Coups by Any Other Name: Brazil
Today the former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (popularly known as Lula), former leader of the Worker’s Party and possible 2018 Presidential candidate for that party, has been charged with corruption and sentenced to nine years in prison. Currently Brazil is in the midst of a corruption scandal so huge that it’s been said that almost a third of all national level politicians might be vulnerable to criminal charges. Lula’s sentencing comes less than a year after his successor and fellow member of the Worker’s Party, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached from her office in what has been called a “legal coup” by the right and current President Michael Temer.
For a country whose history is marred by violent military governments and whose other most beloved President was himself originally a dictator, coup is not a word Brazilians throw around lightly — but what is happening there now deserves the name. This is an effort by the country’s right to dismantle the leadership of the Worker’s Party, the leading leftist party in Brazil since WWII.
Of course, none of this is to say that Lula or Rousseff are innocent of what they’ve been charged with. Rather it should serve as a reminder that the right will take any opportunity it can to dismantle the left, using any tools at its disposal. As Democrats build their strategies and chose their candidates going into 2018 and 2020, they will hopefully keep this in mind.