Brazil: Congressional Bomb Busts Telecom Calm?

TeleSíntese (Brazil) reports: CPI das teles terá uma solução final nesta quarta-feira. A proposed commission of inquiry into the telecoms sector could rise from the dead and move forward.

A follow-up to

As A TARDE (Salvador, Bahia, Brazil) noted back in June: the Brazilian Congress has a proposal before it to review every single privatization contract for fixed-line and mobile telephony services from 1997-2007.

On calls for a “CPI of Anatel” — the local FCC-analogous regulatory agency, sort of — see also

Another proposed CPI still floating around limbo — as far as I know — would look at the sale of the TVA by the Grupo Abril to Spain’s Telefónica.

I read the other day that the minister of the Casa Civil has assured Abril that proposal will not be encouraged to prosper, but I read that in one of those political gossip columns, so who knows? See also

Anatel recently approved the deal, after requiring a restructuring of the shares to avoid giving Telefónica a controlling stake. See

Se depender do deputado Neucimar Fraga (PR/ES), a CPI das telecomunicações será desarquivada. O parlamentar é o relator do recurso nº 65, que pede o desarquivamento da comissão e, na próxima quarta-feira, dia 21, o recurso será apreciado pelos membros da Comissão de Constituição e Justiça (CCJ) da Câmara.

If it is up to federal lawmaker Neucimar Fraga (PR/ES), the CPI of telecommunications will be revived. The federal deputy is the sponsor of Resolution 65, which requests renewed consideration of the CPI. On Wednesday, November 21, the resolution will be taken up by members of the house [judiciary committee].

Fraga é favorável pela criação da CPI e no seu parecer ele concorda com os argumentos do seu colega de partido e autor do requerimento e também da CPI, deputado Wellington Fagundes (PR-MT). Fagundes entrou com recurso contra decisão da presidência da Câmara, que arquivou em junho deste ano o pedido de instituição de Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito, alegando questão regimental. A CPI iria investigar todos os contratos firmados entre a Anatel e as empresas outorgatárias dos serviços públicos na área de telefonia móvel e fixa, no período de 1997 a 2007.

Fraga favors a commission of inquiry on the topic, and agrees with the arguments of the author of the request to create it, Fagundes, also of the PR. Fagundes appealed against the decision of the chair, which [tabled] the proposal in June over a procedural question. The CPI was to look into contracts signed between Anatel and companies authorized to provide public services in the area of fixed and mobile telephony between 1997 and 2007.

The PR is the odd and interesting little party that could that produced the Vice-President, Mr. Alencar, as well as Mangabeira Unger of Harvard Yard, “Minister of the Future” — currently being loudly accused of conducting an “ideological purge” at the strategy planning minister he presides over.

Segundo a secretaria geral da Mesa da Câmara, a CPI foi arquivada porque dos 171 deputados que assinaram o pedido de abertura da comissão, um deles não exercia o mandato, fazendo com que o quórum mínimo exigido para a instalação da CPI não fosse cumprido. No entanto, o relator do recurso contrapôs e argumentou que o ato para a criação da CPI foi alcançado, já que naquele momento havia número suficiente de parlamentares que estavam exercendo adequadamente o mandato.

According to the secretary-general of the house leadership commission, the CPI was tabled because one of the 171 lawmakers who signed the petition requesting it was not currently serving his term, which meant that the quorum for installing such a commission was not met. However, the sponsor of the appeal argued that the quorum was met, given that at the time the petition was signed, a sufficient number of the signatory lawmakers were properly exercising their mandates.

Brazilian parliamentary procedure: Robert’s Rules of Order will not help you much in trying to grok them.

Em seu parecer, Fraga também argumentou que todos os parlamentares que assinaram o requerimento foram procurados e os mesmos atestaram formalmente que apoiavam a CPI, fato que segundo ele, é uma manifestação categórica que não pode ser desconsiderada.

In his opinion, Fraga also argued that all the lawmakers who signed the petition were polled, and attested formally that they supported the CPI, a fact that, according to him, is a categorical piece of evidence that cannot be overlooked.

What does it all mean? Is it likely or unlikely to happen?

Don’t ask me. I have not a single solitary clue.

What strikes me is the scope of the proposal, however: Taking the spotlight off a single deal — one fraught with momentary political passions rather than policy implications — and framing it in terms of long-term process that spans two administrations.

On which political passions see also

It seems like a familiar dynamic, though: In an attempt to actually get something useful done, you have to defuse the tendency for these affairs to devolve into an exercise in “moral panic” over specific poster-child cases, exploited for the purpose of election-year posturing.

If you actually have time to sit around and read CPI reports, you find that some of them are very informative. There is plenty of hope, you think, for the Brazilian legislator in general.

Other CPIs never get around to issuing a report at all, in which case the main attraction is the Kremlinological value, if any, of parsing the torrent of insults and hysterical, scandal-mongering theatrics involved — sometimes on live TV.

See also


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