Rodrigo Janot, the Brazilian attorney general heading up the biggest corruption investigation the country has ever seen, is known here as “the man who makes Brasília shiver.” This week, in his office in Brasília, he granted his first exclusive interview since 2014 to The Post’s Lally Weymouth. Janot says that he hopes the wide-ranging “car wash” probe into graft and abuse of power will ultimately result in a cleaner and less corrupt country. Excerpts:
Q: Can you talk about how the investigation began?
A: This investigation began in the southern state of Paraná and involved three illegal exchange operators.
They were doing money laundering, right?… Seguir leyendo »
After Dilma Rousseff was removed from Brazil’s presidency in May facing charges of administrative misconduct, Vice President Michel Temer became interim president. He set out to hire a first-rate economic team to guide Brazil out of its recession, but “Operation Car Wash,” a sprawling federal corruption investigation that began with sweetheart contracts from the state oil company, has already forced three of his ministers to resign. In his Brasilia office, Temer granted his first foreign interview since taking over to The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth. They discussed the Olympics, Zika and the presidential crisis. Edited excerpts follow.
Three of your cabinet members have already been forced to resign due to corruption allegations.… Seguir leyendo »
Lally Weymouth is a senior associate editor for The Post. Dacian Ciolos, a 46-year-old technocrat who previously worked at the European Union, did not come to power in Romania through an election or a coup. After youths rioted in the streets of Bucharest in November demanding an end to corruption and forcing the resignation of the previous government, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis called to ask Ciolos to serve as interim prime minister. Ciolos has said he will remain in office only until the next prime minister is chosen after fall parliamentary elections. On a visit to Washington this week that included a meeting with Vice President Biden, Ciolos also talked with The Post’s Lally Weymouth.… Seguir leyendo »
After the Cold War, Poland began slowly to remake itself, and by the last decade it had become a beacon of freedom and a model for economic reform. But nationalist undercurrents persisted in the country’s politics. In the mid-2000s, the right-wing nationalist Law and Justice Party held power briefly; last year, the party came back in force, capturing the presidency and the majority of the Parliament. Now it appears to be dismantling many of the country’s democratic checks and balances, starting with its highest court. The new Polish government refused to seat the justices appointed by the previous government and passed a law requiring a supermajority of judges for rulings.… Seguir leyendo »
Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer sitting in her lakeside home in Yangon, waiting for her restoration. It has finally arrived. The woman who endured house arrest for the better part of 20 years heads the party that won a landslide election victory this month over the very generals who held her captive. In her office here, she spoke with The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth about launching a democracy, ending ethnic violence and sharing power with the military.
Were you surprised by your landslide?
No, not surprised. We knew we had the support of the public, but we were worried there might be too many irregularities.… Seguir leyendo »
Martin Lee and Anson Chan are leaders of Hong Kong’s democracy movement advocating for the autonomy promised under China’s “one country, two systems” governance model. Last week, they spoke with The Post’s Lally Weymouth in Hong Kong about the effect of student protests, the need for the United States to speak out and their fear that important freedoms may be slipping away. Excerpts:
Martin Lee: The whole reason for the [2014 student protest] movement was because Beijing kept on postponing democracy for Hong Kong. It was originally promised to us that 10 years after the  handover, Hong Kong could have democracy both for the election of the chief executive as well as the entire legislature.… Seguir leyendo »
Taking time out from the White House summit on countering violent extremism last week, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo spoke with The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth about the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, anti-Semitism in France and other topics. Excerpts:
Q. You went to Denmark last weekend to lend moral support to Copenhagen’s Mayor Frank Jensen after a gunman inspired by [the Islamic State] attacked a literary forum and a synagogue. Do you feel the Danish killer was inspired by the attack in Paris on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher market?
A. Yes. There is a very clear link between the two attacks.… Seguir leyendo »
After taking daring economic measures to drag Japan out of recession, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be on the verge of another breakthrough: a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this coming week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering in Beijing . During the past year, tensions have escalated between Japan and China over islands in the East China Sea (known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands and in China as the Diaoyu Islands). Diplomatic ties between the two countries have been frozen since 2012, when Japan purchased the islands, and Abe has also come under criticism in China for his 2013 visit to the Yasukuni Shrine to Japan’s war dead, which includes World War II war criminals.… Seguir leyendo »
Fresh from a visit to Silicon Valley, Italy’s 39-year-old, Twitter-loving prime minister Matteo Renzi came to New York last week to attend the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. He spoke with The Post’s Lally Weymouth about his hopes to change his country. Excerpts:
Italy has been in a long recession. You seem to say you can change the country. Do you think you can?
We can change, and we must change. After years of stagnation, I think that this is the moment in which Italy can realize the things we’ve waited for for years. How many years has Italy spoken about labor reforms?… Seguir leyendo »
Raised in New Jersey, Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves does not mince words when it comes to the situation in Ukraine and the threat Russia poses to his country and the region. He took time last week to speak with The Post’s Lally Weymouth. Excerpts:
Q. What do you think of the situation in Ukraine?
A. The issue is not just Ukraine — it is the entire post-World War II order, which is under question. The Helsinki Final Act forbade border changes through aggression and says explicitly that no such change in borders would be recognized.
