The battle for Brazil’s prosecutor general job

bolsonaro raquel dodge prosecutor general vale brumadinho President Bolsonaro and Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge

Good morning! The heated battle for the prosecutor general position. Congressmen that broke ranks in the pension reform vote are courted by other parties. Vale agrees to compensate families of dam collapse victims. Petrobras fielding offers for oil refineries. Enjoy your read!

The battle for the prosecutor general job

Raquel Dodge’s two-year term as head of the Federal Prosecution Office comes to an end in September and President Jair Bolsonaro has yet to name a successor.

He has reportedly said his pick will come as a surprise. It is set to be presented at the 11th hour. Ms. Dodge has lobbied hard for a new term, though, while other candidates for the job are jockeying for position, trying to approach the president through mutual acquaintances. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Uncertainty over the appointment is a consequence of the Federal Prosecution Office being split over how to react to the recent Car Wash leaks. Over the past month, news website </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Intercept</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (in association with mainstream outlets) has leaked private messages exchanged by prosecutors showing illegalities in how Car Wash-related cases were handled. The latest batch of leaks created enormous discomfort within the institution, as it showed lead Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol discussing how to profit from the status he obtained thanks to the operation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As part of her strategy to pander to the president and retain her position, Ms. Dodge hosts Mr. Dallagnol today in Brasília—and should publicly support Operation Car Wash. But she faces some heat, after the Car Wash overseer in her office resigned, frustrated over delays in the investigations. One plea bargain deal is ready to be validated, but Ms. Dodge has yet to forward the papers to the Supreme Court. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One reason could be that the statements are damning to politicians on whom Ms. Dodge depends to be confirmed for a second term.</span></p> <hr /> <h2>Expulsions and attractions</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nineteen members of center-left parties PDT (Democratic Labor) and PSB (Brazilian Socialist Party) broke ranks and voted for the pension reform and now face punishment. In PDT, 2018 presidential candidate Ciro Gomes defends the outright expulsion of the eight dissidents. PSB&#8217;s ethics committee has opened an investigation against 11 congressmen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meanwhile, the center-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) is openly courting these dissidents. One reason is obvious. Rookie names like Tabata Amaral and Felipe Rigoni have received a lot of attention during their first six months in Congress. The idea would be to welcome fresh faces to a party that has come up short in the past five presidential races. Additionally, they are considered to be hot names for the 2020 municipal elections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But there&#8217;s another, more short-term benefit for trying to increase the party&#8217;s congressional caucus. Next year&#8217;s </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">electoral fund</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (which could be as much as BRL 3.7bn) is divided among parties proportionally to their seats in the House.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper: </b><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 2022 election has already started</span></a></li> </ul> <hr /> <h2>Vale settles compensation for deaths in Brumadinho</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mining giant Vale has reached a deal with the families of the 246 deaths and 24 missing persons following a tailings dam collapse. According to the Labor Prosecution Office, spouses, parents, and children of the victims will receive BRL 700,000 each; siblings BRL 150,000.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thus, the family of a deceased person leaving behind a wife and two children, both parents, and two siblings, would receive a combined BRL 3.8m. Families that depended on the income of Vale workers who died or disappeared following the incident will also receive pensions until they reach 75 years of age—with a minimum total of BRL 800,000.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Those who survived the tragedy will receive at least three years of job stability.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper: </b><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brumadinho investigation could lead to murder charge for Vale executives</span></a></li> </ul> <hr /> <h2>Petrobras fielding offers for refineries</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazil&#8217;s state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras announced it has begun</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">non-binding conversations with possible buyers of four of its refineries. These account for half the country&#8217;s refining capacity, at 1.1m barrels per day. Petrobras&#8217; logistics operations integrated to the refineries will also be sold.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For now, qualified potential buyers will get a descriptive memorandum with detailed information on the assets. The company is expected to raise around BRL 15bn with these divestments. The National Petrol Agency (ANP) has assured that auctions will respect antitrust regulations, so as not to allow a public monopoly to be simply replaced by a private one.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper: </b><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">What could Brazil gain from privatizing Petrobras?</span></a></li> </ul> <hr /> <h2>Also noteworthy</h2> <p><b>Robocalls.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Starting today, owners of a Brazilian mobile telephone line can put their numbers in a national &#8220;Do not disturb&#8221; database, created by Anatel, the National Telecommunications Agency. Within 30 days of enrollment, the number will be blocked from telemarketing lists. Companies disrespecting the ruling can face fines of up to BRL 50m.</span></p> <p><b>D.C. Embassy. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">President Jair Bolsonaro has begun evaluating the chances of the Senate blocking the nomination of his son Eduardo to the job of ambassador to the U.S. A few allied senators have voiced their concerns over the choice, which has worried the administration. In the Bolsonaros&#8217; favor, however, is the fact that Senate President Davi Alcolumbre signaled he will not manoeuver against Eduardo, even if personally disfavorable toward his nomination.</span></p> <p><b>Outbreak.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The state of São Paulo has registered 384 measles cases this year, 70% of which were contracted in the capital. Local authorities have promoted campaigns to vaccinate 2.9m people, but so far only 90,000 have been immunized. In 2016, the World Health Organization declared the Americas free of measles. Brazil lost that status after registering over 10,000 cases last year.</span></p> <p><b>Fake Ferraris.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The Santa Catarina Police busted a factory that made <a href="">fake luxury Ferraris and Lamborghinis</a>. The cars were advertised online and cost around 8% of the original value. Three members of a family suspected to be responsible were arrested.</span></p> <p><b>&#8220;Truthers&#8221;. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by NASA astronauts. But, for 26% of Brazilians, the event was staged by the U.S. government. Interestingly, people who were already born in 1969 are less prone to believing in the landing.

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Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.