COSATU joins the rest of outraged workers and people of the world in expressing fierce rejection of the monumental reversal of democracy and the gains of the Brazilian people by a stage-managed coup against the Constitution and will of the people in Brazil.
The federation is very proud to have had the honour of hosting the former President and benefitted from his insightful presentation and analysis of the trends and developments in the whole of Latin America ;and the ugly head of US imperialism and the greed of their multinational companies in the whole region.
Comrade Lula a tried and tested former trade union leader and inspirational leader against the military dictatorship in Brazil, is no stranger to persecution, slander and targeted assault against his personality and the good service record to humanity that he holds. It is no surprise that millions of workers and ordinary people of Brazil, were not only shocked, but took to the streets in anger against an unjust and well orchestrated coup.
Víctor Báez, General Secretary of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas – TUCA, said, “we consider the arrest of President Lula as a POLITICAL arrest and we join the scream of the Brazilian people that ask for Lula’s freedom”.
The developments in Brazil are not happening in a vacuum. Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and even more intensely in Venezuela and Cuba, epitomise the systematic attacks on progressive forces and peoples’ struggles is a sustained war against humanity, sovereign economic resources and the gains of poor people in their struggles.
On Saturday, flanked by his impeached successor as President, Dilma Rousseff, he delivered an impassioned 55-minute speech, saying “I will comply with the order and all of you will become Lula,” he told the crowd in Sao Bernardo do Campo. “I’m not above the law. If I didn’t believe in the law, I wouldn’t have started a political party. I would have started a revolution.” He went on to say, I will come out “bigger and stronger. Finally, he said, “I was born with a short neck so I can keep my head high.”
But the most profound was when he handed himself over to the police and defiantly declaring that if fighting poverty, inequalities and human suffering are a crime, then he definitely is a criminal (not direct translation).
This reminds us of the fact that our former President Nelson Mandela and most of our leaders in the struggle against the evil apartheid system were declared terrorists by an unjust and racist system of legalised terrorism, called apartheid. It is evil systems that can or do persecute men and women of justice as criminals and terrorists.
For a few years now, former President Lula Da Silva has been undergoing systematic persecution and targeted offensive against, disguised as an investigation regarding an Oil scandal, in which they have failed to prove in anyway, his involvement. This coup against democracy was proven further by the threats made by the Army Generals, particularly the night before the Supreme Court vote to rule. According to reliable sources, two Generals, amongst them, General Luis Gonzaga Schroeder Lessa even threatened with the possibility of a military coup should Lula be allowed to remain free.
The history of Brazil is littered with a lot of coups. Historians recall that In 1954 after President Vargas doubled the minimum wage and created the state petroleum company, he is said to have committed suicide in office to avoid a coup. And then in 1964 there was a U.S.-backed military coup against the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. And at that time the military claimed it was just coming in to maintain order. Laws such as the 1968 with Institutional Act 5, which outlawed unions and outlawed any kind of social movements further entrenched this scenario, which resulted in the stepping up of torture, disappearances and other forms of persecution.
A Brazilian activist, captured it succinctly when he said, “In 2016 there was an illegal impeachment for a non-impeachable offense against former President Dilma Rousseff, wherein a new government came in and immediately started privatizing billions and billions of dollars worth of petroleum to U.S. petroleum companies. It set up selling the largest aviation company in Brazil to Boeing, and dismantled 80 years of labour rights laws, and cut social spending which worsened the poverty conditions”.
We are not alarmed that according to poll ratings, President Lula was leading amongst the Candidates for the Presidency of Brazil in the up-coming elections and we assure him and the people of Brazil that their struggle for dignity, democracy and freedom from poverty is our struggle too. The real enemies of justice and the greedy elites and their multinational companies responsible for plunder, shall not win the final battle against the people.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794