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Brazil Vice-President Accuses President Rousseff of "Mistrust and Contempt" in Letter

12/08/2015 - 11h03

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VALDO CRUZ
DANIELA LIMA
MARINA DIAS
FROM BRASÍLIA

Brazilian Vice-President Michel Temer (PMDB) has sent a letter to the office of President Dilma Rousseff, in which he says in no uncertain terms that he was always "conscious of the absolute mistrust of you and your allies in relation to me and the PMDB."

He also complains that he spent Rousseff's first four years in power as a "decorative vice-president."

Temer begins by saying that he preferred to write as spoken words are less permanent. He then warns that he is "getting something off his chest", and that he should have done it "a long time ago."

Allies of Temer view the letter as his breaking off relations with President Rousseff, though Temer himself does not want the letter to be viewed as such.

Temer expresses his profound discomfort with words and actions of Rousseff herself, her government and her allies, regarding the "trust" afforded to Temer. "First and foremost, I want to say that it is not necessary to prove my loyalty," he writes. "I have shown it over the last five years."

"Nonetheless, I have always been conscious of the absolute mistrust of you and your allies in relation to me and the PMDB. This mistrust is incompatible with what we have done to maintain personal and party support for your government," he argues.

He recalls his efforts to secure PMDB support for Rousseff. "It is enough to recall that in the last convention just 59.9% [of PMDB directors] voted for the alliance. And they only did so, in my opinion, because I was candidate for the vice-presidency."

Temer says he has used his prestige within the PMDB to keep the party on the government's side. "This hasn't generated trust in me. It has generated mistrust and contempt on the part of the government," he concludes.

The Vice-President points to 11 facts which, in his view, show the contempt towards him and the PMDB, who were "never" invited to participate in economic or political policymaking. "We were just accessories, secondary objects, subsidiaries."

Saying he felt like a "decorative Vice-President", Temer claims he lost "all political leadership that I had in the past and that could have been used by the government." "I was only ever called to deal with PMDB voting and the political crises."

He also recalls that when he became the government's chief negotiator with Congress, he could not honor agreements made because the government made it impossible for him to do so.

At the end, he says that "once this critical time has passed," he is sure that the country will find stability to grow and consolidate social progress. Nonetheless, he reiterates his earlier complaints, writing, "I know that you do not trust me and the PMDB today, and I know you won't tomorrow. I am sorry, but this is my conviction."

The publication of an extract of Temer's letter caused fresh tension and conflict between Rousseff and Temer's allies. Behind the scenes, there have been accusations regarding the content and leak of the letter, forcing Temer's team to publish a statement before the rest of the letter was leaked.

DISTANCING

Temer's decision to send the letter was the low point in yet another rocky day for his relationship with Rousseff. Before publication of the text, former minister Eliseu Padilha, one of Temer's main allies, said that the Vice-President is "gauging" the feeling of the PMDB about Rousseff's impeachment.

Padilha was the first of Temer's main allies to leave the government. He was minister of civil aviation until last week.

In the morning, Rousseff had said to the press that she did not mistrust Temer "one millimeter", and that she expected of him "the correct behavior" that he had always displayed.

Before the letter was published, Luiz Fernando Pezão, governor of Rio de Janeiro, the most important state controlled by the PMDB, accused Temer of "conspiring" against Rousseff.

"The Vice-President should have tasks, help with governability, rather than conspire," he said to the newspaper "O Dia".

Read the full version of the letter:

