Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian president Lula da Silva’s cabinet chief, claimed that several political groups and activists are interested in eroding the president’s image and advancing the presidential elections scheduled for October 2006.
In an interview with the O Globo network and a few hours after taking office, the Brazilian “Iron Lady” as she has been described by the Brazilian press, said that the alleged corruption claims involving high ranking officials of the Lula administration and his Workers Party are “entirely electoral, political”.
Last week,José Dirceu the once all powerful advisor and brain master behind President Lula’s victory in 2002 resigned as cabinet chief, – and returned to Congress – following allegations from a small coalition party president Congressman Roberto Jefferson that he was directly involved in a network of bribes in Congress to assure support for the administration’s legislative agenda.
However the Lula da Silva administration and the Workers Party highlight that so far no evidence of the charges has been presented and the accusers have been accused of irregularities and are under investigation.
“All claims must be investigated, and those found guilty must be punished”, said Ms. Rousseff, adding that the “government must keep away from these political turbulences” and concentrate in ruling.
“The crisis is in the right hands”, said Ms. Rousseff in direct reference to the Justice Department, Police and Congressional investigation committees, insisting that the situation is “clearly political since financial markets and investors have not reacted to the scandalous allegations”.
Following on President Lula da Silva’s recent statements Ms. Rousseff said the current political crisis should help Brazil advance in a “deep reform of the political system” so as to end with common practices such as “party fleeing” and lack of party loyalty.
However during one of the investigation committee summons, a top official from the Brazilian Post Office filmed when allegedly taking bribes said the companies involved in the racket had been suggested to him by Luiz Gushiken, Communications Secretary of the Brazilian Executive and belonging to the Workers Party.
Furthermore for the first time an opposition Congress member confirmed that she had been offered by a colleague from the ruling coalition a monthly “subsidy” of US$ 13,000 to change party and help with the legislative agenda.
In Congress an extreme right Deputy and former Army officer Jair Bolsorano asked for President Lula da Silva’a removal from office and described the incoming Cabinet Chief Ms. Rousseff as “a technician, expert in robbing and assaulting”, referring to her past as an urban guerrilla in the seventies.
“She was part of a gang that raided and assaulted my house in Rio do Janeiro” said Mr. Bolsorano and enigmatically cautioned, “Dilma Rousseff, for now I won’t talk about your past, but if you react I will expose you”.
Ms. Rousseff was captured and tortured in the seventies by the Brazilian military government before been exiled overseas.
“The tortures suffered by the Minister were the result of abstinences and I will soon be talking about it here in Congress,” threatened Deputy Bolsorano.
The member of the small Progressive Party was involved in an incident and scuffle with other members when Mr. Dirceu in his first speech to Congress warned that he will demand all those who accuse him without evidences.
Mr. Bolsorano interrupted Mr. Dirceu several times calling him “terrorist”, recalling that the former cabinet chief had also been a guerrilla in the seventies taking refuge in Cuba.
This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.