On March 23, Netflix launched a new series called “The Mechanism” about a court case which is still underway, featuring a character based on the Brazil’s leading presidential candidate, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, during an election year. The series is directed by José Padilha, who’s Narcos program has been criticized for looking at the behavior of American agents in Colombia through rose colored glasses. Billed as a program that is based on real events, it is full of factual discrepancies, most of which take words and actions from corrupt and conservative politicians and businessmen and associate them with the center-left PT party. Not surprisingly, pro-big business presidential candidate Marina Silva is already using the program in attack memes to promote her candidacy. On March 25, an angry Dilma Rousseff issued the following statement accusing the program of character assassination and pointing out various slanderous events placed into the story by Padilha and his team.
by Dilma Rousseff.
José Padilha’s Character Assassination Mechanism
Brazil continues, alive, despite the illusionists, the sellers of hatred and the round the clock coup mongers. Now, the pro-2016 coup narrative gains new colors in a distorted version of history with undertones of our nation’s latent fascism.
Under the guise of telling the story of the Lava Jato investigation in a series “based on real events”, the director José Padilha distorts reality and spreads all sorts of lies to attack me and president Lula.
The series, “The Mechanism” on Netflix, is underhanded and full of lies. The director invents facts. He doesn’t merely reproduce fake news. He has turned himself into a creator of fake news.
The director places the Banestado bank corruption scandal, who’s main witness was Alberto Yousseff, onto an alternative time-line. In a series, “based on real events”, the least one could do is pay attention to the time when things happened. The Banestado scandal did not start in 2003, as it appears in the series, but in 1996 during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration.
In my case, the director uses the same character assassination techniques used by the Brazilian press, spreading lies in the TV series, some of which are so blatant that even the big national media companies haven’t had the courage to even hint at them.
Alberto Yousseff never participated in my reelection campaign and never visited my campaign headquarters, as is erroneously portrayed in the very first episode of the series. The truth is that the he never had any contact with anyone in my campaign.
Padilha’s bad faith is obvious, to the point of creating another fantasy: that I was friends with Paulo Roberto Costa. This is not true. I never had any type of personal friendship with Paulo Roberto. He was fired from Petrobras during my presidency.
On the TV series, the director has the nerve to use the notorious words of Senator Romero Jucá (PMDB-Roraima), about “stopping the bleeding”, uttered during the time of the fraudulent impeachment in an effort to block corruption investigations into the people behind the coup. Juca was caught confessing his wish to make “a big national deal”. It is appalling that the director puts these words in the mouth of the character based on Lula.
In the real World, Lula never said this. Senator Romero Jucá, one of the leaders of the coup, said this in a conversation with the witness Sérgio Machado, who recorded the entire conversation about the strategic nature of my impeachment.
At the time, Jucá and Machado debated about how they could paralyze the Lava Jato investigations against members of the PMDB party allied with Michel Temer, and what would be gained after the putchists took power when I was removed from the presidency in 2016.
Another lie is the declaration made by the character based on Yousseff that, in 2003, the Minister of Justice was his lawyer. This is a farce. The position was held at the time by Márcio Thomas Bastos. Padilha has made a sneaky attack against the honor of the renowned criminologist, since he is no longer alive to defend himself.
The director does not merely use freedom of artistic expression to recreate an episode of Brazilian history. He lies, distorts and fabricates. This is more than intellectual dishonesty. It is a cowardly submission to a version of the story that fears the truth.
It would be like if a movie about the last moments of John Kennedy inserted a Lee Harvey Oswald character making accusations against the victim. Or a movie where Winston Churchill makes a deal with Adolf Hitler to attack the United States. Or a movie showing Getulio Vargas as a great friend of Carlos Lacerda, supporting the Coup of 1954.
Padilha has made a fictional account of Brazilian history, but he hasn’t informed this to the audience. He declares it as based on real events and, in an underhanded manner, completely makes up passages and distorts the real facts of history to mold a reality his way, for his own pleasure.
I reiterate my respect for free speech and the freedom of artistic expression. Whoever wants to make fiction has all the right in the world to do so. But it is a stretch to say that this is a work of fiction. To the contrary, what is being done is not based on real facts, but on real distortion as a new fake news story.