Brazil: Lula Says the Rich ‘Fear the People’s Choice’

Source:  TeleSUR

Published 14 July 2018

lula telesur july 2018Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. | Photo: Reuters

Lula: “My judicial persecutors not only want me detained, they want me silenced.”

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has taken to his Twitter account, on Friday, to speak to the people of Brazil about the denial of his habeas corpus earlier this week, which would have allowed him to walk free from prison.

RELATED: Brazil: Lula Absolved of Obstruction of Justice Charges, but Kept in Prison

“The fear surrounding my possible release is due to the fact that they know that they detained me based on lies,” he said, referring to judge Sergio Moro and prosecutors who argued his guilt, as well as ruled and sentenced the former head of state on corruption and money laundering charges.

“Their guilty conscious, stemming from their frame-ups, makes them nervous.”

Lula went on to tweet that he doesn’t harbor hate (towards his persecutors) but sympathy for the situation in which this group has placed Brazil, to sell our riches, and indignation for the suffering of the Brazilian people.

He said it becomes more difficult, with each passing day, for people “to find work and pay their bills…The fear exhibited by the rich is not against me – Lula said – but for them to accept the choice of the Brazilian people in free elections. The Brazilian people must recuperate their democratic liberty!”

On Thursday Lula was visited in prison by his former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Celso Amorim, and former Chief Minister of the Social Communication Secretariat Franklin Martins.

He told them that his judicial persecutors not only want him detained, but silenced, in respect to judge Carolina Lebbos, who prohibited him from giving interviews from prison. He also affirmed that he would not exchange his dignity for freedom.

Lula has been detained at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba since April 7. Despite his imprisonment, an event that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, he 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.

The latest Ipespe survey, taken between July 9 and 11, indicates that Lula continues leading the pack of presidential hopefuls in the first round of voting at 30 per cent. It also showed him prevailing against his nearest rival, far right-wing congressman Jair Bolsonaro, in the second round of voting at 40 per cent to 33 per cent.

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.

Encounter with Lula in prison: spirituality and politics

Source:  Cube Network in Defense of Humanity / alainet

by Leonardo Boff
May 23 2018

lula speaks from prison.jpgAs of May 7th, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had spent 30 days in prison. For the first time, he was allowed to receive visits from his friends. I had the honor of being the first to visit him, due to our friendship of more than 30 years, and that we share the same Causa: Liberating the impoverished, and reinforcing life’s spiritual dimension. I fulfilled the evangelical precept: “I was in jail and you visited me”.
Filled with energy

I found him as we knew him before he was imprisoned: the same face, hair, beard… only somewhat more slender. Those who hoped to see him angry or depressed must be disappointed. He is filled with energy and hope. His cell is large, very clean, with built-in-cupboards, and a bathroom and shower in an enclosed space. The first impression is good, even though he lives in isolation because, other than his lawyers and children, he can only talk with the guard, who is of Ukrainian origin, gentle and attentive, who has become his admirer. He brings Lula his food tray, more warm or cool, and coffee whenever he requests it. Lula does not accept the food his children bring him, because he wants to eat as the other prisoners do, without any privileges. He has his time to take in the sun. But lately, when he does that, drones appear overhead. As a precaution Lula leaves, because the purpose of those drones is unknown: to take photos of him, or perhaps something more sinister.

Spirituality

Among our discussions of politics, the most important was our conversation on spirituality… Lula is a religious man, but of the popular religiosity, for which God is existential evidence. I found him reading one of my books, The Lord is my Shepherd, (from editorial Voces) a commentary on the famous Psalm 23, the most read of the Psalms, which is also read by other religions. He felt fortified and confirmed, because the Bible is generally critical of pastor/politicians, and praises those who care for the poor, the orphans and the widows. Lula feels that he belongs in that line, with his social policies that benefited so many millions. He does not accept criticism as being a “populist.” Lula says: “I belong to the people, I come from the people and direct my policies, as much as I can, towards the people”.

At the head of his bed there is a crucifix. He uses the time of solitary confinement to reflect, meditate, to review so many things in his life, and to deepen the fundamental convictions that give meaning to his political actions, all that his mother, Lindu (whom he considers his protector and inspiring angel), often repeated to him: always be honest, and struggle and struggle more. Lula sees in that the meaning of his personal and political life: a struggle that everyone may have a dignified life, and not just a few at the expense of the others. “The greatness of a politician is measured by the greatness of his Causa”, he emphatically told me. And the Causa must be to make a life for everyone, starting with those who have the least. For that reason, Lula does not accept definitive defeat. Nor does he want to fall on his face. He does not want to fail, but to remain always faithful to his basic purpose, and to make of politics a great tool for organizing a life of justice and peace for all, especially for those who live in the hell of hunger and misery.
I am a candidate

This dream has an undeniable ethical and spiritual greatness. It is in the light of these convictions that Lula maintains his tranquility, because he says and reiterates that he lives for that interior truth, one that possesses its own strength, that one day will become evident. “I only hoped”, he commented, “for it to happen after my death, but it is already happening, even now, while I am alive”. He becomes profoundly indignant at the lies spread about him, based on which they have mounted the triplex procedure. He wonders: “How can these persons consciously lie and sleep in peace?” He challenges Judge Sergio Moro: “show me a single shred of evidence that I own the triplex of Guaruja; If you show me one, I will renounce my candidacy to the Presidency”.

He asked me to pass a message on to the press and the people in the encampment: “I am a candidate. I want to carry on with rescuing the poor, and to create social policies in their favor, State policies, and that the costs –that are investments– are in the budgets of the Union. I will radicalize these policies for the poor, with the poor, and to dignify our country”.

Meditation has made him understand that prison has a meaning that transcends him, me, and the political disputes. It must be the same price that Gandhi and Mandela paid, with prison and persecution, to reach what they accomplished. “This I believe, and hope”, he told me, “that this is what I am going through now”.

I who came to encourage him, left encouraged. I hope that others are also encouraged. and shout “Free Lula!”, against a Justice that does not manifest justice.

Jamaica: New Foundations Congratulates President Maduro and the Venezuelan People on their Electoral Victory

Source:  New Foundation
May 26 2018

maduro wins may 2018.jpgThe New Foundations, a long established and registered group of the People’s National Party, in the face of deafening silence by the usual vocal groups, is expressing on behalf of those comrades and democratic minded Jamaicans who are joyed by the results and wish to proudly and openly express congratulations to President Nicolas Maduro Moros, as the newly democratically re-elected President of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The elections of last Sunday, 20th May, 2018, were monitored by over 150 international observers and were declared to have been free and fair. The Opposition’s boycott was only because they knew that they faced certain defeat and we are confident that if there had been fully contested elections, more Venezuelans would have turned out at the polls to ensure a still resounding victor for President Maduro, whose policies have admittedly and unapologetically been skewed and directed to improving the quality of life of those who are in greatest need and not pandering to the Venezuelan oligarchy and the super-rich as previous right-wing governments had done in the past.

We say that the victory of President Maduro is a tremendous victory for the Venezuelan people and in particular those in the three lowest economic quintiles, for democracy and the right to self-determination in this hemisphere and for the anti-imperialist struggle against economic re-colonization.

150 Observers Stress Smooth Electoral Process in Venezuela

Source:  TeleSUR
May 20 2018

venezuela votes may 2018.jpg

Paper ballots will be used to verify the electronic vote on Sunday night.
| Photo: AVN

Over 20 million voters are elgible to vote in Sunday’s elections in Venezuela.

International observers monitoring the Venezuelan elections said Sunday that the vote took place without any incidents, in an atmosphere of full exercise of civic duty.

“100 percent of the electoral poll stations are open, we’ve asked witnesses from various political parties and they have all emphasized that the elections occurred with normality,” Carlos Lopez, one of the 150 international observers who came to the country in order to guarantee the transparency and legitimacy of the process, said before stations began to close at 5:00 p.m. local time.

Among them was former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who declared “we came here in order to accompany a celebration of democracy.” meanwhile Spain’s former President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero also supervised the elections, saying everything was normal and that it was necessary to wait and see how it will develop.

Voir l'image sur Twitter

Member of the European Parliament Javier Couso stressed Venezuelans’ sense of civic duty, while slamming Europe over refusing to respect their right to decide the fate of their country via the elections.

Voir l'image sur Twitter

The head of the Electoral National Council of Venezuela, Tibisay Lucena said that all international observers confirmed that “fraud was not possible in the Venezuelan electoral system.”

Maduro warns that the US Embassy is a center of conspiracy against peace in Venezuela

Source:  AVN
May 18 2018

maduro warns May 2018.jpgPhoto: Presidential Press / Archive

The Embassy of the United States in Venezuela has become a center of conspiracy against peace and democracy in the country, said Friday the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro.

“Venezuela is at the center of a worldwide media aggression and imperial aggression by the United States, Venezuela has become the obsession of the clan that governs Washington.” The US Embassy in Venezuela is a center of permanent conspiracy against stability, the democracy and peace of our country, “he said during a meeting with international supporters for the presidential elections on Sunday 20-M.

In the activity, transmitted by VTV, he specified that the media aggressions of which Venezuela is a victim have two lines: the first is the manipulation, misrepresentation and lies against the country.

He explained that the second line is that of silence , not to mention the electoral campaign carried out by the different candidates for the Presidency of the Republic and whose elections will take place this Sunday.

The national leader questioned: “Why so much obsession with Venezuela and with Maduro, why do not they worry about the problems of their countries or other serious problems?”

He emphasized that in spite of the attacks against the country, Venezuela has neutralized and defeated these aggressions. He also added that nothing and nobody can stop the democratic will of the people of Venezuela and that will be evident in the electoral process this Sunday.

“I am sure that the people of Venezuela will go out to vote massively and will exercise their right to choose for the conspirators and coup plotters who are out there thinking about last minute blows: nothing and nobody, whatever they do, will stop to the Venezuelan people to go out and vote, “he said.

