Atualizado: 28 de fev.
Former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da silva was back after what is being called - The Biggest Judicial Lie – in Brazilian history. With his bribery convictions nullified, the former president was no longer yesterday’s man.
Consequently, he ran for a further term in office after Brazil’s Supreme Court annulled Lula’s two bribery convictions, clearing the way for the former president to run in the 2022 elections and challenge the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro which he marginally won. Lula, had led Brazil between 2003 and 2011 and left office with an 83% approval rating.
In his first public speech he criticized the way Jair Bolsonaro handled the pandemic. At the time with 270,000 deaths in Brazil which was the worst death toll outside of the USA and Jair’s meddling with the international World Health Organization guidelines, and then the ousting of the Minister of Health who was carrying out his obligations, lack of respect for science, and his overall attitude towards health risk was not good enough. Lula said, “Many of these deaths could have been avoided.”
The former president’s speech prompted an immediate reaction from Bolsonaro, who defended his handling of the pandemic. “Lula’s criticism is unjustified. He is now beginning his campaign, but has nothing good to show. Their campaign is merely to criticize, lie and promote disinformation,” Bolsonaro told CNN Brazil.
Here is the point: Lula was corrupt, he had abused his leadership position, and used arrangements to pocket money in kickbacks from Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant according to some. Then Deltan Dallagnol, a public prosecutor, told a news conference that the Petrobras scheme had caused an estimated 42bn real ($12.6 billion) in losses. However, there were many influential players involved who saw an opportunity and sucked out as much as they could.
The two-year-old Operation Carwash anti-corruption investigation, based in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba, uncovered how political appointees named by Lula’s Workers’ party and its allies handed overpriced contracts to engineering businesses in return for illicit party funding and bribes.
Prosecutors alleged that the charismatic former union leader had personally received around 3.7m reals ($1.11m) in bribes, including a luxury apartment on the coast of São Paulo from one of the engineering and construction firms at the centre of the bribery scandal, OAS. In the end he was convicted based on the limited facts available, and consequently sent to prison. Those convictions were deservedly nullified.
However, all the hype caused intense political turmoil which resulted in a string of government official convictions, and Lula, being at the head of the Workers Party (PT) was hugely embarrassed from everything accumulating on his shoulders like a ton of bricks. His successor, Dilma Rousseff entered a second term as president, and then she was brought down which only added to the already delicate situation.
Dilma, then more than 12 months into her second four-year term, was charged with criminal administrative misconduct and disregard for the federal budget in violation of article 85, items V and VI, of the Constitution of Brazil and the Fiscal Responsibility Law, article 36. For this, impeachment occurred and Dilma was convicted. Basically, she hid deficits on the ledgers for misconduct at the state-run Petrobras.
What people might not realise is that from the moment Dilma was allegedly corrupt though there is no absolute proof that she was behind it; is that massive protests from the middle-class population created uncertainty in the Brazilian economy. Conservative supporters saw a break to overcome the Labor government, and overreacted to make sure they were triumphant. The Dilma case added more coal to the fire to bring Lula down.
Consequently, Brazil went through a devastating economic crisis whereby the Brazilian real (its currency) rapidly lost value at the same time as the country experienced a recession. In other words, one wrong is not resolved by extreme opposition; there has to be platonic methods of dealing with such cases to avoid extremism which can be compared to fanaticism and thus uncalled bloodshed.
I’m a great believer that things happen for a reason which is depicted by the way a dilemma is dealt with, whereas high-level aggression and meddling needs tact and careful analysis before taken action to resolve abruptly which often creates additional hardships i.e., Brazil’s recession and economic crisis was borne from the whole situation. News via media focus portrayed extremely primitive acts which reminded me of how villains were stoned in medieval times in Britain.
The whole scenario around Brazil seemed resolute on bringing the already retired president down. It was so bad, every social media outlet made fun of Lula, and Dilma like they themselves could do a better job of leading the country. It’s easy to criticize, but considering corrupt politicians are a main stream part of Brazil’s makeup then it was the perfect opportunity to oust Labor and bring the Conservative Party back to lead the country.
From my perspective, I’ve never been a Lula supporter. However, credit must be given for his competence and leadership. He has built relations with foreign countries and put Brazil on the map. As a charismatic leader who introduced schemes to help the poorest Brazilians it shows his empathy to deal with the country’s poverty level, and at the same time lead the economy. A good leader needs to offer an overall fellow feeling for the wellbeing of a nation and not a segment of the population.
