The pilot of a plane that crashed late Monday while flying members of a Brazilian soccer team to a competition in Colombia pleaded to make an immediate landing because the aircraft was out of fuel, according to a recording leaked to Colombian news outlets on Wednesday.
Much of the increasing nervousness in the capital, Brasília, stems from a sweeping corruption investigation that, despite the change in administrations, has refused to go away.Politicians are so anxious that only hours after Mr. Temer declared three days of official mourning for a shocking disaster — the crash of a plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team to play in the final of an international tournament — Brazilian lawmakers held a marathon session until 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Their focus: gutting the authority of prosecutors and judges who are investigating politicians in corruption cases.After learning how their lawmakers had spent the night after the tragedy, many Brazilians were furious.“The entire political structure is corrupt,” said Marcos Defranco, a civil police investigator in São Paulo.“It’s like chasing rats out of one hole and straight into another. The attitude of Congress in their vote the other night shows their fear.”
In 2013, Forbes published a well-circulated article calculating the cost of corruption:
A 2010 study by the FIESP (the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo State, in its acronym in Portuguese), the average annual cost of corruption in Brazil is between 1.38% to 2.3% of the country’s total GDP. The World Bank lists Brazil in its database with a GDP of $2.253 trillion as of 2012, while the OECD expects Brazil to grow 2.5% this year.If the numbers of the FIESP study are to be believed, just in 2013 something between $32 billion and $53.1 billion can be accounted as “corruption money,” which, it is important to remember, gets out of circulation that hits growth. To put into perspective, if that money was invested in Brazil’s precarious education system, the number of Brazilian students enrolled in elementary school could be improved from its current 34.5 million to 51 million.Should that money be invested in the public health system, the number of beds available in Brazil’s public hospitals could almost double, from 367.397 to 694.409. That same money could house more than 2.9 million Brazilian families, and if invested in sanitation it could reach an additional 23.3 million households that aren’t on the public sewer system.
A Brazilian did tell me at church the other day that maybe this whole experience with politics and corruption will teach his countrymen a big lesson. He is hoping that his countrymen take politics more seriously and demand more accountability from their leaders.
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