BRAZIL “Lula Is a Political Prisoner”

The Newsletter of the Paris Comité Lula Livre (Free Lula Committee)* has published an interview with André Machado, president of the PT (Workers Party) committee in the city of Curitiba, State of Paraná, where Lula has been imprisoned for over a year now. 

What happened in Curitiba on 7 April , one year after Lula was sent to jail? 

On the 7th of April, 10,000 demonstrators from different regions of Brazil took part in a political rally at the site of the permanent “Vigilia Lula Livre” camp, in front of the federal police headquarters where Lula is imprisoned. The leaders of the PT, of the PSOL (Socialism and Liberty Party), of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and of the PCO (the Party of the Workers Cause) — in other words, the parties claiming to be of the working class — were there. Leaders of popular and trade union organisations also participated. It was a show of unity and solidarity. Similar gatherings took place in many cities throughout the world. 

What are the next steps in the fight to free Lula? 

Lula is a political prisoner, and the objective of his being jailed was to prevent him from winning the presidential election. Consequently, the fight for his liberation is directly linked to the struggles of the working class. The president of the PT declared, at the last meeting of the national executive committee: “We will occupy all the streets of Brazil and fight for sovereignty, for the liberation of Lula, against the reform of Social Security (healthcare), and for democracy.” The fight to free Lula is linked to the fight to build a great national mobilisation, for a general strike, to defeat Bolsonaro’s reform of retirement pensions. Within this framework, the international solidarity of the kind you are organising in Paris is very important. 

* To contact the Comité Lula Livre and to receive their newsletter, go to the committee’s website: www.liberezlula.org

Background Information on Lula’s Imprisonment 

On April 7 2018, Luiz Inácio (Lula) da Silva, former leader of the PT (Workers Party) and former president of Brazil, after having been sentenced for corruption, was imprisoned, without the least proof having been presented at his trial. This was, in fact, a political trial aimed at prohibiting the PT from running the candidate that it had chosen for the presidential elections. Whatever the point of view one may have of the Workers Party’s balance sheet in power, under Lula and later under Dilma Rousseff (from 2003 to 2016), it is not possible to allow the old institutions inherited from the military dictatorship (1964 to 1985) – and behind them, the U.S. administration — to use means of repression against a labour organisation and its representatives. The jailing of Lula, after the ousting of elected president Dilma Rousseff (PT) in 2016, paved the way to the victory of Bolsonaro in the presidential elections.