The release of president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva should be welcomed and the Brazilian government should be called on to respect the independence of their judiciary and to uphold the rule of the law

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By: Carl Niehaus

All revolutionaries, and progressive minded people throughout the world, should welcome the release of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, after the Supreme Court in Brazil ruled that he was illegally imprisoned because he was not allowed to exhaust all appeals to higher courts, before he was incarcerated.

This ruling by the Brazilian Supreme Court must be welcomed, because it has the potential to commence with an urgently needed process of re-establishing the independence and integrity of the courts in Brazil; after a sad and infamous period of the judicial system in the country having
been abused to serve rightwing political agendas.

This follows after revelations on the investigative website the Intercept, of collusion between rightwing former judge, Sergio Moro, (now Minister of Justice), and the prosecutors in President da Silva’s case.

The Intercept revealed that, while being a judge, Sérgio Moro gave prosecutors strategic advice, criticism and tips during the controversial, rightwing motivated, corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash, that led to President da Silva, and hundreds of his progressive political allies, being charged and eventually illegally imprisoned.

According to cellphone conversations that the Intercept published, prosecutors also allegedly discussed strategies to block the Folha de S Paulo newspaper’s attempts to interview President da Silva, and to totally silence his voice, during last year’s presidential election campaign.

It is important to recall that President da Silva was the overwhelming favorite to win the Brazilian Presidential election poll of 2018. Until President da Silva was imprisoned, and forced out of the
Presidential race, every opinion poll indicated that he was again going to be elected as President of Brazil.

Excerpts of cellphone conversations between prosecutors and judges show, Deltan Dallagnol, the lead prosecutor in the Car Wash investigation, expressing serious doubt over the strength of the case against President da Silva, but that he was cajoled by Sérgio Moro to none-the-less file the
indictment, in order to remove President da Silva as the front running candidate from the Presidential race.

This led to a situation that was tantamount to removing the Brazilian Worker’s Party, together with their highly popular candidate, from the election race.

One cannot, but agree with the comment of
Professor Carlos Melo, professor of political science at the São Paulo Business School Insper, that this was like, “Stopping the other team from playing. Its like they [the Brazilian rightwing] decided to play the ball alone.”

The evidence of close and improper relations and collaboration between prosecutors and judges to prosecute, and imprison President da Silva and some of his closest political allies, are shocking
and scandalous, and is illegal under Brazilian law.

In a brazen act, Jair Bolsonaro, the far rightwing candidate, who was in the absence of President da Silva’s candidature elected as President of Brazil, appointed Sérgio Moro as his Minister of
Justice.

Evidently this was done as a reward to Moro for having ensured President da Silva’s removal from the presidential race, and thus having secured President Bolsonaro’s election.

This perception was confirmed by President Bolsonaro when he praised Sergio Moro in a speech last Friday, the 8th of November, saying, “If he hadn’t accomplished his mission, I wouldn’t be here either.

President da Silva should be lauded for the extraordinary commitment that he, and his progressive Brazilian Worker’s Party government, showed to the economic advancement the workers, and the
poor, during the period that they were in power from 2003 to 2010. This period marked golden years of extraordinary economic growth, and the reduction of poverty and inequality in Brazil.

As South Africans we should also acknowledge the critical role that President da Silva and his successor, President Dilma Rousseff (also from the Worker’s Party) played, together with President Jacob Zuma, in securing South Africa’s entry into BRICS, and strengthening the overall world
political and economic influence of this association of five major emerging national developing economies.

It is important to also recall that President Rouseff was eventually impeached by the same axis of rightwing judges, prosecutors and far right reactionary politicians, who have illegally imprisoned President da Silva for 580 days, and who continue to persecute him, President Rouseff, and their progressive political allies, even now after his release from prison.

President da Silva was correct when he was released from prison in the city of Curitiba, and said to thousands of supporters who welcomed him back: “They did not imprison a man. They tried to kill
an idea”.

All recent economic indicators indicate that the people of Brazil are now economically, and in terms of their civil liberties, far worse off than when Presidents da Silva and Rouseff, and the Brazilian Worker’s Party, were in power.

For South Africans there are salient lessons to be learned from these developments in Brazil: Evidently there are reactionary, rightwing, political forces advancing throughout the world – driven
and financed by big international and national monopoly capital, intent on destroying the political self-determination, economic advancement and empowerment of developing nations, and the poor of the world in general.

These forces of exploitation and oppression will not hesitate to subvert the political and legal systems of our developing nations in order to serve their rightwing agendas – especially of those
nations who are not prepared to bow to the oppressive and exploitative power of the United States of America (USA) and its allies.

It is evident that those like Presidents da Silva, Rouseff and Zuma, who advanced a progressive agenda for BRICS, have been – and continue to be – deliberately targeted by trumped up legal charges, and wave after wave of fake news propaganda by the main stream media.

As President da Silva said: It is not about imprisoning individuals, it is all about killing an idea.

The African National Congress (ANC), as a progressive liberation movement, should do everything within our ability to guard against what happened in Brazil, and prevent our own judiciary from being captured, subverted and abused for (mainly white) monopoly capital and rightwing political agendas.

The independence of our judiciary must be sacrosanct, and any indication of judicial
over-reach, or the judiciary being bought and used to persecute individuals because of the progressive ideals that they believe in, and stand up for, rather than for any crimes that they may allegedly have committed, should be exposed and without any hesitation rooted out.

President Jair Bolsonaro, and his reactionary government, should be put under strong international pressure to cease with the persecution of Presidents da Silva and Rouseff, and the progressive
revolutionary forces in Brazil.

The rightwing government of Brazil must be forced to ensure an independent judiciary, that will uphold the rule of law, and will resist any reactionary attempts of
political abuse and interference. If they fail to do so they must pay a high price, and face the full wrath of international sanction, and pressure from progressive organizations and governments,
throughout the world.

The people of Brazil, the majority of whom are poor and economically exploited, must receive the unequivocal support of all progressives and revolutionaries throughout the world to strengthen their resolve that the rule of law must be upheld, and for justice in all respects – also economically – to prevail.

All of us who care for justice, and for the economic empowerment of the majority of poor and oppressed throughout the world, must reaffirm our support for comrade President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and his progressive allies and the ideals of Radical Economic Transformation (RET), that we all should jointly advance.

In reaffirming our commitment to our very own liberation, we in the ANC – and all progressive South Africans – must simultaneously also reach out to our compatriots in Brazil, and throughout the
world, in the spirit of international revolutionary solidarity.

As we salute President da Silva, and the revolutionary progressive forces of Brazil, we say: Aluta Continua!

Carl Niehaus is a veteran of the ANC with forty years of uninterrupted membership in good standing. He is a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of MKMVA and MKMVA National Spokesperson. FILE PHOTO: Supplied