Brazil’s calvary

On July 12, Sergio Moro, the federal judge presiding over the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations in Curitiba, duly delivered his most important contribution to the coup process in his country. He sentenced former Workers' Party president Lula da Silva to nine and a half years in prison for passive corruption and laundering money received … Continue reading Brazil’s calvary

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Deepening crisis in Brazil

Yesterday afternoon a light plane carrying four passengers crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. One of the bodies recovered was that of Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge responsible for oversight of the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations and judgement of cases against politicians who, by virtue of currently … Continue reading Deepening crisis in Brazil

Initial reflections on Brexit

I returned from Brazil to the UK to vote in the referendum, and now find myself observing another crisis. It may well eventually lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom, given the large majority in favour of remaining in Europe in Scotland and the prospect of a second referendum on Scottish independence. Ironically, to … Continue reading Initial reflections on Brexit

The coup unfolds

On Wednesday, three supreme court judges publicly scolded President Dilma Rousseff for describing the impeachment vote in the house of deputies as a coup. They were Celso de Mello, Dias Toffoli, and, no surprise, Gilmar Mendes. The judges' grounds for attacking the "very grave mistake" of the President were that the congress has respected the … Continue reading The coup unfolds

The Observer view on Brazil

Yesterday the British Observer newspaper (the Sunday version of The Guardian newspaper) published an editorial on the Brazilian crisis that reached the following conclusion: Democracy in Brazil, restored in 1985 after 20 years of military dictatorship, is not such a robust plant that it could not be uprooted afresh by a combination of wholesale political failure … Continue reading The Observer view on Brazil

Lawfare continues

Supreme Court judge Gilmar Mendes has suspended Lula's nomination as Chief of Staff and returned his case to the jurisdiction of Sergio Mora. Who is Gilmar Mendes? Appointed to the supreme court by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Mendes provoked controversy by apparently protecting the financier Daniel Dantas, under investigation by the Federal Police for money laundering. … Continue reading Lawfare continues

The Brazilian political crisis

The crisis provoked by the actions taken against ex-President Lula by the federal police and São Paulo Public Prosecutor's office earlier in the month is continuing to escalate. Yesterday Federal Judge Sérgio Moro, in charge of the Lava-Jato (Operation Carwash) cases, made public the transcripts of wire taps of phone conversations between President Dilma and … Continue reading The Brazilian political crisis

Europe’s crises

It is encouraging that what was generally portrayed by the British press as a crisis of "migrants flooding across borders" is now increasingly seen as a refugee crisis, evoking a strong tide of humanitarian sentiment, particularly in Germany but also in the UK, where the Cameron government has been forced to backtrack somewhat from its … Continue reading Europe’s crises

Sleepwalking to catastrophe

So the country that destroyed two thirds of Greece's economic capacity during the Second World War has now succeeded in obliging the European Union to impose a "settlement" on Greece that guarantees the majority of its citizens an even grimmer future than they could have expected when they voted "no" to the previous proposals on … Continue reading Sleepwalking to catastrophe

The moment of truth in Europe

The majority secured by the "no" vote in the Greek referendum left no room for doubt about what most Greeks now expect from their elected government. Yet Alexis Tsipras immediately obliged Yanis Varoufakis to resign as finance minister and entered into talks with the opposition political parties that it had just defeated. What should we … Continue reading The moment of truth in Europe