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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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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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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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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UN: Authorities Should Allow Lula to Participate in Brazilian Elections, Respect 'Political Rights'

The decision includes Lula's right to participate in media events and debates.

The United Nations' Human Rights Committee has determined that the Brazilian state must “take all necessary measures” to allow Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to exercise his full political rights as a candidate in the October presidential elections.

RELATED: US, Brazil Negotiating Use of Alcântara Launch Center

The decision, which includes Lula's right to participate in media events and debates, as well as convene with members of his Workers' Party, comes despite the fact that the former head of state remains imprisoned at Curitiba's federal police station. The U.N. committee also said Lula should not prevented from participating in the elections until all of his legal appeals have been exhausted, per Brazil's Constitution.

Lula has continued to stay in touch with supporters and citizens via regular media releases and letters. On Thursday, he sent a Twitter message warning about threats to the country's sovereignty. 

“Brazil must open its eyes and impede” the senate-president Michel Temer from “handing over the Alcantara missile and rocket launching base to the United States of America," he said.

“An American military base in our territory harms our sovereignty and is a threat to our position of peace and dialogue in the world.” The former head of state and co-founder of the Workers' Party concluded that “We can't go back and become a colony to no one.”

James Mattis, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, began his first South American tour last Sunday when he arrived in Brazil. He met with senior officials and defense leaders to discuss, among a host of issues, U.S. participation in the Alcantara military space station. He also spoke at the Escola Superior de Guerra, the country's college for politics, defense and strategy. 

“We want to be your partner, especially if trouble looms,” Mattis told students and others in attendance.

“Our native languages may be different, but four decades of military service have persuaded me that the profession of arms has a language of its own and a way of turning strangers into the family... I want any adversary to know that they are better off to deal with our secretary of state and our diplomats. They do not want to deal with my soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and me."

Shortly after visiting Lula at Curitiba's Federal Police Station, Brazil's former Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, said Lula is outraged by Temer's submission to the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

"The times when a U.S. representative came to (Brazil) to give orders had passed, but now they are returning. The former president is outraged be the handing over of our sovereignty, which threatens Petrobras and public banks," Amorim said.

Mattis' agenda included visits to defense authorities in Argentina, Chile, and Colombia according to details provided by the Department of Defence.

Ties between the United States and the governments of Brazil and Argentina have improved considerably since the impeachment process against elected president Dilma Rousseff, and the victory of businessman Mauricio Macri in Argentina. 

Since then, Brazil's unelected president Michel Temer has invited the U.S. to use the Alcantara missile and rocket launching base and to conduct joint military exercises in the Amazon, while Argentina's Macri reached an agreement with the U.S. in 2016, allowing the U.S. to build three bases.

Despite his conviction and imprisonment for corruption, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.

Lula's two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.

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