted. Neves seems to be betting otherwise here. Or am I over-reading?

More kremlinology on the parallel cases of political slush-fund pumping for fun and profit:

O procurador-geral da República, Antonio Fernando de Souza divergiu do presidente Lula sobre evidências contra o ex-chefe da Casa Civil José Dirceu no esquema do mensalão, e demonstrou irritação com o excesso de publicidade dado ao relatório da Polícia Federal sobre o chamado mensalão mineiro.

The federal prosecutor, de Souza, disagreed with president Lula about the evidence against Lula’s former chief minister, and showed irritation over the excessive publicity given to the federal police report on the Minas Gerais angle to the [Belo Horizonte Baldy Pipeline of Funny Money.]

Lula told the New York Times last week he thought there was little if any evidence against Dirceu.

Segundo ele, na denúncia que deverá apresentar ao STF, as conclusões do documento da polícia não serão levadas em conta – e sim o inquérito que tramita na Corte. O procurador criticou o caráter opinativo do relatório.

According to de Souza, in the charges he will present to the Supreme Court, the conclusions of the police report will not be taken into account. They will instead be based on the Court’s own investigation.

Which is based on what?

The prosecutor criticized the opinionated tone of the report.

I can sympathize.

There’s nothing I disdain more myself than Larry Rohter-style editorializing in the news hole.

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