From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Brazil: the Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor Named Sergio Moro
Date May 10, 2020 1:08 PM
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
[On the rise and fall (for now) of Operation Car Wash’s patron
in Brazil, former judge and now former Bolsonaro minister of Justice
Sergio Moro. Is the judge who convicted former President Lula da Silva
positioning himself to run for President?] [[link removed]]

BRAZIL: THE STORY OF A SHIPWRECKED SAILOR NAMED SERGIO MORO  
[[link removed]]


 

Daniel Cerqueira
May 6, 2020
OpenDemocracy
[[link removed]]


*
[[link removed]]
*
[[link removed]]
*
* [[link removed]]

_ On the rise and fall (for now) of Operation Car Wash’s patron in
Brazil, former judge and now former Bolsonaro minister of Justice
Sergio Moro. Is the judge who convicted former President Lula da Silva
positioning himself to run for President? _

Supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro march in protest against the
Covid-19 quarantine and ex-minister Sergio Moro in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
on May 5, 2020., Bruno Rocha Fotoarena/SIPA USA/PA Images

 

Just over a year ago, many Brazilians were surprised by Jair
Bolsonaro’s appointment of then Federal Judge Sergio Moro
as Minister of Justice and Security
[[link removed]].
Up until then, the judge who convicted former President Lula da Silva
[[link removed]] had
often said that his vocation was the law and not politics, but he
explained his change of heart by asserting that this was a technical
position and that there was a need to promote reforms and ensure the
continuity of anti-corruption efforts. Moro’s joining the
administration lent significant political capital to Bolsonaro, whose
approval ratings were consistently lower than those of the former
judge. Together with Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, Moro helped to
secure the acceptance of the administration by an important segment of
Brazil’s middle and upper classes.

After 15 months of a troubled relationship with Bolsonaro, Moro
decided to jump
[[link removed]] off
a sinking ship in the midst of institutional pandemonium and one of
the country’s worst health and economic crises. According to Moro,
his decision was prompted by the President's direct interference
[[link removed]] in
Federal Police investigations that could lead to the criminal
prosecution of at least two of his children.

Moro’s political rise goes back to his reputation as a Hercules in
rogue and the public’s skepticism toward the partisan political game
that led the country to stratospheric levels of corruption,
Rousseff’s impeachment, and a political vacuum filled by the
election project that resulted in Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in 2018.
It is no easy task to explain the elements of this project, but we can
summarize it broadly on four pillars:

1) ideological, identified with a messianic discourse of restoring
conservative ideals threatened by “leftist values” imposed by
previous governments and fueled by intellectual elites and big media;

2) anti-corruption, associated with voters who support Operation Car
Wash [_Lava Jato_] and oppose the exchange of favors between the
government and members of Congress linked to corruption scandals;

3) liberal economics, which resonates with the corporate world and
with those voters who favor the reduction of state involvement in the
productive sector, the streamlining of government, and the
modernization of the economy;

4) military, embodied in the large number of generals and senior
officers serving in key positions to coordinate the government’s
other political fronts.

Sergio Moro’s resignation amputates one of the beast’s four legs,
but the road between political attrition and the end of a government
is often as long as it is complex. Before Moro resigned, there were
already signs of cramping in the anti-corruption leg.

Moro’s joining the administration lent significant political capital
to Bolsonaro, whose approval ratings were consistently lower than
those of the former judge.

When the alarm bells of impeachment started ringing in Brasilia, the
product of cumulative attrition and the irresponsible response to the
Coronavirus crisis—which Bolsonaro described several times as just
a flu
[[link removed]]—he
was already cozying up to the parliamentary bloc known as “Centrão
[[link removed]].”
This bloc unites the members of Congress known as the “low clergy”
and small parties whose main concern is haggling over votes in
exchange for pork barrel earmarks, government posts, and all sorts
of concessions
[[link removed]] from
the executive branch, including corrupt arrangements and pressure on
law enforcement agencies to favor members of Congress or allies under
criminal investigation.

In spite of his aggressive, bombastic speech and clumsy inability to
maintain alliances, Bolsonaro’s résumé includes nearly three
decades of hopping between various parties of the Centrão, and he is
well acquainted with how the underworld of the Brazilian Congress
operates. This background, coupled with the political and social
stress of a third impeachment since the restoration of free elections
in 1989, the enduring support of a solid 35% of the electorate, and
the need for institutions to concentrate their efforts on the
Coronavirus disaster has given Bolsonaro an extra dose of political
oxygen.

In any case, the patience of those members of Congress who are still
committed to an ethic of responsibility depends on the government’s
ability to staunch the wounds to the economic leg. A contentious
divorce with the Minister of Economy and the ensuing loss of support
from the business sector would only encourage the use of a judicial
shortcut to remove Bolsonaro from the presidency without the need for
a tedious impeachment process. It is precisely through this shortcut
– investigations into obstruction of justice
[[link removed]] and
other common crimes denounced by Sergio Moro – that the blow to
Bolsonaro could be fatal. Although a conviction for common crimes and
the judicial suspension of his term would have to be authorized by a
qualified majority of Congress, such a procedure would be less
cumbersome and faster than an impeachment trial like the ones faced by
Collor de Mello and Dilma Rousseff.

