Fall of a hero spurs hopes for new era

A caricature of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hangs in front of the Lula Institute in Sao Paulo last week. Recent found guilty of corruption charges, former national hero Lula faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years. (EPA photo)

From 2003 to 2010, Luiz Inacio Lula was the most powerful man in Latin America. He was the highly popular president of Brazil. Now, he faces the prospect of a decade in prison.

Lula has been found guilty of corruption charges and sentenced to nine and a half years behind bars. He is out on bail pending an appeal. He calls the case against him "a farce" that is politically motivated. He has been accused of accepting more US$1.1 million (37.2 million baht) in gifts from a construction company to make improvements to his beachfront apartment.

Lula's protege and successor as president, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached last August on allegations of misrepresenting the national budget numbers. No corruption charges have been filed against her. Her successor, the current president Michel Temer, has been formally charged with corruption, which he denies.

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