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Street-Fighting Militias and the CPI of Buses

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Source: Jornal O Globo

Violent clashes mark the first meeting of a parliamentary inquiry (CPI) into the consortia that provide muni bus service to Cidade Maravilha.

Shoes were thrown at the presiding officer of the CPI and supporters of the CPI clashed with alleged militia members, leading to the suspension of the session after a tumultuous lunch hour.

Regarding the possible militia ties of the president of the CPI, see this report on militia involvement by CPI president Chiquinho Brazão, ran on Consciência.net on August 10. I have included a partial translationat the end of this post.

The Rio public transport sector are investigated for cartel formation, reports Posto do Ônibus.

But first, O Globo:

RIO – The second session of the CPI of the Bus System, held in the plensary session of the city legislature, ended around 1:00 p.m. today (August 22 ), after three hours of testimony from the municipal transportation secretary, Carlos Roberto Osorio; former secretary Alexandre Sansão; and Hélio Borges, who presided over the auction that determined the distribution of contracts to Rio bus collectives.

The commission of inquiry was convened to analyze contractual compliance and the licitude of bidding on contracts for bus services. The alleged irregularities may have occurred during the current city administration.

Opposed to the investigation are political enemies of Chiquinho Brazão (PMDB), president of the CPI.

Physical violence broke out during the morning session of the body.

Osorio spoke longest, for an hour and a half. The rapporteur of the CPI, Professor Uoston (PMDB), asked Osorio 30 questions, who responded to all of them without any follow-up questioning from commission members. Before his speech, Osorio recited a history of metropolitan transport and praised the BRS and BRT projects. Alexandre Sansão and Hélio Borges each spoke for about ten minutes

Earlier, during a lunch recess, ten persons were arrested and taken to the 5th Precinct (Mem de Sá) after taking part in a heated clash.The conflict between demonstrators in favor of the CPI and a group of 15 persons opposed to it, the latter accused of being militia members, caused a great deal of panic on Senador Dantas Street, in the downtown area.

The violence broke out during the lunch recess. A group of protestors threw rocks at these supposed militiamen, who met these attacks with punches and kicks. Traffic on Evaristo da Veiga Street was stalled. As a precaution, small businesses near the city legislature were closing up shop.

The leftmost of the left — PSOL — seems to have the loudest voices against the CPI, whose partisan make-up they object to.

This leftist tendency has besieged Governor Cabral recently — and literally, camping outside his doorstep, in the company of Black Bloc and Mídia Ninja militants, an action that helped turn the latter into an instant metamedia celebrity.

Vito Giannotti of Brasil de Fato tries to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

The mobilizations that swept Brazil continue to feed popular protest . In Rio de Janeiro, the city council finds itself occupied by demonstrators who question the way in the which the CPI of Bus Service was installed: a totally crooked deal.

These are people no longer satisfied with how political decisions are made in this city and demand public participation in the discussion of topics of public interest.

The probllem is the same in all the big cities. If you live in the Baixada, and have to get downtown to work, you spend hours standing up in a tightly packed bus. There are a thousand reasons to investigate urban transport in Rio in addition to the terrible quality of its service.

The city accounting tribunal (TCE) has made grave accusations on this subject: a thouand irregularities that point to a “false bidding process” to choose the winning companies. This is a story that needs to be told in its entirety .

But who is going to get to the bottom of it? This CPI? Let’s discuss the reasons behind the occupation of the city council chamber. The first has to do with the president and rapporteur that were selected. Both are PMDB, a party that will be investigated for contracts between the city administration and the public transport concessionaires. These members of the CPI did not even sign the petition that created the CPI.

Protestors demand, among other measures, the annulment of these nominations. They also demand that the custom be followed according to which the president of the CPI be the city legislator who requested it.  In this case, that would be Eliomar Coelho, of PSOL.

Obviously, Barata’s group of buddies are not going to speak ill of the boss of the bus system. We still don’t know how this story will end, but we can already see positive results from all of this.

If the CPI is not annuled, as protestors want, the fact will exhibit clearly the way that politics are practiced in Rio. Those who pass through the downtown area see the placards displayed and hear the chanting of slogans saying that the city legislature needs a bath of democracy [sic]. And it is popular moblization that will bring this about.

Chico Brazão and the Militia Movement

Source: Consciência.net

Chiquinho Brazão — aka João Francisco Inácio Brazão, born February 22, 1962 — is a PMDB politician, the same party as governor Sérgio Cabral Filho and his own brother, state legislator Domingos Brazão.

The brothers employ the same Flash-happy Web designer.

Chiquinho is serving his third term and inherited his brother’s political base in after Domingos committed various crimes which led to his removal from office in July 2011, though subsequently he successfully sued to resume his seat.

The electoral back yard of the Brazão brothers belongs to a militia denounced by the CPI of Militias in the state assembly. The final report of the CPI indicates that Domingos Brazão campaigned in a closed corral controlled by militia, in Rio das Pedras, in close collaboration with militia leadership.

This information was provided by Nadinho de Rio das Pedras (ex-DEM), who was arrested in 2007. Nadinho said in 2008, during the CPI, that the campaign was aimed at achieving the adherence of local militia. The electoral map confirms this support.

