The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, (AFL-CIO), the largest central union in the United States, has released a manifesto titled “In Defence of Democracy in Brazil,” supporting former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's release from jail and his right to participate as a presidential candidate in the upcoming Oct general election.
“From 2003 to 2015 the governments of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff embraced social inclusion of gender and race, removing 40 million Brazilians from poverty and incorporated public policies that promoted the collective negotiation and systematic increase of the minimum wage to increase the participation of workers in the wealth created by them,” the manifesto emphasized.
Signed by the AFL-CIO's Executive Council, the document went on to note that “domestic workers” and other undervalued employees “obtained full workers rights. New public policies in higher education increased access and availability for more workers and Afro-Brazilians.”
The AFL-CIO emphasized that during Lula and Dilma's terms low-cost housing units were built, electricity reached areas previously unattended, sanitation improved notably, and there was a noticeable reduction in child and slave labor.
“The AFL-CIO and others viewed Brazil as leaders of a global struggle for democracy and equality, governing with the main objective of the workers and citizens in mind. In four consecutive elections, Brazilian citizens voted for Lula and his successor, Dilma Rousseff... expressing their support for these public policies.”
Despite his conviction and imprisonment for alleged 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.