Will the Brazilian ex-president go to prison and lose his right to run for office in the future?
Brazilian ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has faced trial for corruption charges and has been sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. This is one of the five cases against Lula, all because of his involvement in several corruption charges in Brazil.
The ongoing investigations on Lula da Silva, as well as his very recent conviction, are part of a much greater investigation which has been labeled Operation Car Wash (Operação Lava Jato), which is the investigation of the corruption scandals involving Petrobras, the Brazilian national oil company and one the biggest construction corporations, according to the South American country’s Federal Police.
These investigations were started back in 2014 and have been active since then. Lula has been accused of being involved in different manners, such as accepting bribes, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and influence peddling. His most recent conviction is due to his alleged acceptance of an apartment as bribe, linked to the scandals Operation Car Wash is attempting to uncover.
Lula has claimed his innocence and has accused those in charge of the investigation, as well as the trail itself, of being biased; the ex- president attributed their decision to convict him to their own political interests and agendas. A legal appeal will most likely be made in the hopes to remain free. Members of the Worker’s Party, Lula’s political alliance, have expressed that this ruling was specifically designed to prohibit the politician from running for office again.
Lula da Silva was first elected president in 2002; he was in office until 2011. In that year, Dilma Rousseff took over the presidency as his successor, but she was impeached in August of 2016, also because of corruption allegations—the Brazilian senate voted the then president out of office due to her illegal handling of government budget, as published on the Federal Senate’s official site.
Michel Temer was appointed president in the hopes to replace Rousseff, marking the end of the twelve-year left-wing government. This right-wing leaning administration is not so different from its counterparts, as a third of Temer’s cabinet is under investigation for the same corruption scandal Lula is allegedly involved in, according to the investigation reports from the Brazilian Federal Police official sites.
Lula still has four corruption trials to face. The scandals investigated by Operation Car Wash involve a significant portion of Brazil’s political sphere who have been accused of receiving money (or other goods, such as apartments) from Petrobras in exchange for giving building contracts to companies who upped their prices to the average consumer.
Latin American Post| Laura Rocha
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto