Most of the news coming out of South American countries these days is fairly bad, as most countries in the region have gladly embraced the lies of socialism over many years. But yesterday in Brazil, something fairly extraordinary took place that has wider implications than many might realize.
For the MSM version of what happened, the BBC has an article here. But, I speak Portuguese and was following the events as they unfolded yesterday, being able to provide a little more detail here that the BBC either didn’t realize or didn’t want to report on, as this does involve the UN.
Brazilian Politics – A Brief History
Before we jump into that, some background on the players. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (best known just as “Lula”) came to power back in 2003 and served as Brazil’s 35th president until 2011. While the modern Brazilian constitution was fairly socialist in nature by default (having been crafted in 1988), his presidency distinctly ratcheted up government control & largess across the economy. This included higher spending through a number of government programs (major wealth redistribution initiatives included “Fome Zero” (Zero Hunger) & “Bolsa Familia” (Family Purse, a straight up steal from the rich, give to the poor scheme)) and increased government regulation over various industries such as Petrobras. The government funds many ventures that should be private – be it healthcare, housing, TV/media, oil production and so on…although this tends to fall under the fascistic economic model touted by Mussolini (or Obama and GM), where private ownership is allowed, but the government calls the shots through money and regulation. Brazil is also fiercely protectionist, slapping on tariffs and other fees for incoming goods where it is extremely difficult for outside entities to do business there.
Despite increased violence in the streets (the national murder rate bounced between 47,000-52,000 per year during his reign; Brazil has nothing like a 2nd amendment), he managed to be one of South America’s most popular leaders as the economy did grow under his time. His political party (PT, for “Partido dos Trabalhadores” or “Worker’s Party”) maintained majority power along with a coalition of other left-leaning parties, include a brazenly communist party called the PCdoB (which happily uses a hammer & sickle to promote themselves). Temporary term limits meant that Lula couldn’t stay on the throne for a 3rd consecutive term, but the gravy train was supposed to keep moving on under his vice president Dilma, who took over after him and continued his policies. She won a 2nd term, then was impeached following the massive corruption scandal known as “Lava Jato” and the subsequent economic depression that the country fell into.
Lava Jato caught many left-leaning politicians (many from the PT and PCdoB parties) taking bribes from various public/private companies like Petrobras. This eventually reached Lula himself in him taking a multi-million dollar apartment in Rio De Janeiro and other related bribes. Lula was convicted under Brazil’s anti-corruption laws, but the way their judicial system is setup, an expensive and lengthy process of appeals are in place. However, there is a law that if a politician is loses their 2nd appeal, they an ineligible to run for political office. Lula lost his second appeal and was put under house arrest at the beginning of this year, but that wasn’t going to stop him from running for a 3rd term to try and reclaim his legacy. He applied to run as a candidate for President this year and was appealing to a special election court to be allowed to run, regardless the law. Despite his legal troubles, government-run polls were showing him winning a 2018 election match-up (like us here, many Brazilians have come to look at their news media and polls with cynicism).
The UN Connection
That special court is known as the Tribunal Superior Eleitoral or “TSE” (one of the judges on that court is the feature image, making his feelings known in a not-so-subtle way). Yesterday, they heard closing arguments from Lula’s lawyers to make the decision. They came down against Lula in a 6-to-1 ruling, in a victory for the rule of law, barring him from running in 2018 (I’m told that he still might be able to run in a future election, although why that would be allowed eludes me; his party is also doing what communists do best and ignore court rulings when they don’t go their way by pretending that he’s the top candidate in all media).
The law in question here is called the “Lei da Ficha Limpa,” which translated to English is the Clean Record Act. This particular act was signed into law by Lula in May of 2010 – something that I imagine he didn’t know would come back to haunt him only eight years later.
While Lula’s ineligibility is big news for the freedom-minded Brazilians out there as they hope to move the country in a direction towards the Right, I wanted to shine a light on something that came out of the TSE arguments on Friday.
Lula’s attempted defense was to use the UN and their decrees regarding “human rights” as taking precedence over Brazilian law. Lula’s defense team took his corruption case to the UN Human Rights Council (text at link is in Portuguese) and at the TSE on Friday, argued that the decrees and treaties that Brazil has signed with the UN should be given more value than laws passed through the constitutionally mandated republican process. One lawyer even tried to make a twisted argument that because the Ficha Limpa law wasn’t decided on by a vote of the people (when in fact it was presented to congress after a signature petition and voted on by representatives of the people then signed into law by Lula, etc.), that UN decrees should take precedence. Of course, I’m not sure how UN decrees are voted on by any form of mass democracy, but setting that aside, she and Lula were taking a direct shot at Brazilian sovereignty.
As this is all that Team Lula really had, the vote barring him from running was also another example of a country snubbing the supposed authority of the UN, something that we often have to deal with here in the US.
At this point, it seems likely that Bolsonaro (the “Trump of Brazil” he is being called because of his brazen nature at saying what he thinks, although he has been a congressman and military man instead of a businessman) will be headed to the presidency, setting Brazil on a stronger path towards conservative politics. Someone like him could very likely work well with President Trump on coming up with new trade in Brazil, which presently is a huge pain in the neck. We’ll see.
Either way, kudos to the Brazilian court for punching the UN in the nose.