Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet of the Socialist Party of Chile expressed Sunday solidarity with Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who was ordered to begin serving his 12-year prison sentence earlier this month.
"For Lula and for Dilma, a lot of love and a lot of strength," Bachelet said during the ceremony. She also called for a fair trial for Lula, who was sentenced for alleged corruption, after experts ruled out the judicial process as a political sham to stop Lula, Brazil's most popular politician, from running for the presidency later this year.
Bachelet was at the National Congress of Chile, headquartered in the country's capital, Santiago, where she received an award by the International Progressive Alliance when she emphasized that popular sovereignty lies in the ballot box and not in another state power.
"The same yardstick to measure the actions of Lula, Dilma (Rousseff, constitutional president separated from his post after an impeachment) or any other citizen, that is the equality before the law," Bachelet stressed Sunday at the National Congress of Chile.
Gleisi Hoffmann, president of Brazil's Workers' Party (PT), who was also present at the ceremony, has been trying to garner support for Lula, now in prison for more than four weeks in Curitiba, said: "The coup entered a new phase to not allow Lula to be a candidate."
Alvaro Elizalde, the president of the Socialist Party of Chile, said in an interview with HispanTV that "the independence of the courts and respect for the rules of due process" is being questioned in Brazil.
Lula, who began serving the controversial sentence at the beginning April over alleged corruption charges, may see an end to his reelection bid.
Despite his conviction and imprisonment for corruption, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, the popular leftist leader has led every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.
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. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.
According to Lula's lawyers, there is no gravity in the accusations against Lula because they lack in logic and consistency.