Monday, October 31, 2005

Brazil Opposition Seeks Probe Into Alleged Cuba Payments

Brazil Opposition Seeks Probe Into Alleged Cuba Payments

10-31-05 09:32 AM EST

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- Brazilian opposition leaders will demand a
congressional investigation into allegations that the Cuban government
made an illegal contribution of up to $3 million to the campaign to
elect President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2002, local newspapers
reported Monday.

The latest allegation of illicit financing within the governing Workers'
Party, or PT, was published Saturday in the current affairs magazine
Veja, and it has fortified opposition calls for impeachment proceedings
to be opened against the president following a deluge of corruption
charges surrounding his party.

For the last five months, the Lula government has been embroiled in a
scandal triggered by alleged illicit contributions to political
campaigns, the stripping of funds from public companies and the payment
of congress members to support the government in key legislative votes.

A congressional inquiry will look into whether the Cuban money,
allegedly delivered to the PT in whisky and rum boxes, can be traced in
the accounts of the publicists used during the 2002 presidential
election campaign, said the local daily O Estado De Sao Paulo.

The Cuban embassy called the allegations untrue and libelous in a press

Until recently, the main opposition parties, the Social Democratic
Party, or PSDB, and the Liberal Front Party, or PFL, have sought to
preserve Lula from the scandal, focusing their investigations on other
PT leaders.

However, polls showing that Lula's popularity is recovering, despite the
scandal, and PT attacks on the PSDB over the alleged illegal financing
of a campaign for governor in the southeast state of Minas Gerais have
led the opposition to refocus their ire on the president.

For Lula's part, he warned that the government could counterattack - if
impeachment proceeds - by seeking to bring allegations of illegal
campaign payments and payments for votes by other parties to the fore.

-By Alastair Stewart, Dow Jones Newswires; 5511 3145 1479;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires


Copyright (c) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

No comments: