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A Minute of Silence in Memory of Morality in Brazil

Brazilian Senate Unfortunately, the corruption scandals involving the Brazilian Senate have become commonplace. It’s worth noting the case of congressman Edmar Moreira who became infamous in the past two months for having built a real castle.

Besides the castle, the aforementioned congressman used his “verba indenizatória” (allowance),* to which he is entitled as a “public representative” to pay for his personal security team instead of work-related costs.

Edmar Moreira was judged by his peers two weeks ago and, incredibly, was discharged on corruption charges escaping impeachment.

It was expected that he would at least have to suffer some type of punishment in order not to upset the public – a suspension as suggested by lobbyists – but nothing happened.

Once again, our media outlets cried out but despite our disbelief, these scandals are similar to summer storms, specially the ones common in Rio de Janeiro from January to March.

Why the comparison? Simply because, apparently, most of the media seems reluctant to carefully examine cases of this magnitude in the same manner they have in previous years. Such is the case of former mayor Paulo Maluf (involved in the profiteering of public works in the city of São Paulo ) where the population still remembers the tactful corruption schemes unveiled by the press.

Could the media not be covering such episodes because they have become routine or are disclosures about politicians not attracting viewers? That is a dilemma.

Nonetheless, it is not difficult to infer that we are inserted in a context of promiscuity, be it by those who should act in the name of society through legislations for the collective good or by those who have the moral responsibility to fight such moral strays through public outlets.

By the way, speaking of morals, if the illustrious Prussian philosopher Emmanuel Kant were alive to watch such balancing acts performed by the specialized media and political actors such as the previously mentioned, he surely would have to edit his manuscripts about morality.

Every time our representatives celebrate trials judged by themselves, we should observe a minute of silence in memory of morality in Brazilian politics.

Undoubtedly, Kant must be “turning over” in his grave.

* Sum of money congressmen receive monthly to compensate for job-related costs such as their rent in Brasília, office supplies and gas to and from work; the amount is around 12,000 Brazilian reais or US$ 6,000 – http://www.consciencia.net/2004/mes/03/indeniza.html.

Leonardo Passos writes for Observatório da Imprensa where this article appeared originally.

Translated from the Portuguese by Aldo Jansel. You may reach him at ajans001@fiu.edu.

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