Brazil's Democracy is in a Dark Place
Brazil just condemned former President Lula to twelve years in prison for corruption and money laundering, ending his prospects of returning to power. There is not much factual evidence to back up those claims, which has rightfully led many of the former President's supporters to claim that he is being politically persecuted. Not only does Lula remain the country's most popular politician (he was ahead by 2 digits in the latest poll of likely presidential contenders), but his 2 terms in office were also marked by a drastic reduction in economic inequality due to vast social programs that lifted millions from poverty.
The most tragic part about this is also a bit comical and shows how much of a circus Brazilian politics has become: The man who was actually caught ON TAPE ordering bribes to silent witnesses has been protected by the legislature and is the current PRESIDENT of Brazil. And did I mention that the right-wing politicians who are still in power and previously spearheaded the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff have proven to be the most corrupt of them all? Yet they still remain protected.
I'm no fan of PT (The Worker's Party) and I do think Brazil's current problems stem from a systemic culture of corruption that starts from the bottom up, but I gotta call bullshit where I see it-- and this sentencing, is some bullshit.
Brazil will have reconstituted itself as a much more limited form of electoral democracy, in which a politicized judiciary can exclude a popular political leader from running for office. That would be a calamity for Brazilians, the region and the world."