MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 23rd 2018 - 12:31 UTC

Lula negotiating his surrender following a Saturday mass for his deceased wife

Saturday, April 7th 2018 - 08:19 UTC
Full article 21 comments
“Lula did not comply with a judicial order,” a spokesman for Moro said, “but everyone knows where he is. He's not hiding or on the run.” “Lula did not comply with a judicial order,” a spokesman for Moro said, “but everyone knows where he is. He's not hiding or on the run.”
“There is a discussion between police and the ex-president's lawyers and the Workers Party is following this”, said Congressman Carlos Zarattini. “There is a discussion between police and the ex-president's lawyers and the Workers Party is following this”, said Congressman Carlos Zarattini.
Senator Gleisi Hoffmann tweeted that a mass would take place at the union building early Saturday in memory of Lula's late wife Marisa Leticia Senator Gleisi Hoffmann tweeted that a mass would take place at the union building early Saturday in memory of Lula's late wife Marisa Leticia

Ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's polarizing election frontrunner and leftist icon, was negotiating his surrender after dramatically skipping a first deadline Friday to start his 12-year prison sentence for corruption.

 Holed up with thousands of cheering supporters in the metalworkers' union building in his hometown of Sao Bernardo do Campo, near Sao Paulo, the 72-year-old let the 5:00 pm (2000 GMT) deadline pass without public comment.

This raised the temperature in the standoff between the leftist former two-term president and Judge Sergio Moro, who heads the mammoth “Car Wash” anti-graft probe and who ordered Lula's imprisonment.

Given that Lula was effectively surrounded by a human shield, it was clear that a forcible arrest attempt would trigger violence.

But authorities took pains to reduce tensions, downplaying Lula's defiance and stressing that he was not considered a fugitive, something that would trigger a preventative arrest warrant.

“Lula did not comply with a judicial order,” a spokesman for Moro said, “but everyone knows where he is. He's not hiding or on the run.”

Politicians from Lula's Workers Party said he would remain in Sao Bernardo do Campo overnight and that his lawyers were in close negotiations with police over the time and place of the arrest.

“There is a discussion between police and the ex-president's lawyers and the party is following this. The idea is to avoid the judge ordering preventative arrest, which would aggravate the situation,” said Congressman Carlos Zarattini.

“Nothing is over yet.”

Chairperson of the PT Senator Gleisi Hoffmann tweeted that a Catholic Mass would take place at the union building early Saturday in memory of Lula's late wife Marisa Leticia, who died last year and would now be turning 68.

According to varying Brazilian media reports, Lula was considering surrendering after the Mass or possibly holding out through the weekend.

Much of Friday, Lula waited in hope that the country's top appeals court, the Superior Tribunal of Justice, would temporarily suspend his arrest warrant. However, the petition was rejected shortly before the deadline expired. Yet another appeal for an injunction against the arrest was filed late Friday with the Supreme Court.

On Thursday, Moro had given Lula 24 hours to surrender voluntarily to police and begin incarceration in the southern city of Curitiba. Moro said the cell, a separate room with its own toilet, was ready, and that Lula would not be handcuffed -- if he came quietly.

Lula was convicted last year of taking a luxury apartment as a kickback from a big construction company. He lost a lower court appeal in January and saw his sentence increased from nine to 12 years.

To his Workers' Party faithful, Lula is a victim of an out-of-control judiciary preventing him from returning to power.

However, Lula's imminent arrest is being celebrated by many Brazilians.

The “Car Wash” probe, which has revealed systemic, high-level embezzlement and bribery throughout business and politics over the last four years, is wildly popular.

Detractors say that Lula epitomizes Brazil's corruption-riddled elite and his conviction is the biggest “Car Wash” scalp by far.

Operation “Car Wash” was named after the service station where agents initially investigated a minor money laundering scheme in 2014, before realizing that they'd stumbled on a gargantuan web of embezzlement and bribery at state oil company Petrobras and right through the political establishment.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Chicureo

    “Brazil is a country of the future... and always will be.” ...Charles de Gaulle...

    Apr 08th, 2018 - 06:09 pm +2
  • Jack Bauer

    @EM
    “Hear, hear the defenders of “Law & Order” become all worked up at Lula's postponing the moment of going behind bars”.

    Who's getting worked up ? I think it's you, now that your hero IS behind bars....I was just explaining how Lula's cunning mind works, to try to get his followers to feel even sorrier for his sorry ass....but his ploy failed ....tough shit.

    “No doubt they shudder at the prospect of a former president who lifted over 20 million Brazilians out of poverty walking on the streets for a few more hours.”

    Reekie where d'you get such silly ideas ? The Federal Police just decided not to play Lula's little game, trying to play cat 'n mouse in the union HQ....and then, when Lula 'tried' to leave the HQ, his followers wouldn't let him ?? premeditated little show, which convinced nobody except his ignorant supporters (and that includes you).

    And please tell me where the 20 million that Lula supposedly “lifted out of poverty”, are today ? Ok, I'll tell you, back where they were 16 years ago. And do you really think the Bolsa familia (around US$ 50/month) is going to lift anyone 'out of poverty' ?

    “Moro illegally released a 2016 wiretapped conversation between Lula and Dilma”....how terrible....when Moro learned that Dilma was trying to protect Lula (give him 'immunity') by appointing him her cabinet Minister, Moro took the lead and aborted her stinkin' plan...so he really divulged what, illegally ? a crime in the making, OR, Lula's and Dilma's plan to get around the law...which is what ? perhaps “illegal” ?

    Reekie why are you so angry about Leo Pinheiro's testimony in exchange for a reduced prison term ? it's known as a 'plea-bargain'. If what he had to say, had no value, the plea-bargain would have been thrown out and he'd serve his full sentence. Further, plea-bargains to reduce time served is a normal and legal procedure in most civilized countries...including the US and Canada. What is it that you cannot understand about it ?

    Apr 09th, 2018 - 03:22 am +1
  • ElaineB

    It is extraordinary that cooperating with the police trying to bring law and order to a chaotic country is O.K. if it helps the guy on your team but a sin if it puts your guy behind bars. It is simplistic and infantile thinking by a bloke who never grew out of his teenage rebellion phase.

    You could easily argue for the positives that people living in abject poverty in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela gained from electing a populist leader. The clever criminal like the Kirchners, Lula and Chavez did indeed give just a little to the poor to make their lives a little easier in return for their votes. Except they were all very clever not to give too much. Enough to keep them onside and voting for them but not so much that they pulled themselves out of poverty, actually worked and supported themselves, and questioned where all the money went.

    The method of distracting with a little money whilst steal vast sums for their own enrichment is a well-worn path of leaders claiming to speak for the poor. That they fool the voters is expected because if you or I were hungry and someone offered you a meal a day for your vote, you would probably think it a fair deal. What is puzzling is that apparently educated and knowledgeable people seek to defend the criminal acts of these leaders.

    Do the mathematics. Venezuela had a massive resource that should have had every single person wealthy, or at least living comfortable. Instead it is now the worst country in South America for levels of poverty. People are starving and dying for lack of food and healthcare. Where has all the money gone?

    For every morsel fed to the poor in Argentina and Brazil, a larger portion of the wealth was stolen by the leaders and their cronies. How can anyone of any intelligence defend that? Imagine if the populist leaders had actually spent the money as they should have and how much better the lives of the poor would be.

    Apr 09th, 2018 - 10:04 am +1
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!