International

Lula vows to ‘defend Brazilian people’

Still popular: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva being carried by supporters in Sao Bernardo do Campo on Saturday.

Still popular: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva being carried by supporters in Sao Bernardo do Campo on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Nelson Antoine

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Brazil’s ex-President says he will make life hell for those who unjustly jailed him.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, freshly out of jail, vowed to fight Brazil’s far-right government and the forces he says unjustly incarcerated him, saying he would make “their lives hell.”

“They don’t know what it is to face a 74-year-old passionate man,” the former President, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, and became one of the world’s most popular politicians before being ensnared in corruption scandals, told supporters late on Friday.

Mr. Lula was the star of the conference of his Workers’ Party, which started on Friday in São Paulo. Many still think he could be the party’s standard-bearer once again in 2022 — though he is currently barred from seeking office due to a corruption conviction.

Mr. Lula left jail earlier this month after 19 months in a cell when the Supreme Court ruled that a person can be imprisoned only after all the appeals have been exhausted.

‘Feel much stronger’

“Today I feel much stronger than the day I surrendered to the federal police,” he said on Friday night. “I am more willing to fight for this country than in any other moment. You will see me travelling around this country, not only making their lives hell, but also defending the Brazilian people who don’t deserve to experience what they experiencing.”

Most analysts see Mr. Lula as a potential kingmaker and strategist for the party he was instrumental in transforming. But Raul Pont, a member of the Workers’ Party and former Mayor of Porto Alegre, thinks it is “too soon” to rule Mr. Lula out of the presidential ticket. “What he will start doing now is organising a progressive movement, one that goes beyond our party. Then we will see (if he will run), in case he is eligible,” he said. Mr. Lula is hoping that the Supreme Court will deliver a ruling that could cancel the cases against him — and such a ruling would legally open the path to another presidential run.

Many on the left still see him as the only politician who can today organise the opposition to Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s current far-right President.

The Workers’ Party remains the biggest party in the lower house, with 54 seats. But even under Mr. Lula, it required alliances with smaller parties to govern.

Political analyst Fŕbio Kerche, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro state, said Mr. Lula has already sent signals he would try to reach beyond the party, to the centre and centre right, possibly building a broader democratic front. On Friday, Mr. Lula indirectly acknowledged this, saying stopping Mr. Bolsonaro “is not a task for a single party.”

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 10:23:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/lula-vows-to-defend-brazilian-people/article30063530.ece

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