October 10, 2012 1 Comment
But the Brazilian Court abstained itself from even hearing evidence that may have incriminated former Brazilian president Luis Inacio da Silva.
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 10, 2012
The Brazilian Supreme Court convicted Jose Dirceu, a minister of former President Lula da Silva, for bribery in the process called Mensalão.
Along with Dirceu were also sentenced the then president of the Workers Party (PT), Jose Genuino, and treasurer, Delubio Soares. The three men who were the strong core of PT back in 2003, have been convicted of using taxpaer money to bribe four other political parties. The same political parties are now allies of the government, and several of their congressmen were — according to the discoveries made in the trial — bought off to support the first Lula government. The three convicted men will also be tried later for a crime known in Brazil as “crew training”, the equivalent to forming and operating a criminal organization.
The Supreme Court had already convicted politicians from four different parties for passive corruption. On Tuesday, the Court dealt with the now proven corrupters.
The most difficult sentence to agree on, according to the press was that of Jose Dirceu, as the evidence against him was not as obvious as those of the others involved. One of the judges who acquitted Dirceu, Ricardo Lewandowski, warned that the acquittal did not mean that Dirceu was not the head of the plot, but he had not found in acts concrete evidence of his guilt.
Most judges, however, based their decision to convict Dirceu based on the theory of evidence along with the evidence presented by witnesses. They also turned to what happens in criminal organizations and the mafia. In these cases, they say, the bosses “leave no trace” and you have to get to the guilty verdict based on what they called “the crime as a whole.”
The conviction of the political nucleus that participated in the plot, whose responsibility, according to the indictment, fell over Jose Dirceu himself, the judges threw out the claim made by his legal defense that no such plot existed or that it was organized by the Workers Party in order to perpetuate its power in government. In fact, Dirceu’s defense team alleged that the Mensalão case was just isolated criminal behavior.
The local press in Brazil cites as a surprising fact that Jose Dirceu and his accomplices in the Mensalão plot were convicted by a Supreme Court in which 8 of the 11 judges, were appointed by Lula and President Dilma Rousseff. This fact debunks the argument that the trial against Dirceu and his cabal of criminals was just an attempt to ‘hurt’ the image of former president Lula da Silva. The result of the trial is not a move carried out by people from the opposite side of the aisle, but by PT loyalists who have identified themselves as Lula’s magistrate friends.
President Dilma had ordered on Tuesday morning his ministers not to manifest before the expected and Dirceu sentence.
The main stream press in Brazil anxiously expected an official statement from Lula, who in the past said that the Mensalão trial was a move stain his presidency. Lula has now said that the conviction of Dirceu is a sign of ‘hypocrisy’. The former president called Dirceu, José Genoino and Delubio Soares on Tuesday. As it is reported in Brazil, the calls were a gesture of solidarity to comfort the trio convicted by the Supreme, who always had Lula’s back during his 8 years as president of Brazil.
Previous to the conviction of Dirceu and the other PT members, Lula said he considered the live broadcast of the trial as a “political hit” by people who could not stand that a man like himself, reached the presidency of the country.
The loss endured by the Workers Party (PT) is not limited to the conviction of some of its most influential leaders. The significant defeat that the PT suffered last Sunday during the national election for Mayor and Councilmen all over the country is a clear sign of how the party has lost the favor of millions of Brazilians who were Lula’s unconditional supporters for 8 years and who also supported Dilma Rousseff, a woman that came to power mainly due to Lula’s sponsorship.
Leaving out the fact that the judges were not brave enough to at least hear accusations against former president Lula himself, it seems that the conviction of Dirceu is counted as a goal for accountability in Brazil and as a rare victory for The People in the match between them and the Mafia that governs over this country.
In a country like Brazil, it is not outrageous to ask whether the judges who convicted Jose Dirceu now have a target drawn on their backs.
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