Anti-crime, corruption measure faces headwinds in Brazil

March 21, 2019
A photo of slain student Maria Eduarda, who was shot to death during a school shooting, lies on a Brazilian flag punctured to symbolize bullet holes during a demonstration organized by the NGO Rio de Paz outside the Palacio de Guanabara, the Rio de Janeiro state government office, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The flag has 54 holes, each one representing a child who Rio de Paz says was killed during shootings during police operations against suspected drug traffickers. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s crusading justice minister is facing congressional resistance to his effort to stiffen laws against organized crime and corruption.

Congressional Speaker Rodrigo Maia said Wednesday night that Sergio Moro’s bill is a “cut and paste” job from an earlier proposal. He says it won’t be voted on until a controversial pension reform is dealt with.

The setback is notable because Maia is loosely allied with President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.

Moro led an aggressive battle against corruption as a federal judge, sowing fear and resentment among many lawmakers before joining Bolsonaro’s government to demonstrate its will to battle rampant crime and corruption.

But he’s had to compromise with legislators and has found himself defending Bolsonaro’s family against allegations of corruption.

Some politicians also may fear him as an eventual presidential candidate.