On 27 March, former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s election campaign busses were hit by gunfire in the state of Paranà during his campaign tour in the southern part of Brazil. This attack follows a week of hostility by fascist groups against his political convoy resulting in no adequate response by police.
Eleven global union federations have written to Maria Nazareth Farani Azevêdo, the Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, and to the Minister of Public Security in Brazil, urging authorities to take this matter seriously.
“We call on the Brazilian authorities to investigate and punish the perpetrators of these criminal attacks and to ensure normalcy and peace in the exercise of the political process, so that Brazil can resume a democratic coexistence,” said Valter Sanches, IndustriALL Global Union general Secretary.
Attacks on democracy are escalating in Brazil: ranging from the systematic sabotage of the presidential election in 2014 to the parliamentary coup d’état against President Dilma Rousseff in 2016. There have been attacks on social programs and the fundamental rights of workers. Brazil’s judiciary is seeking to prosecute ex-president Lula, without any evidence, in relation to the corruption investigation into state-oil company Petrobras.
“If they think that they can intimidate us they are wrong, this will only make us stronger,” said Lula.
“We are outraged and extremely worried by the news that former president Lula's political convoy suffered a criminal attack. We stand in full solidarity with former President Lula and the hundreds of thousands of people who have participated in the various democratic and peaceful demonstrations in support of him throughout the country,” said Sharran Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
The letter was endorsed by all the global unions, representing over 200 million workers worldwide, as follows: the international Trade Union Confederation; IndustriALL Global Union; the Building and Wood Workers’ International; Education International; IAEA Global Union; the international Federation of Journalists; UNI Global Union; the International Transport Federation; the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations; Public Services International; and the Trade Union Advisory Committee.
Global Unions defend former president Lula’s constitutional right to prove his innocence by appealing the convictions by the lower courts, as well as to uphold his constitutional right to free movement, to speak out freely and to run for the next presidential election.
The international trade union movement recognizes the important contribution, which extended beyond Brazil, made by the former governments of President Lula in creating an international paradigm of economic growth with social inclusion through the generation of employment and income for millions of Brazilians, combining national sovereignty and international solidarity.