Once again, the polls point to Labor Party (PT) candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as the possible winner of Brazil’s elections this Sunday, October 2nd. And I warn him again because in 2018, when his victory was certain, the reactionaries fabricated a judicial coup against him and he was put behind bars at the Curitiba police station on baseless charges, where he remained for 580 days.
They literally “put him out of the game,” and he had to learn from prison about the election unfolding that separated him from the people he dedicated his life to.
This time, when the polls are returning numbers that outstrip Lula by up to 15% versus Jair Bolsonaro, it’s time to look back at past elections.
In Brazil, the factors that spawned this anti-Lula maneuver are as alive as those that used media resources to influence opponents and the undecided. If Lula doesn’t win in the first round, the right and the extreme right, led by Bolsonaro, could count on possible allies to unite against the union leader.
I remember when Lula was taken to Curitiba as a prisoner, I sent him an interview request for through our mutual friend Frei Betto. On this occasion he stated:
“They didn’t just strike at the PT. You didn’t arrest me just to hurt Lula. They did this against a national development model of social inclusion. The blow was given to eliminate the rights of workers and retirees conquered over the past 60 years.
And he added: “We will need a lot of organization to return to a people’s government with sovereignty, social inclusion and economic development in Brazil.”
And that is exactly what he has campaigned for as people remember him for the social gains made during his tenure, most notably by the 30 million lowest-class compatriots who were lifted out of poverty and improved their lives standard of living. , health, education, work and housing.
Lula is not only the charismatic labor leader, distinguished by the relationship he has built up over decades with the Brazilian people and with social movement organizations.
“It’s a great bond of trust that I value very much because throughout my political career I have always insisted never to betray that trust. And I would not abuse that trust for any money, for an apartment, for anything. That was before he became president, during the presidency and afterwards,” he admitted in the aforementioned interview.
In this Sunday’s election, marked by political polarization and unhealed wounds, we must consider the factors that once prevented Lula from running and safely being elected President.
Brazilians must reckon with that injustice, and add to that the damage of a far-right policy by current President Jair Bolsonaro, a figure so like Donald Trump that he even happily accepted being called the “Trump of the Tropics.”
It seems impossible to me to erase from Brazil’s recent history the thousands of deaths from COVID-19, a disease that Bolsonaro ignored and prioritized neither attention to his fellow citizens nor the resources to treat them.
Other whims of his policies as president also ruined the people’s social benefits, attention to indigenous communities, his responsibilities in the face of climate change and the ongoing loss of the Brazilian Amazon, perhaps the world’s largest natural reserve.
It’s up to Brazilians this Sunday with their voice to do so alongside union leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for the present and the future, or to forget recent history where a “rigged judiciary” put a man behind bars for integrity all tests and, according to polls, voted for his closest rival Jair Bolsonaro.