Neither the ideology nor the nostalgia for a progressive “Great Country”. The vice sought to measure tolerance and forgetfulness of the serious accusations of corruption against the candidate. The electoral result showed the opposite.
A paralyzing bucket of ice water fell this Sunday from Brazil on Cristina Kirchnerextinguishing the flame that both she and her followers have been feeding en off the record: that the expected -and long predicted- landslide triumph of Lula Da Silva in the presidential elections it would be an evident and decisive political vindication of the vice, and a possible kilometer zero for his own race towards the Casa Rosada.
The unexpected electoral results reduced that fire to embers, which will try to be revived if the founder of the PT finally prevails in the second round scheduled for October 30. But that political calculation hides a much deeper reason and need for those who draw pictures on Cristina’s sand table: the seriousness of his judicial frontand the certain possibility of a first conviction for corruption before the end of the year.
The K operation to adhere to a consecration of Lula as president in the first round advanced with the same broad brush subtlety usual in the Patria Institute: in addition to the public statements, tweets and interviews in which that success was presented as sure as its own, another indication of the capital importance of the matter for the vice president can be verified in the gigantic cover that the media addicted to Cristina gave to the “historic election in Brazil”, with half a dozen special envoys in the case of a cable channel, and the exuberance of interpretations and celebratory readings regarding the imminent return of Brazil to the selective ” Patria Grande” of the Latin American left and its anticipatory meaning of a replica in our country.
Of course, this discursive proposal eludes the fact that in Argentina Kirchnerism has already been in government for three years, that its Minister of Economy leads a huge adjustment of public accounts while inflation climbs to levels unknown in the last three decades and indigence reaches 9% of the population, overcoming the already terrible marks left by the government of Mauricio Macri.
But that mismatch – a minor detail in the assiduous dialectical contortions of Kirchnerism – disguises the real reason why the vice president waited so anxiously for a resounding victory for Lula in Brazil, which does not go through a supposed ideological harmony or the possibility of recreating the map of self-perceived progressive governments that coincided in regional power during the first decade of this century. A young man Bill Clinton he would write the answer on his whiteboard: It’s justice, stupid.
Cristina waited for the elections in Brazil to measure the level of tolerance and forgetfulness in the neighboring country with respect to complex and burdensome structure of corruption led from the top of the Lula government together with one of the most powerful businessmen in the nation, his mentor and later protégé Marcelo Odebrechtowner of the construction giant that bore his last name.
Unveiled during the so-called Lava Jato Operation, the ins and outs of that scheme ended up being detailed by 138 repentant former officials and businessmen, during a mega criminal investigation that has so far allowed the recovery of more than 1,500 million dollars and whose ramifications ended, among others, with former presidents Lula and Michel Temer detained. That system of structural corruption -whose judicial future had twists, contradictions and crossed denunciations– exceeded Odebrecht and Lula, but both were mutually exclusive protagonists.
Just two names and some data allow us to understand the degree of commitment of the current candidate with that organization, and why it is a particularly dark ghost for Cristina. Among the main imprisoned politicians in Brazil, crushed by evidence and testimonies against them, was the extremely powerful head of Lula’s Cabinet, José Dirceuand his Minister of Economy, Antonio Palocci, identified as “the Italian” by the businessmen who processed bribes and favors with him. Palocci admitted it as sorry, and provided more details. The influential PT senator Delcidio Amaral personally implicated Lula in those scams.
The former president and winner of the first electoral round ended up being arrested for one of the causes linked to Lava Jato, according to which he had obtained personal benefits from another company, the OAS construction company. The Brazilian Court endorsed both the investigation and the arrest in 2018, but the same court then he undid his decision questioning the jurisdiction of the former judge sergio moro to prosecute crimes outside the state of Minas Gerais. The president of the country was already Jair Bolsonaroand the controversies over the case had taken him away from the courts to deposit him in the shifting sands of politics, ideology and the convenience of the Brazilian establishment to leave the scandal behind and at the same time coagulate the eccentricities and excesses of the new tenant of the Palace of plateau.
That drift is what excited Cristina Kirchner: that a ravaged economy like Argentina’s and the international turmoil convinced the local power factors -and in their imagination, thanks to them later the rest of society- of that corruption is a venial detail in the great painting of politics. In truth, his goal was and continues to be more ambitious: there was no corruption here, only lawfare and persecution of the media and macrismo. A very difficult pill to swallow in light of the evidence aired in dozens of cases processed in Comodoro Py.
Surrendered to the evidence, Lula himself admitted in the final stretch of his campaign that there was corruption in his government. An uncomfortable message for Cristina, who anticipates worse ones: before the unexpected results on Sunday and the very high abstention -more than 30 million voters- the old leader of the PT will be obliged to deepen the criticism of Argentina and its government, with whom his adversary Bolsonaro is ruthless and does not do badly. The golden mirror of Venezuela, Bolivia and the Bolivarian axis, in front of which Kirchnerism gladly preens, is now the image of horror for Lula Da Silva, for whom a mere photo with Cristina can turn into a nightmare. For her, that nightmare has already begun.