Support for Lula is not just Populism
To support Lula is also to support Brazilian Democracy
When thinking about Lula it is to separate two facts that the foreign media has either not understood or has deliberately decided not to explain to their non-Brazilian readers.
Lula’s support is not just part of a ‘Populist trend’.
There are two fundamental and distinct reasons as to why Lula attracts support, not just from a large part of the Brazilian population, but from many law professionals, intellectuals, artists and academics.
1) Lula’s record as the most successful and popular president in Brazil – leaving office with over 85% of approval and;
2) The unfairness and flaws in Lula’s trial.
Unless this is explained, we will be left with an impression that all Lula’s supporters close their eyes to corruption, which is not true.
1) Lula’s record in Government: in coalition with other parties the Workers’ Party (PT) has promoted several very successful ‘left of centre’ policies on which the media has indeed reported, such as taking millions out of poverty and Brazil out of the UN’s “Hunger Map”.
a. It is this success (translated into 4 presidential mandates) that makes a large part of the population remember the PT years fondly – particularly when compared with Temer’s post-impeachment rule and
b. partly why the opposition ousted President Dilma through the impeachment.
2) A concern for democracy, Brazil’s Constitution and the Rule of Law:
a. Dilma’s impeachment has led to worrying trends of which the most notorious are:
– the murder of Councillor Marielle Franco;
– the rise in violence against minorities and the most vulnerable populations, community leaders and activists (indigenous, former slave communities, landless peasants, black young people in the favelas, prisoners);
– the rise in fascist and extreme right views and attitudes (such as the gun attack on Lula’s bus).
– a disregard for the rule of law.
b. Within this scenario, Lula’s trial and conviction is the most symbolic.
That is why a considerable number of renowned Brazilian legal experts (academics, practicing professionals) have consistently pointed out flaws AT ALL LEVELS of Lula’s trial: from the unnecessary bench warrant that led to his forceful arrest by the Federal Police, his appeal at the second level court (TRF4) in Porto Alegre, to Judge Moro’s order for his imprisonment, EVEN BEFORE the Supreme Court had officially issued its decision on his Habeas Corpus or his recourses to justice had been fully exhausted.
That is also why over 100 jurists have written a book called “Comments of a Notorious Verdict: the Trial of Lula”, available IN ENGLISH and FOR FREE to DOWNLOAD.
These concerns also featured in Supreme Judge Lewandowski’s justification as to why he voted to grant Lula a Habeas Corpus. He stated that when the second level court (TRF4) rejected Lula’s appeal, they failed to provide adequate reasons for their decision.
Concern for Brazilian democracy and the blatant way that President Lula has been unfairly treated by the Courts has managed to achieve something that is very rare, not only in Brazil, but in the world: unite the left, left of centre, progressives and democrats in general.
That is why not only a ‘sea of red’ and the ‘usual PT supporters’ have surrounded Lula in the city of his “political birth”, São Bernardo do Campo, but also why Lula’s rights to a fair trial and to participate in the October presidential elections are supported by progressive politicians of all hues – including the PT’s break-away leftist party, PSOL.