The Workers' Party leader was received in Paris "with the honors granted to a Head of State, as if he were the President of Brazil!," said a citizen touched by the images at the Elysee Palace.
During a meeting with the French President Emmanuel Macron held in Paris on Wednesday, former President Lula da Silva denounced that malnutrition, hunger, and poverty have increased in Brazil since Captain Jair Bolsonaro came to power in January 2019.
“A few weeks ago, Bolsonaro was ignored because the French president refused to receive him at the government headquarters. Today, Lula was received with the honors granted to a Head of State, as if he were the President of Brazil!,” Luiz Sumac, a citizen touched by the images, said.
The reception of the Workers' Party (PT) leader in the Elysee was also interpreted by local media as an “especially significant” event due to the disagreements between Macron and Bolsonaro. Among them are concerns about environmental degradation in the Amazon basin, an issue that has put the ratification of the free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) on hold.
At the Paris Institute of Political Studies on Tuesday, Lula pointed out he is ready to prevent Bolsonaro's re-election in 2022, which is something highly probable. All the polls of Brazilian electoral preferences indicate that the Socialist leader is the most likely candidate to win in the next elections.
“For Brazilians, Lula represents our hope to return to the path of development, science, humanism, and the fight against inequality. For the world, Lula is also a hope of peace against hunger and in favor of union between peoples,” PT lawmaker Jose Guimaraes said, as reported by outlet O Povo.
Referring to his international trips, Lula clarified that he is not looking for electoral support but "trying to reestablish the credibility that Brazil lost." Among the politicians with whom he has met are European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, Spain's President Pedro Sánchez, Paris's Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and former President Francois Hollande.
In Nov. 2019, the Brazilian Supreme Court overturned two corruption convictions against Lula which arbitrarily held him 580 days in prison. Once the PT leader regained his political rights, he traveled abroad to denounce the consequences of Bolsonaro's mismanagement of the pandemic. Lula's current European tour also includes meetings with German and Belgian politicians and social leaders.