Political leaders throughout Latin America have expressed their solidarity with former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva after he adhered to an arrest warrant issued by judge Sergio Moro earlier this week and surrendered to federal police Saturday night.
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The Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an official statement saying Lula is the victim of an “evident judicial inquisition, (which has been) instrumentalized since the coup d'etat and dismissal of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016.”
Bolivian President Evo Morales tweeted, “Stay strong, brother Lula. Your struggle and the struggle of the poor, workers, intellectuals and professionals committed to the dignity and sovereignty of our people is also our (struggle). No decision, no judicial coup can ever impede it or separate it from (our) people.”
Ecuador's former President Rafael Correa denounced maneuvers undertaken by Brazil's corporate media to destroy Lula's political and historical reputation and supported the demonstrations and protests to defend his innocence.
Former Colombian president and Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Ernesto Samper, affirmed that Lula is a political prisoner and his detainment harms Brazil's democracy.
Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released an official statement saying that it “rejects the political aims engulfed in the imprisonment of comrade Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva, which constitutes a grave event seeking to impede the most popular leader in Brazil from being a presidential candidate this year.”
Former presidents Cristina Fernandez Kirchner (Argentina), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay) and Nicaragua's current president, Daniel Ortega, also expressed support for Lula.
Even Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the French political party, Francia Insumisa, tweeted, “Lula has never become corrupt. That's a lie. It's a judicial coup. He was 15 points ahead in the (presidential) polls.”
Lula's two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. One of his most ambitious and successful plans was Family Allowance (Bolsa Familia). Launched in 2003, it provided stipends to families living below the poverty line. In turn, those families must prove that their children are attending school and have been vaccinated.
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He has told his judicial and media critics that “If they don't want me to be a (presidential) candidate (this year), go to the polls and vote against me. Don't create artifices and tricks to prevent my candidacy.”
After delivering a rousing, motivational speech on the grounds of the ABC Steelworkers Union headquarters in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paulo Saturday, Lula was hoisted in the air by hoardes of supportes, seemingly floating from the stage, amid the crowd and back into the building. Shortly after, he would surrender to federal police, adhering to an arrest warrant issued by Moro.
He was flown from Sao Paulo and taken to prison in the city of Curitiba where members of several social movements and other supporters of the former president have set up camp in front of the federal police headquarters where he is detained.
Having left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha, Lula, despite his legal woes and imprisonment, has topped every electoral poll conducted this year by Vox Populi, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.