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Brazil: Ex-Chief Justice Assails Lula

 Brazil: Ex-Chief Justice 
  Assails Lula

Recently retired from
the presidency of Brazil’s Supreme Court,
Maurício Corrêa is pulling no punches against Brazilian President

Lula. In a recent TV interview, he called the President a fraud
and said that Lula loves to talk, but hates to govern. The real
Brazilian President, he says, is Chief of Staff, José Dirceu.
by: Carlos
Chagas

Maurício
Corrêa

The ex-president of the Brazilian Supreme Court, Maurício Corrêa
harshly criticized Brazil’s government and President Luiz Inácio Lula
da Silva at CNT’s (Central Nacional de Televisão—Television National
Center) Jogo do Poder (Power Game) program.

Recently retired from
the Supreme, free from his judicial robe, Corrêa went back to his senator
and ex-Justice Minister days. This might be a sign that he is coming back
to politics.

The former minister said
for example that "the current government is the biggest fraud the Republic
ever experienced. President Lula hates to manage, he doesn’t manage a thing.
He is a good talker, all he knows is how to chatter and he abhors managing.
Chief of Staff, Minister José Dirceu, is the man in charge."

And he went on saying
that the President’s Party, the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores—Workers’
Party), never had a governing plan limiting itself to copy former President
Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s neoliberal model.

The Workers’ Party, according
to Corrêa, is only interested in power, using the public machine to
get rich after turning their party into an economic conglomerate.

The best jobs from the
DAS (Direção e Assessoramento Superiores—Higher Counsel
and Direction) group, in the federal administration, go to the companheiros
(comrades), who give 30 percent of their paycheck to the PT. A huge war chest
for the elections.

Maurício Corrêa
denied any merit to the Lula administration, maintaining that the agrobusiness
presented as the government’s foremost accomplishment didn’t depend on the
President because it’s something that’s been going on for a long time.

According to him, not
even one campaign promise from the PT candidate was kept. Zero Hunger, the
chief program, announced in the media, is a joke. The way things are going
it will take 100 years before the poor will have any food in their pans. By
then they will all be dead. Starved.

Talking about his relationship
with the Executive Power at the time he was still the Judiciary Power chief,
Corrêa didn’t spare harsh criticism, revealing that he has never accepted
President Lula’s statement that the Judiciary had created their own "black
box for money."

He stressed that if there’s
corruption in some courts the corruption in the government is much worse.
For him, that’s where you can find the public health vampires like Valdomiro
Diniz and also the favors granted to groups connected to the PT.

Corrêa says that
Lula wanted to extend is power to the Judiciary, converting it into an annex
to the Planalto Palace, but he was not able to do this. The former Chief Justice
explained that he reacted and would have reacted even more if needed, although
he made an effort to maintain cordial relations with the government.

He recalled that once,
in the state of Bahia, he suggested that Lula and the presidents of the House
and the Senate schedule a meeting to discuss the reform of the Judiciary.
This meeting never happened, due to Lula’s lack of interest. Lula chose to
continue trying to impose his will to the tribunals. Corrêa insisted
that it was his duty, as president of the Supreme, to defend the power he
presided over.

Corrêa says also
that he tried but he was not able to spare his successor, Justice Minister
Nelson Jobim. First, he criticized Jobim for having proposed a liposuction
for the Constitution, something Correa believes to be a juridical absurdity.
Then, he is under the impression that the new minister wishes to subordinate
the Judiciary to the Executive’s will.

Another observation had
to do with the Social Security reform and the 11 percent discount on the inactive
public workers’ paychecks. He calls this government proposal, which was approved
by Congress, an absurdity.

After analyzing the votes
already registered by some of his former colleagues in the Supreme, Corrêa
admitted the possibility that the discount will be considered unconstitutional,
as it used to be in the past. For him, this is a case of double taxation.

He also criticized the
fact that speculative activities bring in four times more than productive
ones. That’s why he calls the Lula administration a decoy and is opposed to
the idea of a possible reelection for the current president.

He stated that he was
always against reelection, and recognizes that is very unlikely that Congress
would repeal it today. His suggestion: a candidate to reelection should relinquish
his post from four to six months before the elections to avoid conflicts of
interest. Otherwise, you cannot prevent candidates from using the state machine
for personal gains.

For Corrêa it was
more than a pouring of his heart. The ex-chief of the Supreme hinted that
he is going to rock the boat. He intends to return to his law practice, but
he is leaving the door open for running in 2006 for the Senate or governor
of the Federal District.

In brief, a pronouncement
with rare forcefulness, made in a much higher tone than that used by other
oppositions. We’d better pay attention.


Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio’s daily Tribuna da Imprensa and
is a representative of the Brazilian Press Association, in Brasília.
He welcomes your comments at carloschagas@hotmail.com.

Translated
from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.

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