Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Why Lula?
The right has declared the former President public enemy number one, and directs all its firepower toward him

Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez |
July 31, 2017 14:07:52

The Brazilian right wing has good reason to celebrate. They were able to oust Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency for her management of public funds, while the very Congress members who impeached her were dropping like flies as a result of corruption charges. They approved a labor reform that takes workers' rights back a century, and have implemented a massive austerity program, without touching the interests of the country's most important companies.

Nonetheless, they are not sleeping well. Their concern has one name: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

As long as the former steelworker and President, who served eight years and helped some 20 million persons escape poverty, is present in the country's political arena, they know their fate is hanging by a thread.

Lula continues to be Brazil's most popular political figure, and leads all surveys on next year's elections, despite the rethinking in which the Workers' Party (PT) is currently immersed; the coup plotting government's attacks; and the corporate media's hostility.

The right has declared Lula public enemy number one, and directs all its firepower toward him, since he is admired by the working classes and is a left-wing figure internationally.

The latest maneuver against him is an attempt to have the courts rule that he is ineligible to run for President next year. The controversial judge Sergio Moro - who has been accused of political bias in his management of the Petrobras corruption investigation - sentenced Da Silva to nine years in prison, and prohibited him from holding political office for almost 20.

He is accused of having received a three floor apartment as payment for guaranteeing the OAS construction company a contract with the state oil company.

The conviction and sentence, which does not go into effect until the ruling is approved by an appeals court, were based on the testimony of individuals on trial for illicit activity, who contributed no concrete evidence against Lula.

The strategy is a risky one. On the one hand, if the appeals court backs Judge Moro's ruling, Lula will not be allowed to participate in the elections and the PT would have only a year to organize another candidacy. But if, as all appearances indicate, the conviction is ruled unfounded, popular support for Lula will be strengthened even more.

Thousands of Brazilians have come out onto the streets, over the past several days, to support the former President, demanding "Temer out" and "Direct elections now."

The government which took over after the parliamentary coup against Dilma Rousseff appears more fragile every day and social tension is increasing, as a result of the dismantling of socio-economic projects initiated by the PT administrations. Temer's agenda is based on placing the burden of economic austerity on the backs of workers, and destroying their rights in the name of efficiency.

The right knows that the measures Temer has adopted are not popular, and that the current President has no political future. The elections are fast approaching and they do not have a candidate capable of bringing their forces together.

Their worst nightmare is a Lula who expresses the masses' discontent with current cutbacks, who travels the country in a caravan reviving hope in a prosperous Brazil, without the shadow of corruption.

A victory for the left would change the correlation of forces in the country. While the need for alliances and complex coalitions put a brake on Lula's previous administrations, and that of Dilma, the margin of victory now being projected in polls would give the PT the power to continue social transformations to benefit the majority.

This is what keeps the Brazilian right awake at night, and Lula's original sin which they cannot forgive.

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