The Passion of the Lula
July 20, 2005 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Lula is in trouble. Brazil's progressive president (he even supports open-source!) and the poster politician for a funky, sensible 21st century development (though not everyone is so enamored) is mobbed with corruption allegations.
posted by Coherence Panda (11 comments total)
The US would like to negotioate a trade please.
posted by nofundy at 12:02 PM on July 20, 2005

nofundy, are you sure? Because, if things here in Brazil keep going the way the are, in a few weeks you might want to trade back...
posted by rexgregbr at 12:16 PM on July 20, 2005

there's a BIG difference between Lula himself being targetted in a corruption scandal and members of his party being targetted. you should be Drudge's headline writer.
posted by trinarian at 12:24 PM on July 20, 2005

Oh, and Coherence Panda, as far as open-source support, there's much in it that is due to political positions, specially a sectary and manichaean view that anything that comes from Redmond is pure evil.

I live in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul state. My state has one of the biggest soy productions among the Brazilian states. Also, we had a governor from the same party of our current president (also, with the same inaptitude and with the same dangerous friends and unorthodoxly ways of getting illegal money for the party - donations from mobsters).

The open-source support program that runs now at national level was first tried here in my state. It failed big time. It was motivated by a political vision that any capitalism is bad and therefore should be put down.

Another example of this fundamentalist vision (well, actually, there are plenty of them) is that whenever there's a World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, there are some troubles at McDonald's restaurants (damn yankee capitalists) and that in the last WSF, they actually prohibited the selling of Coca-Cola during the events.

When that governor was unable to run for the office again and also his candidate failed in beating opposition, the local open-source support was put into hold. This does not mean that current government will not use or support open-source. It means that it will be used wherever it's the best choice.

The linux-powered ATM example from the article is a good one. Bank customers only interact with a small and simple interface. They are not concerned about the OS underneath.

But I'm eager to hear from you guys about what you are reading about our current national scandal. Right now, the money-man from Worker's Party (PT) is on deposition in the Congress, regarding the accusations of buying allies for the President with dirty money.
posted by rexgregbr at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2005

trinarian: Lula is up to his neck into this mess, IMHO. But you're right. So far, it didn't reach him.

Now, up until last month, Jose Dirceu, Lula's best man, his main general, the man that really was responsible for running all this well-oiled money-making-and-laundry machine, was sitting in an office right beside Lula's own office. He was acting in name of the party, but using government's resources and his influence with The Man.

They have, for many years, planned well what they would do when they've reached the government. It was all going well, until he tried to blow one of his former allies (Roberto Jeferson, the congressman who started singing about the monthly fees paid by the party for congressmen from the allied parties). He didn't count on Jeferson's reckless attitude: "If I go down, I'm taking many more with me".

Lula's interview from Paris last weekend was very suspicious, since it corroborated the defense that was setup between Delubio (PT's money man) and Valerio (owner of some advertising business and the responsible for giving the money to Delubio, in order to get some good government contracts). It seemed a fixed deal.

Also, there's the issue that Delubio is now saying that PT paid for the campaign expenses of all the major PT candidates in the last election (except for Lula, Delubio says) with money that was not legal (what we call here 'Caixa 2', money diverted from the official accounting and that cannot be explained). This means that every candidate that used that money and was elected might be impeached.

It's very hard to believe that all but Lula would use that money, since Lula's marketing man (Duda Mendonça) was paid with that money for all the other campaigns that he did for PT in that election and that it cost Lula at least 10 million Reais.

But, as I said before, so far, no hard evidences.
posted by rexgregbr at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2005

Whoa I'm impressed a politician being accused of everything vile under the sun ! Of course nobody has an interest in doing that, so it must be true.
posted by elpapacito at 2:02 PM on July 20, 2005

Man, Drudge's headline writer? That hurts, man, that hurts . . . but I do think that it's unlikely -- at least in Brazil, though maybe not here in the States, we'll have to see -- to have your right-hand man run out of town on a rail and come out clean. I learned about this from a radio report on the BBC world service, and the people they interviewed -- country folks, who've been Lula's biggest supporters -- were pretty disillusioned and unhappy with the Big Man.

