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Archive photo dated July 10, 2017 showing the former president of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during the launch of the digital museum "Memorial of Democracy", at the Palace of the Arts in Belo Horizonte (Brazil).EFE/Paulo Fonseca
Archive photo dated July 10, 2017 showing the former president of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during the launch of the digital museum "Memorial of Democracy", at the Palace of the Arts in Belo Horizonte (Brazil).EFE/Paulo Fonseca

Lula: the sad end of a dream

Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been sentenced to nine years and six months in prison for corruption and money laundering.

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Who could imagine that the nice president of Brazil between 2003 and 2010 would one day be sweating cold in a court about to be condemned to prison?

Federal judge Sergio Moro, in charge of the "Lava Jato" operation (“self-wash” in Portuguese) - one of the most convoluted and costly stories of corruption in Latin American history - found Lula guilty of accepting bribes in the amount of 1.1 million Dollars by the construction company OAS, one of the companies involved in the Petrobras scandal, according to the BBC.

According to Moro, the former president would have had "a relevant role in the criminal plot," as he was responsible for appointing the directors of Petrobras, the state oil company that orchestrated a political and business network of bribes through private contracts.

But the judge has granted the former president the right to appeal and not yet go to prison, as Moro believes that "the precautionary prison of a former president of the Republic does not stop implying certain traumas ... prudence recommends that we wait to the decision of the court of appeal before imposing the consequences of the sentence."

Lula, 71, better known as "the son of Brazil", had assured his defense, "prove that I am corrupt and I will walk to prison", in the rhetoric he always maintained as a personal mark. Having left the impoverished state of Pernambuco, the son of an illiterate and alcoholic father, and with 22 brothers, Lula represented the people of Brazil like no other had.

After participating in the 1980s in the founding of the Partido de los Trabajadores (PT), in 1986 he became "the most voted deputy in the country", starting his long career towards the presidency, which he would finally achieve in 2002.

"If at the end of my term every Brazilian can eat three times a day, I will have fulfilled the mission of my life," Lula said during his first speech as president.

Brazil's political transformation coincided with the socialist wave of Latin America led by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, followed by Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Cristina Fernández in Argentina.

Unlike his counterparts, Lula remained in power for eight years, succeeding in lifting 28 million people out of poverty, "convincing strangers and themselves of the Brazilian miracle," as reported yesterday by El Universal de México.

But the failure of the Latin American socialist model would not exempt the "Son of Brazil", nor did it with his successor and protected Dilma Rousseff, having both been convicted of corruption.

Are we then before the collapse of the Latin American socialist fantasy?

The sad ending of Brazil's favorite president seems to indicate it is.

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