Lava Jato identifies with US, Lula denounces in Brazil

Former Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva charged again that the Lava Jato judicial investigation identifies openly with the interests of the United States, which is committed to dismantling Brazilian companies.

'That is why, Petrobras joined the game; that is why, the Brazilian contractors joined the game,' Lula said in an interview with the Consultor Juridico website, which said it will post the audiovisual conversation in the next few days.

According to the ex-union leader, 'it took us nearly 50 years to discover that the US Government had an aircraft carrier here in Brazilian waters to try to stage a coup (in 1964) if it did not occur. The naked truth takes time to appear, especially when you have the Brazilian State against you,' he stressed.

In another part of the interview, Lula complained about the lack of material in the accusations against him. '(Former Judge Sergio) Moro lied and he knows he lied (?) It was the scoundrel of (Deltan) Dallagnol, the delegate who carried out the investigation and Moro's rotten swine'.

If there is anyone who could be the leader of a gang, it is Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who should have been exonerated, he noted.

Lula invokes for himself the impartiality in the election of the eight judges of the Supreme Federal Court (STF).

He avoided analyzing each judge, but he defended that 'other mechanism of assessment' should be established, in addition to the juridical qualification 'that everybody has'. And that the evaluation should involve more examiners. 'Today I would have appointed other people,' he said.

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Brazil''s Lula plays in friendly football match

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been convicted twice in corruption cases, played in a friendly soccer match with his biggest allies to celebrate being free.

"While they spread hatred, we''re here to spread happiness, soccer and love," the 74-year-old said on Sunday, referring to the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, his biggest political adversary, reports Efe news.

On November 8, Lula left prison after the Supreme Court - in a 6-5 decision a day earlier - ruled that defendants convicted of crimes should not be imprisoned until they have exhausted all of their appeals.

Lula participated in the football match in Guararema, a city in the interior of Sao Paulo state.

The event was attended by intellectuals, lawmakers, grassroot organization leaders and artists, including popular singer-songwriter Chico Buarque, who are big supporters of Lula.

The former President, who wore a gray and white uniform, appeared to be in good shape and scored a goal on a penalty kick.

Lula celebrated the goal by pulling up his jersey as hundreds of supporters cheered at Dr. Socrates Brasileiro field, a facility he inaugurated in December 2017.

In April 2018, Lula, who was Brazil''s president from 2003 to 2011, began serving a sentence of more than 12 years (later reduced to eight years and 10 months) for allegedly accepting bribes from Brazilian construction company OAS, one of the firms embroiled in a $2 billion corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.

The former head of state also was convicted by Federal Judge Gabriela Hardt in another corruption case in February of this year and sentenced to 12 years and 11 months behind bars.

In both cases, Lula was found to have accepted bribes in the form of property renovations even though he never owned the real estate in question.

His incarceration led to his being barred from the 2018 presidential election amid polls showing that he would have won by a wide margin.

Lula''s exclusion from that election paved the way for Bolsonaro - a professed admirer of Brazil''s 1964-1985 military regime - to win the presidency.

Despite his release, Lula will not be able to run for office again unless he is able to get his criminal conviction overturned.

But starting next month, Lula plans to travel around Brazil, organizing the opposition to the ultra-right Bolsonaro and winning support for the leftist Workers Party (PT) as it prepares to compete in the 2020 municipal elections.

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Bolsonaro leaves PSL to create own far-right political party

Brasilia, November 21 (RHC)-- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced that he is leaving the Social Liberal Party PSL) that brought him to power, and that he will create a new conservative political formation that will bear the name of Alliance For Brazil (APB).

With the announcement, Bolsonaro has set a new precedent in his already criticized behavior by creating his own political party with the intention of nominating allies for next year's municipal elections.

"Today I announce my departure from the PSL and the creation of a new party: The Alliance for Brazil. I thank all those who collaborated with me in the PSL and who were partners in the 2018 elections," the Brazilian head of state tweeted.

The right-wing PSL organization currently has 53 representatives and three senators.  However, Bolsonaro's political team, composed mainly of his two sons, Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro and Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, believes they can bring 27 of those congressmen to the APB.

The fissure would represent a hard blow for the PSL, but it was also expected given the constant conflicts between the party's authorities and Bolsonaro's team. 

Bolsonaro's differences with PSL authorities began during the October election campaign when PSL head Luciano Bivar allowed the current president's group to take the reins of the organization through lawyer Gustavo Bebianno, who in January would become secretary-general of the presidency.

