Lula da Silva: “The Globo Network was one of the Main Conspirators behind the Coup”
The former President spoke exclusively to Brasil de Fato and said that we need to give hope to the people that a different Brazil is possible
Former President Lula da Silva held an exclusive interview with Brasil de Fato as he tours nine northern states by bus, in which he talked about the reasons behind the coup that ousted Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency, and reveal the identities of those behind the conspiracy. Lula also spoke about the need for the people to keep up the struggle against the reduction of rights and for democracy, and to continue to believe in politics. On the stance held by Temer’s government regarding the Venezuelan crisis, he says: it’s ridiculous to see an illegitimate putschist government that is against its own people trying to give lessons to Venezuela.
What were the reasons behind the coup against Dilma Rousseff?
In reality, conservative forces never accepted the result of the 2014 elections. The right refused to respect the democratic choice of the population. One day after the elections, the sabotage against Dilma’s government and the conspiracy to overthrow it began. The Chamber and the Senate passed bill after bill that increased public spending and went against the budget goals [this sort of bill is called a “bomb bill” or “pauta-bomba”]. Their goal was to make the economy inviable and scare off investors and consumers, while the projects of the government, which the country needed so badly, were blocked or completely deformed.
Something that is very clear today, even for many people who had been deceived by the lies of the press, is that this wasn’t just a coup against Dilma or the Workers’ Party (PT). It was a coup against public education and health, against the rights of workers and retirees, to privatize public companies and the Pre-Sal [the biggest maritime oil field in the world, located in front of Brazil’s coasts], and to de-nationalize the Amazonia rainforest. It was a coup against the country.
What do you think was the role of media, and especially of the Globo Network, in the coup?
Big media monopolies were decisive to carry out the coup. The Globo Network in particular was one of the main coordinators and propagandizers. The coup wouldn’t have been possible without the systematic attack and the sordid demoralization campaign that the Globo Network carried out against the government of Dilma and the PT. To enable the coup, they helped silence the accusations made against the politicians that carried out the coup (one flagrant example is the protection of Aécio Neves), and they only surfaced after the President had been overthrown. The Globo Network didn’t even hesitate to sabotage the government and protect it until it finished its dirty duty. This media conglomerate led the country to believe that all of the nation’s problems had been created by the PT, and that it would be enough to push the PT out of the government—even if this was against the law and democracy—to turn Brazil into a marvel. Today, with the same shamelessness, they try to convince the people that they are going to live better without labor rights and without retirement.
Judge Sergio Moro convicted you in the trial on the Guarujá apartment. You are also being targeted by other trials. Why does the justice system persecute you?
In the same sentence by which he condemned me, Judge Moro says that the apartment is no longer mine, but that it doesn’t matter. People responsible for the Lava Jato Operation have already said there is no proof against me, but that they are personally convinced that I am guilty. Everyone knows that a basic principle of law, which is sacred in all true democracies, is that the burden of proof is on the accuser, not the accused. My innocence has been proven abundantly in the trial, but that’s simply not taken into consideration. I have been in public life for over 40 years, all of them dedicated to the workers, the poor, the country. Is that my crime? Having lifted Brazil off the map of poverty? I can’t accept this arbitrariness. Why has justice become party-centered? I have come to believe that those that made the coup can’t allow me to run for the Presidency again.
If you were elected, what measures would you take to improve the life of the people and the direction of the country?
It’s too soon to speak as a candidate, and much less as an elected president. Before that happens, we need to prevent the putschist from destroying what’s left of the hard-earned rights of the Brazilian people. And from privatizing the public companies at undignified prices. It’s also necessary to guarantee that the next elections are truly free and democratic.A new, legitimate government with a progressive view of the country can very well take Brazil out of the rut it is in.
We have already governed the country before and we have proven in praxis that we can be a sovereign nation, with true economic growth, job creation, rent distribution, social inclusion and growth of the education opportunities at all levels. In order to do that, we need to believe that the popular classes are not a problem but a solution. When the poor in the city and in the countryside can afford to buy again, then businesses are going to sell and industries are going to produce—and then investments will come back. It is also very important to elect a Congress that is better than the current one, with more representatives of the working class, peasants, women and youth.
What would you recommend the Brazilian Popular Front to do in order to advance in the fight to preserve our rights and democracy?
