MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, March 24th 2018 - 02:36 UTC

Temer clashes with Supreme Court over Christmas pardon list that included corruption-related convicts

Friday, December 29th 2017 - 10:04 UTC
Full article 24 comments

The head of Brazil’s Supreme Court suspended parts of a Christmas decree from President Michel Temer granting pardons to convicted criminals on Thursday, saying Temer’s actions needed further examination by the court. Cármen Lúcia ruled largely in favor of a legal challenge by Brazil’s top prosecutor, Raquel Dodge, who said on Wednesday that the pardons were unconstitutional and threatened a probe into the country’s largest-ever corruption scandal. Read full article


Disclaimer & comment rules
  • DemonTree

    Temer shows his true colours. Good on Dodge and the Supreme Court for trying to stop this. If they only want to pardon ordinary criminals they could easily add a clause excluding the corruption cases, or anyone who abused their office in order to get bribes.

    Dec 29th, 2017 - 12:43 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • Jack Bauer

    The government - the PT's and now PMDB's - used to claim they were in favor of the Lavajato investigation, while doing all they could, backstage, to sabotage it. Slowly but surely, they have all finally shown their true colours, and no longer even bother to disguise their attacks on the investigation.......can't see the current Congress doing anything in the interest of the people....perhaps it could do the country a favour by doing a “Jim Jones” act...

    Dec 29th, 2017 - 08:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I hope a lot of them get thrown out at the next election and replaced by people who, if not more honest by nature, at least don't already have crimes to cover up. Maybe some will be less keen to dive into the corruption having seen what's happened.

    I had to look up Jim Jones, though I had heard of it. Pretty horrible thought really.

    RE Your post:
    ”upper middle class (‘A’), earns over USD 5,000/mth, and is 1% of the population.“

    1% of the population isn't very much of the 'ordinary, working people'. Not very ordinary either, but I suppose you mean they *are* working and are not top executives giving bribes.

    ”if allegations can't be proved, they're INvalidated... so why lie ?”

    If Brazil had trial by jury I'd be a little more convinced of that. The justice system seems kind of old fashioned and unreliable, and if everyone else with power in Brazil is corrupt, why would the judges be immune?

    I was thinking about what you said, that Brazil is not a rich country and can't afford to give benefits like the UK. But the UK introduced the family allowance in 1945, when GDP was certainly a lot lower than now. I don't know how it compares to present day Brazil, and it would be pretty hard to compare, what with inflation and changes in the cost of living. The best thing I could find was this:

    which gives UK GDP per capita as US$13,869 in 1960, and the same page for Brazil makes it US$10,826 today. It must have been even lower in 1945 at the end of WWII, so maybe Brazil is not so far off being as rich as the UK was then. And the benefits haven't ruined our economy.

    Dec 29th, 2017 - 10:36 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Jack Bauer

    Probably a larger percentage than before won’t be re-elected, but with a dumb electorate, who knows? Also, wouldn’t count on their replacements being any better, it’s a cultural thing…aren’t flies attracted to shit ?
    The ‘A’ class is abt 2 million people…business owners, middle to high management positions...filled by people who, besides being ‘ordinary’, are more qualified ‘n more driven than the rest. Don’t know the proportion btwn office and factory floor workers in a typical industry, but I do know that the latter far outnumbers the former, and usually earns quite a bit less.
    Only heinous crimes go to trial by jury…again, based on the education of the average Brazilian, I’d be concerned with their capacity to sit in a jury…it does require a certain level of education, besides a pretty good idea of the country’s reality, to understand ‘n be able to take a responsible decision on their own, without undue influence.
    Don’t worry about the plea-bargains, several which led nowhere, or weren’t backed up by proof, have been rejected, and the would-be whistleblowers lost all benefits to reduce their sentences. And, can you imagine needing hundreds of trials by jury, where undoubtedly, many jurors would be prone to bribery ? Once again, don’t forget that Brazil is NOT the UK.
    Brazil IS a rich country, but very badly administered. With ‘far less’ corruption and a majority of politicians interested in doing some good for the country and not themselves, benefits would not be anywhere near the burden to the national treasury as they are now. The unemployment rate registered over the last years, with many workers (mainly lower-class) entering the informal sector – and no longer paying into the system – has only aggravated a problem which has been waiting decades to explode.
    The GDP/capita comparison gives a good idea of the differences. Today’s current income per capita in Brazil, just goes to show that the great majority (88%) of the population, is C&D class.

