Brazil presidential candidate “Lula” refuses to forgo candidacy amid legal charges

Caroline Guthrie, Staff Writer

Former Brazilian President of the country’s Workers’ Party, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (commonly known as “Lula”), has made it his goal to be elected come Oct. 7, 2018, even with the possibility of being behind bars. Last week, a Brazilian appeals court convicted him of corruption for money laundering. The possibility of him not being eligible to become president (for a third term) has sparked outrage among devoted supporters, while those against him continue to push for his jail time.

Lula was convicted last July of corruption and money laundering charges. He had accepted bribes from a major construction company and had allegedly broken the law by accepting special favors from the company, including an ocean-front apartment, although his supporters have stated that he never owned or lived in the renovated apartment.

According to the New York Times, there has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not his charges were political; people believe that witnesses who testified against him did so in order to alleviate consequences of their own corruption charges.

Those on the other side of the argument believe Lula and his supporters are incorrectly labeling this as politicized prosecution. They believe Lula committed these crimes and is trying to distract everyone from the truth and create a political uprising. Lula will likely argue that removing him from the election ballot would threaten democracy. He seeks to remain on the ballot, no matter what his future entails.

Lula’s potential crimes, although illegal, should not be seen as threatening in comparison to intense corruption charges that many political leaders have faced. However, he is not above the law and he should be tried as every other citizen would be. Lula’s humanitarian efforts of the past should be recognized — although a person determined to become the president of a country should take responsibility for his or her actions.

This case is controversial because it is not clear if Lula laundered money. If he did, he should come forward and allow his name to be removed from the ballot. If not, he should continue to fight against the charges, because it would be a threat to the legal system if he was put in jail as an innocent man.

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