Miami Herald Trata do Escândalo Brasileiro do PT e Lula

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/12672949.htm
Sun, Sep. 18, 2005

BRAZIL

Scandal swamps party

A CORRUPTION SCANDAL HAS WEAKENED THE WORKERS' PARTY, LEAVING IT SUDDENLY DIVIDED IN TODAY'S VOTING FOR NOMINEES AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT

BY JACK CHANG
SAO PAULO, Brazil - The story of Brazil's ruling Workers' Party used to be an inspirational one.

It told of passionate, charismatic men -- union leaders, intellectuals and teachers, among others -- who fought their country's military dictators and then formed a leftist party that championed political ethics and went on to win the presidency two decades later. But after three years in power, the Workers' Party is in deep trouble, mired in a growing corruption and bribery scandal that's already toppled top party leaders, including several founders.

With some observers predicting the 25-year-old party's demise, the scandal has launched intense debate within its ranks about how this emblem of political integrity ended up becoming a symbol of everything wrong about the country's corrupt power system.

That debate will peak today when some 840,000 party members around Brazil will be asked to vote for new leaders at all levels of government. This could be the party's last chance at cleaning house and rebuilding public trust after suffering through a long, humiliating Brazilian winter, said Ricardo de Azevedo, a party co-founder who also is vice president of the affiliated think tank Fundacao Perseu Abramo.

The political crisis already has prompted the departure of three senators and deputies from the party, which still holds the largest number of seats in Congress. ''This is a crucial moment,'' Azevedo said. ``This is an election about the survival of the party, at least as a party of the left. This is about reconstruction.''

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