Instituto Lula

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Lula travels to Brazil's North-eastern region in defence of democracy and social advances

Jul 18, 2016 1:05 PM

Lula in Recife. Ricardo Stuckert/Instituto Lula

Democracy, social advances, education, the fight against corruption and the preservation 13 years of public policies which prioritized the the poorest regions in Brazil were the main messages of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva tour of five towns in the North-eastern states of Bahia and Pernambuco, where he was received by authorities and thousands of workers and trade union militants.

In the three day trip, Lula visited Juazeiro in the state of Bahia and Petrolina, Carpina, Caruaru and Recife in the state of Pernambuco where he visited workers' associations and participated in the launch of marches to protest against the on-going coup in the country which is trying to oust President Dilma Rousseff from office.

Summarizing his trip, Lula said that people of the North-east had to continue to fight for a more dignified life, specially as several public policies are threatened by the interim government and Congress which is trying to impeach president Dilma Rousseff .

“Don't bow your head. The most important legacy that I received from my mother was the right to hold my head high and no-one will make me lower my head if the Brazilian people hasn't conquered all that it still has to conquer,” he said.

Lula said the fight for democracy needs to continue in order to guarantee rights and because there is still a lot to be done for the poorest in Brazil.

In his speeches, Lula also strongly criticized the partiality of the Brazilian media in its coverage of recent corruption scandals, whose investigations were partially a result of measures taken by his governments for more governance and transparency in the public sector such as investments in the Federal Police Forces, the respect for election of Brazil's chief public prosecutor and the Transparency Law, which obliges all public institutions to be transparent.

In Juazeiro, on July 11, Lula received the title of honorary citizen from the city council and in the company of Bahia state governor Rui Costa, inaugurated rural developed programmes in the city.

Later in the same day, in the outskirts of Juazeiro, Lula spoke at a rally of family farmers against the impeachment Dilma Rousseff, which is already taking its toll in region since the interim government has cut the budget for the installation of 31,080 cisterns for potable water storage in the drought stricken region after scrapping the Social Development Ministry.

The administrative changes and budget cuts threaten over 14,000 families and more than 4,000 schools that were expected to be included in the programme.

In the same day, Lula travelled to Petrolina where participated in the inauguration of the Caravan for Democracy against the coup in an event called “The Semi-Arid region against the Coup – Not One Right Less”.

On July 12, Lula, still in Petrolina, gave a interview to local radio broadcaster Geraldo Freire during which he defended the social legacies of his governments and spoke out against impeachment of Dilma Rousseff saying he believed that it is possible to convince six senators to vote against impeachment do “give back to President Rousseff the mandate that was given to her by popular vote”, specially because Rousseff did not commit any crimes while president.

He also called for a deep political reform though a constitutional assembly elected exclusively to carry out the reform.

Later in the same day, he travelled to Carpina where he spoke to thousands of family farmers in an event organized by Federation of Agricultural Workers of Pernambuco (Fetape). A a 50 minute speech, Lula talked about the current political situation and urged the people to rally behind movements against impeachments and the defence of social policies.

“They didn't oust Dilma [Rousseff], they cancelled the votes of 54 million women and men that voted for her,” he said in one of his most emotive speeches.

He also said he was committed to continue fighting for better conditions for the Brazilian people.

“I am 70 years old, but a mind of 40 and the health of a 30 years, so I still have lots of wood to burn. There is nothing in this world that will make me give up fighting so that this country is again a world player in the international scenery, to make other countries respect Brazil and until our people can once again be happy, can once again dream, can once again smile...”.

On July 13, Lula ended his three day tour in Caruaru where he spoke at the inauguration of the Popular Caravan in Defence of Democracy which set off across the North-eastern region denouncing the parliamentary coup against president Dilma Rousseff's government.

“There is a former minister in Dilma's government who voted for her impeachment. [He decided to vote against here] when [interim president Michel] Temer offered his son a job. That is why it's important to organize marches, got to the Senator's office, speak to him, send him WhatsApp messages ... It's important that every single those who voted for impeachment know that they will no longer have the vote of the Brazilian people because they betrayed them”.

In the same day, Lula visited the Normadia Settlement of the MST (Landless Rural Workers' Movement), including the Centro de Formação Paulo Freire, a school specialized in technical training of family farmers from all over Brazil.

The Normadia Settlement exists since 1997 following a four-year the occupation an unproductive farm who have down-turned several attempts by courts to remove them. Now it is the home to 21 families, or about 300 people, who work the land to produce yam, cassava, corn and squash and rear goats for meat production.

Mostly managed by women, aside the training centre it has processing facilities and associations for  several income generation program, as well as  support from with the regional federal university of Pernambuco.

“This trip has reawakened in me the will to travel the country, specially now that we are the victims of a coup,” said Lula. “There was an emptiness in my life. And this emptiness was the lack of contact with the working people of this country.”

On the night of July 13 Lula ended in his tour in Recife, Prenambuco's state capital, where he spoke at a rally for the start of Popular Caravan in Defence of Democracy, organized by the Frente Brasil Popular, a front of several social and workers' movements against the illegal impeachment of President Rousseff.

Lula once again criticized the partiality of the media against Rousseff's government and lack of alleged crimes committed by Rousseff which makes the impeachment proceedings illegal. Again he called for Brazilian politicians to respect democracy:

"... we don't need to call [interim president Michel] Temer any names. We just need to tell him this: You want to be president? Then win an election!"

Click here to listen to Lula's speeches and interviews during the trip. 

Click here to see photos of Lula's trip in Picasa.