|General elections will be held in Brazil on October 7 to elect the President and Vice President, the National Congress, state and Federal District Governors and Vice Governors, state Legislative Assemblies and the Federal District Legislative Chamber. A second round for the presidency, in the form of a runoff between the two highest vote-getters, will be held if no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the valid votes. It will take place October 28.
On September 11, the deadline for submission of candidate names, the Workers' Party of Brazil announced that -- as a result of the "arbitrary and illegal" decision of the Brazilian courts to prevent former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva from standing as a candidate -- Lula, together with the party's National Executive Committee, had decided to submit the name of Fernando Haddad, Lula's running mate, as the new Workers' Party presidential candidate. Manuela D'Ávila of the Communist Party of Brazil was named as the new vice-presidential candidate. The next day Lula sent a letter to Fernando Haddad from the jail cell in Curitiba where he continues to be confined as a political prisoner.
In his letter Lula wrote:
You know how much I admire you as a human being, for your courage, intelligence, and dedication to the Brazilian people. Together, we had the opportunity of doing many things for our country, especially for the education of our children and youth. We offered opportunities to millions, thanks to the ProUni, the quota system, the new universities and federal technical schools, and by valuing teachers, when you were my Minister of Education.
I take great pride in our friendship and partnership.
Today I am transmitting to you the enormous responsibility of taking up again the process of transforming Brazil, for the benefit of the people, that we initiated in our administration. You know that it will not be easy to correct all the wrongs they have done to our country over the last two years. It will be necessary to work day and night, to dialogue with society, to know how to listen and to know how to act.
You have enough experience to stand up to these challenges. You have the support of the Workers' Party and our allies. You have a Government Plan we drafted together to get our country out of the crisis. And you can always count on me.
You will travel across Brazil as I have done. You will look the people in the eyes and see what I saw: the will to change, to dream again and to make these dreams come true, as we did once. You will represent me along this path back to the Presidency of the Republic, to once again realize the government of the people and of hope.
First and foremost, our thoughts must be with the people, especially with the people who most need support to achieve a better life.
All I ask of you, my dear friend, is that you look after the Brazilian people with the greatest care, as I wish I could be doing.
1. ProUni, the University for All Program, was initiated in 2004 during Lula's presidency to provide economically disadvantaged students with grants covering all or part of their tuition fees at private post-secondary institutions, as the country's public universities and colleges, which do not charge tuition, were unable to accommodate all those requiring higher education.
"Fernando Haddad Will Be Lula to
Millions of Brazilians!"
- Letter from Lula to Brazilian People -
Lula also wrote an open letter to the Brazilian people, dated September 12, in which he called on them to elect "my brother Fernando Haddad" as Brazil's new president. The text of the letter follows.
You surely know by now that the courts have banned me from running for the Presidency of the Republic. Actually, they have banned the Brazilian people from voting freely to change the grim reality of our country.
I have never accepted injustice, and never will. For more than 40 years I have walked alongside the Brazilian people, advocating equality and the transformation of Brazil into a better and more just country. And it was by walking all over our country that I saw close up the suffering burning in the soul and the hope shining again in the eyes of our people. I saw indignation with the many wrong things that are happening and the wish to improve one's life once again.
It was to correct so many mistakes and to renew hope in the future that I decided to be a presidential candidate. And in spite of the lies and the persecution, the people embraced us on the streets and led us to the top of all opinion polls.
I have been in jail unjustly for over five months. I have committed no crime and I was convicted by the press long before I was tried. I continue challenging the Operation Car Wash prosecutors, Judge Sérgio Moro, and appellate court TRF-4 to present a single piece of evidence against me, for one cannot be found guilty for crimes not committed, for money not diverted, for acts unascertained.
My conviction is a judicial charade, a political vengeance, always resorting to exceptional measures against me. They don't want to arrest and ban just the citizen Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. They want to arrest and ban the Brazilian project that the majority approved in four consecutive elections, and which was only interrupted by a coup against a legitimately elected president -- who did not commit any "crime of responsibility" -- that ultimately plunged the country into chaos.
You know me and you know that I will never stop fighting. I lost my companion Marisa, grieved with all she had seen happen to our family, but I did not give up, also in honour of her memory. I faced the legal charges. I decried the lies and abuses of authority in every court, including the UN Human Rights Committee, which acknowledged my right to be a candidate.
The legal community, at home and abroad, became indignant with the aberrations committed by Sérgio Moro and the Porto Alegre Court. Leaders across the globe denounced the attempt against democracy into which my trial was transformed. The international press has shown the world what [media conglomerate] Globo sought to conceal.
Still, the Brazilian courts denied me a right guaranteed by the Constitution to any citizen, provided he or she does not go by the name Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. They rejected the UN decision, disrespecting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which a sovereign Brazil had subscribed to.
By act, omission, and delay, the Brazilian Judiciary deprived the country of an electoral process with all political forces present. They nullified the right of the people to freely vote. Now they want to prohibit me from speaking to the people and even from appearing on television. They censor me, just like they did during the dictatorship.
Possibly nothing would have happened were I not leading in all the polls. Maybe I would not be in jail if I had agreed to give up my candidacy. But I would never trade my dignity for my freedom, for the commitment I have to the Brazilian people.
I was artificially included in the Clean Slate Law so as to be arbitrarily pulled out of the electoral race, but I will not allow them this pretext to imprison the future of Brazil.
It is in the face of these circumstances that I have to make a decision, within an arbitrarily imposed deadline. I am recommending to the PT and to the "O Povo Feliz de Novo" [The People Happy Again] Coalition that my candidacy be replaced with that of my brother Fernando Haddad, who has thus far so loyally carried out the position of vice-presidential candidate.
Fernando Haddad, the Minister of Education in my government, was responsible for a major transformation in our country. Together, we opened the doors of University to nearly 4 million students coming from public schools, blacks, Indigenous peoples, the children of workers who had never before had such opportunity. Together, we created the ProUni, the new Fies [federal student loan program], the quotas, Fundeb [Fund for the Maintenance and Development of Basic Education and Appreciation of Education Professionals], Enem [National High School Examination], the National Education Plan, Pronatec [National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment], and we started four times more technical schools than had been started in the preceding one hundred years. We created the future.
Haddad is the coordinator of our Plan of Government designed to get the country out of the crisis, and receives contributions from thousands of people and discusses each point with me. He will be my representative in this battle to reset the course toward development and social justice.
If they wish to silence our voices and defeat our project for the country, they are fooling themselves. We are still alive in the hearts and memories of the people. And our name now is Haddad.
By his side, running as vice-presidential candidate, we will have our sister Manuela D'Ávila, confirming our historical alliance with the PCdoB [Communist Party of Brazil], and other forces such as the PROS [Republican Party of Social Order], PSB [Brazilian Socialist Party], leaders from other parties and, above all, with the social movements, with the workers in the cities and in the countryside, champions of the democratic and people's forces.
Our loyalty, mine, Haddad's and Manuela's, is with the people in first place. It is with the dreams of those who want to live again in a country in which all have food on the table, in which there is employment, decent wages, legal protection for those who work; in which the children have schools and the youth, a future; in which the families can afford to buy a car, a home, and keep on dreaming and achieving. A country in which all shall have opportunities and no one shall have any privilege.
I know that one day true Justice will be achieved and my innocence will be recognized. And that day I will be with Haddad to carry out the government of the people and of hope. We shall all be there, together, to make Brazil happy again.
I wish to thank the solidarity of those who have sent me messages and letters, who have prayed and organized rallies for my freedom, who protest around the world against persecution and for democracy, and particularly those who have been keeping me daily company outside the place where I am.
A man can be unfairly incarcerated, but his ideas cannot. No oppressor can be bigger than the people. That is why our ideas will reach everyone through the voice of the people, louder and stronger than the lies spread by Globo.
So, it is from my heart that I wish to ask all those who would vote for me to vote in my brother Fernando Haddad as President of the Republic. And to ask you to vote in our gubernatorial candidates, and our candidates running for representatives and senators, so that we can build a more democratic country, with sovereignty, without privatization of public companies, with more social justice, more education, culture, science and technology, more safety, housing and health care, with more employment, decent wages, and with land reform.
Today, we have become millions of Lulas and, from now on, Fernando Haddad will be Lula for millions of Brazilians.
So long, my friends. Till victory!
A hug from your companion of always,
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva