Noam Chomsky to Visit Lula in Prison Today

Today, the world-renowned US intellectual and activist Noam Chomsky will visit former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been a political prisoner for 167 day in Curitiba, the capital of the state of Parana. Chomsky arrived in Brazil last week to participate in the international seminar on Threats to Democracy and the Multipolar World, organized in Sao Paulo by the Perseu Abramo Foundation of the Workers'' Party (PT).

At the meeting, the professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said that he had the privilege of meeting Lula 20 years ago and since then, he has been, and still is, very impressed by him.

There are problems with democracy in Brazil, serious problems, said Chomsky, who noted that the fact that Lula 'should be, by law', a candidate in the presidential elections called for next October should not be ignored.

On Monday, at a meeting with journalists at the Baron of Itarare Center of Alternative Media Studies, Chomsky pointed out that under Lula's government, Brazil became one of the world's most respected countries.

Lula organized the south of the world with protagonism, in an unprecedented way,' said the US intellectual, adding that the PT might wing the elections this year.

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5 historic artifacts that may have been destroyed in the National Museum of Brazil fire

Dramatic images of the flames that engulfed Brazil's National Museum have sparked concern for the more than 20 million pieces of history that are housed in the building. Here are five things that may have been lost in the blaze.

1. Frescoes from Pompeii

These paintings managed to survive the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, and the subsequent burying of the city. But now the stunning frescoes – which collectively feature peacocks, seahorses, a dragon, and dolphins – could be lost forever. The potential loss is extremely significant, as the museum houses the largest group of such artifacts in Latin America.

2. Mummified specimens

The museum is home to a mummified woman who died 600 years before Europeans ever arrived to South America, providing a rare example of Brazilian mummified bodies. The museum is also home to shrunken heads from the Shuar people in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin and houses 700 items from Egypt, including the 3,000-year-old coffin of the priest Hori and a mummified cat.

3. Fossil collections

The museum is home to a number of ancient fossils, including those of Brachiopods dating back some 390 million years. In addition to authentic fossils, some rather impressive skeleton replicas are on display, including one of the Angaturama limai dinosaur, which was the first large Brazilian carnivorous dinosaur to be displayed in such a way.

4. Scientific library

Nearly half a million volumes make up the museum's scientific library, including 2,400 which are classified as rare works. It seems that the library wasn't able to escape the fire – at least not completely – as reports on social media suggested that people were finding burnt pages in the streets around the museum.

5. Ancient skeleton

Luzia Woman, an upper paleolithic period skeleton, has called the museum home since being discovered in a cave in Brazil in 1975. She is believed to be around 11,500 years old, making her the oldest human skeleton to be found in the Americas. Sadly, she could have finally met her fate in 2018.

The National Museum, housed in a 19th century wooden mansion, erupted in flames on Sunday night. No injuries have been reported, and the cause remains unknown.

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Cristina Fernandez: 'Brazil's Elites Blocking Lula's Candidacy Because They Know He'd Win'

The former Argentine president expressed her solidarity with Lula after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) voted to ban the ex-president from participating in the October elections.

Brazil is preventing Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from running in the presidential elections because they know he would win, former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said on social media.

RELATED: Brazil: Electoral Authorities Ban Lula From Presidential Race

From her Twitter account, the senator showed her support for the Brazilian politician, who's been imprisoned since April for alleged crimes of corruption, after Brazil's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) voted to ban ex-president Lula from participating in the October elections.

“Now they are preventing @LulaOficial from being a presidential candidate because they know that he would win the elections in October. Also, in Brazil, the media, together with the Judiciary, have destroyed the rule of law,” Fernandez wrote.

The former Argentine president is among the list of Latin America’s progressive politicians under investigation over corruption while in office and is to appear in court Monday. Among the others, Ecuador’s former state head, Rafael Correa is the latest victim of "lawfare" and the government of his former ally, Lenin Moreno, is threatening him of detention if he is to return to Ecuador from his country of residence, Belguim.

The former Brazilian president has been imprisoned since April in Curitiba after being found guilty on crimes of corruption, despite lack of evidence. He has appealed an earlier decision by a Supreme Court justice who rejected a habeas corpus writ his lawyers had filed seeking his release.

Despite speculations of a new Brazilian Workers Party candidate, Lula’s running mate, Fernando Haddad, reaffirmed his support for the incarcerated ex-administrator Saturday, saying, “I take an oath of allegiance to Lula. Let's go with Lula until the end.”

The Brazilian Workers Party continues to fight for Lula’s legitimacy. Congresswoman Margarida Salomao said Saturday, “We will take all legal measures to ensure that his rights, guaranteed by law and international treaties adhered to by Brazil, are respected. We will defend Lula on the streets, with the Brazilian people.”

