The arrest of José Dirceu and its consequences

BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 03 Aug 2015 by Murillo de Aragão and Cristiano Noronha

The arrest of José Dirceu in the Lava Jato Operation will increase pressure on the PT even further.Especially taking in consideration that the incident occurred at the same time as Renato Duque, former Petrobras director, is negotiating a plea bargain deal.

The combination of these two facts may be the nitroglycerine that blows up the entire scandal. Why?

First, due to the fact that Duque may seriously incriminate the PT and its leaders in the operations involving construction companies and Petrobras suppliers.

Ironically, the 17th phase of the Lava Jato is known as Operation Pixuleco, a reference to the term used by PT treasurer João Vaccari Neto in referring to the generous donations from Petrobras suppliers to the PT.

The second point lies in the near certainty that Duque will confirm that many of the works conducted by Dirceu’s consulting company were, in fact, disguised political contributions.This suspicion had been previously brought up in the testimonies of Ricardo Pessoa, Julio Camargo (Toyo Setal) and consultant Milton Pascowitch.

Third, due to the fact that the former minister has suffered considerable wear, and may lack the necessary strength to fight another round of accusations, he may negotiate a plea bargain deal in the wake of Renato Duque’s deal.There is also a fear that Dirceu’s brother, Luiz Eduardo de Oliveira e Silva, and his former advisor, Roberto Marques, will “give up” the scheme orchestrated by the former minister.

Another aggravating factors lies in the fact that, according to the general prosecutor, Carlos Fernando dos Santos, José Dirceu “repeated the mensalão scheme” in Petrobras, and was its “instituter and beneficiary,” even after the mensalão trial.

The statements made by Carlos Fernando seriously affect the image of former president Lula, the PT and the Dilma administration, as the former PT president orchestrated the petrolão while he was minister of the Civil House.

Dirceu’s arrest will have other consequences, such as:

The PT will be seen as a corrupt party, since Dirceu was protected by his party after he was convicted in the mensalão case;
It will reach the Dilma administration.Even though the former minister does not hold office in the current administration, he was the architect of the PT power project;
Expansion of the mobilization for panelaços during the PT party ad, which airs next Thursday (6), and will add fuel to the protests scheduled for the 16th.
Increased risk that José Dirceu will be summoned to testify in the Petrobras CPI;
Increased internal questioning of the PT’s current leaders, allies of Dirceu in the PT’s internal political game.

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