President Dilma Rousseff to UNI Global Union: Stop the coup in Brazil, Free Lula


President Dilma Rousseff to UNI Global Union: Stop the coup in Brazil, Free Lula

UNI Global Union demands freedom for imprisoned former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

LIVERPOOL, 20 June 2018—Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff warned the World Congress of UNI Global Union, a federation of more than 20 million service workers from 150 countries, of the worldwide attack on democracy exemplified by the unjust imprisonment of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Lula, also a former President, was running again for Brazil’s highest office when false charges were brought against him. When he was charged, he was on track to win the presidential election, and remains popular.

Commenting on the success that she and Lula had in lifting 36 million Brazilians out of poverty, Rousseff said, “Our adversaries understood that we would always be able to win elections if they were free and fair, and the program of reform we executed had significant support. They want to eat away at Brazilian democracy.

“Because of this, President Lula faced a campaign trying to undermine his character and his dignity. He was slandered. This is a coup against social equality.

“Let me be clear: Lula is a political prisoner. He is innocent. To us, he is a legitimate candidate, why would we replace him? They are the ones perpetrating violence to undermine democracy. They are trying to do to Lula what they did to me.

“This isn’t just about Lula. Lula represents an idea;he symbolizes hope. He is the strongest instrument against the coup.”

“We need to overturn the coup. We can’t let this happen in Brazil. We can’t let this happen with impunity. We have to be stronger in a renewed struggle. Lula Livre!”

Rousseff thanked the international labour movement for its solidarity and overwhelming support. She received the Freedom from Fear Award from UNI.

The current conservative Brazilian government has passed laws that weakened workers’ basic human right of freedom of association and seeks to diminish the power of unions.

The more than 2,000 international labour leaders in the hall at the Echo Arena in Liverpool pledged to take the fight for Lula’s freedom back to their home countries.

“President Lula brought millions of Brazilians out of poverty and is now a victim of political persecution. The labour movement in Brazil and around the world must demand that democracy and the rule of law are respected. Lula must be freed,” said Marcio Monzane, Regional Secretary of UNI Americas.

He continued: “Lula led an inclusive government that tackled inequality and poverty, respected workers and unions, and effectively reduced the concentration of income in Brazil. The Brazilian elite cannot accept a political model with working people’s interests at its heart, and that is why Lula is being unfairly taken to court.”

More can be found on Lula’s case here: For more info: Matthew Painter or Carolina González

UNI Americas