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Want to Defeat Me? Do it at the Voting Booth, Lula Writes

07/19/2018 - 11h25

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LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA
Former President of the Brazilian Republic (2003-2010)

I have been imprisoned for more than 100 days. On the outside, unemployment is increasing, more and more fathers and mothers are finding themselves unable to support their families, and an absurd pricing policy for fuel caused a truckers' strike that provoked shortages in Brazilian cities. The number of people burned from cooking with alcohol is increasing due to the high price of natural cooking gas for poor families. Poverty is increasing and the economic outlook for the country worsens every day.

Brazilian children are being arrested and separated from their families in the United States, while our Government humiliates itself for the American Vice-President. Embraer, a high-technology company built over many decades, is sold for such a low price that even the market itself is shocked.

An illegitimate government is rushing through its last months in office trying to liquidate as much national patrimony and sovereignty as it possibly can - pre-salt oil reserves, natural gas pipelines, energy distribution companies, petrochemical companies -, beyond opening up the Amazon to foreign troops. While hunger is returning, and vaccinations for children have fallen, part of the Judiciary is fighting to maintain its own living allowance and, who knows, even manage to get a salary increase.

Last week, court Justice Carolina Lebbos decided that I cannot give interviews or record videos as a pre-candidate for the Workers Party (PT), the largest party in this country, which has selected me as their candidate for the Presidency. Apparently, incarcerating me isn't enough. They want to shut me up as well.

Those who don't want me to speak out, what do they fear that I will say? What is happening today to the people? Don't they want me to discuss solutions for the country? After years of slandering me, don't they want me to have the right to speak in my own defense?

Is that what you, you powerful ones without votes and without ideas, remove an elected President, humiliate the country internationally and arrest me, condemning me without any proof, with a sentence that sends me to prison for "indeterminate acts", after four years of investigations against me and my family? Did you do all of this because you are afraid that I would give interviews?

I'm reminded of when the President of the Federal Supreme Court said "shut your mouth, you have already died". It reminds me of the Globo Network Group, which isn't concerned with this impediment to freedom of the press - to the contrary, they celebrate it.

Judges, former Heads of State from many countries around the world and even political adversaries have recognized the absurdity of the trial that condemned me. I may be physically in a cell, but those who condemned me are imprisoned by the lie that they tied me with. Powerful interests want to transform this absurd situation into a consummated political fact, preventing me from running in the elections, against the recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

I have already lost three presidential races - in 1989, 1994 and 1998 - and have always respected the outcome, preparing myself for the next election.

I am a candidate because I haven't committed any crime. I challenge those who accuse me to show proof of what I did to be in this cell. Why do they speak of "undetermined ex officio actions" instead of pointing out what I did that was wrong? Why do they speak of an apartment that "was attributed" instead of presenting proof of the ownership of the apartment in Guarujá, which belonged to a company, and was used as collateral bank garantee? Will the course of democracy in Brazil be impeded by something as absurd as this?

I say this with the same seriousness that I had when I told Michel Temer that he shouldn't embark on an adventure to bring down president Dilma Rousseff, that he would regret it. Those with the greatest interest in my running for election should be those who don't want me to be president. Want to defeat me? Do it cleanly, at the voting booth. Discuss proposals for the country and be responsible, especially at this moment when the Brazilian elite are courting authoritarian proposals from people who openly defend the assassination of other human beings.

Everyone knows that, as president, I maintained a dialog. I didn't seek a third term when I had the same level of voter rejection ratings that Temer currently has for approval. I worked for social inclusion to be the engine of the economy and so that all Brazilians could have the real right, not only on paper, to eat, go to school and have a place to live.

Do they want people to forget that Brazil has seen better days? Do they want to prevent the Brazilian people - from whom all power emanates, according to the Constitution - from choosing who they will vote for in the October 7th elections?

What are they afraid of? A return to dialog, to development, to a time when there was less social conflict in this country? When the inclusion of the poor made Brazilian companies grow?

Brazil needs to restore its democracy and free itself from the hatred that was planted to remove the PT from governing, to implant an agenda removing the rights of workers and the retired. It needs to bring back the unbridled development of those who are poorest. Brazil really needs to rediscover itself to be happy again.

You can arrest me. You can try to silence me. But it won't change my faith in Brazilians, and in the hope for a better future for millions. And I am sure that this faith in ourselves against the mongrel-dog complex is the solution for the crisis that we are living through.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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