The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is according to his cabinet chief Gilberto Carvalho, "sad, downcast and unable to understand" after finding out that an old friend and one of the founders of the Workers Party, César Benjamin, wrote an article in daily Folha de S. Paulo telling that Lula by his own admission tried in 1980 to rape a colleague who was in jail with him for political crime.Â
The Brazilian leader called the charge "insanity"Â and Carvalho classified the newspaper article as a psychopathic episode: "This is a psychopath's thing. For us this is something that can only be explained by psychopathy. The president is sad and said that this is insane." Lula's aide also added that the Brazilian president doesn't intend to sue Benjamin.
"We won't give the minimum importance to the episode. We would dirtyÂ ourselves if we did this. When there is something serious we react. When it's not we ignore it," he added.
In his piece, Benjamin writes that in a conversation that he had with then presidential candidate Lula, in 1994, the future president revealed to him that he had tried to "subdue" a cell mate when he was jailed for about one month.
According to Benjamin, Lula asked him for how long he had stayed in prison during the military dictatorship. Upon hearing that the author had spent a few years in prison, Lula told him: "I wouldn't be able to take it. I can't live without pussy."
The victim, according to the article was known as the MEP boy. MEP was a leftist group, which doesn't exist anymore. Benjamin recalls Lula saying that he had been surprised at the resistance the boy offered to his advances, frustrating the rape attack with nudges and punches.Â Lula's security and adman Paulo de Tarso, and two other people, the author can't remember the name, have also heard the conversation, the articleÂ maintains.
Carvalho says that he talked to Tarso, who denied having heard this story from Lula. "I talked to Paulo de Tarso, and he said that he can't understand what got into this boy's (César Benjamin) head."
See below stretches of the controversial article:
"São Paulo, 1994. I was at the house used for the production of TV programs for the Lula campaign. With the Real Plan, Fernando Henrique had moved ahead of us, complicating and upsetting our campaign.
In this context, I left a job and family in Rio and I set myself up at the TV producer's place, sleeping in a sofa, in order to try to help. One day I got an undesirable gift: a group of supporters brought from the United States a renowned marketing professional whose name I forget. Lula recorded the programs, aboutÂ twice a week, so I ended up living with the American during a few days before he had ever seen the candidate.
He told me about the importance of the first meeting, in which he would try to format Lula's psychology, to find out what went through his soul, who was he, toÂ find out his opinionsÂ about Brazil and the campaign's moment, for only then proposing a strategy. For me, absolutely nothing made sense, but I did not want to be a pest. The first meeting was in the cafeteria, for a lunch.
At the table, there were me, the American at my side, Lula and adman Paulo de Tarso opposite me and, at the table's ends, there were Espinoza (Lula's security) and another Brazilian adman who worked with us and whose name I also can't recall. Lula struck up a conversation: "You've been in jail, haven't you Cesinha?" "I have." "For how long?" "A few years…", I changed the subject (I rarely talk about this subject). Lula carried on: "I wouldn't be able to take it. I can't live without pussy".
To prove this statement, he went on to narrate with fluency how he had attempted to subdue another prisoner during the 30 days he had been in jail. He called himÂ "the MEP boy," in reference to an organization of left that doesn't exist anymore. He had been surprised at the resistance of the "boy," who had frustrated the attack with nudges and punches.
This was one of the most Kafkian moments I ever lived. While I listened to the candidate's narrative, I recalled the times in which I could have been, let's say, "the MEP's boy" in the hands of common criminals who were considered dangerous, condemned to long jail terms, who despite these conditions, always respected me.
The American marketing professional nudged me, impatiently, so that I would translate what Lula was talking, given the importance of the first encounter. I didn't know what to do. It couldn't tell him what I was hearing. After lunch, I changed the subject: Lula had only talked generalities, things without significance. The American thought I was boycotting his work. He became angry and, fortunately, disappeared.
The man who told me he attacked him is today president of the Republic. He is conciliatory and, they say, he is doing a good administration. He got international projection. I distanced myself from him after that conversation at the television producer, but I wish him luck, for the good of our country.
I hope he has improved with the passing years. (…) I never found out who is the "MEP boy". I suppose he is alive, since the organization was formed by people with my profile. By and large our survival rate, is much better than the one for the poor and blacks….
Folha's biography for Benjamin:
César Benjamin, 55, was active in the high school movement in 1968 and went into hiding after the announcement of the Institutional Act number 5, on December 13 of that year, joining the armed resistance to the military regime.
He was arrested in mid 1971, at age 17, and expelled from the country at the end of 1976. He returned in 1978. He helped to found the PT, which he left in 1995. In 2006 he was candidate to vice president in the ticket led by senator Heloísa Helena, of the PSOL party, which he also left.
He worked at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, at the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science, at the Rio de Janeiro City Hall and at the Nova Fronteira publishing house. He works as editor at the Contraponto publishing house and is a columnist of Folha."
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