Brazilian Presidential Candidate Lula on Facing Jail as He Runs for President Again

Source:   truth-out.org / Democracy Now!
March 19 2018

by Amy GoodmanDemocracy Now! | Video Interview

We continue our conversation with former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the highly popular former union leader who is running for president in this year’s election even as he is facing a possible prison term on what many believe to be trumped-up corruption charges tied to the sprawling probe known as “Operation Car Wash.” Lula was convicted of accepting a beachside apartment from an engineering firm vying for contracts at the state oil company Petrobras. But many of Lula’s supporters say the conviction was politically motivated. President Lula responds to the charges against him. “We’re awaiting for the accusers to show at least some piece of evidence that indicates that I committed any crime,” he notes.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report, as we continue our exclusive, a conversation with Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula. The highly popular former union leader is running for president in this year’s election but is facing a possible prison term on what many believe to be trumped-up corruption charges tied to a sprawling probe known as “Operation Car Wash.” Lula was convicted of accepting a beachside apartment from an engineering firm vying for contracts at the state oil company Petrobras, but many of Lula’s supporters say the conviction was politically motivated.

The Intercept recently reported, quote, “The indictment against Lula is rife with problems. The apartment’s title was never transferred to Lula or his associates; he and his wife never used the property; the prosecution could not identify an explicit quid pro quo or benefit related to Petrobras; no official or internal documentation linking Lula to the apartment was produced; and the case rests almost entirely on the testimony of the executive who hoped to gain sentencing leniency for his cooperation,” unquote.

During the interview on Friday, President Lula responded to the charges and conviction against him.

 

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: [translated] I was not accused of corruption. I was accused because of a lie in a police investigation, a lie in an indictment by the Office of the Attorney General, and in the judgment of Judge Moro, because there is only one evidence, of my innocence, in this entire trial, which my defense counsel explained in a magisterial manner. We are awaiting the accusers, for the accusers to show at least some piece of evidence that indicates that I committed any crime during the period that I was in the presidency.

Now, what is behind that is the attempt to criminalize my political party. What is behind that is the interest in a part of the political elite in Brazil, together with a part of the press, reinforced by the role of the judiciary, in preventing Lula from becoming a candidate in the 2018 elections. And I continue challenging the federal police, the Office of the Attorney General. I continue challenging Judge Moro and the appellate court to show the world and to show Brazil a single piece of evidence of a crime committed by me. The behavior of the judiciary in this instance is a political form of behavior.

AMY GOODMAN: Mr. President, last year, the ousted President Dilma Rousseff said, “The first chapter of the coup was my impeachment. But there’s a second chapter, and that is stopping President Lula from becoming a candidate for next year’s elections.” Do you see it the same way, that this is the final chapter of the coup, if your conviction is upheld, that you will be prevented from running in the October elections?

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: [translated] Amy, the Workers’ Party, in 12 years in the government, at the helm of the government in Brazil, was able to do many things that had never been done at any time in the 20th century. In this country, in 12 years, we brought 40 million people into the middle class. We drew 36 million people out of poverty. While Europe was shedding 62 million jobs as of the 2000 date, we created 20 million jobs in the formal sector in this country. For 12 years, all Brazilian workers were able to overcome inflation. It was the time of the greatest economic growth in the history of Brazil. It was the most distribution of income in the history of Brazil. To give you an idea, in 12 years, 70 million people began to use the banking system who had never walked into a bank.

And when they got rid of Dilma, they did want Lula to come back, because they know that the relationship between the Brazilian people and President Lula was the strongest relationship that the people of Brazil had ever had with a president in the entire history of the country. And even more important, they know I am absolutely certain that the best way to ensure economic recovery in Brazil is to lift up the working people of this country. They know that I know how to do that. Now that the poor people had jobs, had a salary, were studying, were eating better, were living — had better housing, when that happens, the economy grows again, and we can become the most optimistic country in the world and the happiest people in the world. And, Amy, that is why I want to be candidate for the presidency of Brazil, to show that a mechanic who doesn’t have a university degree knows better how to take care of the Brazilian people than the Brazilian elite, who never looked after the welfare of the Brazilian people.

AMY GOODMAN: President Lula, why did you decide to run for president again?

