The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) joins the global progressive movement in celebrating the annulment of a series of criminal convictions and the restoration of political rights against leftist icon, former President and leader of the Workers Party of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. His freedom is a victory against the abuse of state power to settle partisan political interests.
Lula was President of Latin America’s largest economy for two terms, between 2003 and 2011, and oversaw a historical period of commodity-fuelled growth and poverty reduction. The Workers’ Party (PT) politician, who is now 75, had hoped to seek a third term in 2018 but was side-lined after being jailed on disputed corruption charges, paving the way for Bolsonaro’s landslide victory.
Lula was released from prison in November 2019 after 580 days behind bars but remained unable to seek election after being stripped of his political rights. Lula’s absolute freedom today is a victory for democratic principles and the right to legal due process as affirmed by Brazil’s Supreme Court. This is a victory for Brazil’s people who have been under attack by a right-wing administration that wants to erode the rights and dignity of workers, indigenous peoples, Afro-Brazilians, and the LGBTQ community.
As COSATU, we stand with our trade unionist brother Lula and the workers of Brazil, in particular, our close allies, the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT Brazil), who are fighting for labour rights, defending democracy, and pursuing a civilised discourse on the challenges they face, which are now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We salute all persons who continued to stand in solidarity with Brother Lula and spoke out against his unfair detainment and conviction.
#Lula is free!
#A Luta continua!
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