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  • Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrives at Federal Justice, with senator Gleisi Hoffmann (R) for a testimony in Curitiba, Brazil, May 10, 2017.

    Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrives at Federal Justice, with senator Gleisi Hoffmann (R) for a testimony in Curitiba, Brazil, May 10, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 January 2019

“Brazil needs to change, yes, but change for the better.”

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva affirmed Tuesday that 2019 will be a year of great resistance and struggle to prevent the Brazilian people from being punished even more than they have been.

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“They can arrest a person, as they did with me, but they can not imprison our ideas, much less impede the future,” Lula wrote in a New Year message published by the Brasil 247 portal.

He pointed out that “Brazil needs to change, yes, but change for the better.”

He stated that he would spend the New Year in a cell, because “I was imprisoned without having committed any crime, condemned without proof and without the right to a fair trial. But I do not feel alone. I am not alone”.

The former Brazilian president has been serving a sentence of 12 years and one month in the headquarters of the Federal Police (PF) of Curitiba after being accused of alleged acts of corruption.

From where I am, Lula said, "I can hear and even imagine the expressions of solidarity and love of the compañeros and compañeras who accompany me in that vigil for democracy since the night of April 7, when I was illegally imprisoned."

He went on to speak of the hardship the Brazilian people have endured over the past few years and the rise of right and far-right politics. “Hunger has returned to our country, unemployment is hovering around millions of homes, workers' rights are being torn, social policies that protect the people are being destroyed, the economy slips.”

He also commented on the recent presidential elections in which his Workers Party, or PT, had initially chosen him as a candidate before the right-wing mobilized the judiciary against his presidential bid using what is now referred to as “lawfare.”

Lula concluded his New Year message by calling on the Brazilian people and those in the region to “resume the path of development with social inclusion. And that is done with income transfer, with job creation, with public and private investment; this is done by treating the workers and the poorest as a solution and not as a problem.”


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