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Did Brazil's Planning Minister Plot Against Rousseff?

24 May, 2016

Brazil's planning minister resigned from office on Monday after a recording of him was made public.

The recording appears to show Romero Jucá plotting the impeachment of now-suspended President Dilma Rousseff. He reportedly was talking with a former oil company official about how to stop a corruption investigation.

Jucá denies the allegations. He claimed that the words he said were taken out of context.

Brazilian Planning Minister Romero Juca talks to reporters about a leaked phone recording at his offices in Brasilia, Brazil, May 23, 2016.
Brazilian Planning Minister Romero Juca talks to reporters about a leaked phone recording at his offices in Brasilia, Brazil, May 23, 2016.

On Monday, the planning minister said he would temporarily resign from the acting government. He had been in office less than two weeks.

The Brazilian newspaper Folha published a partial transcript of the recording on Monday. The Reuters news agency reports that the paper said the recording was made "secretly."

In it, Jucá and the former oil company official, Sergio Machado, discuss a government investigation of the state-operated oil company Petrobras. Both men have been named in the investigation.

In the transcript, Jucá said "We have to change the government so the bleeding is stopped."

Machado reportedly said that, "The easiest solution is to put Michel in." That appears to refer to Vice President Michel Temer, Brazil's acting president during the suspension of Rousseff.

Jucá is reported to have said he was working with the country's justices, who have the final word on impeachment.

The recording was apparently made in March before the Senate voted to impeach Rousseff.

Rousseff's supporters say the recording shows that she is the victim of an attempt to overthrow the government.

The Brazilian Senate voted to place Rousseff on trial earlier this month. She is charged with using record-keeping tricks to hide Brazil's budget deficit when she campaigned for reelection in 2014.

She currently is suspended for up to 180 days while her trial takes place.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

This story first appeared on VOANews. Mario Ritter adapted the report for Learning English. Additional information came from Reuters. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

allegation – n. a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal

taken out of context – phrase leaving out words or phrases that are important for the meaning of a statement or quote

refer – v. to point to, to talk about

impeachmentn. charging a public official with a crime while in office

transcript – n. a written or printed copy of words that have been spoken