One aspect I didn't mention but think important is that Lula is someone whom the international left really seems to rally around. In spite of all his faults, he's the world's one identifiably progressive, big-ticket national leader, and Brazil has become the world's one identifiably progressive, big-ticket poor country. If he goes down, the waves will rock a lot of boats.
posted by Coherence Panda at 8:27 PM on July 20, 2005

Lula should give Delubio a medal.
posted by mosch at 9:05 PM on July 20, 2005

Thanks for the Brazilian view rexgregbr. Much appreciated. How many other citizens of Brazil are on Mefi and can contribute/comment on this scandal?
posted by nofundy at 5:27 AM on July 21, 2005

Lula is in trouble, oh yes, you're right Coherence - no matter what the newspapers or the public opinion say about it. He's the president, he's the number one name in PT since it was founded 20 years ago, his right-arm (José Dirceu) was already fired because of this same scandal and the two main financial managers of Lula's presidential campaign and PT Congress leadership are admiting guilt in live tv broadcasting. There's illegal money, there's lie and corruption in Congress, the high command of Lula's government was involved and he simply doesn't (like to) talk to the journalists about it.

The fact that Lula didn't lead the scheme doesn't make much of a difference to the fact the he's in trouble. It seems he did not lead indeed, but he seriously endorsed if he knew about it, or he is the most stupid person in his own government if he didn't know anything. Two disastrous options he need to choose fast. Lula is PT and he needed to handle the Congress to make the long promised government of hope happen, but he was just not competent and honest enough to do it.

Now if you want to understand that a little more, you have to pay attention to two very important details. First, Lula is an ox in therms of administrative and political leadership. He was a labor union leader, that's right, one of the most important ones, that's right again, but he never was a mayor of a single city in Brazil, he never lead a simple small city government assembly, or a small party in a Congress or any small company. He simply doesn't know how to manage, how to administrate, how to be an executive commander-in-chief (okay, that can be just my opinion, but it is supported by those facts). Ask a management student if it makes a difference. That's why he was never able to let go of his campaign speeches even knowing he's already president. And secondly, he is (was?) a brilliant ideological symbol, a workers leader, a solidified hope of the brazilian people (although in many fields he was just sectary, like rexgregbr well said - what takes us to the first point again, they're pretty much connected, you see).

So, that's why he's better shouting and crying than an executive or a president. He's ideology, he's a symbol, he's not a manager, not a chief. What happens is that corruption affects him both administratively and ideologically. He's in trouble.
posted by nandop at 3:55 PM on July 21, 2005

Well put, nandop.

Also, it's been common knowledge here in Brazil that Lula is being protected by the people that are entangled in this scandal.

Even Roberto Jefferson, the one guy that started the whole mess with his claims of monthly payment from PT to other parties, was reluctant about mixing Lula with the dirty deeds of the party (tough he pointed his finger to Jose Dirceu, who is Lula's best man).

However, facts are surfacing and it's getting harder to shield Lula. Jefferson already announced that he wrote his last speech as a Congressman and that he'll spare no one, not even Lula.

Valerio hinted the same disposition (and then PT instantly stopped the attempts to put the blame on him and he and Delubio worked their defense together).

Joao Paulo Cunha (leader of the party at the Congress) has a lot to explain regarding his wife drawing money from one of Valerio's bank accounts. PT just hinted that would put the blame on him and he quickly let everybody know that he would not go down alone. It was all the message they needed.

Also, there's a lot coming to the news now, regarding long passed PT deeds, such as the one where Lula's buddies would be granted consulting contracts with PT's administrations in many cities and Lula not only being aware of that, but also covering everything up (which is not different form what he's doing now).

Sure, he has charisma. He has empathy. He says what people long to hear. But is this enough? I don't think so.
posted by rexgregbr at 10:16 AM on July 22, 2005

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