Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva turns 74 as political prisoner

The former president and leader of the Workers' Party (PT) of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva turned 74 on Sunday, as he serves multiple prison sentences over corruption charges that were based on shaky evidence in an unfair trial.

Lula was born in 1945, in the city of Garanhung, in the state of Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil.  At the age of seven, he migrated with his family to the state of Sao Paulo, city of Guarujá, in search of work opportunities.  He started working at 12 years of age in different activities, such as shoeshiner and a mail carrier.  At age 14, he entered a metallurgical company.

In 1968, two years after the military dictatorship was imposed in Brazil, Lula made contact with the union life and that same year his older brother, Frei Chico, a member of the Brazilian Communist Party, was arrested and tortured by the military.  There began his struggle for human rights.  In 1975, he was elected president of the Union of Metallurgists of Sao Bernando and Diadema.

Lula has shown his fondness for football and is a fan of the Sports Club Corinthians of São Paulo.  During his first presidential term in 2003, he launched the Statute of the Amateur, to make the publication of sold ticket numbers and numbers of attendees mandatory, as well as to attend suggestions and complaints from the parties.

Before coming finally taking office, Lula had three tries at the presidential seat.  However, it was only in the elections of October 27, 2002, that he was elected in the second round with 61 percent of the vote.  He is the first worker president of the South American country.

He has been imprisoned twice.  The first time in 1980, when he was detained under the full military dictatorship for 31 days for "undermining the national order."  Then, in April 2018, he was arrested for alleged corruption with a sentence of 12 years and 11 months in prison. Legal experts and his supporters argue that the charges were political as the prosecution had struggled to present concrete evidence against him.

Also, recent exclusive reports by The Intercept media outlet revealed leaked conversations between judges and prosecutors in charge of the Lula case, showing that his arrest and subsequent convictions were an effort to prevent him from running as a candidate in the 2018 elections.

  • Published in World

Lula will be free, truth and justice will triumph

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, from the prison where he is held, addressed members of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), affiliated with the country’s Ministry of Women, Family, and Human Rights.

The hearing began September 17, at 10:00 am local time, at Federal Police headquarters in Curitiba, capital of the southern state of Paraná, where the former labor leader has been imprisoned since April 7, 2018.

The CNDH decision, Prensa Latina reports, to hear the founder of the Workers Party’s arguments, was mandated by the 12th Federal Court of Curitiba during the 48th session of this body, held in June, to examine the possibility that Lula’s right to defense was violated.

The body discussed his condemnation of selectivity, discrimination, violations of human rights, and constitutional principles by the Brazilian justice system, during the process that led to his arrest, outlined in the report "The Secret Messages of Lava Jato", published June 9 on The Intercept website.

Judge Carolina Lebbos, in charge Lula’s custody in Curitiba, authorized the visit following "the receipt of a complaint alleging violations of constitutional guarantees and human rights."

Following the ruling by Lebbos, the former President’s defense team emphasized that the hearing would be “an opportunity to deepen the technical debate on allegations of gross human rights violations” that Lula suffered in ​​the Lava Jato operation.

The Brazilian judge, according to RT, rejected a complaint filed by the prosecutor for passive corruption against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his brother José Ferreira, known as Frei Chico."

You don't need a keen sense of justice, just a little common sense to see that the accusation is based on interpretations and a lot of assumptions," said Ali Mazloum, a Sao Paulo federal judge.

Lula's defense explained in a statement that the complaint presents “the same unfounded accusations already presented in other criminal proceedings against the former President,” and added, “Lula never offered the Odebrecht group a package of special advantages.”

Since April 2018, Lula has been serving an eight-year and ten-month prison sentence in Curitiba, for money laundering and passive corruption in the case of a triplex apartment in Guarujá, in the state of Sao Paulo.

The former President was also sentenced to another 12-year and 11 months sentence for corruption and money laundering in the remodeling of a house in Atibaia, Sao Paulo, a sentence that was not confirmed by the higher court.