Another accusation has to do with the influence of Domingos and Chiquinho Brazão in Osvaldo Cruz, where they allegedly have political influence over a group of 14 militiamen involved in security racketeering for individuals and small businesses … cooking gas … cable TV …  a LAN house and even a 30% tax on the sale of real property. The report details weapons used (pistols and rifles), methods of intimidation and militia members, both leaders and rank and file, among other information.

According to the accusation, the group practiced assault, torture and murder at a “blue house atop Campinho hill … adjacent to a daycare center.”

Defense of Militias

It is no mere accident that in July 2008, during the vote on establishing the CPI of Militias in the state legislature (ALERJ), Domingos Brazão criticized the CPI because “the militias are preferable to the drug trade.”

This was a position defended by former mayor César Maia (DEM-PFL) as well.

That same year, when militiaman and state deputy Natalino Guimarães (ex-DEM) was ordered arrested by the Constitution and Justice committee of ALERJ . He was a accused of heading a Western Zone militia along with his brother, Jerônimo Guimarães (PMDB), aka “Jerominho”, who is also in prision. Five deputies were against the order and voted in favor of the militiaman Álvaro Lins (PMDB), Anabal (PHS), Dica (PMDB), Marcos Abrahão (PRTB) and … Domingos Brazão.

Dica (Jorge Moreira Theodoro), for example, was supported by the oldest militia in Duque de Caxias, headed by a retired PM; a city councilmember, Jonas Gonçalves da Silva, aka “Jonas é Nós”; and Sebastião Ferreira da Silva, aka “Chiquinho Grandão”.

Both Jones and Chiquinho were on the list of indictments of the ALER’sJ CPI, but Chiquinho’s name was removed from the list at the last minute, after the ratifying vote, at the request of … Dica.

Another lawmaker who voted in favor of Natalino with Domingos Brazão was Álvaro Lins, himself imprisoned since 2008. A former state lawmaker and ex-chief of the state judicial police, Álvaro Lins sought the political support of Rio militias and was elected in 2006 on the PMDB ticket. Lins was accused of formation of an armed faction, money laundering, passive corruption and facilitation of contraband.

Robin Hood of Rio das Pedras

In 2010, auditors from the TRE-RJ closed the “Centro de Ação Social Gente Solidária”, on Estrada dos Bandeirantes, in Taquara, Jacarepaguá, Western Zone of Rio. The center was tied to Domingos Brazão.

At the scene, thousands of free medication samples, basic shopping baskets, medical and dentistry materials: hundreds of toothbrushes with the name “Brazão” stamped on them, along with T-shirts bearing the names of the brothers … as well as prescription pads with the name Brazão as a wawtermark. The auditors also seized photos of the state deputy’s brother, Chiquinho Brazão, and two federal health service (SUS) wheelchairs.

Domingos Brazão was subsequently charged by the MPE — election prosecutor — with abuse of economic influence, illegal capturing of vote and conduct forbidden to public agents during the election campaign of 2010. He as unseated in Luly 2011, but petitioned for and received an injunction annuling the decision, based on a Supreme Court ruling that the Clean Record Law — Lei da Ficha Limpa — did not apply to the 2010 elections.

Militia Ties

Even though the public accusations against Domingos Brazão suggest he is the most active, his brother has long benefited from his brother’s activities.

In 2004, for example, business owner Renan de Macedo Leite was accused of heading the cooking gas mafia in Rio.

The odd thing was that Renan was employed as a civil servant. At the time, despite serving or having served as a partner  in at least 13 companies — 8 of them gas stations — he was also clocking in at ALERJ where he earned a monthly salary of R$ 2.861.

According to a report by Antônio Werneck and Carla Rocha, on July 6 of that year, Renan was nominated for a political post in the office of Domingos Brazão. The federal police was assigned to investigate.

According to the report:

“The hiring of Renan by the office of the PMDB politician is just part of the story. The entrepreneur was also a partner in Auto Posto e Serviço Bam Bam Ltda, who lent him a Dodge Dakota, license plate number LNL-0195, for the election campaign of the junior Brazão. The car came with a campaign sticker and was used for face to face meetings of the city legislator and campaign aides toChiquinho Brazão (PMDB), brother of Domingos. In the campaign accounts submitted to the  regional electoral tribunal (TRE), Chiquinho says he received R$ 10,000 from Renan.” (O Globo, 10/11/2004)

At the time, Domingos said he would not dismiss the head of the cooking gas mafia. “State deputry Domingos Brazão said he was surprised by the arrest of Renan, whom he referred to as a friend of more than 20 years. According to him, both grew up in the Western Zone of the city. Brazão said that Renan was deeply involved in the campaign of his brother and for this reason received a political appointment (…)”

Deputy Cidinha Campos said at the time: “The man accused of heading the propane mafia has an office inside ALERJ. More, he has partners that contributed to other state election campaigns, some of which are currently under investigation. Like the CPI of the Lottery (Loterj), the CPI of Fuel (a CPI of the federal lower house) no one was investigated. They summoned witnesses and then canceled the summons.

In investigating the mafia using court-approved wiretaps, police collected evidence that the group had for at least five years been adulterating fuel and avoiding taxes, causing a loss of R$ 5 billion [?] per year. Operation Poeira no Asfalto — Dust on the Asphalt — arrested 42 persons.