It’s just as well that the Brazilian national football team is enjoying a resurgence of successes after their abysmal performance at the Copa America. The ‘seleção brasileira’, under new management from Tite, became the first team in the world to qualify for the 2018 world cup in Russia next year – providing a much needed source of national pride at a time when the country is being subsumed in political scandal and economic disaffection. One wonders if President Michel Temer must not regret weaseling his way into power now that he sees the headache it brings. Eight of his ministers have been named in the latest round of the Lava Jato graft probe, which continues its long march to clean out the Augean stables of political power in Brasilia. Temer has already lost one top cabinet member, Romero Juca, who was forced to resign just two weeks after the new president took over following the release of a recorded phone conversation in which Juca can be heard stressing the need to topple then President Rousseff from power in order to “stop the bleeding” from the Lava Jato investigation. Dilma seized on this as definitive proof that her impeachment was plainly a clandestine coup by political opponents, but nothing much came of it and Juca, though out of the cabinet, was able to return to his senatorial post in the Congress.
Having left Brazil myself several weeks ago, I had thought I wouldn’t blog again about it, but a recent string of shocking events compels me to revisit the matter. Rio de Janeiro, the city in which I lived, has in particular featured prominently in the turmoil. I thought I’d focus there in this blog post and then, in the next, pan out to give a broader view of what’s going on across the country.