Defend democracy, Lula calls on citizens

Lula Is Free

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil, called on the Congress and citizens of Brazil to defend democracy against the calls for a coup by ultra-right-wing ruler Jair Bolsonaro and retired general Augusto Heleno.

Bolsonaro has recently sent a message via WhatsApp to his close circle of allies in which he calls for “action” against Congress. Bolsonaro follows the proposal of General Heleno, his advisor, and Minister of Institutional Security. The Folha de Sao Paulo and Estado de Sao Paulo newspapers revealed the information.

Countering his call, Lula took to his social networks in order to warn that “Bolsonaro and General Heleno are promoting demonstrations against democracy, the constitution and the institutions, in another authoritarian gesture by those who daily attack freedom and rights.”

“It is urgent that the National Congress, institutions and society speak against this attack to defend democracy,” he added.

“What Brazil needs is to generate jobs, get people out of poverty. Bolsonaro has never combined well with democracy. He is a false patriot who gives our sovereignty over to the United States,” he added.

Dilma Rousseff

In a similar tone, ousted former President Dilma Rousseff has denounced: “Bolsonaro and General Heleno are blatantly attacking the Constitution and democracy by calling for a demonstration against the National Congress.”

“An urgent and strong response from the institutions is needed, or our country will go under once again into the darkness of dictatorships,” she said.

Bolsonaro distances from political parties

Earlier this month, Bolsonaro dismissed his chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, one of the first politicians to back his presidential bid in 2018, and the last politician in his inner Cabinet.

He offered the position to Army General Walter Braga, hence distancing himself further from political parties in his closest circle of advisors, who are now all military men.

The appointment of Braga raises to seven the number of military men in the 20-member Cabinet, not counting Vice President Hamilton Mourao, a retired general.

Lula rejects candidacy for 2022 presidential election

Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has no intention of running for the presidency of Brazil in 2022, the Brazilian politician said recently during an interview with Objetivo channel.

It would be difficult for him to be a candidate again as the Workers’ Party may have a younger candidate in place already. “I prefer to help prepare someone else in better conditions for the election victory,” said Da Silva, who was released from prison on November 8, after 580 days in jail.

“For me to be a candidate, there would have to be an irreversible situation, which would prove that I am the only person capable of winning,” he said.

On the willingness of former judge and justice minister Sérgio Moro to run for the presidency of Brazil in 2022, the former president said that “Moro will not be president. If he is a candidate, he will not win.”

The ex-magistrate in charge of the anti-corruption operation Lava Jato, who sentenced Lula da Silva to eight years and ten months in prison, does not know about politics, the former president said. “It’s one thing to do politics hidden behind a judge’s robe and another, way different, to debate,” he said.

I don’t rest

“I don’t rest, and I don’t stop. And I am going to continue traveling through Brazil, through the world,” Lula said, even though he thinks the fascist right led by President Jair Bolsonaro will put obstacles in his way.

Lula has the leadership

Rosana Fernandes, head of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil, acknowledged that former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is the only one who “has the leadership” to stand against the current administration of Jair Bolsonaro.

In an interview from Thailand to the EFE news agency, Fernandes declared that the movement lives a moment of active resistance to the threats and attacks made by Bolsonaro.

She attended an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the so-called Alternative Nobel Prize, awarded by the Right Livelihood Foundation to MST in 1991.

“We already live periods of neoliberal governments with massacres, murders, and violence that occurred in the countryside. However, we had never faced a government as hostile as the current one,” Fernandes said about the current Brazilian far-right Government.

She added that the MST has been under constant violent attacks during its 36 years of history, “but now we have a serious confrontation. There are communities attacked by militias authorized by this Government, which also intends to pass laws that allow the population to be armed”.

However, the agrarian leader expressed that Lula’s freedom is a partial conquest because they have to restore his political rights still threatened by other judicial processes. “We need Lula free, but also declared innocent for that freedom to be complete.”

Left’s deep division

Fernandes declared that their hope is based on Lula’s leadership, despite acknowledging that municipal elections will be complicated because of the deep division on the leftist movements and organizations. “But they will serve as a test for the 2020 presidential elections”.

Referring to the neoliberal wave that has struck Latin America with military coups and the return of conservative wing governments, she expressed that there is a possibility of reversing the situation.

“Latin America has a force that has not yet exploded, perhaps Chile is making progress in this moment of struggle or the electoral victory in Argentina. We must believe in the resistance and hope of the people to make the changes in Brazil, Latin America and all over the world,” she said.

Citizens protest against collapse of social security

Brazil’s Central Labor Federation (CUT) and other workers’ organizations Friday observed the “National Day against the Dismantling of Social Security” to draw attention to the policies that President Bolsonaro implements in the National Social Security Institute (INSS).

Currently, the INSS faces a crisis that started in prior administrations but went to worse with the increase of long queues for attention in its agencies.

The Brazilian security institute accumulates about 2 million petitions of social benefits like pension, retirement, sick leave, and unemployment support.

In an attempt to solve the situation, the Bolsonaro administration hired former military to give support to the agency and accelerate its services.​​​​​​

Due to austerity policies, INSS is not replacing workers who retire, which means that it loses its capacity to meet the population’s demands regarding retirement, sick leave payments, and maternity renderings, among others.

A month instead of 20 minutes

For instance, the maternity salary delay used to be granted in 20 minutes but now the process can take even a month.

Between 2016 and 2019, the number of INSS employees dropped from 33,000 to 23,000, for workers that served directly were transferred to intern functions.

Workers fear that the Brazilian government’s negligence brings a risk that the chaos in the INSS extents to other public services.

“The situation could be repeated in other sectors such as health and education, which suffered budget cuts on the first year of Bolsonaro’s administration,” the CUT spokesperson Sergio Nobre denounced.




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