Shortly after, in February, Bebianno had to resign when it was revealed that the campaign had used "façade candidatures" to obtain public funding.  Already in recent months, intrigues and clashes within the PSL sharpened amid bids for the management of the nearly US$180 million intended for the party and electoral fund until 2022.

Finally, last month, Bolsonaro tried to push Bivar aside, but he had to settle for putting his son Eduardo as the leader of the PSL bench in the lower house. Bivar considered it a "coup" attempt and promised measures against the lawmakers who supported the appointment of the young Bolsonaro.

Seeing as impossible to separate Bivar, and evaluating a difficult scenario that could risk any strategy for the 2020 municipal elections, the president decided to abandon PSL and launch his new party.

Edited by Ed Newman

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Lula receives AFL-CIO human rights award in prison

Brasilia, October 11 (RHC)-- Just hours before this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner was announced, one of its candidates, former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, received another human rights award from the U.S. trade union organization, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president, gave the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award 2019 to Lula personally at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba, Brazil where the former labor leader is serving a prison sentence of eight years and 10 months.  While visiting him, Trumka was joined with Pepe Alvarez, General Secretary of the General Union of Workers Union, the largest labor union in Spain.

A statement was released honoring Lula's decades of struggle for the advancement of workers' rights, the strengthening of Brazilian democracy and his struggle for greater equality and justice in the world.

"Privileged elites have undermined the country's fragile democratic institutions, especially the judiciary, and have taken extraordinary and illegal measures to prevent Lula from running for president in 2018, when all polls predicted his victory," read the AFL-CIO communique.

The statement also indicates that since April 7, 2018, the former president has been a political prisoner, convicted of acts yet to be proven.

Last week from prison, the Workers Party (PT) leader said he is convinced that the judge who presided over his case, Sergio Moro -- who was appointed to be Brazil's first Justice Minister last January -- is responsible for creating Lula's alleged connection with the Lava Jato corruption case.  "I want to defend myself, because the real criminal in this country is the one who condemned me, and I want to prove it” said Lula on October 4.

Also last week, Brazilian ex-president and long-time labor rights activist, Dilma Rousseff, was one of the General Workers' Union (UGT) guests to celebrate the group's 130th anniversary.  The union said it will support Spanish parties and unions for the Lula liberation campaign.  The visit to Brazil by Alvarez formed a part of this effort.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Lula Receives HR Award from Largest Labor Union in USA and Canada

Brasilia, Mar 15 (Prensa Latina) Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva received the human rights award from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest labor union confederation of the United States and Canada, it was reported in Brasilia on Friday.

'AFL-CIO recognizes Lula's decades of struggle to the benefit of workers' rights, Brazilian democracy strengthens and his fight for equality and justice in the world grows,' the acknowledgement highlights, according to a press release by the Workers Party (PT) of Brazil.

'AFL-CIO women and men grant this award to Lula and promise to continue in our solidarity with the struggle for justice and democracy in Brazil and the world', the PT underlines.

The award is named after George Meany and Lane Kirkland, former president of the union confederation, and began to be delivered in 1999, year of his death.

Lula has been imprisoned since April in the Superintendence of Federal Police in Curitiba, in southern Parana, after receiving a 12 year and one month sentence imposed by the Federal Regional Court of the Fourth Region for alleged crimes of corruption.

The former worker leader was subjected to a second conviction in February in the anti-corruption operation Lava Jato, this time to 12 years and 11 months.

Judge Gabriela Hardt, who interimly replaced former Judge Sergio Moro, current Minister of Justice and Public Security, was responsible for the second sentence.

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Contradictions in Lula's Sentence, According to Brazilian Justice

The Federal Public Ministry of Brazil informed that there are omissions and contradictions in the sentence for corruption ruled by Judge Gabriela Hardt against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been in prison for 325 days.

Hardt, who replaced Judge Sergio Moro en the anticorruption operation Lava Jato, sentenced the ex-workers leader to 12 years and 11 months in prison for active and passive corruption, and money laundering, in the Atibaia case.

The judge considered that Lula benefited from works worth some 273,000 dollars that three companies did in a country house in the municipality of Atibaia, in Sao Paulo.

The house belonged to the entrepreneur Fernando Bittar, a friend of the former leader who gave it to Lula in 2010 for the enjoyment of his family.

Although that fact was verified, the judge claimed that the former president benefited illegally from the repair works on the building by the companies Odebrecht, OAS and Schain.