[This] was already annulled by the [Russian] attack on Georgia in 2008.… Seguir leyendo »
A hero in the financial world for the reforms he has enacted to open up Mexico’s economy, President Enrique Peña Nieto took time out from his appearances at the United Nations and the Economic Club of New York this past week to talk to The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth about the U.S. border, crime and security, and how, in almost two years in office, he has sought to change his country. Excerpts:
You just passed a lot of significant reforms that most of your predecessors dreamed about but no one imagined would be enacted. How did you persuade your opposition to join you?… Seguir leyendo »
The foreign minister of Romania, Titus Corlăţean, was in Washington this week to discuss with U.S. officials the situation in Ukraine, which shares a long border with Romania. He took time out to speak with The Post’s Lally Weymouth. Excerpts:
Q. How do you see the situation in Ukraine?
A. My country, Romania, represents the eastern border of both NATO and the European Union. What happened with this absolutely illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia violating international law — happened only 200 miles from the Romanian border. The other Russian temptation which relates to the status of the Moldovan region of Transnistria is happening at our border.… Seguir leyendo »
Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ukrainian opposition leader released from jail after former president Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in February, walks with a crutch. Now campaigning for president, she spoke with The Post’s Lally Weymouth this week in Kiev. Excerpts:
Q. You must have had a hard time in 2½ years in prison.
A. It is horrible to remember. I was in a special jail where psychological torture and pressure were the main goal. No normal person could survive such conditions.
But you did.
I had no choice but to live through this. As a matter of fact, during the two years, I was never given the possibility of going out of this room.… Seguir leyendo »
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk sat down with The Post’s Lally Weymouth in Kiev. Excerpts:
Q. How do you see the situation in the east of Ukraine?
A. We have clear evidence that Russia supports these so-called peaceful protesters with machine guns in their hands. Russian security forces deployed groups of 10 to 20 people in different areas, and these groups have a widespread network of local protesters. That’s what our intel says. They storm the administrative or police buildings, then they disappear and local protesters occupy these buildings. Then the well-trained Russian security forces move to another destination. That’s what happened in Donetsk and Luhansk.… Seguir leyendo »
Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, sat down with The Post’s Lally Weymouth on Monday in Kiev to discuss events in southeastern Ukraine. Excerpts:
Q. What is the status of the several journalists reportedly kidnapped today in the southeast?
A. The journalists were already released.
All of them?
As far as I know, all of them. In any case, we understand that this zone in Slovyansk is where the terrorists are active, so when a journalist enters there, he or she should realize very well that there is a risk. [Separatists] are also shooting peaceful citizens.
Do you think the Russians will actually release the [government] buildings, as they said they would in last week’s Geneva meeting?… Seguir leyendo »
Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw “Radek” Sikorski, has been intimately involved in the Ukraine crisis, including in the negotiation of an agreement in February that then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych walked away from, further fueling the Maidan protest. Sikorski spoke with The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth Wednesday, ahead of the diplomatic talks in Geneva aimed at defusing hostilities, about the crisis, U.S. global credibility and what Vladimir Putin has his eyes on next. Excerpts:
What do you think is going to happen in Ukraine?
I think President Putin wants to prevent Ukraine from becoming a successful European/E.U.-associated country. To that end, he needs to destabilize Ukraine and to upset its electoral calendar and make it more difficult to carry out economic reforms.… Seguir leyendo »
Tunisia is the country where the Arab Spring began, and analysts are saying it might be the only country to emerge from that tumultuous experience as a democracy. This week interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa is visiting Washington to ask the Obama administration to shore up his country’s economy. He sat down for an interview with The Post’s Lally Weymouth. Excerpts:
Q. What is the purpose of your trip to Washington?
A. We have many objectives. The first is to strengthen our relationship with the United States. We have always had a good relationship with Washington and appreciated the support given by the U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
At 87, Beji Caid Essebsi is the leading voice of the secular opposition in Tunisia and head of the Nida Tounes party. As Tunisia’s economy and security situation deteriorate, he and other politicians are struggling this week to agree on a new government to take over from the Islamist-led government. The Post’s Lally Weymouth spoke to Essebsi on Wednesday in Tunis. Excerpts:
Q. National dialogue has been underway to seek a technocrat as prime minister who would arrange for elections to be held. It has taken months and there is no prime minister.
A. The problem is that the dialogue has 23 parties, which are very different and which don’t have the same political ideologies.… Seguir leyendo »
The Arab Spring began in Tunisia on Dec. 17, 2010, when a pushcart vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire , sparking a revolt that spread across the Arab world. Beginning with Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, dictators fell from power, and it seemed that a democratic revolution might transform the region. Yet now, on the third anniversary of that catalyzing moment, the outcome seems far less promising. In Tunisia itself, the question is whether the Islamist-led government, headed by Rachid Ghannouchi’s Ennahda party, can succeed. The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth spoke with Ghannouchi on Tuesday in Tunis. Excerpts:
Can the parties in the long-running national dialogue — including yourself and the other political parties — decide on a new prime minister this week?… Seguir leyendo »
Since the fall of Moammar Gaddafi, Libya has been ruled by chaos. Only a month ago Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was briefly kidnapped. Zeidan spoke with The Post’s Lally Weymouth on Saturday in Paris. Excerpts:
Q. What can you say about the recent shooting of the American teacher in Benghazi? What you will do about it? Will you arrest those responsible?
A. It is a crime [and] I will do everything possible in order to prosecute them, arrest them and bring them to justice.
Do you know who did it?
No, I don’t know because I was here in Paris when it took place.… Seguir leyendo »