CUBA AND THE WORLD STAND BY LULA

"Cuba never abandons its true friends, especially when they are subjected to continued injustices," said the president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Fernando González Llort, during the final day of the 13th International Workshop on Emancipatory Paradigms, held in January this year, in Havana, which focused on organizing actions to win the liberation of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Members of left political parties, social movements, and union trade from more than 25 countries were called upon to strengthen the international campaign supporting the former Brazilian president’s release, a constant battle that is making the truth known.Cubans share the deep conviction of Fidel's thought, expressed in his concept of Revolution, that "there is no force on earth that can crush the power of truth and ideas." Lula will be free.

  • Published in World

Lula da Silva accuses his jailers of lying to the Brazilian people

In his first exclusive interview since he was imprisoned 526 days ago, former Brazilian president Inacio Lula da Silva talks about prison, Latin America’s future and Lava Jato Operation.

“I’m turning 73 years old but I’ve got the energy of a 20-year-old boy”, said the former Brazilian president during his first interview to an Argentinian daily since he was imprisoned April 7, 2018.  Sitting behind a small desk and guarded by a police officer, he confessed he has planned to live 120 years, therefore, he needs a lot of strength because otherwise “life would be boring.”

The interview took place in Curitiba’s prison, in Parana where he is held in solitary confinement 22 of the 24 hours of a day.  “The day I stop believing in justice, I wonder what I am going to do.  Not because a judge has been a scoundrel, you can’t judge the whole system because of that mistake. The problem is that I hope, with peace, that Supreme Court takes a decision. I’ve got the Habeas Corpus which is due to be submitted to vote” soon, Lula said answering questions about teh progress of his case.

His defense team hopes with optimism that in the coming months Lula could be released or at least he be granted house arrest.  

During the interview Lula, talked about several aspects of current Latin American reality.  He thanked Argentinian presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez for paying him a visit and advised him to rule for “the poor” and never lie to them.

“I could have left Brazil but I’m still here because I have for witnesses of my truth: myself, God, the judge and the prosecutors.  I proved my innocence.  In fact, I already did.  What I want is them to prove the opposite.  I want and continue to wait for them to show I’m guilty," the former president told reporters from Pagina12.

"I’m waiting to see the record of an embezzled dollar by me.  The only crime I’ve ever committed was showing Brazilian elite that is possible that the common people eat beef; travel to Bariloche, Buenos Aires or Miami; it’s possible for them to have a home, go to the University, have access to culture, entertainment, theaters, cinemas or restaurants.”

During his administration, Lula created over 22 million of jobs, raised minimum salary to 75% and put 52 million hectares in disposition for an agrarian reform.  When asked about the mistakes of Workers Party administrations, Lula went on to point that the PT, compared to traditional right-wing parties, had little time in power and yet managed to achieve much more than the traditional parties of Brazil.

"We sent more students to universities in 13 years than they did in a century.  If I had to do self-criticism, I would ask myself: Why didn’t I do more?  Why didn’t I increase people’s salary more?  Why didn’t I generate more jobs or sent more students to university?  That’s the critique I would do.”

Lula went on to speak about the Lava Jato corruption case in Brazil.  “The problem with Operation Lava Jato is that it stopped being a corruption investigation to become a political party. There is a pact between media and Operation Lava Jato. All the lies of Lava Jato are published as truth by the Brazilian press."

He went on to question why the big Brazilian media organizations did not cover the Intercept reports on his case.  "Well, for traditional Brazilian press there is no Intercept (…) The media does not want to get rid of Lava Jato because when Lula gets his freedom back, a big part of it will lose its credibility.”

Finally, with the eyes set on the future, Lula said his role now is to contribute to forming young people with more energy and willing to make a change.  “Brazil has a lot of good people. There are several interesting governors, new people in politics.  I hope Brazil doesn’t need me anymore.  I hope we have new figures, new women, new men so we can participate in an electoral process”.

  • Published in World

Lula was Unjustly Convicted for Defending the Brazilian People

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, serving 502 days in political prison today, was unjustly convicted for what he did to benefit the Brazilian people.

This was stated by Guilherme Estrella, geologist and former director of Exploration and Production of the state-owned company Petrobras, who along with José Graziano, former general director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), visited the former labor leader in the Federal Police headquarters of the southern city of Curitiba.

'Lula's freedom is the freedom of our people,' said Estrella, who said that the vigor of the free Lula Vigil adds to the awareness that the ex-president 'has to be innocent, to be unjustly imprisoned because he belongs to the Brazilian people , to defend the country, the workers, the national sovereignty.