Moro has stayed silent when asked if he will be a presidential
candidate in the 2022 election.

In the midst of this political-judicial chess match, Moro continues to
make damaging statements
[[link removed]] about
how the president has used his position to shield his own and
especially his family’s scandals. Meanwhile, the former judge and
now former minister has stayed silent when asked if he will be a
presidential candidate in the 2022 election. This reticence about his
next steps, typical of good politicians; his status as a judicial
celebrity despite actions that often mixed legal and political
criteria
[[link removed]];
and the weight of many voters’ support for Operation Car Wash place
Moro as one of Bolsonaro’s main opponents, if Bolsonaro survives
politically until 2022.

Moro, who has experience in handling the popular sentiment that the
solution to the country’s problems lies in finding a new savior for
the nation—frustrated by Lula da Silva and now by the false messiah
Jair Bolsonaro—could capitalize on the neglect demonstrated thus far
by the public institutions that should serve as a check on the
executive branch. It is precisely in this glorification of the leader,
and the obfuscation of institutions,
that _Bolsonarismo_ and _lavajatismo_ come together, with a mere
difference in degree. While Moro dissembles and denies having violated
procedural rules and the rule of law when he served as a judge,
Bolsonaro applauds contempt for the institutions of the Republic.

Moro tends to deflect the issue when asked if he had been in
communication with Bolsonaro’s campaign team in 2018 while he was
selectively leaking statements to the press by former Ministers of the
Workers’ Party (PT) and fast-tracking the criminal proceedings
against Lula
[[link removed]] in
order to disqualify the PT’s eternal presidential candidate, as well
as to malign the campaign of Fernando Haddad, who was announced at the
last minute as the PT’s Plan B in the elections. Bolsonaro, in turn,
has no qualms about appointing a personal friend of his children
[[link removed]] as
Federal Police Chief, just when that entity is conducting
investigations that could directly implicate them.

Moro’s political future depends on his ability to convince part of
the electorate that he is just a shipwrecked survivor of a ship that
sank due to its captain’s inexperience.

Moro’s political future depends on his ability to convince part of
the electorate that he is just a shipwrecked survivor of a ship that
sank due to its captain’s inexperience. But this narrative may be
frustrated if the captain or other sailors bring up evidence that Moro
is equally guilty for the sinking of the ship on which Brazil’s
democracy embarked in 2018. In that case, Moro’s fate may be similar
to that of Luis Alejandro Velasco, the lone survivor of the 1955 wreck
of the Colombian destroyer Caldas. After being rescued alive, Velasco
was celebrated as a hero, and then-general and dictator Rojas Pinilla
was able to capitalize on the prestige he brought to the Colombian
navy. Years later, it became known that the real cause of the event
had been an overweight load of contraband, and the surviving
shipwrecked man and Rojas Pinilla’s government were both disgraced
in the eyes of the public.

Velasco’s testimony was immortalized by Gabriel García Márquez in
a series of reports that later became the book _The Story of a
Shipwrecked Sailor._ García Márquez described the interview with
Velasco as the “story of a shipwrecked man who drifted on a life
raft for ten days without food or water, was proclaimed a national
hero, kissed by beauty queens, made rich through publicity, and then
spurned by the government and forgotten for all time.”

Unfortunately for Moro, Captain Bolsonaro is still far from being
shipwrecked and has at his disposal a full-fledged digital militia
[[link removed]] capable
of firing off criticism and smear campaigns on social media, against
adversaries and sometimes against his own allies. Ironically, when
media outlets revealed private conversations that suggested irregular
coordination
[[link removed]] between
Moro and prosecutors in the Operation Car Wash case, Bolsonaro’s
digital militia was activated to discredit the messengers and Moro
refused to hand over his cell phone in order to have an expert
disprove the content of the messages leaked to the press. Now, Moro is
relying on an expert examination of his cell phone to prove the
accusations against Bolsonaro and is exposing himself to attacks by
the same machinery that rescued him when the questioning of his image
as an irreproachable judge looked as though it would wreck his
political career.

[_Daniel Cerqueira is a Brazilian lawyer, currently serves as Senior
Program Officer at the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) en
Washington. Twitter: @dlcerqueira._]

*
[[link removed]]
*
[[link removed]]
*
* [[link removed]]

 

 

 

INTERPRET THE WORLD AND CHANGE IT

 

 

Submit via web [[link removed]]
Submit via email
Frequently asked questions [[link removed]]
Manage subscription [[link removed]]
Visit xxxxxx.org [[link removed]]

Twitter [[link removed]]

Facebook [[link removed]]

 




[link removed]

To unsubscribe, click the following link:
[link removed]
Screenshot of the email generated on import

Message Analysis