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Lula Promises to Fight Rousseff's Impeachment at Progressive Alliance Seminar

04/26/2016 - 10h30

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CATIA SEABRA
FROM SÃO PAULO

In a speech to leaders of left-wing political parties, ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva predicted "a long struggle" in Brazil in response to the opening of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.

The comment was made during a seminar at the Progressive Alliance, a network that brought together representatives of 20 parties from 17 countries in São Paulo.

"Here in Brazil there will be a long struggle. You can be sure that we will go through a period of democratic combat," said Lula.

However, his comments come as left-wing parties and social movements - which the President is counting on to defend her - are going through a tough period, both in terms of resources and popular support.

After a year of protests against impeachment, directors from the Unified Workers' Central (CUT) suggest that the chances of staging a general strike in the country are slim, with trade unionists admitting even to physical exhaustion.

Gilmar Mauro of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) cites difficulties in transporting supporters, while another MST director says that the process of fiscal adjustment has been a political barrier to greater mobilization.

Vagner Freitas, CUT president, says he "would help" if Rousseff were to announce measures to defend workers' rights. The CUT has also invited both Lula and the President to participate in a May Day event at the Vale do Anhangabaú.

Aside from these difficulties, Lula has recognized Rousseff's impeachment as being sealed. Certain of defeat, Lula is looking for external support.

Hoarse, he asked ex-minister Luiz Dulci to read to the party leaders a speech in which he called the impeachment supporters "notoriously corrupt" and "a veritable mafia". The reading lasted for 16 minutes.

"It was a firing squad, commanded by the most repugnant elements in the political universe," said Lula. "An opportunist alliance, between the mass media, the opposition parties and a veritable legislative mafia has sown the seeds of chaos in the country," he added.

Taking the microphone, Lula said that the Workers' Party (PT) will fight back: "They should be prepared, if they think they can destroy the PT." Lula also argued that the impeachment is the biggest criminal act committed in Brazil since the coup d'état of 1964.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Danilo Verpa/Folhapress
Former president Lula da Silva gave a speech to leaders of left-wing political parties, in São Paulo
Former president Lula da Silva gave a speech to leaders of left-wing political parties, in São Paulo

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