For his part, Graziano said that without the Vigil it would have been difficult to see a man with a lot of energy. 'I have been working with him since 1981 and I don't think I have seen him with such force, claw and with such willingness to fight and defend Brazil.'

The former FAO chief took advantage of the visit to present Lula a book that talks about one of the greatest legacies of his government: Zero Hunger.

'A project that served as the basis for the 2002 campaign that became a global objective in the fight against hunger,' he said.

Since April 7, 2018, Lula has been serving a prison after receiving a 12-year penalty and one month imposed by the Federal Regional Court of the fourth region (TRF-4) for alleged acts of corruption.

He was subject to a second conviction in the Lava Jato anti-corruption operation in February, this time at 12 years and 11 months, but denies all charges.

  • Published in World

'Bolsonaro Should Not Offend The Argentine People', Lula Says

The Workers Party leader rejected Bolsonaro's offensive words against the winners of the primaries in Argentina.

Brazil's former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva blasted the statement made by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro about Alberto Fernandez's victory in the Argentinean presidential primary elections.

“I saw a speech by Bolsonaro against Argentina and the victory of Alberto Fernandez. I could not believe that a Brazilian President had such foolishness and sassiness to talk about his most important trade partner and strategic ally​​​​​ by offending the Argentine people and the man who won the primary elections,” Lula said in an interview granted from jail.​​​​ on Friday.

Last week, the far-right Brazilian President expressed his disgust at the electoral failure of President Mauricio Macri, a neo-liberal politician who lost by more than 15 percentage points in the elections held on August 11.

Besides describing   the winning candidates as "left-wing bandits," Bolsonaro said that Brazil will not welcome the Argentines when they begin to escape from their country due to the return of Peronism to power.

The Workers' Party (PT) leader also criticized the support Bolsonaro has provided to the Macri administration despite its poor economic performance.

"Does Bolsonaro think that Macri, who brought inflation to 74 percent, is good for Argentina? The one who increased the external debt to US$100 billion? The one who greatly increased the amount of people sleeping at the streets of Buenos Aires? For the love of God," Lula said.

"In an interview with journalist Bob Fernandes (TVE Bahia), which will be broadcasted today at 6:00 pm through social networks, President Lula said that [Jair Bolsonaro's Economy Minister ] Guedes wants to destroy the Brazilian economy and that it does not matter if he remains imprisoned until abuses committed against him can be demonstrated."

Regarding the return of the left to power in Latin America, Bolsonaro described critics of neoliberalism in inappropriate terms during a meeting in the city of Parnaiba.

“We will end the poop of Brazil. The poop is this race of corrupted and communists. In the next elections, let's sweep this red gang from Brazil. Since Venezuela is good [for this people], I'll send this gang there. Whoever wants a little further north will go to Cuba.

Lula da Silva explained that, once again, this sort of political discourse demonstrates the clear incompatibility between Bolsonaro's personal attitudes and the office he holds.

“Bolsonaro behaves like the chief of the hooligans. He doesn't want the team to improve. He wants conditions to continue booing and cursing. That is what he wants," the former leftist president stressed.​​​​​​​

  • Published in World

Lula Is Strong and Willing to Fight for the Brazilian People

Brasilia, Apr 5 (Prensa Latina) Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will have served one year in prison on Sunday, is strong and willing to fight for the Brazilian people, despite injustices against him.

The statement was made by Afranio Silva Jardim, retired prosecutor from the Public Ministry in Rio de Janeiro, and the journalist Juca Kfouri, who visited the former union leader at the headquarters of the Federal Police of Curitiba, the capital of the southern state of Parana.

According to Kfouri, it is impossible to be with Lula and do not feel optimistic. 'He only speaks about projects for Brazil,' he noted.

Regarding any messages to the Brazilian people, he pointed out that for Lula, 'the mission is that: do not shut up, discuss Brazil, do not accept arbitrariness.'

About the country's political and social situation, the journalist, who was a victim of the military dictatorship (1964-1985), said that at present, authoritarianism is established in different ways.

