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Operation Lava Jato Frames Lula´s Aggressiveness and Protests Gain Strength

03/04/2016 - 16h16

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IGOR GIELOW
BRASÍLIA BUREAU DIRECTOR

The unprecedented operation directly targeting the former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is a powerful demonstration of Operation Lava Jato's institutional force and a symbolic reinforcement of the movement calling for the removal of the Worker´s Party government from power. It occurs just as the former President has publicly announced his readiness for the fight.

With he and his family's growing encirclement by Lava Jato and others, Lula sought again to play the part of an angry union leader. With inflated speeches, he decreed the death of his "Lulinha peace and love", which he played not to scare the elites who he captured and nursed to have two successful terms in front of the Presidency.

Two weeks ago, he created a website to try to intimidate journalists. He swore to sue all and sundry. He ranted in court, and won some victories in avoiding being investigated. He overthrew José Eduardo Cardozo from the Ministry of Justice with the one more of many complaints that he could not control the Federal Police, who now knocked on his door.

What happened, happened. Like others know, João Santana and his wife being the most recent examples, Operation Lava Jato does not forgive pride. Obviously, being relentless goes hand in hand with correction: for the sake of the future of the task force, it is good that there are good and solid reasons for what happened on Friday morning.

The message to the constituent powers is brutal. As one of the chiefs of the investigation said, in now faraway 2014, "no one will be left." I asked if this would include the grandees of power and the answer was an assertive smile.

The reaction, predictably, will also be very strong. The image of police cars in front of Lula's house will certainly call to mind, for those who still support him in the Workers' Party-government spectrum, to the union leader that was arrested during the military dictatorship. Lula will use analogies and seek victimization to add martyrdom to his current hagiography.

This might work, although it is uncertain, since the evidence accumulated against the Workers´ Party is very large - what is more, rural properties and apartments, which theoretically make up the less serious part of what Lula is accused of in Operation Lava Jato, are images that are easy for most people to understand.

Still, it is also easy to predict an increase in the risk of confrontation next weekend, when the next protest calling for the impeachment of Rousseff is scheduled. Both paid militants and spontaneous supporters of Lula, increasingly from niches with specific and self-declaredly "progressive" demands, may try to confront the likely growing chorus against the Worker´s Party in urban centers.

Politically, it is a nail that keeps hitting deeper in the coffin, in the land of the Workers' Party and the government. Lula's past, present and future is being threatened. He is the party's only viable candidate, with respectable popular support, even if this is declining at an accelerated rate.

The encirclement of the leader concludes a long process through which party members and their practices were revealed to be primarily responsible, despite the cry against elites, the media and usual suspects. In that sense, the baptism of the Aletheia operation, refers to the unveiling of the truth beyond the appearances.

It seems appropriate, even if one can make a Nazi association with the first philosopher to work the concept in the 20th century, Martin Heidegger.

Already for Dilma, who in other moments has probably even been grateful to see her old mentor in the line of fire, there is no possibility of good news. After her former Senate leader Delcídio do Amaral's (PT-MS) leaked pre-denunciation placed her directly in the eye of Lava Jato, the Workers' Party member has been witnessing the fall from grace of the man who raised her politically -and to whom she delivered Cardozo's head, in a demonstration of weakness compatible with her extreme unpopularity and the country's economic and political crumbling under her leadership.

Lula's fall, it should be highlighted, cannot be considered definitive even from afar, it would only favor Dilma through a potential moment of force, something that hasn't occurred since the June 2013 protests. Now, even with both shaken, it is yet to be seen if one will try to lean on the other for support. Lula is the master of resurrections and his political resiliency is well known in the country, but this embrace might look more like two drowned in the streams of Curitiba.

Translated by MARINA DELLA VALLE and SUGHEY RAMIREZ
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