A moral bastion named Cuba

Source:  Granma
March 9 2018

Photo: Alainet

IN any emotional or intellectual assessment (together or separately) that we make of Latin America and the Caribbean, we will find Cuba as an inevitable reference and representing an unpayable debt. Many political, intellectual or artistic figures, in their life and work, have an original reference point in Cuba. Those of us who grew up with the Revolution, who knew of it through victories and setbacks, have the special benefit of its ethics, of the resistance expressed in all its battles. Cuba taught us the importance of being and acting as a revolutionary, no matter what. No matter, even, the differences or the similarities. Cuba was and Cuba is there, always steadfast.

The “Latin American left” is unimaginable without the influence, unequal and combined, that Cuba implies on attempting to understand the continental present and the tasks of the immediate future. The “Great Homeland” is inconceivable without the revolutionary brilliance of Cuba at the decisive hours for continental unity and in the crucial hours of “individual” struggles.

It is not only the figure of Fidel (who alone constitutes a monumental legacy of theory and practice), it is not only the role of Raúl, as strategist and supporter of a thousand tasks; it is not only Camilo and Che with their straightforward didactic action… it is also the “Casa de las Américas,” the Agrarian and the Urban Revolutions. It is the Revolution of Health and Education, the Revolution of Science, the Revolution of Philosophy, the Revolution of Poetry and Song. The resistance and the intelligence to live life with dignity. And none of this without debates, doubts or reconsiderations.

Thus, we learned that love for Cuba (among other “requirements”) includes hatred of the blockade; that we cannot speak of Cuba without a precise evaluation of what it has lost through the “embargo” (what has been snatched away from it in the objective and subjective senses). One can’t, one shouldn’t, speak of Cuba without a correct estimate of the moral value that, house-to-house, facing all adversities and defending in an organized manner the revolutionary praxis against any economic, political, or media offensive represents; which have not ceased, not even for a second, since the triumph of the Revolution with its “bearded men.”

In addition, under harassment of all kinds, Cuba developed its democratic project, determined to set its own parameters and to stake its political life by differentiating itself from all hegemonic formats and the certain stubborn incapacity of some to understand other forms of democratic life, in concrete historic conditions, without the predominant formulas. The shrapnel of some “friendly fire” has also rained over this. In any case, it is an open debate… as it should be.Principio del formulario

When talking about the Cuban economy, all sorts of valuations, speculations and errors converge. Together or separately. Some with certain doctoral superiority, feel authorized to deploy their remote-controlled recipes to become the self-proclaimed Messiahs of perfect solutions. On the other side of the irrationality, there abound those who dream of a “wide open” Cuba, surrendering its sovereignty and socialist principles. There is no shortage of “middle ground,” appeasing or conciliatory terms, that suppose the possibility of a little capitalism and a little socialism to offer a moderate cocktail spiked with illusions and trickery.

But it is the power and prerogative of the Cuban people to explore and try all sorts of solutions that, in the concrete conditions and without becoming accustomed to them, guarantee the indispensable requirements for a good and dignified life, without renouncing principles and without abandoning the struggle for socialism. “With the Revolution, everything. Against the Revolution, nothing.” And with the empire just a few kilometers away.

A beloved Revolution

So one can not, and should not, remain indifferent, or just expectant, before the Cuban electoral process, with all that it implies and all that it involves. It is, although some don’t know it and others don’t want it to be, also a process of continental and historic transcendence, which demands clear attention and solidarity of the peoples from every corner of the globe, and even the exemplary hearts of the revolutionary people of Cuba.

A grassroots political agreement is required to explain, step by step, what is happening (and will happen) in Cuba, and organized communicational action is essential to let Cubans know how we feel and experience their crucial decisions, with the magnitude and the validity of the Cuban Revolution. A beloved Revolution, which is also ours.

The only valid expression for Cuba is the internationalist and energetic participation of the workers, of its people. Their unabated, direct intervention in the problems that arise, and the strengthening of the forces and instruments to organize themselves, always based on advanced training methods. Giving the assemblies, workers’ and district councils renewed vigor, without privileges or bureaucracy.

The deepening of democracy

The deepening of a living, direct democracy, exercised as an expression that sculpts history and the Party, so as not to be reduced to the mere choice of people and circumstances. That the people govern themselves, massively and transparently, in periodic elections and with a dynamic program capable of being permanently perfected, based on their methods. Democracy against the blockade and the errors, the dialectical democracy of a cultural and educational Revolution, converted into suffrage and vice versa; a participatory and protagonic democracy of permanent scrutiny at all levels. Serious and organized consultation in all areas of the political economy and the systematic practice of collective will.

Cuba is a permanent insurrection of dignity transformed into a serene, advisory didactic of ideas and invigorating action. It is a bridge extended between the Revolution of a people who have decided to be free, and the struggles that view themselves in its mirror image to advance their rebellions.

Cuba is bigger than the blockade, than all blockades, because it built itself on its own historic foundations in order to perpetuate its stubborn renovation of the future. Because, despite what has been said, despite it all, despite the attacks and the abuses, there is Cuba with its Socialist flag dancing and saluting in the wind, in the face of history and hand in hand with the peoples who, with the poor of the Earth, have decided to try their luck. Iron will, sister Cuba, moral bastion ready for the fight. •