Update on Brazil: Lula, the resistance and Marielle Franco

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Almost two weeks have passed since Lula’s habeas corpus was denied, what has happened now that he is in prison?

Source: Brasil de Fato / The Dawn News / April 19, 2018

Free Lula camp in Curtiba, where Lula is being held. Photo Credit: Brasil de Fato

Lula is being denied visits in prison

A delegation of members of the Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Senate conducted a visit at the Federal Police headquarters in Curitiba on Tuesday (17), where Brazil’s ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been held for a week, since judge Sérgio Moro issued an arrest warrant ordering that he start to serve a 12-year prison sentence while appealing his conviction.

After the visit, the senators said the facilities where Lula is – a room turned into a cell with a private bathroom and no bars – are appropriate and the work of the agents responsible for his safety is very professional. However, they complained about what they called “solitary confinement” that Lula has been kept in.

“We have a lot of visitor requests, as Lula has a lot of friends. The situation is barbaric. How is it possible that a former president who has not been tried in an appeals court, because he is still pending ruling by the Supreme Court, cannot receive visitors? What is that about? Is this a state of exception? This is blatantly infringing human rights,” said senator and Workers’ Party chair Gleisi Hoffmann. She pointed out that world-renowned personalities are waiting to receive permission to visit Lula, including Uruguay’s former president Pepe Mujica and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, who has won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for fighting for human rights during the military dictatorship in Argentina.

According to senator Paulo Paim, “the [ex-]president seems to be feeling composed. He is concerned about the Brazilian people, the institutions, and everyone’s freedom, but not with his own,” Paim said.

Senator João Capiberibe, from the Brazilian Socialist Party, will draft the report on the visit and said he will point out that Lula is not being granted the right to visits he is legally entitled to. “Tell me whether or not he is a political prisoner. A man who 30 or 35 percent of voters would vote for today. That’s something extremely rare in Brazil’s history. Our visit today was ordered by the Senate’s Human Rights Commission, but it is also a political visit, because Lula is a political prisoner.”

The ex-president has been reading letters sent by people from all over Brazil to Curitiba, and also books. He has finished reading “A Elite do Atraso” [Backwards Elite] by Jessé de Souza, in which the sociologist argues that the corruption investigation that has led to Lula’s conviction, known as Operation Car Wash, is actually part of a plot to maintain wealth and power in the hands of the elite. Now, the former president is reading “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow,” by Israeli professor Yuval Harari.

Lula deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, says Nobel laureate Pérez Esquivel

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel is championing an initiative to get Lula nominated for the same award. At a press conference in Río de Janeiro, Pérez Esquivel said Lula “deserves” the prize because “he has dedicated himself to those who need the most and lifted more than 30 million Brazilian men and women out of extreme poverty. No other president in the world has ever managed to do that. It’s an unparalleled case”. The nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize will be officially confirmed in September. Esquivel is seeking support for his pro-Lula campaign from countries such as Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

More than 235,000 people have already signed the petition. Add your signature here.

Brazil’s opposition parties form broad coalition

Seven left-wing and progressive parties and social fronts have launched the “Manifesto for Democracy, National Sovereignty and the Rights of the Brazilian People,” in the Federal Chamber of the Federal Chamber of Deputies (DF) on Wednesday (18).

The document formalizes the institutional dialogue between Workers’ Party (PT), the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), the Socialism and Liberty Party (Psol), the Democratic Labour Party (PDT), the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) and the Labour Cause’s Party (PCO) to form a broad network of defense of democratic values. The Popular Brazil Fronts (FBP) and People without Fear also signed the manifesto.

PCdoB president Luciana Santos explained that the groups are seeking a programmatic affinity that can not only remove the country from the generalized crisis, but also rescue rights that would be in check in the current context.

According to her, the launch is a starting point to bring together various supports. The front aims to seek entities, churches, political organizations and actors in the productive sector. “This is a seed for a great understanding, for a pact,” the president added.

Protests mark one month of Brazilian councilwoman Marielle Franco’s murder

About 10,000 people marched in the city of Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, one month after the brutal murder of Brazilian human rights activist and councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes. Around the world, people in 15 other countries joined the protest.

In Rio, one demonstration retraced Franco’s last route at the night of her murder, when she participated in an event about young black women’s struggle and was being driven back home when shooters attacked the car she was in and killed her and her driver Anderson Gomes.

The protest ended at the crime scene, where demonstrators projected messages, sang chants against police brutality and the federal intervention in Rio, held a moment of silence, and delivered a symbolic performance.

The police still have no answers about the people responsible for the shooting.

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