Lava Jato's reaction



The judicialization of politics is not recommended, because justice is one thing and politics is another.

On September 9, the Federal Police launched an operation to unravel a scheme of deviations in the S System. In principle, it would be just an isolated case, an investigation into financial misappropriations within the scope of the S System in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The operation, however, became enormous, with 50 search and seizure warrants targeting large law firms, some of the largest in the country, and among them law firms linked to former President Lula and current President Jair M. Bolsonaro.

What stands out in this episode – whose ramifications are not very clear, as it involves a series of information not yet available – is the fact that it seems to be a reaction from the Lava Jato operation, which recently suffered a series of defeats. The National Council of the Public Ministry decided, on September 08, to impose the penalty of “censorship” on prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol for tweets issued by him on the occasion of the election for the presidency of the Senate, in February 2019, in the context of the trial of a representation made by senator Renan Calheiros.

On that same day, the Second Panel of the STF decided to refer open cases against former senators Romero Jucá and Valdir Raupp, from the MDB, to Federal Justice, a fact that was also interpreted as another defeat by Lava Jato. In short, there are a number of elements that give the impression that Lava Jato is going through a period of setback and that this Federal Police operation called “Scheme S”, under the jurisdiction of Judge Marcelo Bretas, somehow seems to be a reaction to this situation.

Lava Jato was an important element in the judicialization process of Brazilian politics from 2014. We are dealing, therefore, with an operation that lasts for six years, which, in itself, is not good. The judicialization of politics is not recommended, because justice is one thing and politics is another.

During Lava Jato, an attitude of factionalism was proven that harmed many sectors of Brazilian politics, in particular the PT and President Lula. On the other hand, the Lava Jato operation unveiled a series of important aspects about the way Brazilian politics works.

In the confrontation that is now in place, what we can observe, from a political perspective, is the intensification of the conflict between the government of Jair M. Bolsonaro – who, to a large extent, came to the presidency because of Lava Jato – and this operation , a process intensified after the departure of the leader of the Lava Jato operation, former Minister Sérgio Moro, from the government.

All this points to the strengthening of the authoritarian tendency that constitutes an element of the character of the government of Jair M. Bolsonaro. In general, what needs to be re-established in Brazil is a situation in which the political dispute can be exercised in a democratic way, with fairness, transparency and, at the same time, without judicialization and without factionalism.

*André Singer is a professor of political science at USP. Author, among other books, of Lulism in crisis (Company of Letters).

Text established from an interview given to Gustavo Xavier, on USP radio

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