SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
AS investigations of alleged corruption by family and friends of President Fernando Collor de Mello get ever closer to the leader himself, the scandal threatens the future of Brazil's emerging democracy.
Parallel probes by Congress, the federal police, and the internal revenue service into influence peddling charges against Mr. Collor's campaign treasurer have led many Brazilians to call for impeachment or an improvised parliamentary system of government.
This week and next, a series of new depositions are scheduled, including that of the secretary-general of the presidency, Marcos Coimbra, who is also Collor's brother-in-law.
"It's sad that the country should have to go through this," says Maria Salete Puglia, a bakery owner, as she pauses on her way down a Sao Paulo street. "Collor should resign. It will be very bad, but things are already very bad." Early warning
Collor denied on national television June 21 that he had received a warning early on in his term about the alleged influence peddling of his friend and campaign treasurer, Paulo Cesar Farais.
Collor didn't say if he thinks Mr. Farais is guilty, but he did state that his own "personal action has always been ruled by the strictest fairness, by the strictest adhesion to ethical principles," In a meeting with top news media executives June 22, Collor said he will "complete [his] term to the last day."
The president went this latest round while a congressional investigative committee delves ever deeper into the corruption scandal touched off in May by Collor's younger brother Pedro. Economic fallout