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Brazilians Protest against Changes to Anti-Corruption Bill

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Dec 5, 2016, 4:14 pm
Brazilians are unhappy about
Brazilians are unhappy that Congress has watered down anti-corruption provisions (Nacion).

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Anti-corruption protests swept across Brazil as citizens took to the streets to protest against rampant perceived graft and abuse of power.

Although the demonstrations were not as large as those in 2015 against Dilma Rousseff, the biggest marches took place in the Sao Paulo’s business district, and on the beach in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro.

The movements that organized the marches avoided directing their criticism towards current president Michel Temer; on the contrary, they zeroed in on Senator Renan Calheiros and his colleagues who voted for the amnesty law.

Many protesters also called for the elimination of Congressional immunity, which prevent politicians with pending criminal charges from being tried by ordinary courts.

The protest signs contained messages like “Kick Out the Thieves!” and “We are all Sergio Moro,” the judge in charge of the historic Lava Jato investigation, which has sent dozens of politicians and businessmen to prison.

Protesters are unhappy after the lower house of Congress passed several amendments to a landmark anti-corruption bill last Tuesday. They say politicians regularly try to intimidate prosecutors.

“The politicians, who are being investigated, watered down the bill,” say the protesters, who controversially included in the legislation the prospect of harsh punishment for judges and prosecutors who abuse their powers.

In response, the team of prosecutors heading the Lava Jato operation threatened to resign, prompting Senator Calheiros to attempt to speed up the process of ramming the controversial legislation through Congress, sparking the fury of many Brazilians who took to the streets to participate in a “cacerolazo”; the traditional Brazilian protest in which marchers bang pots and pans in disgust.

The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate before it becomes law.

According to the newspaper O Globo there were marches in 18 states of the country (of a total 27). While the majority of protests attracted large turnout, other states reported only minor gatherings.

Sources: BBC; Clarion

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Peruvian Diplomat Reveals Heated 1980 Debate with Fidel Castro over 10,000 Cuban Exiles

By: Karina Martín - Dec 5, 2016, 2:47 pm
ernesto-pinto-bazurco-embajador-peru-cuba-cubanos-fidel-castro

EspañolPeru's former ambassador to Cuba Ernesto Pinto-Bazurco Rittler recently told a story about April 4, 1980, when the embassy received more than 10,000 Cubans that wanted to leave the island, and his debate with Fidel Castro. "I acted in accordance with my convictions and the interests of Peru," he said. "In the constitution of 1979, Peru was obligated to give asylum and protection." "I wasn't afraid of the regime," he said. "Before April 4, 1980, we had already given protection to 34 people. (After that date), we had given protection to 10,834. To get an understanding of the situation, there were five people for every square meter. That was a sign that there was enormous social pressure and an enormous need to leave the country." Read More: Bankrupt Venezuela Can’t Pay its Diplomats Around the World Read More: Why Liberals Must Call Out Islamic Terrorism The former ambassador said that he is planning to publish a book entitled, Democracy and Liberty in which he narrates this crisis and the moments of negotiation that he had with Fidel Castro. One the most difficult moments of the negotiations was when Castro, after raising the issue from a legal point of view, said the big difference between him and Rittler was that he knew how to kill and Rittler did not. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   "Look, killing is very easy," Pinto-Bazurco said. "Even animals kill. But keeping a person alive is much more complicated." "One of the things that they told me is that I didn't have the physical nor the economic ability to provide for 10,000 people," he continued. "We divided water and I went into my own pocket to buy crackers. I asked the Cubans if they wanted freedom or to eat." "I can't feed all these people, I said (to Castro). This has to be resolved today, because if not you're going to responsible for people dying. Pinto-Bazurco admitted that he had to promise not to divulge details on the subject until after Castro's death, adding that the story was key evidence of Peru's stance on supporting human rights. Sources: El Comercio; El Nuevo Herald.

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