The Brazilian scene – XII

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Comments on recent events.

The Covid-19 CPI continues to focus attention. The testimony of the general director of Anvisa, Rear Admiral Antonio Barra Torres, confirmed what was suspected, a criminal attempt to change the package leaflet of a medicine to include an indication in the fight against Covid-19. The main physician involved denies her collaboration. But Anvisa's general director was emphatic and, by the way, quite convincing.

Antonio Barra Torres was also convincing when he said that he does not agree with the government's delaying measures, headed by President Jair M. Bolsonaro - such as the denialist posture, the non-acceptance of the restrictions imposed by mayors and governors, the defense of agglomerations and the lack of concern with vaccination in general. An excellent testimonial that will help the CPI to determine the due responsibilities.

O jornal The State of S. Paul, in a series of reports, continues to reveal the “secret budget” of 3 billion reais used directly by indication of parliamentarians. Most of the resources were allocated to Codevasp, an institution that takes care of the São Francisco Valley and whose commissioned staff were appointed by Centrão deputies. These funds – unconstitutionally allocated without limits per parliamentarian – mainly benefited the leaders of the Chamber and the Senate or who were, in the case of Davi Alcolumbre.

This type of operation makes it difficult for the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) to control it. The first signs of overbilling have already come to light; in tractors purchased to meet clientelistic projects, in the purest sense of the word, of congressmen together with their electorate. A serious problem because – as it is a parallel budget – it makes immediate inspection impossible.

This Wednesday, the Chamber of Deputies approved Bill 3729/2004, the general environmental licensing law, in the version modified by the report by Deputy Neri Geller (PP-MT). The deputy proposes the total release of licensing for seventeen types of undertakings. This means that the current legislation will be practically annulled after many struggles and achievements by environmentalists.

Some deputies have drawn attention to the unconstitutionality of Deputy Geller's proposal, as it violates certain fundamental clauses of the constitution. In any case, yet another erosion of Brazil in the environmental area in the face of the group of nations that pressure the country to adopt customary policies consistent with the environmental licensing law of 2004.

It is worth highlighting, although it occupied a secondary place in the national press, the new dismantling actions of the Ministry of Education. Two facts to highlight: the appointment of the current president of CAPES, coming from a course that was approved with a score of 2 by CAPES itself in the last evaluation, and the fraud that is being investigated by the Federal Police regarding the 2019 ENADE exam. of a dismantling of two important institutions for Brazilian education built due to decades of struggle aimed at the independence of the evaluation of the performance of the courses and the evaluation of the students. Two serious events in the management of the current Minister of Education, the Presbyterian pastor Milton Ribeiro.

On Tuesday, in the Chamber of Deputies, a hearing on administrative reform took place. Before the conclusion of the works, Minister Paulo Guedes withdrew from the meeting, leaving the questions of most of the parliamentarians present at the meeting unanswered. The question is: what does Paulo Guedes fear? Deputy Maria do Rosário (PT-RS) accuses the Federal Government's current proposal for administrative reform of being evasive and denialist in the face of the principles – stony clauses – of the Constitution, which guarantee the immobility and perpetuity of administrative positions obtained through public tenders. Everything suggests that the administrative reform will still be the scene of many controversies.

Also on Tuesday, the suspicion was reported, arising from the testimony of “award-winning denunciation” by former governor Sérgio Cabral, about a possible receipt of bribes by the minister of the STF Dias Toffoli, in an operation that involved the law firm of your wife. This is a serious accusation that will bring a lot of tension to the STF, to the legal and political world in general.

*Benicio Viero Schmidt is a retired professor of sociology at UnB. Author, among other books, of The State and urban policy in Brazil (LP&M).


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