How Brazil’s most hated president clung to his job

From the Washington PostSAO PAULO, Brazil — His political career hung by a thread, but Brazilian President Michel Temer spent Wednesday afternoon working on a victory speech. Just a few miles away, 500 lawmakers in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies would hold a vote to decide whether to suspend his mandate for six months and approve a corruption trial in the Supreme Court.

At the end of the day, the decision was clear. By a vote of 263 to 227, Brazil’s lawmakers shrugged off the charges and stuck with Temer, whose approval ratings are at a dismal 5 percent. The results were a testament to Temer’s skill as a politician but also revealed the lengths to which he would go to stay in power.

Two months ago, analysts declared Temer’s government dead after leaked recordings appeared to show the president condoning the payment of hush money to protect a wealthy meatpacking executive. Next, a videotape surfaced of a close aide receiving a suitcase full of cash — part of a $12 million bribe from the executive allegedly intended for Temer, a charge he denies. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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