Brazil’s Former Chief of Staff Says Lula Is Responsible for Bribe Scandal

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is partly responsible for the corruption crisis hammering the ruling Workers Party, PT, said former chief of staff José Dirceu in an interview published Sunday.

Mr. Dirceu who last June resigned as Lula’s chief of staff and returned to Congress is one of the twenty members who risk being thrown out of the Legislative for their alleged links or involvement in the votes for money and favors corruption ring that has sent shockwaves to Brazilian public opinion.


The former guerrilla who for years commanded the Workers Party with an iron hand said that “many people” are not taking their fair share of responsibility for the political crisis.


“Dozens of important leaders who, today, are mayors, governors, ministers, members of the lower house and senators who participated in constructing that whole strategy with me,” admitted Dirceu to Folha de S. Paulo. When asked if Lula, who founded the PT in 1980 and serves as its honorary president, was among those who bear some responsibility for the crisis, Dirceu was emphatic.


“Yes, the president … himself (is responsible). That’s what I’m saying. Responsibility lies with all of us. We have to debate that in a party congress and evaluate it,” he said.


President Lula has tried to distance himself from the PT since the corruption scandal began to surface, claiming that he had been “betrayed,” although he has never said by whom, so far.


Furthermore last Sunday, September 18, Lula – for the first time ever – did not vote in elections to name a new party leadership will probably not do so in the mandated second round October 9 since he will be on a state tour of several African nations.


Mr. Dirceu added that President Lula took part in PT discussions to craft a political alliance policy whereby it could rule, as it did not have a majority in Congress. These were allegedly the internal negotiations that gave rise to the scheme to buy votes of non-PT congressmen to support Lula’s largely socialist agenda.


However, Dirceu also said that the president must not be held accountable for the party’s corrupt acts.


“No parallel can be drawn between the (party) leaders and Lula, because he was not the leader of the PT. He was president of the Republic. He did not take part in the PT’s decisions,” insisted the former chief of staff.


Regarding the existence of a parallel revenue and accounting scheme to pay with illegal unreported funds debts of the 2002 campaign which made Lula president, Dirceu said “the president had no knowledge of that. He didn’t know. He cannot be blamed”.


Finally Mr. Dirceu admitted the PT had committed “mistakes”, but pointed out that there’s a campaign “to demonize the party even though – in my opinion – they did not prove corruption by the government”.


This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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