Lula Yes, Lula No

By Emir Sader on March 27, 2018

Photo by: Júlia Dolce, Brasil de Fato

As we were translating this article we heard the news that Lula’s bus caravan in the southern state of Parana had been fired on. No one was reported injurededitorial

Brazil was never so aware of the fate of a person at it is now awaiting the fate of Lula. To have an idea of how the theme of Lula invades all the spaces of the media, on the day that the Supreme Federal Court voted in favor of Lula, the National Journal, the main TV Globo newscast – that was prepared for a resolution against Lula – dedicated its first 34 minutes to the coverage of the court’s decision.
All the publishers of the traditional media advocated for the imprisonment of the former president following the right that had managed to displace the centrality of Lula’s aspirations to be a candidate for president, to the issue of the time he would be spending in prison. They were all prematurely fantasizing about what a wild scene it would be as Lula was led away to his cell. They could not control themselves and could not stop talking about it

The truth is that when Lula’s fate is discussed it is always done in the most extreme ways possible according by whoever is doing the predicting. They range from a candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize, to his election to be president of Brazil again, to a long term prison sentence. As one option or another comes to be real so too will the future of Brazil rotate in one direction or another.

In the Caravan of Lula in southern Brazil the mood has turned. The right was prepared for the rejection of the habeas corpus requested by the defense of Lula. As the first vote was favorable to Lula, the right radicalized its forms of action.

The Southern Caravan has toured the most conservative region of the country. In Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina Boltonaro right wing militants have allied with the landowners of the region by using their tractors and their trucks to block roads seeking to prevent the advance of the three buses of the Caravan.

They have only achieved their goals in one city, where they had occupied all the roads of entry. Trying to unblock those places would have involved a violent confrontation because they can always count on the police. In the other cities and the MST settlements there have been no problems in entering to do public events with Lula and large supportive crowds.

Organized groups threw stones and eggs to the passage of the three buses of the Caravan, but no more than that. Lula has done dozens of events in the capitals of the three provinces, but he has paid special attention to the small producers of the local economies, with workers from the settlements of the landless, with deans of public universities, and with students from public schools in the interior.

This is the fourth caravan that Lula has conducted. First he traveled through the nine provinces of northeastern Brazil, the region that experienced the most changes during his Workers Party (PT) governments, this region was always the poorest and most abandoned in the country and where PT candidates have always won more than 70% of the votes. The second caravan toured in Minas Gerais, the province where Dilma Rousseff also triumphed. The third one toured Rio de Janeiro. And now this fourth caravan is in the south of Brazil. In future caravans Lula also intends to travel through the northern region and the central-western region.

Faced with the success of the caravans, the right had focused on the possibility of Lula’s imprisonment or some conviction that would make it impossible for him to continue traveling in the country. The media has now had to come back to earth and accept that there will be no prison for Lula. Changing tactics they are now concentrating on attempts to exclude him from the electoral campaign, even knowing that Lula will win according to all polls. In the event that he cannot run the candidate that Lula designates will safely win even if it went to the second round of voting.

The favorable vote for Lula in the Supreme Electoral Court broke what was being called the Consensus of Curitiba, by which the entire Judicial Power acted unanimously in the persecution of Lula. The possibility that Lula can be a candidate has been strengthened and the next 6 or 7 months will be decisive. What happens will not just have huge effects on the future of Brazil but in the entire region.

Having participated in the four Caravans of Lula, I can verify the power of mobilization and conviction that Lula and his speeches have. At the end of the ceremony in Chapecó, when the right groups threatened the Caravan, Lula invited the people to accompany him to the hotel. It was one of the most moving scenes to see Lula literally being carried out of the bus by his arms to the hotel.

Source: Alai-AmLatina, translation: Resumen Latinoamericano, North American Bureau