“I was the victim of the biggest judicial and political lie in Brazil’s 500 years of history, but the day of truth has come.” Luis Inacio da Silva known as “Lula”, in jeans and a wrinkled shirt, is aged and embossed, on the stage from which it all began, in the headquarters of the Sao Bernardo do Campo metallurgists union in Sao Paulo. He asks for permission from the doctors on stage before taking off his red workers’ party mask, then starts a heartfelt, vibrant and furious speech that will last nearly two hours. Arm. He lashes out against the current president Jair Bolsonaro and his “imbecility” and against Judge Moro, the great inquisitor of the Lava Jato investigation who sent him to jail for 580 days, which he defines as “the biggest liar in the country” .
Lula is back. And even if he still does not give the formal announcement of his candidacy for the presidential elections of 2022, “I don’t have the head to think about that”, the message is clear: he took the field and has no intention of holding back, “I’m 75 but I feel young, like a 35-year-old man, I want to dedicate the rest of my life, however long it may be, so that this people can go back to dreaming ». He does not apply, but re-introduces himself, listing his political history and the successes of the years (from 2003 to 2011) in which he was in charge – “Brazil became the sixth economy in the world” – and the failures of the right today at the power, “more interested in selling weapons than to an increasingly impoverished people”. He recalls the suffering he suffered in prison (including the death of his wife) and the closeness of so many people, from Pope Francis to the US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, to the former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema. He heavily attacks Bolsonaro on many fronts, from the economy to the management of the pandemic (“Don’t believe Bolsonaro’s imbecility: get vaccinated – he says -. Brazil does not have a government, does not have a Minister of Health, does not have a Minister of Economy” ). And he concludes with an ecumenical appeal, addressed above all to the business and financial world: “Do not be afraid of me, I am not a radical if I want to build a just world. Our country does not deserve the situation in which it finds itself, it was not born to be small “
It was Lula’s first public outing since Federal Supreme Court Judge Edison Fachin overturned the two sentences. for corruption against him, accrued as part of the «Lava Jato» investigation into the alleged embezzlement of resources of the state oil company Petrobras. The judging court did not have territorial jurisdiction to judge the former head of state and Fachin effectively gave him all political rights, because the crimes would lapse before an unlikely retrial. The victory, however, is not yet complete. The Supreme Court has yet to determine whether Judge Moro was impartial in sentencing Lula and handling the Lava Jato investigation. On Tuesday the court split: two votes in favor and two against, the fifth judge asked for more time to evaluate the complaint filed by Lula and her party. The judicial future of Lula and that of dozens of other convicts depends on that verdict. Only then will Lula probably dissolve the reservations for the 2022 vote.
Sara Gandolfi curates the Mondo Capovolto newsletter, on the South of the planet. It’s free, sign up here.
March 10, 2021 (change March 10, 2021 | 19:59)