Going through social media and the Brazilian news websites today, it is very perceptible how the country is divided. As the former Brazil’s president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) testified before judge Sergio Moro yesterday, we could see thousands of posts on Facebook and Twitter leaning to both sides.
Generally speaking, lefties were highlighting Lula’s best moments, meanwhile right wingers tended to highlight Moro’s best quotes. The same content pattern was transferred to the news websites. The mainstream Brazilian press, traditionally conservative, tried to depict Lula in his most awkward moments, while the few local leftist outlets featured Moro being a biased judge. Therefore, it is difficult to know whether Lula was able to defend himself properly or not.
For the Brazilian mainstream press, Moro is featured as a crusader who is tackling corruption and trying to arrest powerful people such as Lula. However, for the more independent outlets, Moro is a biased judge who is friends with high rank politicians of PSDB, Brazil’s largest right wing party, and acts politically motivated.
Lula is on trial mainly for two reasons. One of them is for possibly benefitting himself and the Worker’s party (the party which he founded) with contracts signed with Petrobras, Brazil’s oil giant state company, by big construction companies. The other motif is a triplex apartment in São Paulo, which allegedly was given to him by OAS (one of main Brazil’s construction companies) in exchange of favours.
During the hearing, Lula stressed out how he is persecuted by the media and that there are not proofs linking him with the Petrobras corruption case or any documents showing that he is the triplex owner. For him and his lawyers, many of the accusations are vague, triggered by speculative and badly written articles. On the other hand, Moro picked on a declaration made publicly by Lula at an event in which he said that if he doesn’t get arrested soon he may arrest them (Moro and his team) by the lies they are spreading out. The judge asked him if he thought that was an appropriate thing to come out from a former ex-president. Lula replied that he didn’t think so.
On my view, regardless he is convicted or not, I still find strange the fact that Lula is in the centre of the so called Car Wash operation (Lava Jato in Portuguese), considering that kickbacks can be common in both governmental and in private business in Brazil. Unfortunately, I don’t think that Lula’s trial means a change of mindset in the country. The car wash operation will just be taken more seriously once politicians from a wider spectrum, like several names from PSDB, are also seriously investigated. Moro still needs to show that he can do that, but he is failing so far!