Lula's PT party has filed an extraordinary appeal to the Federal Supreme Court this weekend seeking to overturn the TSE's ruling to secure Lula's candidacy. The party has until Sept. 17 to pick a new candidate on their ticket, but the TSE judges gave the PT 10 days to do so. 

On Aug. 17  the United Nations' Human Rights Committee called on the Brazilian state to “take all necessary measures” to allow Lula his political right to run as a presidential candidate. Per Brazil’s constitution, the committee also said Lula should not be prevented from participating in the elections until all of his legal appeals have been exhausted.

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Brazil: Electoral Court to Discuss Lula Candidacy Friday

Legal experts say that according to Brazil's constitution, Lula should not be prevented to participate in the elections.

Brazil's top electoral court will begin deliberations Friday on whether former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva should be barred from running in this year's presidential election, according to a statement on the court's website.

RELATED: Brazil: Top Court to Rule in September on Lula Plea for Freedom

Lula, Brazil's most popular politician, was jailed in April to start serving a 12-year sentence on a corruption conviction, that the prosecutors have so far failed to bring concrete evidence to support. Despite him currently being imprisoned the Workers Party registered him as its presidential candidate for the October vote anyway, stating he should be allowed to prove his innocence. 

Lula has also appealed an earlier decision by a Supreme Court justice who rejected a habeas corpus writ his lawyers had filed seeking his release. The full 11-member court will now rule on the appeal by electronic vote between September 7 and 13, the spokesperson said Tuesday.

Lula is leading polls by a long stretch ahead of the October 7 vote despite not being able to campaign or take part in presidential debates.

However, even if he is freed while awaiting appeals of his conviction, Brazilian electoral court could also ban him from running based on the rule barring candidates whose guilty verdicts have been upheld on a first appeal, as is Lula's case.

A few weeks ago, the United Nations, through its Human Rights Committee, determined that the Brazilian state should allow Lula to exercise his full political rights as a candidate in the October elections. These rights include Lula's right to participate in media events and debates, as well as convene with members of his Workers' Party.

Legal experts say that according to Brazil's constitution, Lula should not be prevented to participate in the elections until all of his legal appeals have been exhausted.

Lula has repeatedly denied receiving bribes from government contractors during his two terms in office and says the corruption case against him is a pretext to keep him from returning to power.

A Datafolha poll last week gave him 39 percent of voter support, almost twice that of his nearest rival, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

The news comes as Sao Paulo state prosecutors have accused Workers Party vice presidential candidate Fernando Haddad of administrative wrongdoing, according to court documents seen by Reuters Tuesday.

In a statement, Haddad's press representatives said all graphic materials produced during his mayoral campaign were declared. "There was no reason to receive any undeclared money from UTC," the statement said.

The accusations against the former mayor have to be accepted by a judge before he faces any possible trial. His place on the PT ticket is unlikely to be imperiled by the accusations.

 

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Brazil: More Than 1,000 Arrested For Crimes Against Women

A quarter of the arrests, which were made on Friday, were for femicide: the murder of a woman because of her gender.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of crimes mostly against women, including femicide, during a countrywide sweep of Brazil.

RELATED: Brazil: LGBT Leader Killed in Bahia Amid Atmosphere of 'Impunity'

A quarter of the arrests, which were made on Friday, were for femicide: the murder of a woman because of her gender.

So-called 'Operation Cronos' was conducted by some 6,500 police officers. It was carried out ahead of national elections in October. Planning for the sweep began in July.

"What matters to us is protecting lives and above all combating femicide, this terrible and unacceptable crime," said Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann. "Some crimes are more serious and repugnant, especially those against women."

A respected annual report released this month by the non-profit Brazilian Forum for Public Security found a six percent increase in the murders of women in 2017.

These included 1,133 deaths as a result of femicide, or victims being deliberately targeted because they were women. The 60,018 rapes were up more than eight percent compared to 2016.

The status of Black women in Brazil in particular came under the spotlight earlier this year after the execution-style murder of popular Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman, Marielle Franco. 

An activist for human rights and women's causes, she had spoken out against the plight of the country's Black population.

According to statistics from Brazil's Institute of the Black Woman, or Institute Da Mulher Negra in Portuguese, more than 60 percent of all women killed in the country are women of color.

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Lula's Lawyers: Unthinkable to Disrespect UN Decision

Defense lawyers of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva challenged the possibility that the Brazilian state evades the decision of the UN's Human Rights Committee about his right to be presidential candidate.

It is 'unthinkable and incompatible with good faith' to breach such resolution after Brazil confirmed i 2009 its commitment to respect the decisions of that international organ, valued lawyers Cristiano Zanin Martins and Valeska Teixeira Zanin Martins.

In an article published the eve in the daily Brasil do Fato, the jurists said they didn't believe that Brazil 'let to be contaminated by the old temptation of countries that deny protection to fundamental guarantees through the invocation of regulations of domestic Law'.

