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The destiny of Lula and the destiny of Brazil

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Never has the destiny of a person been identified, in such a close way, with the destiny of Brazil. The trajectory of the life of Lula, surnamed Silva, is no longer enough: a poor man from the interior of Northeast Brazil, expelled by the drought to the South, shoe shiner, worker. It is not enough that Lula had become the best president in the history of Brazil, that he left office with 74% support. All that is not enough: Lula now reflects the situation of Brazil itself.


We all knew that the destiny of Brazil depended on the destiny of Lula. That a free Lula would mean his candidacy for president, his victory in the first round to once again become the president of the country. The right knew this as well. Hence they invented a process without any basis, they deprived him of the constitutional presumption of innocence, they put him in prison, denied him habeas corpus, deprived him of the right to take part in the elections, even to give interviews and public declarations, in order for someone from the (extreme) right to be elected in his place.


Lula lives in a situation similar to that of Brazil and of the people of Brazil, of which he is fully conscious and says so. Without any support from the Judicial Power, that is scared to death of any decision that favours him and will be attacked by the media; with a new trial and a new condemnation on the way, he also has to suffer from the fact that the judge that had fabricated all this has become the Minister of Justice; Lula feels abandoned, as do the people of Brazil.


The Brazilians suffer, to an extreme degree, the lack of protection of their rights, of their formal employment, of a decent minimum wage, of their public schools, their public health service. They have to live with a government that deprives them of the service of Cuban medical doctors, that surrenders them absolutely to the hands of the United States, that has ministers that bring shame to Brazilians and make them look ridiculous to the world.


The elected president of the country chooses the worst of each sector to make up his government. He doesn’t heed the warnings of China and Russia about the adverse economic effects that the positions of Brazil will have with important economic partners, such as these countries, in addition to the whole Arab world. As he has rendered an inestimable service to big business, to the media, by preventing the victory of the Workers’ Party (PT), he feels he has the right to say and to do what he wants, as if he did not depend on anyone. As if he were administering a hacienda, without a counterweight. This is why he makes announcements and then withdraws them, which is what he has done most to date.


No one has any idea of what Brazil will be in the hands of such people. Just as no one has any idea of what will be the destiny of Lula in their hands. Lula was interrogated last week by the substitute judge of Moro, appointed by him, who has reproduced the same power as he. People without any qualification, they feel proud to practise arbitrariness against the most important Brazilian political leader, who holds the support of a majority of the people.


But what is this, in the face of the power of judicialization of politics, that Brazilian judicial officers have claimed without limits, some actively, others with a cowardly and fearful silence? There are no limits to this. They have changed the history of Brazil, expropriating the right of the Brazilian people to decide their destiny, by electing Lula the president of Brazil.


This is a new situation. The left has to face this new challenge – the democratization of the judicial power. In addition to facing electoral campaigns based on fake news and its propagation by millions of bots. These are new challenges, but they must be faced, because the broadening of democratic spaces is the only way for the left.


Recovering progressive governments in Latin America depends on this, since it is clear that the situation of Lula heralds the situation of Cristina (Fernández), of Rafael Correa, of (Gustavo) Petro. In Brazil, the destiny of Lula is indissolubly tied to the destiny of the country. Lula imprisoned, condemned without any kind of juridical backing, is living in a situation similar to that of the Brazilian people. His struggle and resistance is similar to the struggle of all Brazilians.


(Translated for ALAI by Jordan Bishop)


Emir Sader, Brazilian sociologist and political scientist, is the Coordinator of the Laboratory of Public Policy of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).



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