Lula has been in prison in Curitiba since April 7, 2018, when he started serving a sentence of 12 years and one months ruled by the Regional Federal Court of the fourth region for alleged corruption.

The ex-president was handed over a second sentence of 12 years and 11 months in February as part of the anticorruption operation Lava Jato.

  • Published in World

Lula Calls to Fight for the Sovereignty of Brazil

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called on his people to fight for the sovereignty of Brazil, considering that the Government of Jair Bolsonaro on Friday tries to sell the country.

This was stated by the Secretary of International Relations of the Workers' Party (PT), Monica Valente, after visiting the ex-worker at the headquarters of the Federal Police of Curitiba, southern state of Paraná, where he is serving prison.

'They are selling the country as if it were theirs. President Lula said that we have to fight for national sovereignty because oil belongs to the people. Public banks threatened with privatization are instruments of economic development and social justice', Valente told reporters, alluding to her conversation with the former unionist.

The representative of the PT also spoke about the work for the former president to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

'Our task at this moment is to reinforce the campaign for the award,' said Valente and recalled that the Argentine Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (also winner of the award in 1980) made the request to the former president last year and 'we will collect signatures of support until January 31 '.

She considered that Lula, 'besides being a fortress and an exceptional human being, in a relationship of equal to equal, has a political lucidity about what is happening in Brazil and in the world.'

Valente pointed out that the founder of the PT also aimed not to forget the 47 million votes that candidate Fernando Haddad received in the October elections.

For those people we have to convey the confidence that only the wrestler wins, it has always been that way, she said.

The PT managed to reach the second round of the elections, we cannot forget that. The fight will be tough, but it will be victorious, she assured.

Sensitized by the messages of optimism and strength of Lula, Valente reported having shared a common feeling for many people who visit him.

'Everyone is more excited about how he came' at the PF headquarters in Curitiba, she said, and said he showed the former head of state a list of world personalities who wish to visit him, which shows' the right side of history and the commitment of all for their liberation. '

Former judge Sergio Moro sentenced Lula in 2017 to nine years and six months in prison for verifying that he received an apartment from the construction company OAS in exchange for political favors for that company.

This sentence was ratified and extended to 12 years and one month by a court of second instance and, subsequently, it was Moro himself who ordered the imprisonment of the former president in April.

From that moment, the defense of Lula has tried multiple resources in different judicial instances to obtain his freedom, but all were denied.

It is expected that at the beginning of 2019 the Supreme Court will place on the agenda again the analysis of a writ of habeas corpus (suspended at the end of November) presented by its defense to release the former president, who denies all charges against him.

  • Published in World

Cuba: Summon to World Solidarity for Freedom of Lula

The members of the Brazilian caravan 60 years of the Cuban Revolution called on Monday for international solidarity in support of the struggle for the liberation of former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

Brazilian activists called the world union around that cause in a statement read by Maria Ivon de Souza, director of the Jose Marti Cultural Association of the State of Bahia, during an act of welcome to the caravanistas at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Havana.

In presence of the presidents of ICAP, Fernando Gonzalez; and Silvio Platero, of the Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of Peoples; and authorities on the island, the activist recalled that Lula was illegally detained because, he said, no evidence of allegations of corruption was presented.

'Is innocent; he is a political prisoner; he was arrested to prevent him from appearing in the last presidential elections in Brazil; and continues in jail for being the greatest popular leader. It is an attack on democracy, 'de Souza said.

The statement also contains a denunciation of the actions of the new executive of Brazil with Jair Bolsonaro as president who, according to the pacifists, lacerates the Brazilian people and represents a setback to the achievements of the 13 years of the party's government. the Workers (PT).

In the text, it also reiterate their repudiation of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for almost 60 years, as well as all attempts of interference by Washington against the Caribbean nation.

In this regard, he highlighted the courage of the Cubans to face the onslaughts of the US government against the revolutionary process of the largest of the Antilles.

Since last April, Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva, leader of the PT, celebrates 12 years and a month in prison at the headquarters of the Federal Police of Curitiba, southern state of Paraná, for alleged acts of corruption.

Composed of more than a hundred Brazilians, the 60-year-old caravan of the Cuban Revolution is located on the island in the context of the celebrations for the date of great historical significance for the inhabitants of the Caribbean nation and their friends in the world.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed