Thursday, August 30, 2018

What To Do About Lula

Mac Margolis at Bloomberg challenges Jorge Castañeda's argument about why Lula should be allowed to run. I had written about his piece and how I tended to agree.

The arguments against it are not trivial. We need to attack corruption, we need not to excuse anyone, and we need even icons to be held accountable. But I think Margolis takes it too far in the other direction. For one thing, I don't see Lula as a "hero" and Castañeda clearly didn't either. This isn't about foreigners (for that is who Margolis is aimed at) letting their idols go free, or at least I don't think it is for most observers.

Further, the experiences of both Lula and Dilma Rousseff were highly politicized so we can certainly talk about the progress made by the Brazilian judiciary, but Lula's case has judges issuing contradictory decisions, just elevating the sense of political pressure. Legal experts had questions about the whole process against him.

I guess what nags at me is the certainty the two arguments have. Supporters say he is innocent and this is all collusion. His opponents say this is all fair. Neither sits well with me.

Ultimately, what is best for Brazilian democracy? If Lula is not allowed to run, you could call that a victory because it means corruption is attacked at even the highest level. But it will also mean that a good chunk of the Brazilian electorate will lose even more of their confidence in democracy, at a time when Brazil has the lowest satisfaction with democracy (13%) of any Latin American country.


shah8 5:18 PM  

Just one comment here...

People were allowed to vote for Eugene V Debs in the 1920 US Presidential elections, and I suspect that all right thinking Americans today believes that his arrest,trial, and conviction for sedition was a farce, and his imprisonment unjust.

Just to point a picture to just how far out there the Brazilian judicial system is going...

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