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Have Car Wash leaks changed Brazil’s politics?

July 22, 2019
topic:Transparency and Corruption
tags:#Brazil, #corruption, #Car Wash task force, #Sergio Moro
by:Ellen Nemitz
The Intercept Brazil has been releasing some explosive chats between former judge Sergio Moro and the prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol since the beginning of June. Two of the most important actors in the "Car Wash" task force, an international known Brazilian operation against corruption.

As a part of this operation Moro convicted former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for corruption, sentencing him to almost ten years in prison. The case is known as the “Guarujá Triplex”; according to the prosecution, Lula received a triplex apartment in the city of Guarujá, on the coast of São Paulo, as a kickback from a construction company, OAS, in exchange for contracts with Petrobras.

The key facts used in the process, though, were put in doubt even by Dallagnol, as The Intercepts has found out: “complaint is based in many indirect author proof, but this should not be said and we avoided it in presentation”, said the prosecutor mentioning the famous PowerPoint presentation pointing names and expressions like “Lula's reaction” and “corrupted governability” to Lula’s name intending to prove his guilt. 

As the messages show, the main goal of the Car Wash team was to prevent Lula from participating in the presidential election. Ironically (or not), in 2019 Moro became the justice minister for Bolsonaro. This fact itself was pointed to as a potential reason for a Car Wash exemption, as the judge who convicted the frontrunner opponent of Bolsonaro accepted a high position in his government and became an openly friend and ally of the newly elected president.

But, as the messages come out, Moro’s role in the process seems to be bigger than it should be: a judge is meant to be impartial, but he was deeply involved in the case, suggesting what to do or not to do, showing better ways to convince public opinion about the impartiality of the Car Wash task force and even coordinating the phases of operations: “Maybe it would be the case of inverting the order of two [phases of operation] planned”, he said, also suggesting that one month was too much time without operation - Car Wash has had a lot of operations, which gave public opinion a sensation of much work done. Moro also suggested sources for testimony and reprimanded Federal Policy for fails.

Nonetheless, what happened next was not a massive change in the way Brazilians see the situation involving Moro, Dallagnol and Bolsonaro. A few days after first the releases, trending topics of Twitter in Brazil registered #WeAreMoro as the most tweeted. Last Sunday (June 30th), millions of Moro’s supporters went out onto the streets to speak against Lula — who is an eternal enemy for the far-right supporters — and to reaffirm their confidence in Moro.

Part of these supporters accuses The Intercept of being criminal, of using illegal content obtained from hackers — despite not even Moro strongly denying the messages and has declared that it is not illegal to chat with prosecutors and that the crime is to leak the messages, forgetting that he used the same artifice when leaked a conversation between Dilma Rousseff and Lula in 2016 to incite the population against them. Others consider that, even if messages are truthful, Moro was right about using all the ways to put the PT (Worker’s party) out of the game. “Get rid of thieves” is an expression largely used in social networks and in these streets protests.

At the same time, the Supreme Court still has not analysed the requests to cancel Lula's trial based on the lack of exemption of the process, alleging lack of proofs that the messages are real. The former president’s defence added The Intercept leaked messages to strengthen older requests of sentence review based on Moro’s impartiality.

Three weeks after the first messages leaked, the scandal is far from the end. New messages are coming out every week and the justice is analyzing its veracity. However, it shows us that Brazil was led to believe in a project to discredit left Worker’s party and to raise a new right party — PSL or Liberal Social Party, in English. Called to be "new politics”, it is actually strongly connected with military forces — seven ministers are militaries, in a country wounded by a 20 years military dictatorship — with religion — Bolsonaro has become the first Brazilian president to participate and to go up stage in a march for Jesus and has declared that Supreme Court should have an evangelical minister (forgetting he is the chief of a secular State) — and suspected to be involved in criminal organizations and corruption. 

Car Wash Leak is being considered by specialists one of the most important and relevant investigative journalistic works Brazil has seen in past years.

However, it is still early to predict its consequences. For now, Lula is still in jail. Moro is still justice minister. Brazil’s population is still divided between “Free Lula” and “We are Moro” movements. The Intercept is still being accused of criminal associations to hackers. Brazilian democracy is still weak and begging for a real impartial justice to strengthen it. Nothing has changed. 

Article written by:
WhatsApp Image 2019-07-19 at 22.26.02
Ellen Nemitz
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In 2018, Sergio Moro convicted and sentenced to almost ten years in prison for corruption in a case known as “Guarujá Triplex”.
Embed from Getty Images
Car Wash Leak is being considered by specialists one of the most important and relevant investigative journalistic works Brazil has seen in past years.
Embed from Getty Images
Moro is still justice minister. Brazil’s population is still divided between “Free Lula” and “We are Moro” movements.
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