Monday, August 27, 2018

Should Lula Be Allowed to Run?

Jorge Castañeda makes the case in the New York Times that Lula should be allowed to run for president. Basically, the logic is that Brazilian democracy is already damaged and weak, and allowing him to run is the least bad option.

There is no good solution to this dilemma, especially in a country that has a terribly discredited political elite and is barely emerging from the worst economic recession in decades. Jair Bolsonaro, an extreme right-wing candidate, apparently advised, among others, by Steve Bannon, is running second to Lula in the polls. He appeals to the racist, homophobic and sexist streaks always present in Brazilian society and to a growing anti-establishment feeling. Clearly, Mr. Bolsonaro is a greater threat to democracy in Brazil than Mr. da Silva’s excesses, were they all to be confirmed. 
The charges brought against him are too flimsy, the purported crime so petty (until now), the sentence so brazenly disproportionate and the stakes so high that in Latin America today, democracy should trump — so to speak — the rule of law. In an ideal world, the two go together and certainly do not clash with each other. In Brazil, they do. I’ll go with democracy, warts and all.
I buy this argument. Lula is no more objectionable than anyone else. Bolsonaro will have a worse impact on democracy than Lula. Two Trumps in the hemisphere is too much.

At the same time, this is not good for the Worker's Party. Parties need to transcend individuals and no one seems ready to step in.

The judicial decision will be coming soon.


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