Lula is worth fighting for

At the time of writing, former Brazilian president Lula da Silva is hunkered down in the São Bernardo do Campo metallurgical trade union, where he has been since yesterday.


On April 4, the Supreme Federal Court rejected the habeas corpus request presented by Lula’s defence team. Then, judge Sérgio Moro, emboldened by the “Lava Jato” case, issued an arrest warrant against Lula. This was enough to trigger thousands of people to rush to the trade union building and support Lula, chanting the slogan “Lula is worth the struggle” (“Lula vale a Luta”). It is as much an expression of genuine popular support as of the bottled anger since the parliamentary coup against Dilma Rousseff on August 31, 2016.


In the past few months Lula had been gearing up for his return to politics. His caravan tour throughout the country showed that he is clearly the people’s favourite candidate in the run-up to the elections in October. But a few dramatic events showed that this ride would not be obstacle-free. First, his caravan was shot at while touring in the South. Then some mercenaries assassinated social leader Marielle Franco as she left a demonstration against the curfew in the popular neighbourhoods. And just before the ruling against Lula, an army general threatened to intervene militarily if Lula was not found guilty!


These events have significantly damaged the image of the Temer government and reinforced its authoritarian character. The sentence against Lula demonstrates that the right-wing and their backers in the US State Department have no issues in interfering in the judicial branch, thus destroying one of the pillars of Brazilian democracy.


Nevertheless, Lula, a former metalworker, is not one to surrender in the face of injustice. His leading role alongside the workers during the historical strikes of 1978-1980 was crucial to decisively weaken the dictatorship, allowing the page to be turned on a dark period of Latin American history. In the 2000s, his government helped millions of people escape poverty.


Like Chávez, Lula is perfectly aware that in deciding the outcome of this political crisis, it is the Brazilian people that will have the final say. And the people know that Lula is worth fighting for.


Source: Journal of Our Americas, Investig’Action


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