The Brazil of Lula Has Law Only for Foes, Says Former President Cardoso

With less than a month to Election Day Brazilian former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso accused the current leader, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of presiding over "a republic of scoundrels".

In a column published in Sunday’s edition of O Estado de S. Paulo, Cardoso from the PSDB (Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy) and who has become a leader of the opposition asks how is it possible that in the face of such moral collapse "can voters consolidate a presidential situation whose sins are exposed without remorse and even with jubilation by those who already consider themselves victorious,"

Brazilians will be going to the ballot boxes next October 1st to decide who will rule Brazil the next four years and opinion polls show President Lula da Silva comfortably leading and possibly even winning without the need of a runoff.

"This is not the Brazil of my dreams or of the majority of Brazilians," since it is the president himself who argues that politics is a "dirty business" and therefore what’s the use of distinguishing between the "good" and the "bad"?

Cardoso, who ruled from 1995 to 2003, recalled that amid the corruption scandals last year, which cornered the administration, Lula da Silva justified as something "normal" the existence of secret funds and accounts to finance his election campaign.

Cardoso accuses Lula of promoting a "traditional exchange of favors, using the concept: to friends everything, to enemies the law" confusing what’s public and what’s private.

The former president then makes a list of alleged corruption cases under the current administration beginning with the two main scandals in Congress.

The regular monthly bribes to Congress members to ensure support for the administration’s legislative agenda, financed with funds skimmed from federal government programs and private "contributions" in exchange for favors; secondly a scheme of budgetary amendments to liberate funds for municipal government procurement of public health supplies and equipment which allowed for over billing up to US$ 50.000 for simple ambulances.

The "take-list" swept away or forced the resignation of President Lula’s main advisors and ministers plus the leadership of his Workers’ Party. The procurement scandal and the ongoing investigation have so far indicted 72 members of Congress mostly from the ruling coalition.

Although President Lula at all times tried to brush aside the issue and claimed innocence or ignorance, the investigation has extended to his family.

"All this happened under the cynical gaze of the generous Great Godfather who, feeling above mortals, doesn’t lead Brazil but rather a republic of scoundrels", wrote Cardoso.

President Lula and his administration "seem unable to sort out what is government property and private property; a highly rewarding confusion for the boys and the godfather," added Cardoso.

The former president has fully joined the campaign in support of his party’s candidate, former São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin who is well behind Mr Lula da Silva in vote preference, 50% to 25%.

But in spite of the attacks and "much rougher cruising" in the last weeks leading to voting day, President Lula has said he will keep to his campaign’s slogan of "peace and love."

Mercopress

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