Just when you think Brazil's corruption crises can't get any worse, Geddel Vieira Lima, former minister chief of the government secretary office, is arrested in the state of Bahia. His detainment, part of a federal police operation dubbed Cui Bono, known in English as "Who Stands to Gain", was related to crimes committed at Caixa Economica, a government-owned bank. Considered to be one of Temer's strongmen, Vieira Lima resigned from his cabinet post in November 2016.
Reactions to Vieira Lima's arrest have been swift and resounding.
Globo reported that Carlos Zarattini, Worker's Party leader in the lower house of representatives, said “Geddel's detainment is one more negative aspect of (Temer's) government. After all, he was a strong, highly regarded minister.” He added that “I have no doubt that Temer's situation has worsened.”
Zarattini also noted that Temer's administration was able to “disarm a bomb” last week when Rodrigo Rocha Loures, former lawmaker and ex-presidential adviser, was released from prison. However, Vieira Lima's arrest has “armed a new bomb.”
Congressman Ivan Valente of the Socialism and Liberty Party commented that “Geddel was a cabinet member with a long political tradition,” adding that “his imprisonment demonstrates that everybody around Temer is under a lot of pressure and it reveals government weakness.”
Senator Vanessa Grassiotin of the Communist Party of Brazil said that with “each passing day there are new headlines that hinders Brazil from walking. And the only people who suffer are the workers.”
However, Romero Juca's response was more timid. Shortly after news broke about Vieira Lima's detainment, the government leader in the Senate said that he lamented the former cabinet member's situation. “I think it's a specific situation related to Geddel. Though I lament it, let's wait to see what happens,” he said.
Meanwhile, Papo TV reported that Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima, a regional state prosecutor in the infamous Car Wash investigations, simply commented, "Poor Temer! He really doesn't know how to choose his friends."