A sentence by Appellate Court (STJ-Supremo Tribunal da Justiça) justice,
Peçanha Martins, giving New York Times reporter, Larry Rohter,
an injunction or "safe conduct," that is, in effect, allowing him
to remain in Brazil, may turn out to be little more than legal footwork.
The problem is that although
the STF judge ruled Mr. Rohter can stay in Brazil, that decision does not
seem to overturn the executive branch's revocation of his visa.
The executive branch is
so sure of its position that government lawyers (Advocacia-Geral da União)
(AGU) say they will not even bother to appeal the STJ sentence, calling it
a non-binding, "non-decision.".
In practical terms this
is mostly legal sparring. What has to happen is for Mr. Rohter to return to
Brazil (he is in Argentina on a reporting job) so he can be formally notified
that his visa has been revoked. As of that moment, Mr. Rohter has eight days
to appeal and the legal sparring will become legal process.
Thurdays, in Congress,
the STF justice decision was applauded. The understanding in Congress, which
is different from that of the AGU, was that the injunction would eventually
be decided on by the whole court and that that decision would be final.
"We live under the
rule of law. It is just an injunction, so we have to wait," said the
government's leader in the Senate, Aloisio Mercadante.
Lula's Ratings Stable
After falling in four
consecutive surveys, the approval rating of the government of president Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva remained stable in April at 34.6 percent, the
same as March. The president's personal approval rating actually rose slightly,
from 59.6 percent to 60.2 percent.
On the other hand, the
percentage of those interviewed rating government performance as poor rose
slightly from 19.4 percent to 20 percent.
The survey, which is conducted
by the National Confederation of Transportation (CNT) and the Sensus opinion
polling organization, found that the principal concerns of the country continue
to be unemployment (41.3 percent) and crime (36 percent).
The latest survey also
registered an improvement in the Citizen Satisfaction Index (ISC), which closed
out the month of April at 50.6, after reaching its lowest point in March (49.9)
since Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office. The index measures satisfaction
with people's personal, social and economic situation.
According to Clésion
Andrade, the CNT president, the survey shows that the president is in the
middle ground between a positive rating of 34 percent and a negative rating
of 20 percent which is a delicate situation. "On one hand there has been
a small increase in growth and social assistance, but on the other, unemployment
and crime have risen," says Andrade.
The survey showed that
most people approve the president's job performance, with 30.6 percent saying
they trust the president, and 20.8 percent saying they comprehend him. But,
22.5 percent say they are disappointed, and 12.4 percent say they do not trust
The CNT/Sensus survey
interviewed 2,000 people in 195 locations in 24 states between the 7th and
9th of May. The survey's margin of error is give or take 3 percentage points.
Ana Paula Marra works for Agência Brasil (AB), the official press
agency of the Brazilian government. Comments are welcome at email@example.com.
from the Portuguese by Allen Bennett.