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Jess Hurd/Report Digital

A message to Congress from a Brazilian jail

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Published date
11 Sep 2018
Today Congress stands in solidarity with Brazilian trade unionists – and trade unionists around the world – in calling for the release of jailed former Brazilian President Lula

Former Brazilian President Lula is in jail on trumped-up corruption charges designed to stop him fighting – and according to all the polls, winning – the next Presidential elections in less than a month’s time.

He has been persecuted and imprisoned by the Brazilian elite. He is backed by the Brazilian trade union movement he used to lead and the Workers’ Party he helped to found.

Since the legislative coup that replaced Lula’s successor, President Dilma Rousseff, the right-wing government that took power has attacked the social justice measures Lula’s government put in place and Dilma continued.

Union influence has been attacked and collective bargaining undermined. Contracting out and temporary work have been promoted, but working people are not seeing any benefit.

Today at our TUC150 Congress in Manchester, Brazilian trade unionist Antonio Lisboa will read out a message from former President Lula’s jail cell.

The message welcomes the TUC’s 150 years, and thanks British trade unionists for their support of Lula’s campaign to be allowed to contest the Brazilian Presidential elections.

The message reads:

Dear comrades of the Trades Union Congress (TUC),

I want to congratulate the TUC for its 150 years and for the accomplishment of this expressive and important Congress. A 150-year-old Trade Union Confederation is a landmark and a pride for the international trade union movement. My story is mixed with the trajectory of each of you, women and men trade unionists, who fight for the rights of the working class and for a fairer world. The debate you will hold at this Congress on the changes in the world of work and its impacts on workers and their organizations is important not only in the UK, but also here in Brazil and around the world.

In Brazil, democracy is seriously compromised. Two years ago, a parliamentary coup, ignoring and disrespecting the Brazilian Constitution, deposed President Dilma Rousseff. Now, they want to make a presidential election that the fix is in - a democracy without people. I was condemned in a process without evidence for the sole purpose of preventing me from being chosen president of the republic by the vote of the Brazilian people. Be assured that I will fight until the end for the right to apply and for the right of our country to dream again of a future in which we will eradicate poverty, inequalities and prejudice of Brazilian society. The Workers' Party (PT) is experienced and prepared to re-rule Brazil.

I have been following the numerous mobilizations and declarations of solidarity organized by the international trade union movement, in particular those of the Trades Union Congress and its trade unions, in opposition to the arbitrary acts being committed against the rule of law and me. I send this letter to thank you immensely for the efforts of each comrade who is together with me in this struggle, for believing in my innocence and for fighting for the reestablishment of democracy in Brazil.

A fraternal hug,

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Brazil needs a leader like Lula to tackle its challenges. And the Brazilian people deserve the right to decide who runs their country, not the elite families who have failed at each of the past three presidential elections and are now trying to steal the election and the Presidency.

Congress will join with Brazilian trade unionists – and trade unionists around the world – in shouting out “Lula Livre”, “Free Lula”.