The neoliberal politicians who impeached Brazil's president and took over are imploding in spectacular corruption scandals

Last June, a group of business-friendly right-wing politicians staged a legal coup and had president Dilma Rousseff removed, putting convicted fraudster Michel Temer in her office, which he used as an auction-block from which to sell off his country's crown jewels at knock-down prices to his pals, while slashing public services.

Three of Temer's ministers resigned in the months after the coup, and now a fourth one has gone — all fallen in corruption scandals that implicate Temer and his backers.

That's not the last of it: the entire Temer establishment is embroiled is a "Caixa dois" ("second box") scandal about the illegal laundering of campaign funds to hide bribery of politicians. One of the billionaires behind the scandal is now finalizing a plea bargain in which he expected to name lots of names.

Temer's government has been caught attempting to sneak through legislation that granted them all retroactive immunity for bribery through caixa dois, and having failed once, are again trying to pass this legislation (it seems likely they'll succeed).

Even if that gambit succeeds, the Temer regime isn't in the clear. A new scandal, involving a minister who just resigned, has ministers and the president using political influence to secure permission for their own business-dealings. The former Minister of Culture, Marcelo Calero, resigned last week and blew the whistle on the scandal, and continues to release damning information about the scandal's reach into Temer's office.

Meanwhile, the scandals that caused the earlier ministerial resignations continue to unfold. The former speaker of the house is awaiting trial for money-laundering; and now another party stalwart, Sérgio Cabral, the former Governor of Rio de Janeiro, has been arrested for corruption.

Remember, Temer's gang deposed Dilma over corruption and swore to clean house — instead, they've overseen a carnival of corruption and an orgy of self-dealing, accompanied by cruel austerity for the majority of Brazilians, who live in poverty.

In some ways, to Brazil's oligarchical class, served (as always) by its media, it does not much matter what happens to Temer. Like Cunha before him, Temer has served his purpose: he just oversaw passage of a radical austerity measure that – in the face of Brazil's negative growth – literally amended the Constitution to bar spending increases beyond the rate of inflation for 20 years. Since entering office, he has overseen an orgy of privatization, austerity and spending freezes that Brazil's oligarchical class has long craved. And, most of all, he was the tool used to remove Dilma. Recall that Temer himself, when speaking in New York in September to foreign investors and foreign policy elites, admitted that Dilma's impeachment was due in large part to her refusal to accept his party's austerity program, a stunning admission which Brazil's big media completely ignored. Whether he is impeached in favor of new elections or is permitted to stumble through the remainder of his term as a widely despised figure matters little to them. They got what they wanted.

Nonetheless, the true purpose of impeachment now stands so nakedly revealed that even the prime media authors of impeachment are being forced to acknowledge what, until very recently, they viciously mocked: that the real purpose was to protect and empower the corrupt. But as vindicated as they now are, impeachment opponents can feel no sense of celebration, as these latest events simply yet again mean that the Brazilian people will continue to suffer greatly from a political and elite class that has failed them through the most glaring deceit and oozing corruption. The greatest fraud of all was that Dilma's impeachment was sold to them as a means of ridding the country of mismanagement and corruption when, from the start, it was designed to do exactly the opposite.

In Brazil, Major New Corruption Scandals Engulf the Faction that Impeached Dilma
[Glenn Greenwald/The Intercept]

Brazil minister resigns over corruption scandal

()Image: Michel Temer president, Mauricioomlb, CC-BY-SA)