Friday, July 14, 2017

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva / The Rise and Fall of a Brazilian Leader

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: The Rise and Fall of a Brazilian Leader

July 12, 2017

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former president of Brazil, was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison on Wednesday after he was convicted of corruption and money laundering.

Mr. da Silva, who rose from the working class to serve as president from 2003 to 2010, is the highest-profile political figure convicted so far in a wide-ranging investigation involving billions of dollars in contracts and allegations of kickbacks related to the giant state-controlled oil company Petrobras.

Here is a brief look at Mr. da Silva’s career:
From Poverty to the Presidency

■ Born in 1945, he helped his family with jobs as a shoeshine boy, a street vendor and a factory worker.

■ In 1975, he was elected president of the Metalworkers’ Union.

■ In 1980, he was a founder of the Workers’ Party, an alliance of leftist groups, trade unionists, intellectuals and church activists.

■ In 1986, he was elected to the national Chamber of Deputies as a federal deputy from São Paulo.

■ Mr. da Silva ran for president in 1989, 1994 and 1998 but lost each time.

■ In 2002, after expanding his coalition and courting business leaders, he won the presidency, promising economic and political change and an end to hunger. Tens of millions of Brazilians benefited from his administration’s social programs.

Scrutiny After the Presidency

Mr. da Silva remained popular enough to be re-elected despite political scandals that swirled around his party and criticism that he failed to address the underlying causes of poverty in Brazil. The Constitution barred him from running for a third consecutive term, but he helped elect a close ally, Dilma Rousseff, as his successor. Ms. Rousseff was re-elected in 2014, but she was soon engulfed in the Petrobras scandal. In August 2016, she was removed from office.

Although he embodied Brazil’s rise as a global powerhouse, after he left office in 2010 Mr. da Silva was among the many Brazilian politicians caught up in the sprawling corruption investigation.

■ In March 2016, the police raided his home and took him into custody. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with money laundering and misrepresentation of assets involving a luxury apartment in the beachfront city of Guarujá.

■ In September 2016, the judge overseeing the investigation into the Petrobras formally accepted the charges of corruption and money laundering against Mr. da Silva, portraying him as the mastermind of a graft scheme intended to maintain his party’s grip on the presidency.

■ On Wednesday, he was found guilty of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to almost 10 years in prison.

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