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: [translated] The truth is, I have still not decided, Amy. The ones who are deciding are the Brazilian people. Look, all of the public opinion polls in Brazil, month after month — and there are several of them — in all of them, I’m in first place. And so, I’m beginning to be the candidate who has the lowest negatives and the possibility of becoming a candidate and winning on the first round, and this is making my adversaries very uncomfortable. And I am sure, Amy, that at the Supreme Court I will be acquitted and that I will be candidate, and Brazil could once again be a protagonist in international policy, the economy could grow again, create jobs and improve the quality of life of the people. This is something I know how to do very well.

AMY GOODMAN: If the case does not go well for you in the Supreme Court, would you consider stepping aside?

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: [translated] First of all, Amy, I’m very optimistic, very optimistic. Now, if that were to happen and I was not able — were not able to be a candidate, if my name is not on the ballot, I think that the party would call a convention and discuss what to do. I am going to require that and call for justice to be done in the country.

Now, if my innocence is proven, then Judge Moro should be removed from his position, because you can’t have a judge who is lying in the judgment and pronouncing as guilty someone who he knows is innocent. He knows that it’s not my apartment. He knows that I didn’t buy it. He knows that I didn’t pay anything. He knows that I never went there. He knows that I don’t have money from Petrobras. The thing is that because he subordinated himself to the media, I said, in the first hearing with him, “You are not in a position to acquit me, because the lies have gone too far.” And the disgrace is that the one who does the first lie continues lying and lying and lying to justify the first lie. And I am going to prove that he has been lying.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you raise two issues, President Lula: the media as prosecutor and the judge as prosecutor. Can you talk about both? Start with the media.

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: [translated] Well, Amy, it’s important that you come to Brazil to see what’s happening with the Brazilian press. I was president for eight years. Dilma was president for four years. And for 12 years, all the press did was to try to destroy my image and her image and the image of my party. I have more negative subject matter about me in the leading television news program of Brazil than all of the presidents in the whole history of Brazil. In other words, it’s a daily attempt to massacre me, to tell untruths about Lula, about Lula’s family. And the only weapon that I have is to confront them. And they’re irritated, because after they massacred me for four years, any opinion poll by any polling institute showed that Lula was going win the elections in Brazil.

Now, second, the Office of the Attorney General and the Car Wash scandal. I respect very much the institution. I was a member of the constitutional assembly, and I helped to strengthen the role of the Office of the Attorney General. But it created a task force, organized by a prosecutor, who went to television to show a PowerPoint, and said that the PT, the Workers’ Party, was established to be a criminal organization, that the fact that Lula was the most important person in the PT meant that he was the head of a criminal organization.

And on concluding the indictment, he simply said the following: “I don’t have evidence. I don’t have evidence. I have conviction.” I don’t want to be judged by the conviction of the prosecutor. He can keep his convictions to himself. I want whoever is prosecuting me to come forward in the proceeding and to tell the people of Brazil what crime I committed. The only thing, Amy, that I really want now is for the merits of my trial to be judged. I want him to discuss it. I want him to read the prosecutorial brief and the defense brief, and then make a decision. What I really want at this time is that justice be done in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: The candidate polling second in Brazil’s elections is a far-right-wing congressman and former soldier named Jair Bolsonaro. He’s been called the “Brazilian Trump.” Can you talk about who he is, what he represents, and if you understand there’s any communication between him and the US government right now?

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: [translated] I cannot. I cannot level accusations against an adversary. The only thing that I would like is to have the right to run in the elections here in Brazil, to win the elections and to recover the right of the Brazilian people to live well. I cannot pass judgment on the president of the United States, just as I cannot pass judgment on the president of Uruguay, and much less can I pass judgment on my adversaries.

AMY GOODMAN: But if you can explain what he represents, how you differ from him?

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: [translated] He is a member of the federal Congress. He was an Army captain in the Brazilian Army. The information that we have is that he was expelled from the Brazilian army. And his behavior is far-right-wing, fascist. He is very much prejudiced against women, against blacks, against indigenous persons, against human rights. He believes that everything can be resolved with violence. So, I don’t think he has a future in Brazilian politics. He has the right to run. He speaks. He projects a certain image to please a part of the society that is of the extreme right. But I don’t believe that the Brazilian people have an interest in electing someone with his sort of behavior to serve as president of the republic.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he was happy with Marielle’s death?

