Brazil’s ruling Workers Party (PT) in São Paulo decided to expel representative Luiz Moura following his alleged ties to organized crime exposed by a police investigation. Criminal gangs in Brazil are powerful and are known to have connections with the political system.
According to the president of the PT in São Paulo Emidio de Souza, “Moura’s behavior has been very damaging for the party” and there’s no need to wait for suspicions to be confirmed about his links with the largest organized crime group in the country, the First Command of the Capital (PCC), to expel him.
Moura is being investigated on suspicion of money laundering along with members the PCC, using bus companies and cooperatives located in São Paulo.
Allegations arose following a police investigation that found that in March Moura had participated in a meeting with members of the criminal group which operates from the prisons of São Paulo.
Moura was elected representative for the PT in the last elections in 2010 with 104,705 votes and is running for reelection in the upcoming October elections. His expulsion was approved unanimously by the 16 members of the PT Executive in São Paulo, who considered that Moura did not offer satisfactory explanations to the allegations.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who hopes to be re-elected for a second term in October’s elections, has defended her government’s industrial policy in front of the sector’s business leaders, the National Confederation of Industry (CNI).
In recent months, the CNI has warned of deterioration in the economy and reduced its growth forecast for 2014 to one percent. It also predicted a contraction of 0.5% for the sector this year.
In response, Rousseff stressed that the performance of the Brazilian economy contradicts the general pessimism and attributed current economic problems to the international crisis, but claimed that this has had a minimal impact on Brazil.
Despite the low growth rates in recent years – 2.7% in 2011, one percent in 2012 and 2.3% last year – Rousseff said that the economy has not stopped expanding while her government has managed to get the unemployment rate “very low” at around five percent.
Rousseff emphasized Brazil’s accumulated reserves and said the government has stimulated industrial activity through a series of state loans.
She also blamed the “wave of pessimism” on “campaigns” being waged against her government without identifying who was behind them, and asked industrial leaders to not take any notice, claiming the country is heading into a “new period” of “productive competitiveness.”
In response to the industrial sector’s demands for tax reform, Rousseff said that this would be “a priority” in an eventual second term, but admitted that it must pass through Congress first.
Rousseff also stressed the importance of building bilateral relations with the US and Europe, but also emphasized the importance of the Brazil’s relationship with Latin American countries and emerging countries “without prejudice.”