São Paulo, December 7 2015.
Madam President,
"Verba volant, scripta manent" [Spoken words fly away; written words remain].
This is why I am writing to you. In particular, to discuss the intense news of recent days and everything that I have heard in conversations in the Planalto [Palace].
This is a personal letter, and something I should have got off my chest a long time ago.
First and foremost, I want to say that it is not necessary to prove my loyalty. I have shown it over the last five years.
This is institutional loyalty as defined by article 79 of the Federal Constitution. I know what the duties of the Vice-President are. To my natural discretion I added that inherent to my constitutional role.
Nonetheless, I have always been conscious of the absolute mistrust of you and your allies towards me and the PMDB. This mistrust is incompatible with what we have done to maintain personal and party support for your government.
It is enough to recall that in the last convention just 59.9% [of PMDB delegates] voted for the alliance.
And they only did so, in my opinion, because I was candidate for the vice-presidency.
I have maintained the PMDB united behind your government using my political prestige, which is fruit of the credibility and respect I have acquired in the party.
But that has not generated trust in me. It has generated mistrust and contempt on the part of the government.
Let's take a look at the facts. I shall provide a few examples.
1. I spent the first four years of the government as a decorative Vice-President. You know this. I lost all the political leadership that I had in the past and that could have been used by the government. I was only ever called to resolve PMDB voting and political crises.
2. The PMDB and I were never called to discuss economic or political policymaking; we were mere accessories, secondary objects, subsidiaries.
3. In your second term, you decided at the last minute not to renew the Ministry of Civil Aviation, where [Wellington] Moreira Franco had done such excellent work, which was praised during the World Cup. You knew he was my choice. Therefore, it was an attempt to disparage me. This suspicion was confirmed the following day, when we spoke on the phone.
4. In the more recent Eliseu Padilha episode, he left the Ministry because of many "insults", culminating with what the government did to him, blocking without any prior notice the appointment of a technician that he, the Minister, had chosen for ANAC [National Agency of Civil Aviation].
It is clear that a) this was retaliation towards me and b) that he left because he is part of a supposed "conspiracy."
5. When you asked me to become the government's chief negotiator in Congress, at a moment when the government had been badly discredited, I responded and Padilha and I got the fiscal adjustment approved.
This is a difficult issue because it affects both workers and business leaders.
We didn't flinch. The future of the country was in the balance. When the adjustment was approved, nothing of what we started had continuity in the government. The agreements made in Parliament were not respected. We held more than 60 meetings of leaders and blocs, using our credibility to garner support. But we were obliged to abandon that mission.
6. In any case, I am president of the PMDB and you decided to ignore me, calling the leader [Leonardo] Picciani and his father to make an agreement, without giving any notice to your Vice-President and the president of the party.
The two ministers, as you know, were named by him. And you had no hesitation in removing from the government Deputy Edinho Araújo, a deputy for São Paulo and an ally of mine.
7. Democrat that I am, I talk, Madam President, with the opposition. I have always done so, throughout the 24 years I have been in Parliament.
By the way, the first provisional measure of the fiscal adjustment was approved thanks to 8 (eight) votes by Democrats (DEM), 6 (six) by the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) and 3 by the Green Party (PV), and was approved by just 22 votes. I have been criticized for this, though this reflects a mistaken vision of our system. And it wasn't without reason that on two occasions I reemphasized that we should reunite the country. But the government decided to divide and criticize.
8. I addition, I recall that you had a two-hour meeting with Vice-President Joe Biden - with whom I have built a good friendship - without inviting me. This led Biden's team to ask: what must have happened, if in a meeting with the Vice-President of the United States, his Brazilian counterpart is not present? Beforehand, during the episode of the American "spying", when relations began to improve, you sent the Minister of Justice to talk with the Vice-President of the United States. All this suggests an absolute lack of trust.
9. More recently, a conversation of ours (the two highest authorities in the country) was published, but in a misleading manner that had nothing to do with the content of the conversation.
10. Even the program "Uma Ponte para o Futuro" ["A Bridge to the Future"], which has been welcomed by society, and the proposals of which could be used to help recover the economy and rescue confidence, was seen as a disloyal maneuver.
11. The PMDB is conscious that the government aims to promote its division, something it has tried in the past without success.
You know that as president of the PMDB, I must maintain a cautious silence, seeking that which I have always sought: party unity.
Once this critical time has passed, I am sure that the country will have the stability to grow and consolidate social progress.
Finally, I know that you do not trust me and the PMDB today, and that you shall not tomorrow.
I am sorry, but this is my conviction.
Respectfully, ML TEMER
To Her Excellency Madam President
DILMA ROUSSEFF
President of the Republic of Brazil
Palácio do Planalto
Brasília, D.F.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Pedro Ladeira - 24.nov.2015/Folhapress
President Dilma Rousseff and Vice-President Michel Temer
President Dilma Rousseff and Vice-President Michel Temer

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