Sergio Moro's head

Hamilton Grimaldi's photo


Ten worrying affinities between Lava Jato and the Inquisition.

What goes on in Moro's head? Even the minds most committed to objectivity and technique must have come across this question. Would it be mere narcissistic naivety on the part of someone who believed himself to be the “champion of the fight against corruption”? Or maybe the cynicism of someone who said what was necessary to achieve what he wanted, without even believing the words he said for a moment?

Observers of Moro's actions in the conduct of Lava Jato lean from the beginning to the second hypothesis, even though the then judge insisted on saying that "the one who investigated and who decided what to do was the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Police" and that he “I had no strategy”.

The deduction of the first observers came purely from Moro's behavior in the process, the spectacularization of his actions, the partiality of his aim and the selective indifference towards his targets.

In mid-2019, messages between task force prosecutors and the former minister, revealed by the The Intercept, confirmed what until then might have seemed like a conspiracy theory. Moro not only had a strategy and led the operation, he also demanded and guided the prosecutors' work, however much he denied it in interviews.

In new conversations revealed, new interferences evidenced and the permanent curiosity: Who is Moro after all? What went through your head?

Another possibility is that he suffers from an illness common to high-ranking Brazilian authorities, an illness marked by anachronism between the vision they have of themselves and the demands of our times. In addition to abuses as a judge, the former minister gives evidence of this evil in his habit of publishing “official notes” as an ordinary citizen. More than a government representative, more than a public authority, he sees himself as the officially I live. and even your twitter they are solemn.

Like the minds most committed to objectivity and technique, it is necessary not to get carried away by this curiosity. Moro's intimate simply doesn't matter. What matters are the material effects of his acts, which are indeed undeniably anachronistic. I have had a productive dialogue with a dear colleague who has been studying the Inquisition and we have observed at least ten worrying affinities between the Inquisition and Lava Jato.

The spread of suspicion and fear

Once the enemy, symbolic depository of all decadence, has been defined, the public imagination is instigated so that suspicion contaminates anyone close to it. Together with the Tribunals of the Holy Office, communities were permanently afraid of encountering witchcraft or of being implicated by it. The absolute secrecy surrounding the accusations and investigations intensified fear and instigated communities to manufacture witches, putting the Court on the trail of anyone who fell victim to neurosis, whether deviant or not.

In the Lava Jatista Republic desired by Moro, corrupt they are the cause of all social and economic ills, and suspicion spreads among State agencies. Under the same secrecy, narratives are collected, banking and telematics data are collected, and anyone close can be the whistleblower or the whistleblower. Fear is disseminated to gather narratives: if Odebrecht executives consider joining the denunciation, “how about passing the message that they would accept only one executive and not all” to “intensify the race”?

Ritualization of prison and ostentation of power

Once the secret reports have been collected, fear has been instilled and the ideal target has been found, the stage of public exposure of the heretic begins, which is essential to definitively adhere to the label of deviation. Under the framework of the Inquisition, the process then leaves the shadows and presents the body of the witch to the public; exhibits him as a harbinger of his own doom. A witch she is forced to proclaim her guilt as she is dragged through the streets, carrying plaques that indicate her crime, revisiting the place of her supposed heresy.

Moro, without having so many bodies, displayed his power through the image of his suspects. He pinned the blame on them by coordinating leaks with the country's “access journalists”, who spread suspicions as certainties, and put themselves at the ready for humiliating scenes of early arrests and coercive arrests. From both perspectives, to be accused is already half guilty.

the seizure of assets

Taking the body and inscribing the guilt on it wasn't enough, however. Parallel to the arrest, the inquisitors determined the seizure of any property that the witch possessed, cursing the family and depriving them of inheritance. More than punishing, the objective was to demonstrate the dissymmetry between the subject who dared to violate the law and the sovereign and divine power, necessarily unrestricted.

Already in our times, in the orders that decreed temporary or preventive arrests resulting from Lava Jato, one often finds the arrest and seizure of houses, accounts, cars and whatever else is achievable, without any zeal to establish direct connections between goods obtained lawfully or illicitly. In Moro's samples of power, the same ostentation of the sovereign can be seen.

The imposition of suffering as a means to reach the “truth”

Taken as guilty, humiliated and cut off from its community, the body of witch he is still subjected to successive tortures, by different techniques, in order to guarantee that the confession is repeated and believable. To stop it, witch not only does he confess to having flown to the Sabbat, but he also points out his accomplices.

