On July 12, 2017, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or “Lula”, a well-known Brazilian ex-president from 2003 to 2010, was imprisoned for a bribery and misuse of the country´s financial resources. Lula´s will remain in a jail for one decade.
The reason of the sentence was gaining of approximately 1.1 million American dollars (71,5bn DKK) in adjustments from a building firm for their apartment by the sea. The firm, on the other hand, received a great deal(s) from Petrobras, a massive producer of oil in Brazil.
This shocking news damaged his public profile as an influential Brazilian politician who had a tremendous impact on an army force, Brazil´s international standing, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
Christopher Sabatini, executive director of Global Americans, a New York´s research group commented: “This goes far beyond himself and his political career, which is seriously damaged. It’s Brazil’s reputation. He was a brand. Brand Brazil.”
Prior to the current sentence, Dilma Rousseff, a member of Lula´s leftist Workers´ Party, was refused by the Senate for his Presidential candidacy in 2016 due to the leadership problems.
Lula described Rousseff´s case as an absurdity, and on behalf of that, he revealed his plans to race for the presidency again in 2018, regarded by the majority as a prominent competitor.
However, after Judge Sergio Moro decided to sentence the ex-president, it is clear that: “Under Brazilian law, Mr. da Silva would be ineligible to run for office for twice as long as his sentence, or 19 years.”
The Judge´s decision has started a corruption revolution in the Brazilian politics. Michel Temer, Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, has been accused of corruption in June, still waiting for a final decision on the matter.
Judge Moro strongly thinks that: “Mr. da Silva’s actions were part of a “scheme of systemic corruption” at Petrobras. The president of the republic has enormous responsibilities. As such, his culpability is also enormous when he commits crimes.”
During Mr. da Silva´s presidency, Brazil experienced an increased economic growth and lowered percentage of poverty which made the former president an extremely respected public figure.
The story behind Mr. da Silva´s case
Even though Mr. da Silva has been accused of the corruption and money laundering, he sees the problem in a power acquisition. Judge Moro might have been his biggest rival in the presidential elections.
Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, who recently took the helm of the Workers’ Party said: “We view this as an attempt to push Lula out of the electoral process. A presidential election without the participation of Lula is fraudulent and undemocratic. If you want to take him out of the running, then put up a candidate and run against him in the electoral booth.”
Mr. da Silva’s jurists, do not agree with the fact that the former president is guilty of the corruption. They consider it rather a political attack, or “a famous strategy that has been used to brutal effect by various dictatorships throughout history.”
“The case against him began with an investigation into money laundering at a gas station. But as prosecutors continued digging, they said they discovered billions of dollars’ worth of bribes involving Petrobras and powerful contractors like Odebrecht, a large construction company with deep ties across the hemisphere. The case — which became known as the Lava Jato, or Car Wash, scandal — has ensnared other powerful politicians and put dozens of lawmakers under a cloud of suspicion”, the New York Times reported.
The corruption scandal created doubts and distrust in the Brazilian government. As a matter of fact, some politicians plan on establishing an amnesty law to protect themselves and avoid the corruption challenges in politics.
Mauricio Santoro, the Rio de Janeiro State University´s political scientist, named the Mr. da Silva´s imprisonment as one of the most important steps in the fight against the corruption in Brazil.
He said: “We have almost half of the country wanting Lula to be president and the other half wanting him jailed. This puts a huge responsibility in the hands of the judge’s ruling on the appeal”.
“Even if Mr. da Silva wins the appeal, he continues, the case adds to the sense that Brazil’s crusading judiciary has changed the rules of the game for politicians. Past presidents widely suspected of corruption managed to keep prosecutors at bay”.
“We are living in a very different Brazil,” Santoro said.