An investigation into Odebrecht's tip payment system, which was submitted by Lula's defense lawyers to Moro, demolished the accusation that the contractor had granted any amount of money to the former union leader to reform the house. The defendant denies having committed any irregularities.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, Lula was accused of ten crimes of passive corruption. 'Some items of the sentence mentioned the practice of the crime of active corruption by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.'

As it is just a material error, 'the Federal Public Ministry demands that the contradiction be rectified, so that it becomes a crime of passive corruption.

The prosecutors noted 'an omission in the sentence'. The sentence handed over to Lula by Judge Hardt is longer than the one ruled by Moro. In July 2017, the then Lava Jato judge sentenced Lula for other alleged cases of corruption to nine years and six months in prison, a sentence that was extended later to 12 years and one month by a regional federal court.

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Campaign for Lula's Nobel Peace Prize Gains Strength Worldwide

Brasilia, Jan 7 (Prensa Latina) The international campaign to grant the Nobel Peace Prize to former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2019 has gained strength, according to the website Brasil 247.

When quoting the bulleting of the Democratic Resistance movement, the website noted that the initiative, led in the beginning by the 1980 Nobel Peace Prizewinner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, from Argentina, 'has spread on all social networks of militants' who acknowledge the huge legacy left by Lula during his governments.

The source added that supporters have until January 31 to submit Lula's candidacy formally. Lula is a former labor leader, a fighter against hunger and poverty whose career turned him into a world leader for peace and human dignity.

According to the bylaws of the Nobel Foundation, a valid candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize needs the signatures of members of national assemblies and national governments (members of the cabinet or ministers) from sovereign States, as well as incumbent heads of State, members of the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the Permanent Arbitrage Court in The Hague.

It also needs the signatures of members of the Droit International Institute, university professors and professors emeritus of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology and religion, and university rectors and directors.

Other signatures required are from directors of peace and foreign policy research institutes, Nobel Peace Prizewinners, members of the main directorate of organizations that have won that prize, and members, ex members and former advisors of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

In Brazil, Lula's candidacy is supported by thousands of people, including politicians who were not members of the governments led by the Workers' Party (PT) and were not alongside the former trade union leader during his entire political career.

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Brazilians to the Polls; Most Likely There'll Be a Runoff

Brasilia, Oct 7 (Prensa Latina) Brazilians are coming to the polls today under the forecast that most likely there''ll be a runoff election between the two leading candidates: Jair Bolsonaro, from the Liberal Social Party (PSL), and Fernando Haddad, from the Workers Party (PT).

This Sunday Brazilians are electing the country's new president and vice-president, along with 81 members of Congress, 513 members of the lower chamber and 27 state governors (including the Federal District of Brasilia).

Though there are another three runners, the race is between Bolsonaro and his vice presidential hopeful Hamilton Mourao, and Haddad and his running-mate Manuela D'avila.

According to the latest poll by Instituto Vox Populi and Brazil 247 digital daily, Bolsonaro would be getting 34 percent of the votes while Haddad, 27 percent, below the needed ballots to win the presidency in the first electoral round.

The remaining candidates have the following percentage of support from voters: Ciro Gomes of the Labor Democratic Party is at 10 percent, Geraldo Alckmin of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party is fourth with 7 percent, and Marina Silva of the Network of Sustainability has 4 percent.

Vox Populi's director Marcos Coimbra said with such results there is the likelihood there'll be a runoff election in January.

A forecast for the runoff elections still gives Bolsonaro a slight lead, 40-37, over Haddad, and 38-36 over Gomes.

An ultra right politician Bolsonaro has been criticized nationally and internationally for his authoritarian, sexist, racist, homophobic and fascist comments and behavior.

His running-mate Mourao, a retired general, has threatened with a military coup in Brazil if they don't win.

Both Mourao and Bolsonaro have repeatedly praised Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-1985), which tortured, forcibly disappeared and murdered thousands of people.

Haddad served as minister of education from 2005, during Lula's presidency, to 2012, when Rousseff was serving her first term.

D'Avila, 37, comes from the Communist Party of Brazil. Though young for a politician she nonetheless brings vast political and activist experience to the PT's presidential ticket.

Polls also reveal Bolsonaro is the most rejected candidate: 55.7 percent of voters are against him, followed by Alckmin at 52.8 percent, Haddad comes third with 48.3 percent, and Gomes with 37.1 percent.

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