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: [translated] I think so, because he’s preaching violence every day. He preaches violence. He believes that those who defend human rights are doing a disservice to democracy. He thinks that those who defend women’s rights are doing a disservice to democracy, likewise those who defend the rights of the black community. He is against everything that is discussed when one is talking about human rights.

AMY GOODMAN: We continue with Brazilian presidential candidate, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in 30 seconds.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

AMY GOODMAN

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its “Pick of the Podcasts,” along with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

RELATED STORIE

Cuba expresses solidarity with Lula

Source:  Granma

January 25, 2018

declaracion minix cuba

Photo: Enviada por Ively Valdés Marfil

Ministry of Foreign Affairs releases statement regarding ruling by Brazilian court on conviction of former President and leader of the Workers’ Party, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has learned of the ruling by a second level Brazilian court on the conviction of former President and leader of the Workers’ Party, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates its support and solidarity with Lula, who has been the object of fierce political and judicial persecution, directed toward preventing his candidacy in Presidential elections.

Lula caravan of hope 4

Former President and leader of the Workers’ Party, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva campaigning for the upcoming elections

Lula to Latin America: We Will ‘Defeat Neoliberalism Again’

Source:  TeleSUR
November 16 2017

lula nov 2017Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva declared that the struggle against neoliberalism in Latin America will continue. | Photo: EFE

Thousands of leftists from across Latin America amassed in Uruguay to march “against neoliberalism” and “in defense of democracy.”

“Temer out!” and “Macri out!” were among the demands chanted by thousands of Latin Americans marching in the name of progress through Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, on Thursday.

RELATED:  Mujica: ‘Militant’ Latin America Must Reject Neoliberalism

The mass mobilization, part of the three-day Continental Conference For Democracy And Against Neoliberalism, drew thousands to rally “against neoliberalism” — including free trade agreements — and “in defense of democracy.”

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, in a message broadcast to the assembled crowds, said: “In all our countries we have already defeated the neoliberal project once and I have no doubt that we will be able to defeat it again.”

It was da Silva, along with late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and late Brazilian president Nestor Kirchner, who 12 years ago defeated the U.S.-initiated Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Chavez Kirch Lula.jpg

Latin American countries fought together “to defeat the military dictatorships of the continent” and “the disastrous neoliberal governments of the ’80s and ’90s,” da Silva continued.

“Union movements, social movements and progressive parties were building the great popular victories of the last decade. The progressive governments of the region, in close harmony with the popular movements, resolved to promote great economic, social and cultural changes conquering an unprecedented dignity for our peoples.”  Da Silva also noted that the lessons of yesterday are just as relevant today: in particular in Brazil, which experienced “a violent blow to democracy” during last year’s right-wing coup.

The conference is set to continue for the next two days, attempting to interlink “struggles against the offensive of conservative and capitalist sectors in the continent,” according to the official website.

RELATED:  Lula’s Caravan of Hope Reaches Final Destination

Last week, former Uruguay President Jose ‘Pepe’ Mujica called on “militant” Latin American organizations to join the meeting in order to share their knowledge of the various struggles on the continent and how best to win them.

The conference’s organizing group, comprising dozens of leftist organizations from across the continent, first met in November 2015 in the Cuban capital, Havana. In 2016, the same groups organized actions in a number of countries to mark their reorganization

Brazil’s Lula Surges in Polls Ahead of 2018 Election

Source:  TeleSUR
Ocvtober 1 2017

He was credited with lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and tackling hunger.

lula 10.jpgFormer Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva | Photo: AFP

Roughly 35 percent of voters will support the former president in the first round of the 2018 general election.

Despite being sentenced to nine years and six months over alleged corruption charges in Operation Car Wash investigations, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva continues to broaden his lead in the upcoming 2018 presidential election, according to the latest Datafolha poll.

RELATED:   Lula Calls for Policies Centered on the Working Class to Push Brazil Forward

Published in Folha de Sao Paulo on Saturday, the survey indicated that 35 percent of voters would support the former president in the first round of voting. That’s a five percent increase from the last poll released in June.

The Datafolha poll also indicated that Lula would defeat all presidential candidates in a runoff vote.

While right-wing congressman and presidential hopeful Jair Bolsonaro trailed in polling by 17 percent of voting intentions, former environment minister Marina Silva was behind by 13 percent.

Meanwhile, Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin and Sao Paulo Mayor Joao Doria held only eight percent of voting intentions each, Reuters reported. Both are members of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, which is allied with right-wing President Michel Temer.

Lula’s two-term presidency (2003-2010) was marked by a slew of social programs. He was credited with lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and tackling hunger.

The Family Allowance

One of his most ambitious and successful programs was the Family Allowance. Launched in 2003, the program provides stipends to families living below the poverty line. In turn, those families must prove that their children are attending school and have been vaccinated.

The program’s objective is to empower Brazil’s working class, ensuring that impoverished families are able to eat, purchase hygienic materials and have access to other basic necessities.

“The poor are not the problem, the poor are the solution, when we include the poor everything improves,” Lula told teleSUR in an exclusive interview.

Nevertheless, the popular Brazilian leader may be prohibited from running for re-election if his conviction is upheld by judge Sergio Moro, another possible presidential hopeful. If so, Datafolha’s poll also indicates that 26 percent of voters would back any candidate endorsed by Lula.

Lula Calls for Policies Centered on the Working Class to Push Brazil Forward

Source:  TeleSUR
September 4 2017

Lula caravan of hope 4.jpgLula greets people from Banabuiu, a countryside town in the state of
Ceara, Brazil. | Photo: @CarlosZarattini

As Lula’s Caravan of Hope tour winds down, the former President vows to fight for the rights of the poorest.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in an exclusive interview with teleSUR, has called for the restoration of the social policies implemented during the 12 years of the Workers’ Party, or PT, government in Brazil.

RELATED: Lula Draws Biggest Crowd Yet and Blasts ‘Sellout’ Temer Government

These policies, he said, are the only way to set the country towards growing economic development.

The poor are the solution

The former president recalled that his government was able to advance a social and work policy that resulted in the creation of 22 million jobs and about 6 million microentrepreneurs. Lula affirmed that it is through the creation of jobs, that the economy will be re-energized and will advance the country’s development.

“The poor are not the problem, the poor are the solution, when we include the poor everything improves,” said the Brazilian popular leader.

Lula has been carrying out a “Caravan of Hope” bus tour across northeastern Brazil. A much poorer region than the rest of the country, the northeast has been a reliable base for the Workers Party and Lula, who was born in the poverty-blighted state of Pernambuco.

The need to be with the people

“I learned that someone who wants to govern this country must walk and meet with the people to create a government program that (works alongside) social movements” the leader said. “Traveling is learning again.”

Lula explained that in order to do politics, one has to be with the people, adding that the caravan has allowed him to know firsthand the current situation in the country, where “conditions have now deteriorated (because) policies of inclusion are being decimated by the government.”

The Brazilian ex-president said that the trial against him — a number of corruption allegations that he has said there is no evidence for — is part of a campaign against him, but despite it, he will continue to defend the rights of the poorest.

RELATED: Lula’s Caravan of Hope Reaches Final Destination

Lula has also said that the allegations have been planted against him so that he is barred from running for president in the upcoming elections, given that he holds the lead in polls.

As such, Lula condemned the actions of the country’s justice system, saying they only respond to the interests of the small, ruling elites that have been the only ones to benefit from the economic policies of de facto president, Michel Temer.

Lula Draws Biggest Crowd Yet and Blasts ‘Sellout’ Temer Government

Source:  TeleSUR
28 August 2017

lula caravan of hope 3.jpgFormer Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva cheers supporters of Landless Workers Movement (MST) during a rally in the northeast. | Photo: Reuters

 

“Brazil was a source of pride, today that period is over and its leaders are demoralized – this pack of stray dogs,” he told his supporters.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was enthusiastically greeted by about 30,000 people in Mossoro, the second most populous city in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

RELATED:  Brazil Government ‘Sells Country Like Real Estate’: Lula

Now they want to sell everything

The crowd was Lula’s largest audience yet in his “Caravan of Hope” bus tour across northeastern Brazil. A much poorer region than the rest of the country, the northeast has been a reliable base for the Workers Party and Lula, who was born in the poverty-blighted state of Pernambuco.