The Front is an extraordinary thing because it reunites different sectors of society to debate about Brazil and fight for its reform. It has been fundamental in resisting the political and social setbacks. The approach taken by the Front is right, as it combines permanent debate and mobilization. I think it is very important to also explain to the population what it is we’re defending. We need to give hope to the people that a different Brazil is possible and that, with a government for the people better days will come.
After everything Brazil has been through, many people no longer believe in politics. How can we deal with this despair?
We don’t have the right to give up. My mother taught me that. We have to fight, always. I am 71 years old and I don’t want to give up. I didn’t give up the struggle to survive in a region where many children die before they turn five. I didn’t desist in organizing workers during the dictatorship. I built with my comrades the largest political party in Latin America and I was President of Brazil two times. If I was able to achieve all of this without a university degree, without a rich father, why should any young person desist? If you believe politics is not right, get into politics and try to become yourself the militant or political leader you dream for Brazil.
Today, who are the main enemies preventing us from having a country with social justice, solidarity and opportunities for everyone?
I believe that nowadays many people are resentful in Brazil, many are in a bad mood, believing that selfishness is going to solve something. There are many entrepreneurs who want to take rights from the workers and retirees and don’t realize that if the worker and the retiree doesn’t have any money, she is not going to consume what they are producing. The big force of our economy is the internal market. So they might believe they are going to do fine by becoming enemies of the workers, but in the end their sales are going to drop. There are people who resent the fact that the poor have improved their livelihood, and they want this country to be only for a few, for a third of the population. There are people who practically advocate the return of slavery. These people need to understand that this isn’t good even for them, because a country that is only for few people is a weak, unsafe and unstable country. A country like that doesn’t attract foreign investment, it attracts only parasites that seek quick money, who come to extract natural resources or buy cheap companies. A solidary society isn’t just a matter of justice—even though this is the most important thing—but also of necessity. When the poor and the workers improve their livelihood, society as a whole improves.
Oftentimes, the politicians who dedicate their time to decide on the life of Brazilians are they’re locked away in their offices in Brasilia. You instead have made many trips around the states of Brazil, such as this current trip to the North-East. What have you learned about our people in these meetings?
I have learned that the Brazilian people have great strength and generosity, and that you can’t govern the country from the comfort of Brazilia, or Paulista Avenue, or the Southern area of Rio de Janeiro. To someone living in those places, a social program like Light for All [a program to bring electricity to rural areas] means nothing. But this program brought the 21st century to millions of Brazilians. Without light, kids can’t study. Without food, and a good meal at school, they can’t study. We created the Food Acquisition Program, which supports the local farmer and provides healthy food for tea-time, but nowadays that is being destroyed. Children also need clothes to be able to go to school. The Familia Bolsa program gives clothes to families only if the children go to class. They also need transport, so we created the program Roads to School, with buses in all rural areas of Brazil. People need water, so we installed millions of water tanks in the sertão area. We expanded universities, federal institutes, technical schools, and we took them to the inland. We created hundreds of new university centers in all states of the country. Brazil had only one federal university, and now it has four. I personally know the size of this country—it is not small, and whoever governs it cannot have a small mind or a small heart. One has to listen to the people, and talk to them, with their feet on the ground. We have to seek solutions, give strength to civil society. And we have to open the palace to the people and let society participate in the construction of the solutions for the country.
Finally, what do you think about the threats the government of the United States has made against Venezuela? How should Brazil have acted in the peace process in Venezuela?
It is inadmissible for Donald Trump to make military threats to Venezuela.This applies to any country, in any region of the planet. Venezuela has the right to self-determination. It is the Venezuelan people who should freely decide on the destiny of the country. If there’s an institutional crisis, it should be overcome through dialogue and political negotiation, but always respecting the people that were chosen through democratic vote, as was Hugo Chávez and now Nicolás MAduro. In 2003, when Venezuela was going through a similar crisis, I proposed the creation of a group of countries that were friends to Venezuela. It was a pretty diverse group and it contributed to the re-establishment of normality and peace. Today, sadly, Brazil has no moral authority to help. It’s ridiculous to see an illegitimate putschist government that is against its own people trying to give lessons to Venezuela.
Once we manage to have a popular and democratic government once again, Brazil will continue to collaborate, without interference, with the sovereignty of its neighbors, to consolidate peace and democratic stability in South America.