    Dec 30th, 2017 - 06:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • golfcronie

    Most of the judicial systems in Latin America are the same as yours are they not?

    Dec 31st, 2017 - 12:18 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “wouldn’t count on their replacements being any better”

    Maybe not, but they'd have less personal reason to end the investigations, since they presumably wouldn't have done anything criminal (yet). I just don't understand the mentality of going into politics only to steal and get rich.

    At least the many many parties in Brazil means the voters will have a real choice and politicians are less likely to be reelected just because they belong to X party.

    “based on the education of the average Brazilian, I’d be concerned with their capacity to sit in a jury”

    Really? That's depressing. And I suppose jurors would be at least as susceptible to bribery as judges. The corruption seems to get everywhere, and ruin everything, including attempts to fix it. I don't know why some countries have it more than others, either. I hope you are right about the plea bargains. Guess Joesley Batista has f-ed his up, at any rate.

    Considering the corruption in government, I guess it would make sense to vote for schemes that have as little chance for it as possible. Big public works that go to one company are an obvious opportunity for a bribe. The BF has the advantage of handing small amounts of money to families, so there is more chance it will be spent as intended. However, depending on how it is administered, there is still a chance to use it for gain. For least opportunity for stealing the money should go directly to the recipients, and there should be an independent agency in charge of deciding eligibility, not an elected official. Not sure whether that is true or not.

    Dec 31st, 2017 - 02:08 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Jack Bauer

    Would think so, as the culture of the 'high-up' believing they're above the law, is common to all.

    In that sense, you're right...they'd have nothing to fear from the “lavajato”, however, the feeling of impunity might make them just as bad as their predecessors. The truth is, the cultural mentality must change drastically to get an even halfway decent Congress. As I've said before, and will repeat, what attracts people to politics, well understood people with little moral compass, is exactly the chance to become rich overnight, and until very recently, get away with it. The many (tiny) parties in Brazil just fragments power (ok in some scenarios), resulting in parties for hire, and the possibility of getting their share of the electoral fund for doing nothing other than existing. If someone is serious abt doing good, join a larger party and let them prove their worth.
    Bribery, in a society with little, or no moral principals, goes a long way. Takes someone with decent moral convictions to stay clean.
    The Batista brothers did F things up, and will go to jail...just a matter of time, and they have no political immunity, which makes it quicker to condemn them.
    Don't get me wrong, the BF in itself, is not bad - what is bad is the lack of supervision, the lack of enforcement of the rules, and its use as a political tool. And it is not the BF that's causing the deficits, it's the public servant's pension system that's doing don't see current and future retirees of the private sector's the public sector and the unions. The National Institute for Social Security (INSS) is the government agency that receives and analyzes the BF requests, which is not the problem - it's the lack of supervision after the BF is granted...a policy handed down by the Executive branch, depending on their propensity to use it politically. One big problem - every project that starts off well, ends up disfigured by Congress, to suit their needs.

    Dec 31st, 2017 - 05:25 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    The large number of parties obviously has disadvantages, but it does mean you don't have same problem as in the UK and even more so US, where probably the majority of people would never consider voting for a different party, no matter how awful the candidate.

    This is what has to happen in the UK if we want to boot out an MP accused of corruption, it was a very famous event:

    I guess in a country where everyone is taking brides, you'll be at a severe disadvantage if you refuse to join in. Same in Greece with the tax evasion. Laws need to be enforced so that honest people are not put at a disadvantage.

    I'm surprised the Batistas haven't fled somewhere else really. Though I don't know which countries have extradition to Brazil and which don't.

    Good that the BF is administered by a separate agency. If it was left to Province governors, for example, I don't suppose that would go well. Depending on amount of fraud, it's not always worth investigating it, but of course at some point it becomes a problem. The pensions issue seems considerably more urgent though, just hard to fix because they have in effect given a promise to the people, which they now want to break, even though it is to prevent the country going bankrupt.

    Happy new year, anyway! I hope it is better for Brazil than the last one has been.

    Jan 01st, 2018 - 05:33 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Jack Bauer

    We have 32 parties – of which about 25 are for hire, so the idea of having some one else to vote for, because of them, isn't an advantage.…anyway, how many different positions can there really be in the political spectrum ? 32 ? Four or five, at tops.

    Your link, Bell v. Hamilton, just goes to show what happens in a civilized country , as versus Brazil, when someone is denounced for corruption…In Brazil, what Hamilton did 'might' be considered a minor offence, but he wouldn’t even get a rap on the knuckles from his party.
    It’s general consensus here that when someone honest goes into politics, he either ends up joining the corruption, or gets the hell out….I reckon that only someone, very well heeled, could go into politics and stay clean. What varies here is only the extent of the corruption.

    There’s no point in fleeing, as besides being the ultimate confession, Interpol would catch the Batistas and send them back. Their passports have been confiscated, for what it’s worth.

    Regarding the BF, despite being administered by the INSS, this does not mean it’s well supervised, in that who has the right to receive it, or who should be excluded.

    “…because they have in effect given a promise to the people…”, how come ? to go against the wheeling and dealing (by Congress) over decades, which favoured the public pension system over the private one, is hardly breaking promises….that’s why it’s so easy to see where the problem is and who the protesters are. In effect the private sector subsidizes the public pension system, and pays a heavy price because of it.
    Anyway, no harm in keeping our fingers crossed, so happy new year to you as well…

    Jan 02nd, 2018 - 02:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    REF: Christmas Pardon-List

    In ANY case, in/out of prisons has little/no effect on the wielding of the power by the corrupt. Besides, receiving the stolen wealth back from them is TOTALLY out of the question. Also; keeping them [ineffectively] imprisoned; additionally drains the taxpayers. In fact; every effort is being made to gradually legalize corruption. Just Watch!

    Jan 02nd, 2018 - 02:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    May sound ridiculous to non-Brazilians, but trying to 'legalize' corruption is exactly what Congress spent quite some time trying to do in 2017...and will, no doubt, carry on trying during 2018. Just how many projects did our 'honest' politicians try to pass in Congress last year 2017, pardoning all their past (and future) crimes ??

    Jan 02nd, 2018 - 05:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    32 parties is ridiculous. There certainly can't be that many different positions, I suppose it is due to ambitious (and impatient) politicians wanting to lead their own party rather than work their way up in an existing one.

    Anyway, Hamilton's party didn't give him a rap on the knuckles, they reselected him for the constituency thinking the voters would be forced to elect him anyway or risk putting the 'wrong' party in charge of the government. Only because Martin Bell volunteered to stand did the voters have a real choice. In a normal election if they just didn't like the candidate he would be elected anyway because the party is more important.

    That is the downside of having so few viable parties.

    “It’s general consensus here that when someone honest goes into politics, he either ends up joining the corruption, or gets the hell out…”

    It certainly seems like it. And unless the system is reformed it will probably continue. :(

    ““…because they have in effect given a promise to the people…”, how come ?”

    If you get a job and pay contributions based on being paid a certain pension at a certain time, and then your employer changes their mind and gives you less money, they've broken a promise haven't they? And it's no different if your employer is the government.

    Perhaps those public sector workers would have gone into the private sector if they weren't offered those pensions (and maybe it would have been better for Brazil if they had). It's pretty similar to not paying them the salary they were promised.

    Jan 02nd, 2018 - 09:47 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • :o))



    In a “So-Called Democracy”; legalizing corruption will solve ALL the problems of the “innocent” politicians!

    So, watch corruption sneak in; gradually, clandestinely, blatantly BUT justifiably AND LEGALLY!

    Watch Brazil pioneer the process, brand the style and set-up an example to the democracies of the WORLD!

    But that's NOT so funny.

    The funniest thing is that the population is not only very likely to accept it all but even support it AND celebrate it!

    Jan 02nd, 2018 - 10:19 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    That’s exactly what I’ve been saying for years…the party bosses are who get to indicate their cronies for high-up places and to control the flow of corruption.

    The Hamilton episode just proves that politics is rotten to the core…anywhere.
    It’s a lot worse that not having a few more ‘viable’ parties, it’s the quality of 99% of the members…when you see political propaganda on TV - before swiftly changing channels - you can’t but help see why the country is in the shit…the majority of candidates can’t even speak the language correctly, need to read off a 10 word message in front of them, and give more than just the impression that they are uneducated, uncouth opportunists. When and if they get elected, their main concern is ‘how can I make a quick buck ?’

    Regarding Brazil’s pension system, seems the rules only apply to the private sector….the government being your employer makes a great difference….haven’t you read what I’ve written over the past month ? the politicians vote their own salaries, privileges and benefits, and the system makes sure all the immoral aspects of their retirement (specifically for politicians, pensions equal to full salary, after 8 years) filters down to most public servants…they get pay rises just for going to work, they get special bonuses at 5 yr intervals in the job, they have stability, can only be sacked for really serious cock-ups (and even then, most times not), they can strike, blackmail the government into obscene raises, totally disrupting the whole population’s daily habits – even the police - and then no one’s punished… all this goes adding up, increasing their pensions to, as I’ve said, up to 6 times that of the highest pension in the private sector…reason why I said the private sector subsidizes the immoral aspects of the public sector. That's what attracts the less brightest minds in the market...and determines the lousy quality of public services received.
    And remember - this is Brazil, not the UK.

    Jan 03rd, 2018 - 05:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “The Hamilton episode just proves that politics is rotten to the core…anywhere.”

    It's all run by humans isn't it? Nearly everyone is corruptible, but some countries are better than others so improvement must be possible. And people like Bell make a difference.

    US politics avoids the problem of party bosses picking their cronies to some extent by holding primaries where the voters can select the candidates, but it's led to other problems since the voters with more extreme views are more likely to bother and this has led to more and more extreme candidates and division.

    Surely most of the candidates in Brazil can speak the language fine? I didn't think there were too many from the working class, so why would they be badly educated? Most of ours seem to have gone to private schools, more so nowadays than in the past, which isn't exactly a good sign.

    Regardless if it's fair, if the government says you must pay contributions from your salary and will get a pension of a certain amount at a certain age, isn't that a promise to you? Especially if the government is your employer. Don't you get a pension from your employer? What would you think if, after paying in to it all those years, they decided to only pay you half what they said they would?

    As to all the rest, sounds like it needs some serious reform, and politicians pay and benefits should be set by a separate committee, like the one they created in the UK thanks to the expenses scandal.

    The pensions reform will affect both the public and private sector workers though, right?

    Jan 03rd, 2018 - 07:02 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Enrique Massot

    Brazil's social and economic problems do not come from having too many parties.

    Brazil, similarly to other Latin American countries, is a country with a very small, ultra wealthy class with members or representatives at all levels of the political, judicial and media systems. In spite of its natural resource wealth, Brazil remains one of the most unequal countries in the world, an example of which has long been visible in Rio de Janeiro with its misery-infested favelas expand near beautiful beaches and first-class tourism.

    The ultra wealthy, however, have always resisted economic development and class mobility through access to education and politics of equality. Members of the oligarchy are prepared to staunchly defend the status quo by any means--they did it in the past through brute force and they do it today with help from the judicial system and the media. President Temer is today the best exponent of such spoiled-rotten class.

    And to those unfamiliar with Latin American reality: most countries have not reached full Capitalist status--instead, they remain stuck in semi-Feudal, unjust economic systems. In spite of all the noise about Socialism or Communism, what most leftist governments of the last decade have been trying is to develop more fully functional, modern Capitalist economies with a strong state presence.

    This is one thing Jack Bauer is right about: Brazil is not the UK.

    Jan 04th, 2018 - 06:54 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Right, politics can bring out the worst in humans. The Bells are the exception. Yr comment on US politics, presume you’re referring to Trump’s election, where many who normally don’t bother voting, did. It can cut both ways, Obama was elected because many didn’t care.
    If you saw ‘n listened to some Congressional members, ‘n most mayors & aldermen, you’d soon recognize their lower class origin, their lack of formal education ; presume you’ve heard Lula grunt - one of the main reasons for his success is his lousy Portuguese, like most.
    Educated politicians may not always be a good sign, but uneducated ones are usually a bad one.
    To close the subject on pensions, as you keep on insisting on ‘promises’, just note 1) the country can’t afford to continue with the absurd public pensions ‘n privileges, or perhaps you think private pensions should be reduced to compensate ? and 2) public pensions have only become what they are, due to immoral laws, promulgated by those who stand to benefit from them. No, ‘employer pensions’ don’t exist…all pension contributions, private ‘n public, go to one big national coffer (INSS), and are then paid out according to the very different criteria.
    The reform proposal includes a 20 year transition period, in order to not penalize those from the public sector who’ve been in the system for years and are now approaching retirement. The ones affected will be those entering public service. The reform will affect both future public and private pensioners alike, with regards to age & contribution time, ‘n will vary in the same proportion that pensions today, are different.

    @ EM
    your brainwave remark “Brazil's social and economic problems do not come from having too many parties”, while not entirely wrong, is only one of the causes - but today, it makes sure nothing gets approved without wheeling & dealing, and corruption. And those in Congress, from lower classes, soon forget their origins…their main concern is to get rich - and quick.

    Jan 04th, 2018 - 08:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I wasn't thinking of Trump, although perhaps he is an example, but of the various Tea Party congress members, and crazy evangelicals who get elected (or in some cases lose because they are too extreme even for their own party's voters). All recent US presidents were elected because many don't care; a 60% turnout is considered high in US Presidential elections. And many voters might be justified in thinking there is little practical difference between the candidates in most elections.

    I did watch a video of Lula out of curiosity, but I can barely tell Portuguese from Russian, let alone judge education and social class. The fact most of our politicians went to private schools is worrying because there are two possible explanations, both bad: state education is crap and not good enough to let people get a job as MP, and/or the people standing are not being selected on merit, but based on who they know. It also means they are no longer representative of the people they are supposed to be, well, representing.

    Anyway, a better education system should go a long way to fixing both our problem and yours.

    That 20 year transition period does tend to compensate for the promises issue, actually. And I didn't realise the public pension is the only pension, that explains why you thought it unfair for everyone to get the same amount. How about private pensions that you just pay into for yourself? Do those exist?

    It sounds like the plan is to cut pensions for everyone, but not to try and make them more even between the public and private sectors. Makes me wonder why the private sector workers and their unions don't complain and try to get a better deal.

    RE EM's comment, I don't think Brazil's social and economic problems come from having too many parties (how could they?), but the same political system that encourages them also seems to encourage corruption. I do think it needs reform.

    Jan 04th, 2018 - 09:52 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Presume voting in the UK is also optional (like USA), which means a candidate needs to inspire voters to get off their bum and vote.
    You may not have understood a word Lula says, but put him beside an educated person, ‘n you’d soon see the enormous difference in diction and bodily expression. Besides his gruffness, Lula can’t finish one sentence without committing several serious grammatical mistakes, or resorting to vulgarities ; he probably believes it’s a sign of his ‘authenticity’, but to the educated, it’s a sign of his ignorance. Anyway, look s like most electoral processes are incapable of weeding out the crap before defining who’s eligible or not.

    Clarifying : all workers, both public & private (sector), contribute a fixed percentage of their salaries, minus a deduction - which depends on the size of the salary - to the INSS; the ‘cake’ is then distributed to all retirees, based on, either the rules for public servants, or the rules for the private sector…while in the private sector, no one retires on full salary, public servants do…and the latter can receive up to 6 times the maximum pension in the private sector. That’s what needs to be corrected, and why I say that the private sector ends up subsidizing the deficit caused by the public sector.
    All workers are free to invest in private pension plans, putting whatever they can into special funds for that purpose.
    The spirit of the reform is to create a system in which public and private sector workers get similar pensions (not happening now), based on similar contributions (happening now), or, make it fairer, while attacking the cause of the deficit – the public pension rules. If private sector workers strike, it makes no impact, but if public servants do, everything comes to a halt.
    Not only the pension system needs reforming, but the political and tax systems too.
    The fact Brazil has so many parties, makes it nearly impossible to govern w/o under the counter dealing and corruption.

    Jan 05th, 2018 - 03:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Yes, voting is optional in the US and UK, and many people don't vote, especially in the former. I think a lack of real choice is a big reason, but some people don't care and some just refuse for no good reason. Perhaps they think if they vote for the government they become responsible for what it does when in power?

    In the UK we have a problem with young people not voting; since both our parties had moved to the centre, perhaps they didn't see much difference. I'm not fond of Corbyn, but he has at least got a few more people voting.

    When I listened to Lula I actually could understand a few words, since some are similar to English, and some are similar to Spanish words I've been learning, but not enough to know what he was talking about. Can you speak Spanish as well as Portuguese? They seem pretty similar, and you lived in Argentina when you were really young didn't you?

    Improving education for all would really solve this problem, as then politicians from the lower classes would be educated and also would have more chance to get into politics and stop it being dominated by the rich elite. We seem to be going backwards in this respect. My education was okay but not great, everything was aimed at the average student and there was nothing to push those who could do better. And the school I went to was probably above average in the country.

    The Brazilian pension system certainly does sound unfair, if public and private sector workers contribute the same amount but the public sector workers get six times as much back! No one in the UK retires on full salary, as far as I know. How could that be funded by their contributions unless they are paying in like 70% of their salary? In the UK employers are obliged by law to provide a pension scheme, so they are more common than individual pensions, but in most you pay into an account which belongs to you, and the return is not guaranteed in any way but depends on the stock market.

    Jan 05th, 2018 - 09:02 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))


    REFL :“The Brazilian pension system certainly does sound unfair”:


    Jan 06th, 2018 - 11:52 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    If voting is optional, suppose if no one comes up with an interesting and credible message, people aren’t going to bother. Here, voting is obligatory, which means many vote to try to ensure that those they hate most, don’t get in, or simply annul their vote (which, imo, is stupid, as it favours whom you don’t want). Agree that deciding becomes more difficult if both parties plug the same crappy message.

    My Portuguese is fluent, both written and spoken, while my Spanish is kind of rusty, not having practiced it for years. I spent my early years in BA, but after coming to Brazil, Portuguese eventually prevailed. I think we both agree that if education were not a privilege of the better-off, it would result (in the medium term) in both better candidates and better-informed voters. Here currently, most of those from the lower classes who go into politics, are usually doing it for the wrong reason, so their contribution is negative.

    Education wise, I was lucky enough to go to one of the top schools in Brazil - and it still is - now being called an ‘international school’.
    The university I attended is ranked, or at least was, nº 1 in South America.

    Glad to see you’re finally understanding the discrepancies between the public and private sector pensions…and why I (meanwhile, still) defend Temer ; his intervention in the system, besides being essential to reduce the enormous deficit, will do away with public sector ‘privileges’ (partial cause of the problem) and make it fairer.

    Several foreign companies used to (some may still, I don’t know) have pension schemes for their employees, available after complying to certain conditions - again, not sure exactly which, as no company I ever worked for, offered one. Looks like that in the UK, the account you pay into voluntarily, and belongs to you, is at the mercy of the stock market…sounds like can be good, or disastrous.

    Jan 06th, 2018 - 05:39 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Not voting still favours whoever you don't want to win, even when voting isn't compulsory. Considering all the young people who said they were opposed to Brexit, and then didn't bother voting, it's their own damn fault they got a result they didn't like.

    What happens if you don't vote anyway, and what if you're away and can't get to the polling station?

    I wish I had gone to a better school, but can't do anything about it now. Besides it was my own fault I did badly. You're lucky being bilingual (or trilingual), it's really hard to learn a language as an adult, and the French I learned in school was barely enough to get by on holiday. It seems most of those going into politics are doing it for the wrong reasons, no matter what class they are from.

    Does the Portuguese from Portugal sound funny to Brazilians, like American and British English?

    And yes, those pensions we have now are at the mercy of the stock market. It used to be common for people to get 'defined benefit' pensions, where they guaranteed a certain income depending on pay, years worked etc, especially in the public sector. But companies generally under-invested in them so there wasn't enough money at the end, and the government treated them like a pyramid scheme and didn't save anything. So now people my age get a much crappier 'defined contribution' scheme. You save for years and then get a lump sum at the end to buy an annuity, and we will probably have to work to at least 70 because they keep raising the retirement age. It you don't have a pension, or some rich executive makes off with the pension fund (which is somehow legal), then you still have the state pension to stop you starving, but it's a really small amount.

    Jan 06th, 2018 - 06:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Your comment on those opposed to Brexit, not voting, is right on. If you don't participate, then don't complain later.
    If you simply don't vote, nor justify the fact within 30 days, you are fined...about USD 50. If you are in the country but away from your voting district, you can justify your absence in any other voting district, without being fined, and if you're travelling outside the country you can justify later on by proving you were out of the country.

    I studied French for 6 years, which I did not enjoy at the time, but came in handy when I spent time in West Africa in the late 70's.

    The Portuguese from Portugal, depending the region, can be quite unintelligible to Brazilians....but around Lisbon, haven't experienced big problems. The fact the Portuguese 'eat' syllables and many (of the same) words have different meanings, can be confusing,
    but you soon get used to it.

    Sounds like your pension system needs reorganizing too....when that happens, there has to be something that's causing the mess, but when those who are benefiting from the mess are those who need to change the rules....fact is that the pension systems have not kept up with the times, and the rules no longer attend current needs...

    Jan 07th, 2018 - 10:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!