“What is at stake today is Brazil and the defense of our sovereignty,” Lula told the crowd, noting that his administration managed to save the country’s Federal Savings Bank, known in the country as Caixa, as well as Brazil’s National Bank for Economic and Social Development or BNDES.

“Now they want to sell everything,” he added, pointing to the stated intention by President Michel Temer to sell Electrobras as a sign that the massive sale of public assets has begun.

Last Wednesday, the neoliberal Temer administration announced that 57 public companies and airport terminals would be privatized with the objective of reducing the country’s fiscal deficit, which amounts to nearly US$500 billion. The comment drew fire from ex-President Lula, who told media outlet Globo that “when they have nothing to sell, they are going to sell their souls to the devil.”

RELATED: Temer Government Takes its Orders from Washington and Wall Street: PT

Brazil was a source of pride

Lula was clearly in his element as he fired up the Mossoro crowd, who were drawn from the region’s rural poor and urban working class.

“When I left the presidency, we were not only self-sufficient in oil – we had the second largest oil company in the world,” he explained to the people of the oil-rich region.

“Brazil was a source of pride, today that period is over and its leaders are demoralized – this pack of stray dogs,” he added.

“Brazil only has a nation if it has people, and that is what this government is destroying and selling out to foreign companies!”

 

‘Unacceptable’ for Trump to Threaten Venezuela Says Lula

lula caravan of hope 2.jpg

Lula visits the Brazilian state of Bahia during his “Caravan of Hope” tour. | Photo: @LulapeloBrasil

Source:  TeleSUR
August 21 2017

Lula said that Venezuela’s institutional crisis should be overcome “through dialogue and political negotiation.”

Still on the first leg of his “Caravan of Hope” tour, which will take him through nine Brazilian states in the northeast of the country, Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has denounced military threats made by U.S. President Donald Trump against Venezuela.

RELATED: ‘Brazil Needs Credible Government’: Lula on Presidential Tour

In defense of Venezuela’s sovereignty and the right of its people to determine their country’s fate, Lula stated, “It’s unacceptable that Donald Trump makes military threats on Venezuela or any country, anywhere in the world,” according to Brasil de Fato.

He added that if the country finds itself amid an “institutional crisis, they should seek to overcome it through dialogue and political negotiation, always respecting the officials who were elected by popular vote, within democratic rules, as was the case of President Hugo Chavez and President Nicolas Maduro.”

Lula recalled similar incidents in Venezuela in 2003, during his first term as president of Brazil. To help resolve the crisis, Lula proposed the formation of a group of countries that held the best interest of Venezuela’s sovereignty to help negotiate a peaceful solution.

However, the former head of state admitted that, as of today, Brazil is in no moral position to offer any such assistance to Venezuela’s internal affairs.

“How ridiculous it is for an illegitimate coup government, enemy of its own people, to want to school Venezuela on the terms of democracy,” Lula said, referring the unelected government of Michel Temer.

He said that only when Brazil itself, with democratic participation from all sectors of society, elects a president will it be able to collaborate with countries such as Venezuela to help restore peace and stability.

RELATED:Future of Venezuela Rests in the Hands of the People: Maduro

Meanwhile, Temer has met with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and both men have reaffirmed that they do not recognize the ANC in Venezuela, which was elected by over eight million Venezuelans on July 30 as a means to achieving peace in the country and intensifying citizen participation.

In a joint communique issued after their meeting, Temer and Cartes also reiterated their support for both the decision of the Mercosur trade bloc to suspend Venezuela and the so-called “Lima Declaration” that twelve regional countries signed on Aug. 8, condemning what they called “the rupture of the Venezuelan democratic order.” These are the same right-wing countries that, led by the United States, were unable to have Venezuela censured in the Organization of American States.

According to Folha de Sao Paulo, Temer’s administration was considering sanctions on the import of Venezuelan oil derivatives of over US$220 million, which constituted more than half of Brazilian imports from Venezuela in 2016. However, the idea has been scrapped due to worries of the adverse effects it will have on the population.

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