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.

https://videosenglish.telesurtv.net/player/668303/who-is-lula-da-silva/?aspectratio=auto

 

Lula Begins ‘Caravan of Hope’ Tour Through 25 Brazilian Cities

supporters of brazil's workers party.jpg

Supporters of Brazil’s Worker’s Party at a rally. | Photo: AFP

Source:  TeleSUR
17 August 2017

The caravan will look to identify needs and struggles, and stimulate resistance against the unelected Temer government.

The former President of Brazil and founder of the Workers Party, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva embarked on the “Caravan of Hope” tour which will take him through nine states and 25 cities in Northern Brazil.

RELATED:Lula Pulls 6 Points Ahead in Brazil’s Opinion Polls

The caravan’s first stop is in Salvador, and will continue until the last stop in Sao Luis do Maranhao on September 5th.

According to Marcio Macedo, who is the current Workers Party Vice President and the coordinator of the caravan, the journey will have the dual aim of meeting with mayors, governors, and officials in the region, as well as identifying the legacy of the Lula and Dilma Workers Party government, and identify needs and struggles that have set in as a result of the unelected Michel Temer government.

The project looks to both stimulate resistance, and formulate future strategy.

“Both the Workers Party and Lula are imbued with the desire to bring a little hope to the Brazilian people, showing that it is possible to reconstruct a national project overcoming hatred and intolerance,” Macedo said.

Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad spoke on the need for the Workers Party to formulate a strategy in close coordination with the needs of the people.

“It cannot be bureaucratic. There must be more caution, more humility, and to process everything with generosity, including to incorporate the criticism that arises from the people, the workers, and to take note of the errors they point out,” Haddad said.

For many long-time observers, the Caravan of Hope is an effort to echo and recall Lula and the Worker’s Party’s origins, when Lula began the Caravan of Citizenship in 1992 to help construct the social programs that defined his government.

Lula was recently charged with alleged corruption, and handed a nine-and-a-half year prison sentence. In spite of this, he is the highest polling candidate for the upcoming 2018 presidential elections.

Both he, his lawyers and his supporters, have repeatedly argued that the accusations against him are fabricated and part of a campaign to prevent him running again for president in the elections.

 

Cuba Expresses Solidarity with Nicolas Maduro and Lula da Silva.

raul 20.jpeg

The Cuban president has condemned the attempts to destabilize Venezuela.

Source:   Cuba Inside the World
July 15 2017

President Raul Castro has repeated Cuba’s support for the Venezuelan government as it faces “an unconventional war” led by “imperialism” and the country’s “oligarchy” in a bid to topple President Nicolas Maduro with a coup.

RELATED: Ecuador Ratifies Respect for Venezuela’s Sovereignty

During a speech marking the end of the Cuban Congress’s extraordinary session, Castro condemned the opposition violence initiated in April on the streets of Caracas and other cities as “fascists actions.”

He mentioned the videos showing several young Venezuelans being burnt alive during anti-Maduro protests.

He urged the opposition to stop the “terrorist violence” designed “to oust” the president, and called for Maduro’s opponents to accept the Bolivarian government’s offer of dialogue.

Stop attacking Venezuela

Castro also asked the Organization of American States and its Secretary General Luis Almagro to “stop attacking Venezuela” and “manipulating reality.”

“Venezuela’s legitimate right to find a peaceful solution to its domestic affairs should be respected with no foreign interference,” he said, adding that only the sovereign Venezuelan people are entitled to use the right to self-determination.

Cuba’s President also condemned the “political persecution” of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, recently condemned to a 9-year prison sentence over bribeery and money-laundering charges.

Lula denies any wrongdoing.

Brazil: Lula explains why the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff is a coup

 

GREENWALD: On several occasions, you have used the word “coup” to describe this impeachment process against President Dilma. The Brazilian Constitution explicitly allows for the possibility of impeachment. And this process is being conducted under the authority of the Supreme Court, with 11 members: eight appointed by PT, three by yourself and another five by President Dilma. And this court has ruled several important decisions in your favor. How could this process be called a coup?

DA SILVA: It has also ruled against us many times. Let me tell you …

GREENWALD: Every court does that. But how can it be a coup when it is happening under the authority of a court?

DA SILVA: I’ll tell you why it is a coup. It is a coup because while the Brazilian Constitution allows for an impeachment, it is necessary for the person to have committed what we call high crimes and misdemeanors. And President Dilma did not commit a high crime or a misdemeanor. Therefore, what is happening is an attempt by some to take power by disrespecting the popular vote.

Anyone has the right to want to become president, anyone. They just have to run. I lost three elections — three! I didn’t take any shortcuts. I waited 12 years to become president. Anyone who wants to become president, instead of trying to take down the president, can run in an election. I ran three of them and didn’t get angry.

That’s why I think the impeachment is illegal. There is no high crime or misdemeanor. As a matter of fact, I believe that these people want to remove Dilma from office by disrespecting the law. Carrying out, the way I see it, a political coup. That’s what it is: a political coup.

GREENWALD: They can’t win the election. I want to ask: The PT requested the impeachment of the three presidents that came before you. Do you believe that those three presidents were involved in high crimes and misdemeanors that justified an impeachment?

DA SILVA: No. PT requested the impeachment of Collor and it went through because he had committed high crimes and misdemeanors. With Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Chamber of Deputies didn’t accept the request. So it died then and there. Maybe because there weren’t high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, this impeachment request could’ve been denied too.

