Considering the Diversion of Public Monies in Brazil -A Cool US$35 Billion for Starters

US$35 billion of public monies stolen. A colossal affront to the cities and country they work for? Yes. Preventable? Not yet. The most significant news item on the diversion of public monies I have seen in some time appeared in yesterday’s Globo as the lead opinion piece: “The Indicators Show Billions Stolen.” The article cites grim figures: of 131 municipalities audited by the Comptroller General, 90 percent showed irregularities; and it is estimated that municipal officials and their accomplices steal 30% of federal and...

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Considering Impunity in the Public Service

Today’s Folha de Sao Paulo reported that the President’s Commission on Public Ethics has issued an ‘ethical censure’ to Erenice Guerra, Dilma Rousseff’s chief lieutenant during her tenure as Chief of Staff for President Lula da Silva. Guerra resigned in shame following revelations of corruption, influence peddling to benefit family relatives, and prevarication. Today, I changed Guerra’s English Wikipedia entry to reflect this new development.   Unfortunately, the only hope for true accountability is for Guerra to be brought to...

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Don’t Read your Book in Our Library

Libraries have always counted among my favorite places, but I got quite a shock when I visited a beautiful (functioning) colonial library in downtown Rio the other day, the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura (below). I entered the library and looked for an electricity outlet to plug in my computer. Unsure of whether the outlets I found worked, I approached the attendant. “We don’t have internet wireless,” she said in an unsteady English. I responded in Portuguese, “That’s okay, I’m just wondering if you...

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