Having gone back to London in March 2003, just after Lula took office, recollection of the exchange value for US dollars and UK pounds is clear in my mind. It was R$4,00 a dollar, and R$6,00 a sterling pound. On my return to Brazil in early 2010 a US dollar was valued at R$1,66. This meant the real had become stronger against the dollar. In fact, the real had more than doubled its strength, so it seemed obvious that Lula must have been doing something right.
Another thing that impressed me was during his two terms in office Brazil’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP) made historic gains by pushing the country momentarily into 6th place worldwide and taking over the United Kingdom before settling into its 7th ranked global position. In other words, Lula had brought the country into one of the highest-ranking nations and economic powerhouses of the world from originally 14th position when he took office.
Lula has been known for his casual attire, including the use of many red shirts in honour of the Workers’ Party (Labor) which he founded in 1980. Nowadays, he’s sporting sharp dark blue suits with powder blue dress shirt (see pictures); the 77-year-old’s message is clear, he means to save Brazil and set the slate clean by bringing Brazil back to its former glory.
Addressing journalists while standing in front of a famous picture of himself being held aloft by a crowd of supporters, and with a banner in the top right-hand corner reading; “Health, jobs and justice for Brazil”, Lula immediately took aim at the injustice that had been bestowed upon him.
Lula declaring himself of being, “the victim of the biggest judicial lie told in the country’s 500-year history”, Lula went on to describe the suffering he endured in prison from April 2018 to November 2019, when the Supreme Court ruled that defendants may remain free while their appeals are pending.
Lula was sentenced to 26 years after being convicted of accepting bribes in two separate corruption and money-laundering cases involving Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil company. In other words, he was partly responsible, but took the fall for many others meddling in the crimes and putting the blame on him.
He was investigated as part of the largest anti-corruption scheme in Brazil’s history, Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato), which was led by a mega taskforce from the federal police’s Curitiba branch. Scandal, ambition and Operation Car Wash led to Lula’s conviction and subsequent arrest prevented him from running in the 2018 presidential elections, which took place six months after his sentencing.
While sitting in jail, Lula still led Bolsonaro in the polls, with many harbouring suspicions that his arrest was engineered to ensure a Bolsonaro victory. After checking the facts, it becomes clear that he has been the scapegoat for other corrupt fanatics’ convenience.
The bottom line is no one is perfect. He abused his position, paid the price, and was given a second chance. Democracy stands for reason, and we have to accept it exists for the good sense of justice.
Have a terrific day!
Prof. Carl Boniface
Ousting (n) = ejecting, expelling, banishing, deporting, throw out, get rid of, drive out
Deservedly (adv) = justly, rightly, justifiably, reasonably, properly, with good reason, (ant) unreasonably
Hype (n) = publicity, propaganda, buildup, excitement, hysteria, hot air
Like a ton of bricks (idiom) = very hard or severely. “The loss of his job hit him like a ton of bricks.”
Coal to the fire (idiom) = To make a special effort to induce feelings of guilt or remorse in another person.
Platonic methods = The Platonic method has the virtue of allowing us to understand the one-to-many relationship of authority in other than political terms. In terms of the Platonic method, legitimate educational authority will depend on an ability to practice the maieutic method in a one-to-many relationship.
Maieutic (adj) = of or denoting the Socratic mode of inquiry, which aims to bring a person's latent ideas into clear consciousness.
What is platonic questioning? According to Plato, who was one of his students, Socrates believed that "the disciplined practice of thoughtful questioning enables the scholar/student to examine ideas and be able to determine the validity of those ideas".
Borne (adj) = Borne is, just like born, the past participle of the verb bear, which can mean (among other things) "to contain" or "to give birth to." At first, borne and born were variant spellings of the same adjective.
Fellow feeling (idiom) = sympathy, empathy, sensitivity, awareness, (ant) hostility, aggression, anger. In other words, sympathy and fellowship existing between people based on shared experiences or feelings.
"A common culture could help unite the classes and promote fellow feeling."
Set the slate clean (idiom) = to forget all the things that have happened or been done and start doing something again: to start again from the very beginning.
Aloft (adv) upward, high up, up in or into the air; overhead (adj) flying or situated in the air; overhead
Bestowed (v) = bequeathed, given, gave, presented, (ant) withdrawn