We hope Brazilian authorities and also the non-state agents involved in any way in the issuwe comply with the decisions of such Committee, because an eventual international responsibility will survive governments, mandates, nominations or concessions, they warned.

According to the lawyers, in the Lula case 'we look to overcome the distance between theory and the real validity of human rights'.

Last Friday, that UN organ established through a measure that Lula, political prisoner for 139 days, be guaranteed his political rights, including those pertaining to his presidential candidacy 'until all pending resources of revisión against his sentence be completed in a just procedure'.

However, both the minister of Justice Torquato Jardim, as the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Alexandre de Moraes, publicly assumed opposed positions to the mandate of the international organization.

In that sense, the lawyers alerted that 'other voices', generally those interested in preventing for some motive Lula's presidential nomination, attempt to turn the decision and the obligation to be complied by the country in simple 'recommendation' or in a situation of less juridical relevance.

Nothing more ridiculous, they stressed before repeating that in 2009, in a sovereign and juridically valid way, Brazil recognized the jurisdiction of the UN Committee of Human Rights when it approved the Facultative Protocol to the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights through the Legislative Decree 311/2009.

'It is right to say that it was not compulsory -the approval of the protocol and the jurisdiction of the committee -turned obligatory and linking from the edition of that normative act', they stressed.

Besides the existence of that decree, they added, Brazil was notified about Lula's case and, since then, presented three demands before that organ, in none of which, the country recused the jurisdiction of the Committee to analyze the violations committed against Lula or the linking nature of the decisions made by that instance.

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Cuba Presents Business Opportunities in Maranhao, Brazil

Cuba's potential business opportunities for foreign investors were presented at a seminar for entrepreneurs from several sectors in the state of Maranhao, in northern Brazil.

The update of the Cuban economic model and recent modifications to make foreign investment procedures more flexible have created a favorable business environment on the island, said Dagmar Gonzalez, the economic and commercial advisor to the Cuban Embassy in Brazil.

Brazil holds an outstanding position as a supplier of products to Cuba, especially food and beverages, machinery and equipment, home and construction, and fashion, said the diplomat.

The seminar was also attended by the consul general of Cuba for Northeast Brazil, Laura Pujol, who invited the participants to attend the next edition of the Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2018), scheduled from October 29 to November 2.

FIHAV is considered the most important commercial and multisectorial event in Cuba, where every year, the event is attended by a large representation of Brazilian companies, recalled Pujol, who noted that a prospective mission is already underway and includes business people from this northeastern state.

The 2017-2018 Portafolio of Foreign Investment Opportunities in Cuba contains 456 projects, with an estimated capital of 10.7 billion dollars. Most of the proposals are concentrated in the sectors of ourism (152), agri-food (104), oil (78), industry (33) and pharmaceutical-biotechnology (15).

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Brazil Poll Shows Lula Extending Lead for October Election

It was the first major poll since candidacies were officially registered last week, but it did not provide results for the likely scenario of a race without Lula.

Jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has increased his support by 5 percentage points and would win Brazil's October presidential election if he was allowed to run, a poll by CNT/MDA showed on Monday.

RELATED: 14 Killed by Rio Military Police Operations: Reports

The survey, which was last taken in May, found that almost half of the leftist leader's supporters would transfer their votes to his running mate Fernando Haddad if Lula is disqualified from Brazil's most uncertain race in decades.

The Brazilian real led losses among Latin American currencies after the poll showed investors' favorite Geraldo Alckmin, the candidate most likely to enact fiscal reforms, lagging far behind his rivals.

Electoral authorities are expected to bar Lula from the election due to a controversial corruption conviction. Despite that, he took 37.3 percent of voter intentions in the latest poll, up from 32.4 percent in the same poll in May.

His nearest rival was far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro with 18.3 percent, followed by evangelist Marina Silva with 5.6 percent and business-friendly Alckmin with 4.9 percent.

Support for Marina Silva and center-left candidate Ciro Gomes has slipped since the May poll, while support increased for Bolsonaro. Alckmin, a former governor of Sao Paulo state, has also gained ground marginally.

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Lula's supporters were asked who they would back if he is out of the race and 17.3 percent of the people surveyed said they would cast their vote for Haddad, a former Sao Paulo mayor who would head the Workers Party ticket.

Another 11.9 percent of the voters surveyed would migrate to Marina Silva, 9.6 percent to Gomes, 6.2 percent to Bolsonaro and 3.7 percent to Alckmin.

Lula, Brazil's first working-class president and whose social policies lifted millions from poverty in Latin America's largest nation, was jailed in April to start serving a 12-year sentence for receiving bribes.

The nationwide survey of 2,002 people was carried out by pollster MDA for the transportation sector lobby CNT between Aug. 15-18 and has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points 

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