How the former Speaker of the House worked to undermine Brazil

Brazil Uncovered - Former Speaker of the House Rodrigo Maia, also known as "Botafogo", after his favorite soccer team. Botafogo is his codename for receiving funds from corruption.
Former Speaker of the House Rodrigo Maia, also known as "Botafogo", after his favorite soccer team. Botafogo is his codename for receiving funds from corruption.

Free translation and adaptation from the article published in PHVox

In 2016, after the resignation of Eduardo Cunha as Speaker of the House, his successor, Rodrigo Maia, innovated and cut himself a deal for an ad hoc term of Speaker of the House of Representatives. Maia reached the position of Speaker for the first time in an arguably legal manner.

Maia’s first term as Speaker of the House has been marked by his constant sabotage of Brazil’s post-impeachment reconstruction efforts, with projects designed to undermine the efforts of the then minister of Economy, Henrique Meirelles, and which would eventually be known as “fiscal bombs”.

Today, Rodrigo Maia’s fingerprints are all over the 300 billion reais (approximately 60 billion dollars) in waivers that deepen the public accounts deficit and inhibit the federal government’s power of action. Incredibly, the media has tried to convince us that he was actually guaranteeing fiscal responsibility.

In 2017, he ignored the Federal Constitution (article 57, paragraph 4) and the Internal Regulations of the House – which prohibit successive terms – and launched his candidacy as Speaker for a second term. Once again, Maia has served as Speaker of the House using a highly questionable legal stunt and keeps sabotaging the reconstruction of Brazil.

In 2019, Maia justifies his third term with a new interpretation of art. 57 of the Federal Constitution. He claimed that the constitutional veto does not apply to reelection in different administrations, so now that the country has a new president, Maia launched his candidacy for Speaker of the House.

Helped by representatives from the deep state, they’ve undermined the political negotiations of the Chief of Staff and have made the president’s party at the time, PSL, the first to formally support him. Maia is elected Speaker of the House for the third time.

Those who’ve undermined the construction of a possible candidacy from the federal government argued that Maia would support the much needed structural reforms. Nothing could be further from the truth. He would prove to be the same fierce opposer, constantly working against reforms.

The first reform came – pension reform – and Maia delivered his first vileness. The economic team had proposed that elderly poor between would receive an aid in the amount of 400 reais at 60 years old and up to a minimum wage at the age of 65.

Brazil had more than 1 million needy elderly under the Family Voucher Program (a federal aid) and another 2 million elderly qualified to receive the benefit proposed in the original pension reform project. At the time, each elderly person received the program’s basic amount of 89 reais. This means that had Maia not sabotaged the government’s proposal, instead of having 1 million needy elderly people receiving 89 reais per family, we would have 3 million needy elderly receiving 400 individually. A needy elderly couple that today receives only 89 reais could have done without Maia’s malice and they would be receiving 800 reais.

Rodrigo Maia has created and spread the lie that president Bolsonaro intended to pay less than a minimum wage to the elderly and so he has not allowed the president to have this social landmark attached to his government. In his quest to sabotage the government, Maia had no compassion for the neediest.

Moreover, he has refused to put privatizations and reforms in the voting agenda, and has let important provisional presidential decrees expire, such as the lifting of the requirement for companies to publish their annual balance sheet in newspapers (which would have saved them each thousands of reais); the free digital student ID; he has blocked a congressional inquiry of the National Student Union (a leftist entity accused of mismanagement of funds); and has disregarded the decree that would allow the federal government to find out the individuals behind environmental crimes.

Altogether, almost 30 decrees beneficial to our country and economy have been disregarded by Rodrigo Maia. All, of course, with the complicity of the mainstream media and Rede Globo in particular.

One of his last sabotages was to prohibit, in the tax reform, a payroll exemption that would reduce labor costs and would bring 30 million workers out of informality. Fortunately, with Maia’s defeat, the government has a chance to reverse this situation.

In the last few days, however, we’ve seen Maia drift back to his place in history. Isolated, he has lost support from his own party and from the board elected with him. He has blocked friends on Whatsapp, screamed on the phone and made countless emotional and completely meaningless statements.

Brazil Uncovered - Crocodile tears run very easily from Maia
Crocodile tears run very easily from Maia's eyes as he delivers his farewell speech at the House.

This is the end of a person who has, for four years, worked against the other parliamentarians, against two presidents of the republic, against the agenda that has won at the polls in 2018, against Brazil and against all the Brazilian people, blocking the country’s interests in the name of a personal project of power and endless vanity.

Maia will now probably work to become a state minister in some candidacy destined to be defeated in 2022. He has lost the privileges that were so dear to him: the right to go up and down the country on military jets, and the prerogative of jurisdiction which meas he can be brought to justice like an ordinary citizen.

And let us not forget that Rodrigo Maia, in addition to bombarding Brazil with “bomb agendas” during four years and seven months, has also distorted the pension reform and has undermined the tax reform, the administrative reform, the emergency constitutional amendment, the new pre-sal regime, the new gas law, the privatization of Eletrobras and countless other state-owned companies.

Mean and spoilt like no other, Maia has hijacked the country for the past 4 years and made all of us Brazilians hostage to his insatiable hunger for power. His personal ambitions and endless vanity have prevented us from overcoming our worst crisis in history. We don’t know what to expect from the new political arrangement in Congress, but the end of a dark era is a good reason to celebrate.


More on the election of the Speaker of the House here


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