They want to Prevent Lula from Running in 2018

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Source: Pagina12.com.ar / The Dawn News / March 8, 2016

Supporters of the ruling Worker's Party and former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva demonstrate in his support and against O'Globo, in front of the Brazilian newspaper's headquarters in Rio de Janeiro on March 6, 2016. Brazil's ex-president Lula da Silva vowed to battle his opponents in the streets in a defiant speech late Friday, hours after being briefly detained as part of a probe into a massive corruption scheme. Prosecutors said Lula was targeted as part of the Operation Car Wash investigation into a sprawling embezzlement and bribery conspiracy centred on the state oil giant Petrobras. Lula was not arrested, but held for questioning over alleged "favors" received from corrupt construction companies implicated in a kickback scheme, prosecutors said.   AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON
Supporters of the ruling Worker’s Party and former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva demonstrate in his support and against O’Globo, in front of the Brazilian newspaper’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro on March 6, 2016. Brazil’s ex-president Lula da Silva vowed to battle his opponents in the streets in a firm speech late Friday, hours after being unjustly detained. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

The Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (FIESP) announced that they will take part in next Sunday’s rallies to destitute President Dilma Rousseff. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor’s Office stated that they could eventually press charges against Lula Da Silva to prevent him from running in the presidential elections of 2018.

President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff expressed once again her support to Luiz Inácio “Lula” Da Silva after the former President was taken by force to testify, and blamed the opposition for deepening the political crisis. “Lula has never acted as though he was more important than anyone else. There was no point in taking Lula by force”, affirmed Rousseff during her speech in Caxias do Sul, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. As part of the political and judicial offensive against the former president and current PT leader, the prosecutor is analyzing an action that could prevent Lula from running in the 2018 elections, if they are able to prove that Lula lied when he denied owning several properties. For his part, the President of the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, Paulo Skaf, expressed the entity’s support, and the support of other business organizations, to the protests that have been convened for next Sunday all over Brazil against Dilma’s government.

Judge Sergio Moro, who is the head of the Lava Jato Operation –which investigates the Petrobras corruption case– was the one who ordered the coercitive action against Lula to take him to the interrogation room (instead of sending a formal request, as Lula had voluntarily cooperated with every request to testify in the past). He did this based on denounces by prosecutors that take part in this stage of the investigation and who have already became a tool of political destabilization of the Government. Several judges from the Court have agreed with the statements by Judge Marco Aurélio Mello, who questioned the police action as the former President had come to testify whenever he had been summoned. “Coercive transport? I did not understand the reason”, said Mello on Saturday and emphasized: “No advance can be made by trampling ground rules”.

Mello affirmed that he respects judge Moro’s work but he also has in mind that when judges commit excesses, it often tends to remove legitimacy to the causes that they lead. In that regard, Rousseff, who on Saturday visited Lula in his home to show her support in this situation, said that it is not possible to withstand that such treatment is given to a former president because he has “never refused to declare” before the Federal Police or the Public Federal Ministry. The President blamed the opposition for deepening the political crisis in order to force her to leave the government early, when in fact her popular mandate should end on December 31, 2018. Rousseff said that the political and economic problems that Brazil is facing are caused by those who are unhappy with their defeat in the 2014 elections and now they want to anticipate the 2018 elections.

“The government always wants unity for the country and the opposition has the right to diverge, but they can’t systematically divide the country, because that also causes problems in the economy and companies’ growth” said the head of state. She also reiterated her criticism of the “illegal leaks”, referring to secret documents of the Justice that were mysteriously obtained by the press.

According to Rousseff, most of the times, leaked allegations are not true but “the impact of tarnishing others is irreversible” and can’t be undone. In this context, the prosecutor’s office the statements that Lula provided last Friday, informed that they are evaluating the possibility of opening a civil lawsuit against Lula that would prevent him from running in the 2018 elections. The prosecutors, who were criticized for the way they conducted the procedure, now made public that Lula “could be charged with administrative misconduct” for having received illegal financial support from construction companies before leaving office in 2010, as published by the Folhapress agency.

So far, all accusations made by the aforementioned team of prosecutors, who work with judge Moro, were first published by major media corporations and all were answered by Lula himself, who has repeatedly said that he has nothing to hide. The coordinator of prosecutors, Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima, insisted yesterday that there are signs of Lula’s relationship with the criminal organization that perpetrated million-dollar scams against Petrobras, but showed nothing to back this affirmation. He also talked about Lula’s alleged ownership of an apartment on the Guaruya beach, a popular modest, working-class destination in Brazil and one cottage, which Lula has already said and proven that it belongs to an old friend. Prosecutors say those goods were given to Lula by a construction company that was favored by big contracts with Petrobras.

This accusation, which Lula has rejected by presenting documents and witnesses, is used permanently by prosecutors, mass media and international agencies. So now, prosecutors say that if they found that what Lula said was a lie, that could mean the cessation of political rights, including his right of running for a public office for up to 10 years. Last week, when he concluded his statement before the court, Lula announced his intention to run for president for the sixth time in the October 2018 elections.

Aggravating the political crisis, the powerful Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo announced that it will support the protests against Rousseff. “We unanimously believe that this government has lost its credibility and trustworthiness, and that is causing the deterioration of the economy. That’s why we consider important to peacefully and respectfully participate in the activities of March 13”, said Paulo Skaf, head of the FIESP. The President of this organization, which considered the main and most influential employers’ association in the country, added that he will personally attend the protest to be carried out in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.

Skaf’s announcement took place after a meeting with union leaders and representatives of the “Movimiento Brazil Libre” [Free Brazil Movement] and “Ven a la Calle” [Come to the Streets], two non-governmental organizations that are calling to march on social networks. These organizations have been demanding the resignation of the head of state and openly support the impeachment that the opposition was trying to promote in Congress to remove Rousseff. According to Skaf, resignation or dismissal of the President will allow to resume growth and increase investors’ confidence in the country.

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