Lula's bridge to nowhere hints at global reach of Brazil graft

By David Boddiger

CARACAS, Venezuela — On the lush savanna in the upper reaches of South America looms a $1.2 billion monument to the deepening troubles of Brazil.

Spanning the mighty Orinoco River in Venezuela, the Orinoquía Bridge stands as a rusting reminder of a not-long-ago time when a prosperous Brazil sometimes channeled taxpayer money to ambitious projects across the continent and beyond.

Today, few people use the bridge, which seems to connect nowhere to nowhere. The plaque marking its 2006 ribbon-cutting is gone, and a nearby picnic area is overgrown.

“Every day is a better day,” a government placard proclaims, with an optimism few Brazilians share in this season of economic and political anxiety.

At a time when half a million Brazilians take to the streets to protest the corruption scandal convulsing their nation, questions are growing about just how Brazilian graft might have spread around the world.

See: Brazilians rage against president, corruption

Far-flung projects built by Odebrecht, a Brazilian conglomerate ensnared in the investigations, some financed by BNDES, Brazil’s powerful state development bank, are being examined with growing urgency in parallel investigations.

“These international matters are in the early stages of investigation. There is a lot of material not yet analyzed,” said Deltan Dallagnol, … continue reading

Via:: Tico Times