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Brazil Gets Worst Possible Resignation On Eve Of Olympics Tourism Boon

Photo: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter

The troubled interim government of Brazil lost its tourism minister Thursday to a wide-ranging corruption scandal, less than two months before the Olympics.

Brazilian Tourism Minister Henrique Alves stepped down from his post after he was implicated in the ongoing Lava Jato (Portuguese for Car Wash) scandal. It was alleged that Alves was involved in the scheme that illegally funneled billions from the state-owned national oil company Petrobras to various political campaigns.

Alves was accused of corruption by a former Petrobras executive who cut a deal with prosecutors taking down the Brazilian political and business elite one by one. Current interim President Michel Temer is also caught up in the scandal.

Brazil is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August. The government expects that half a million people will go to Rio to see the games.

The current Brazilian president and his government only came to power in May after the now-suspended President Dilma Rousseff was impeached. Besides an ongoing political crisis, Brazil has contended with dueling Zika virus and dengue epidemics.

The two mosquito-borne illnesses have ravaged the country and prompted the World Health Organization to look into possibly recommending a cancellation of the Olympic games. The Olympics, however, will still be held in Rio de Janeiro despite the multiple crises afflicting the South American country.

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