EX-PRESIDENT LULA OF BRAZIL – FROM TRUCKWORKER TO PRINCE OF CORRUPTION

Since 2003 to 2014 Brazil was in the hands of the Worker’s Party, a social democrat party of the left. The result has been chaos and decline in this the largest South American country.

Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, like the party itself, has become the face of all that has gone wrong in Brazil. The Petrobras Car Wash scandal happened on their watch. The economy is bad. Unemployment is rampant. Violent crime is through the roof. No wonder most Brazilians blame this mainly on the Worker’s Party because leftist parties have been in charge until 2014.

The worst year was 2014, as Dilma Rousseff of the Worker’s Party, was re-elected president after taking over from Lula. He had been accused of corruption. One year later Rousseff herself faced charges of her own of corruption. She was first suspended in 2016 until the Senate voted 61-20 in favor of her impeachment. She had been breaking budgetary laws.

Then vice president of the leftist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, Michel Temer, took over. Although somewhat more pragmatic Temer was charged with racketeering and obstruction of justice.

More than 200 Brazilian politicians and others, including Lula, have been convicted in a corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash. The result has been that opinion polls show that only 17 percent of Brazilians had confindence in the national government. It was a decline from 51 percent around ten years earlier. It was not only a question of resulting economic decline. Public security failed in 2017 when there was a record of 63,880 homicides.

Brazil had become a synonym for chaos and leniency with criminals.

Lula ruled from 2003 to 2010. During that period he, his party and Metal Worker’s Union had close contacts with Sweden. Two of Lula’s main partners in Sweden were Stefan Loefven and Mona Sahlin. The former trade union leader Loefven was Swedish prime minister from 2014 to 2018. Mona Sahlin is a disgraced former leader of the Swedish Social Democrat Party.

The post-Lula period saw prosecutors open Operation Car Wash that revealed systemic embezzlement and bribery among scores of individual politicians. The prosecutors soon homed in on Lula too and he was convicted

When the future disgraced president was seven, his family emigrated to the industrial heartland of Sao Paulo state, where Lula worked for a Swedish owned company.

Lula became president of his trade union and a leftist politician. In 1980, he co-founded the Workers’ Party, and became a candidate for presidency of that party.

After taking power he had the good fortune to rule during the golden decade for Latin America, when China’s demand for raw materials resulted in an impressive growth of Latin American economy.

Already in the first term as president there were a series of scandals most notably a congressional vote-buying case. Still Barack Obama referred to Lula as “the man.”

In the summer of 2017 Lula was sentenced to 9.5 years in prison for accepting a luxury apartment from a construction firm in return for political favors.

After the 2018 election it remains to be seen if Brazil can recover from years of leftist corruption and mismanagement. One solution for Brazil could be privatization. This would include Banco do Brazil and the large oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA. Asset sales could help the federal administration to cut debt. Such sales could also be of great importance for local governments.

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