Cunha and tortoises

Former Congressman Eduardo Cunha (Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil)

A little part of Brazil’s political crisis ended last night (12), when Congressman Eduardo Cunha, who was president of the Chamber of Deputies, had his mandate revoked by 450 favorable votes on the House floor.

President Dilma Rousseff had suffered impeachment proceedings on August 31 and lost his mandate. She and Cunha hated each other and accuse each other of having conspired to lose their positions.

As you can see in the links, they both have several charges, some gentler other stronger. But the story of Eduardo Cunha has several implications that should still persist in Brazil, including its relationship with the tortoises.

In the Brazilian politics tortoises are not animals (called in Brazil jabutis). It is the practice to fit amendments in laws and provisional acts voted in Congress. And usually these amendments are about the most varied subjects and do not usually have any connection with the main object of the act analyzed.

Former Deputy Eduardo Cunha was considered a master in creating tortoises. For example, he tried to end the mandatory examination of the Order of Lawyers of Brazil (OAB), ensuring tax exemption for pastors in cases that there is commission received by rounding up the faithful, and to build a new building attached to the House of Representatives with shops and private business offices and valued at millions of dollars.

As a leader in the House of the biggest party of Brazil, PMDB, Cunha had the force to at least be able to vote these amendments. And he was always regarded as a super intelligent man who knows many laws and all the ordinances of the House of Representatives.

But he created the tortoises by just believing in subjects debated? Well, he has always been accused by his opponents of using their intellectual and political force for more power and blackmail various groups. Eduardo Cunha always denied doing this and asserted that only defended the interests of Brazilians.

The word “jabuti” (tortoise) is enshrined in Brazilian politics because of a popular saying, about strange things or suspicious: “A tortoise in a tree? Or was flood or hand of people.”

A classic in the politics, the tortoise (Wikimedia Commons)

Man of God

Another feature of Cunha, and several Brazilian politicians, was to use religion to get elected. He was radio broadcaster and evangelical preacher, working for the former governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Anthony Garotinho — who also made a career using the church.

Cunha is part of the Assembly of God church, with over 65 million members. As a congressman he defended conservative themes such as impose difficulties for the types of abortions provided by law, be contrary to adoption by gays and have an “amazing project” that penalizes discrimination against heterosexuals and determines public policies to prevent prejudice against the group.

Brazil will this year municipal elections and in its two largest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the leaders in the polls are two candidates who made their careers in churches — Celso Russomanno and Marcelo Crivella.

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