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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: "Lula, guerrier du peuple brésilien, part en campagne

by Cathy Dos Santos

"Lula, Warrior of the Brazilian People, Starts His Campaign

Translated Monday 11 June 2018, by Henry Crapo

Already in prison for two months, the ex-head of state intends to run for the office of president in October. Even behind bars, the opinion polls encourage him in this choice.

Lula da Silva is hailed by supporters, on 7 April 2018, in Sao Bernardo do Campo, before turning himself over to the judicial authorities. Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFP

“I would like to know for how many days they want to arrest me. The more time I spend in prison, the more Lulas will be born in this country, and the more people will fight for this country, because democracy has no limits.” An impressive crowd gathered, this 7 April, in Sao Bernardo do Campo, in the province of Sao Paulo, to support the former president of Brazil (2003-2010). At Lula’s side one found the candidate of the movement of workers without homes, Guillermo Boulos, and the communist candidate for president, next October, Manuela d’Avila. Lula gives an intimate and very political speech. He knows that he must present himself to the federal police. Thousands of partisans present shout: “Lula, warrior of the Brazilian people”, he, who, at the head of the government, contributed to freeing 36 million Brazilians from extreme poverty. He is acclaimed, and carried by those gathered there as a hero, as a victim of the vicious political-judicial system, which has sworn to have his flesh. For two days he had found refuge in the offices of the steel workers of the ABC, the union of which he had been president, and which launched a historic strike under the reign of the military dictatorship. This workers’ strike eventually landed him behind bars. During the siege of the steel workers, “I learned Sociology, Economy, Physics, Chemistry, and I learned to engage in politics with thousands of professors, the friends of the union. … I will never stop, because I am not only a human being, I am an idea,” he reminds the public. Then, the emblematic figure of the Workers’ Party (PT), of which he is one of the co-founders, gave himself up to the justice without, however, surrendering his arms.

The dirty maneuvers of a judge with links to the rancid right wing

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is precisely two months into his sentence of 12 years and one month in the prison of Curitiba, in the south of the country, for “laundering money” and “passive corruption” in the affair called “Lava Jato”, according to the sentence pronounced by the controversial judge Sergio Moro, who admitted that he had no tangible proof of crime committed by the leader of the left. It is also two years since his successor and comrade in arms, President Dilma Rousseff, was the target of her sham deposing which ended in an institutional coup d’état to oust the PT from power. It has since plunged the giant Latin-American country into an institutional and economic slump of which the first victims are the poor, those who had carried Lula and Dilma to power.

Henceforth, from his prison cell, the grey-haired man will wage his battle to prove his innocence. His conviction for having obtained a triplex supposedly offered by a construction company in exchange for access to public contracts does not make sense. “I am the only human being condemned for having received an apartment that is not mine”, as Lula defended himself during his trial. He never lived in these quarters because he never had the keys. But he had to be muzzled … The dirty tricks of Judge Moro, whose links to the rancid right wing of the country no longer need to be proven, were such that they led to political positions taken well outside the frontiers of Brazil. Former presidents and leaders of European governments have taken up their pens to support “the principles of democracy and the right of peoples to chose their government.” Massimo d’Alema, ex-president of the Council in Italy, his successor Romano Prodi, Elio Di Ropo, former Belgian prime minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, ex-president of the Spanish government, have all called “solemnly for the president Lula to be free to present himself as candidate for president of the Brazilian people.” In the diplomatic framework, such a measure underlines the gravity of the matter in question.

Lula is seen as favorite in the presidential election

The democratic order was broken in order to remove the left from power, and to prevent it, by any means, from returning. Lula, despite a campaign of defamation grossly administered by the dominant media, has a degree of popularity that puts to shame many political leaders. When he left the presidential palace of Planalto at the end of two elected terms, the former steel worker had a percentage of approval of 87%. Despite his problems with a sector of the justicial system, Lula is in the lead for the up-coming election, according to all the polls. He is considered to be the winner in any second poll, against any opponent. This is a black eye for the putchist government of the corrupt president Michel Temer, who has been busy undoing the timid, but real, social reforms of the PT.

The insult is all the more intolerable in that the leader of the left, on 27 May, officially announced his candidacy for the presidential election from the 15 square meters of his holding cell - a gesture relayed to 70 Brazilian cities and to dozens of capitals. On 18 May, in an article published in Le Monde, Lula gave his motivation for the candidacy, recalling that “a part of the population that supported the fall of Dilma Rousseff (…) has realized that the coup d’état was not against the PT. It was against the social progress of the poorest people and against the rights of workers. Against Brazil”.

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