SAO BERNARDO DO CAMPO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 09: Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s former president, greets supporters outside of the Sindicato dos Metalurgicos do ABC on November 9, 2019 in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
A day after being released from prison, Brazil’s former leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the standard-bearer of the Latin American left, pledged to fight right-wing leaders across Latin America, starting with Brazil’s ecocidal authoritarian president, Jair Bolsonaro.
“I want to tell them I’m back,” said Lula, as he is known, in a 45-minute speech to cheering supporters in front of a metalworkers union headquarters in São Bernardo do Campo.
Sobre reencontros… #equipeLula pic.twitter.com/ElsPMOYh8m
— Lula (@LulaOficial) November 10, 2019
The 74-year-old was imprisoned in 2018 after being found guilty of receiving bribes for public contracts. Lula has denied those charges, saying he was the victim of political persecution. “They didn’t arrest a man,” he said Friday after a judge ordered his release, “they tried to silence an idea and ideas don’t go away.”
And then Lula dropped a sizzle reel on Twitter.
Lula Livre pic.twitter.com/EJRrynjJjE
— Lula (@LulaOficial) November 8, 2019
Lula has received support on Twitter from leaders all over the world, including Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.
As President, Lula has done more than anyone to lower poverty in Brazil and to stand up for workers. I am delighted that he has been released from jail, something that never should have happened in the first place. https://t.co/UNZZqjjMVF
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 8, 2019
Lula served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and left the presidency with “sky-high approval ratings.” He won’t be able to run for office until 2025 because of Brazil’s so-called “clean record” law, which prevents candidates from running for public office for eight years if they’ve lost their political jobs because of corruption, but he’s already planning his political comeback.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro asked his followers on Twitter not to give ammunition to “the scoundrel.”