Even from prison, Lula da Silva ensures his political voice is not silenced

By July 30, 2018

Ex-President of Brazil and leader of the country’s Workers’ Party (PT) Lula da Silva has published an opinion piece in Brazilian daily Correio Braziliense critiquing the anti-nationalist sentiment he believes to stem from current President Michel Temer’s government.

Despite the fact that Lula currently finds himself in prison, serving a 12-year sentence for corruption charges linked to the Lava Jato investigation, he still managed to find a way to speak to the Brazilian people and appeal his ongoing ineligibility to run in this year’s October elections.

Beginning with the accusation that Temer’s government was born out of a “coup d’etat,” the ex-President went on to accuse Temer of “breaking away from the Constitution and democracy” in place of an agenda that he considers to “dilapidate Brazil’s riches, causing the state to fall apart and interrupting Latin American integration.”

The op-ed was focused around what Lula believes to be a long-term effort by opposition parties to “criminalise” the PT. In his opinion, this criminalisation began with the impeachment of former President Rousseff and continues in the form of his imprisonment, preventing him from running for the presidency a second time.

“It’s not right that I should be imprisoned for crimes I never committed,” he wrote.

The article accused Temer and his government of selling off national property and destroying the national development that both his and his successor Rousseff’s governments had worked hard to establish, Lula argued.

“What we have today is a regime of enforcement which is becoming more and more aggressive,” he explained, outlining how the government’s priority is no longer the country’s working class population.

“Sectors such as the Federal Police, State Prosecution Service and Judicial Power are also part of this anti-national alliance,” he claimed.

Among several criticisms of the current government was an alleged misuse of pre-salt reserves, oil reserves that lie under a thick layer of salt on the ocean floor and have been placed among the world’s most important discoveries in the last 10 years.

Lula also critiqued the government’s planned privatisation of Electrobras, along with those who campaign for the same for state-owned oil company Petrobras, labelling it a “real crime” to sell off the country’s hugely important natural resources to foreign investors.

If privatised, he claimed, Brazil would see a loss of 70% of state-owned oil exploration areas. Such plans, he argued, have sparked “intense geo-political movements, including spy and sabotage operations” over the control of these resources.

Another decision slammed by Lula was Temer’s sale of Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer to US aviation giant Boeing. The former President accused the current of “abandoning one of the most advanced areas of our industry and one of the pillars of our defence strategy.”

Liberation of state lands to sell to foreign investors and the financing of multinational corporations with credits from public banks were also blamed for the damage that has been inflicted on Brazil’s independence, Lula argued.

The consequences, he warned, could involve a breakdown of Brazil’s most strategic industries such as petrol, infrastructure and nuclear energy.

At the end of his piece Lula vowed he would do everything in his power to ensure he is able to participate in this year’s presidential race and take back control.

“I want to be president again so that Brazil can resume its key role in the global scene and the take back the respect of the world’s population, returning to the commitment to build a new international order that is democratic and multi-polar, placed under the right to self govern and peace among nations.”

Meanwhile, this Saturday evening saw 80,000 of Lula’s supporters gather at Lapa’s famous arches in the city of Rio de Janeiro for the Festival Lula Livre (Free Lula Festival). The event, which mixed political protest and the arts, welcomed performances from renowned musicians Chico Buarque and Gilberto Gil, as well as short theatre pieces and DJ sets.