Why was it requested? Why did they open the process and send it to the commission? Because the president of the chamber was angered that PT didn’t vote with him in the Ethics Committee and he decided to get back at PT by trying to manufacture the impeachment of President Dilma, which I see as a gigantic abuse in this political scenario.

lula 1989.jpg

Meeting for presidential elections in São Bernardo do Campo circa 1989.  Photo: Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

GREENWALD: I want to ask about Eduardo Cunha, the president of the Chamber of Deputies. The evidence of him being involved in corruption is overwhelming. They discovered his Swiss bank accounts with millions of dollars he can’t explain. He clearly lied to Congress when he denied having offshore bank accounts. How can one explain to foreigners — and to Brazilians — how such a corrupt politician can not only remain a leader of the National Congress, but also spearhead the impeachment process against the president?

DA SILVA: What’s even graver is how the press treats him with normalcy, and doesn’t treat Dilma that way. In truth, Dilma is being judged by people who have been accused of crimes. And she hasn’t got a single accusation against her. The accusation against her is one of budgetary impropriety. And this accusation isn’t a crime and her budget hasn’t even been reviewed by the National Congress.

GREENWALD: Explain that to me, because I think there are many foreigners who can’t understand it.

DA SILVA: There is no explanation apart from some people in this country being insane. The National Congress could show some self-respect by taking into account that they are in no political condition to carry Dilma’s trial as they have. Eduardo Cunha doesn’t have the respectability, not from Congress, nor from society, to spearhead this. But it is going on, sometimes even under protection by some sectors of the national media, which I believe is very serious.

What worries me most in all of this is that Brazil has only 31 years of democracy. It has been our longest period of uninterrupted democracy. And what we are doing right now is trying to play with democracy. And we shouldn’t play with democracy, because every time we play with democracy, every time we deny politics, what comes after is worse.

Brazil: Past president Lula da Silva speaks out on the corporate media’s attempt to criminalize the ruling party

With English introduction and subtitles

Source: The Intercept
Date:  April 11 2016

This transcript has been edited for content and clarity.

GLENN GREENWALD: Good morning, Mr. President. Thank you for the interview.

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: Good morning.

GREENWALD: Let’s begin with the Operation Car Wash investigation. In 2008, Wall Street’s fraud and corruption created a terrible financial crisis. It generated extreme economic suffering for many countries, including Brazil, which continues through to today.

Most incredibly, not a single big businessman went to jail or suffered legal consequences for these crimes. It created the perception that the wealthy and powerful are above the law. Only the poor and disenfranchised are punished for their crimes.

Yet here in Brazil, with Operation Car Wash, we’re seeing the opposite: the country’s wealthy and powerful going to jail. Billionaires, magnates, members of almost every political party.

I know you have many objections about the ongoing process. I have also reported on how [chief Car Wash] Judge Sérgio Moro’s behavior has become political.

But do you agree that there is a positive aspect to this moment? That it is sending a powerful message, saying that all — no matter their power, connections, or wealth — are subject to that law?

DA SILVA: First, our party, the PT [Workers’ Party], the government and I have no reason to be upset about the investigation process because the government carries a lot of responsibility for what is happening. It was during PT’s government that we created all the conditions for our institutions to work correctly.

Our government consolidated the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s autonomy by always nominating a prosecutor that was chosen by his peers. We were the ones who made the Federal Police a functioning institution. We invested in hiring new professionals, intelligence and on the Federal Police’s autonomy.

We were the ones who created the government transparency websites. We created a law that allows any journalist to have all the information they want about the government at any time.

We were the ones who strengthened the Public Property Controllership, which is in charge of investigating every ministry and sending their findings to the National Accounts Tribunal. And we were the ones who developed — along with the Accounts Tribunal — a process that gave them agility in this oversight.

So, first of all, the government has responsibility for everything that is happening.

Second, I believe it is important that for the first time, the wealthy are being arrested. In Brazil, we arrested the poor for stealing bread, but not the rich for stealing a billion. We arrested the poor for stealing medication, but not someone rich for tax evasion.

brazil down with the coup.jpg

A demonstrator hold a Brazilian flag with a sticker that reads in Portuguese “Down with the  coup, impeachment no” during a protest in support of President Rousseff and former President Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 31, 2016.  Photo:  Andre Penner/AP

Photo: Laura Colucci/Fireworx Media

GREENWALD: Is that the positive side of things?

DA SILVA: Yes, that’s the positive side — a positive that I believe is very important and that allows us to dream that this will be a serious country someday.

What do I think is negative? That’s something I ask myself every single day this investigation goes on. For this investigation to go on, is it really necessary to make “reality TV” out of it, to put up a fireworks display every single day? And never account for the fact that with a headline or a TV segment you could be condemning someone who will later turn out to be innocent?

Is it possible to conduct the same investigation, arrest the same people without the pyrotechnics? I believe it is.

Is it possible to analyze how much this operation is costing, how much it will return to our public accounts and how much it is costing the country? How much this operation is costing our GDP, unemployment rates, what investments fled the country.

GREENWALD: But do you believe this process is about destroying PT? Because 60 percent of the accused politicians belong to PP, a right-wing party, not PT.

DA SILVA: I will go into this matter about PT because I hope there will be a specific question coming. First of all, when you create a law, establish conditions for institutions to work properly, there is no protection — the only protection one has is following the law. It is doing things right, not making mistakes. And if PT makes mistakes, PT has to pay for it like any other political party or any other person that doesn’t belong to a party, because after all, the law applies to everyone. That’s the way to consolidate democracy in Brazil and anywhere else on Earth.

Secondly, what I find odd with plea bargaining — and I denounced that in December of 2014, it is not something new — what I find odd is how information is selectively leaked. And it is usually against the PT. When there is an accusation against another political party, the press puts it out in small print. It is on TV for five seconds. When it is something against PT, you’ll have 20 minutes on television, the front page of every newspaper, making it crystal clear that for the past two years there’s been an attempt to criminalize the PT.