Although the body of corrupt is less available, Operation Lava Jato did not lack resources and ingenuity to reach the suffering of its targets and extract from them what they expected. In the face of public ridicule, threats of arrest and loss of property, and in order to avoid the abandonment of the family, the suspect not only confesses but also points out accomplices.

The absence of limits to the exercise of power

Charged with facing the forces of evil on Earth, enforcing the word of God, the inquisitors tended to expand their competence, meddling more and more in spaces of social life, starting to see satanic influences far beyond the acts of women. witches.

Lavajatista judges, in turn, allowed themselves to be seduced by the image of the country's liberators, champions against corruption, gradually expanding the concept of evidentiary connection. They walked towards the formation of universal judgments, competent for any and all issues related, directly or indirectly, to corruption in PT governments. In both historical times, there is no lack of competence conflicts that attest to the similarity.

The loss of objective criteria for punishment

With the increase in power of the inquisitors, the meaning of heresy also expanded. Intimacy, thoughts began to be scrutinized and to see in every space of social life a possible loci heretical behavior. Ancient pagan fertility cults came to be seen as heresy; Lutherans and Calvinists (who would also burn heretics, at a certain juncture) were now treated as heretics; and even Jews were again vigorously enmised. They weren't looking anymore witches, but any subjectivities at odds with the Christian ideal.

Lava Jato also deviated from the objective criteria of criminal legislation with the public repercussions of its crusades. In addition to undue advantages given to determine specific ex officio acts, the operation began to see any interest, pressure group or claim as illicit. Every financial contribution to an electoral campaign came to be read as the beginning of active and passive corruption; all subsequent contact between the contributing voter and his representative in search of support came to represent the consummation of the same crimes. Politics and corruption are no longer distinguished, just as different subjectivities were not distinguished from heresies.

Making an Even Bigger Enemy

the meeting of witches on the Sabbat, as well as the long years of persecution aimed at the unwanted, allowed jurists and theologians of the Middle Ages to establish a homogeneous stereotype of the witches and heretics. The pattern found allowed deducing the existence of a well-structured sect conspiring against Christianity. More frightening than scattered healers and magicians is the idea of ​​an ongoing, battling, anti-Christian organization, as it came to be enunciated in Sunday sermons.

Likewise, individual episodes of corruption do not scandalize: much more shocking, revolting and mobilizing is the idea of ​​a wide network of corruption, organized, structured across all spheres of power and led by a greater enemy. In the lavajatista era, the dissemination did not take place through Sunday sermons, obviously, but through press conferences with the iconic power point mobilizer of revolt and popular mockery.

The sign of purification

While bonfires are the greatest symbol of genocidal inquisitorial purification, the lavajatista rods tried to associate their image with representative democracy. They believe they have support in popular sentiment for the commission of illegalities, meeting the same yearnings for moral cleanliness, but this time in the Republic.

Worldly interests legitimized by moral discourses

Behind all the theological grounds and the mobilization of noble and divine ends, it is a notorious fact that the inquisitorial Courts abundantly served the political ends of their time; either by neutralizing adversaries or by favoring allies. Likewise, Lavajatista propaganda determined the political destiny of different interest groups and was decisive for the 2018 elections, of which one of the great favored ones was Sérgio Moro himself.

self-financing of power

More than an ideological device, the inquisition proved to be an effective economic tool, as the spoliation of Iberian Jews reminds us. If the bulk of the goods taken went to the Treasury, a part was under the management of the Ecclesiastical Courts themselves.

As for Lava Jato, despite being run by public entities, supported by the taxpayer and endowed with its own budget, behind the massive seizures there were also disputed economic interests. As the audios reveal, there was no lack of creative legal destination ideas for the immense resources seized, even considering a (militia-like) agreement with the victim (Petrobras), since, without the investigation, nothing would be recovered. Without agreement with the victim, another course was taken, creating a foundation for the institution's propaganda.

Not only do Lava Jato's secret messages expose the mistakes and arbitrariness committed in the greatest embarrassment of the Brazilian Judiciary; so does history. The history of the Inquisition and its craftsmen. The bitter political scenario experienced today, prodigal in authoritarianism, politicization of everyday life, criminalization of politics and administrative excesses, has the lava jet as one of its main axes of support. To overcome it, it is necessary to understand it. And fight it.

*Wadih Damous, lawyer, was president of the Brazilian Bar Association in Rio de Janeiro (OAB/RJ) and Federal Deputy for the PT in Rio de Janeiro. He is co-author of the book Provisional Measures in Brazil: origin, evolution and new constitutional regime.

Article originally published on the Institute for the Reform of State-Business Relations (IREE).




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