Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who remains imprisoned at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba, penned a letter Friday criticizing the sale of a large section of Brazil's pre-salt oil reserves to foreign buyers.
Lula, who is still widely favored ahead of the country's October presidential elections according to opinion polls, accused the government of president Michel Temer of using the 2018 FIFA World Cup as a cover for the sale.
“While the country's attention is focused on the World Cup, the House of Representatives, acting in a state of urgency, approved one of the most shameful bills in its history. They've decided, by a simple majority of 217 votes, to sell 70 percent of the immense pre-salt camps that Petrobras received directly from the government in 2010 to foreigners. This is yet another move by the coup government and its allies to hand over our wealth and destroy the greatest company of the Brazilian people," he said.
Last week Brazil's House of Representatives voted in favor of allowing private companies the right to explore 70 percent of its pre-salt reserves under an onerous transfer deal. The deal would only allow for just a 10 percent royalty return to the state.
“The bill that was approved last week is a crime against the homeland. It demands a firm response from society to be stopped in Congress before it's too late,” Lula wrote. “It's a decision that delivers on a silver plate pre-salt camps with the potential of having roughly 20 billion barrels of petroleum and gas, evading the law that guarantees the pre-salt for all Brazilians,” Lula added.
Lula described the “foreign policy” of the current government, led by the Senate-imposed president, as being “dictated by the United States State Department in a shameful exchange for their lapdog complex, a reality that had been overcome” by his administration.
“But their time is coming to an end in October when Brazil will elect a democratic government, with the legitimacy to revert the relinquish agenda...which only interests the market and not the country or our people.”
The latest presidential survey, conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (Ibope), reveals that Lula, despite remaining in prison, continues to lead all presidential hopefuls with 33 percent of voting intentions. In fact, the sum total of all his rivals combined, 11 candidates, reached just 36 percent.
Despite his conviction and imprisonment on April 7, for corruption, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.
His 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. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.