This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 16, 2016:
If one assumes that collectivism in any form is like a cancer (eating away its host’s vital organs until the host dies), then Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s strategy is apropos to Brazil:
At CTCA our cancer experts use state-of-the-art technologies to treat cancer … we help you maintain the strength and stamina to continue treatment and get back to life.
Deltan Dallagriol used state-of-the-art technology to treat the Lula cancer that has been infecting Brazil for decades: he created a flowchart of all the criminals tied into the Petrobras scandal showing Lula at the center, and then presented it on public television on Wednesday. Said Dallagriol:
Lula was the commander of the scheme. Lula was the conductor of this big orchestra formed to loot the resources of Petrobras and other public organs. Lula was the common and necessary link between [his] party and the government scheme….
Lula was the big boss of the Petrobras corruption scheme. Lula was on top of the power pyramid. Lula appointed several senior executives at Petrobras so that they could raise funds for political parties in the governing coalition….
Without Lula’s decision power, it would be impossible for this scheme to exist.
Lula hasn’t been arrested yet, but for all intents and purposes the magic is gone. The emperor has been exposed and is naked, and any chance for a comeback in the 2018 elections by Brazil’s former president has evaporated.
Aside from the inherent corruption attendant to any form of government, especially unlimited government, the temptation to tap into Petrobras was simply overwhelming. The numbers were too large, and access to them was too easy, for Lula not to take advantage.
Petrobras first announced huge oil finds in 2006 and then again in 2011, which would require massive billions to develop. Petrobras itself set aside $150 billion to start the development. Contracts were to be let. Opportunities for fraud were ubiquitous.
By setting up operatives inside Petrobras, Lula arranged to funnel hundreds of millions from overpriced contracts arranged by company executives with equally hungry developers into Lula’s Workers Party. Part of the scam was uncovered when it was learned that Lula was paying $12,000 a month to politicians in exchange for their votes. The Mensalao scandal nearly ended Lula’s administration.
Examples abound. One will suffice: OAS. OAS is (or was) a gigantic construction company employing 100,000 people at its peak. It enjoyed special treatment from Lula and in appreciation it purchased and renovated a private residence for Lula and his wife, Marisa, to enjoy on holiday.
Today OAS is a shell of its former self. Once the deal was exposed, the company’s funding sources dried up. It was forced to declare bankruptcy for nine of its units, suspend dividends, and sell off valuable properties.
Of course, Lula declares himself to be innocent. After all, he didn’t own the property!
“Operation Car Wash” exposed the pay-to-play scheme: funds from overpriced contracts were funneled through Petrobras employees to corporate executives and politicians, with the bulk of the funds going to support Lula’s communist Workers Party. The funds were so large that recipients couldn’t hide them in local banks without being detected so they tried to launder money through the accounts of an electronic components manufacturer. When the owner uncovered the scheme, he called the police in 2008. Through plea bargains with those charged, the whole plan slowly began to be revealed. Initially, four large criminal rings were uncovered, but the total soon expanded. Some of the funds were moved offshore through a bank transfer agency located in a building operated by a car wash company, hence the name “Operation Car Wash.”
It was just a matter of time before the entire scheme was exposed. Hundreds of warrants were issued and dozens were jailed, including top executives of some of Brazil’s largest construction companies.
Lula is going to have his hands full. Not only is he facing these charges, he was just indicted by a court in Brasilia for obstruction of justice stemming from his involvement in trying to silence a Petrobras executive from testifying against him in the Petrobras scandal. Other charges are still to come, according to Marcos Troyjo, a former Brazilian diplomat. Said Troyjo:
That means [that] the Workers Party, which may have thought it would move comfortably into the opposition after Dilma [Rousseff’s] impeachment, will confront extreme challenges.
It’s certainly the beginning of the end to Lula’s presidential aspirations for 2018.
Back to CTCA: once the Lula cancer is excised, is the patient strong enough and healthy enough to recover? Is the patient, like a young man – sturdy, strong, resilient, going to be able to recover following an extended period of rehab? Or is Brazil more like an older person – already weakened through years of abuse and neglect – whose chances of recovery are marginal, and the reappearance of cancer more likely in just a few years?
With Lula gone, will Brazil recover? Or will another cancer, perhaps even more vicious than the one just removed, invade the weakened patient?
The Wall Street Journal: Brazil Prosecutors File Charges Against Ex-President da Silva and His Wife
The Wall Street Journal: OAS files for bankruptcy