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The Cards are on the Table in Brazil

Just over a month before Brazil’s October 7 presidential elections, the judges of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal rejected, four votes to one, the candidacy of the population’s undisputed favorite in the largest and most populous nation in Latin America.

This occurred despite the fact that a resolution to this effect by the International Human Rights Committee of the United Nations (UN) stipulated that the Brazilian State must allow former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to exercise his political rights as the presidential candidate of the Workers’ Party and a coalition of movements and parties that are already legally entitled to compete in the upcoming elections.

No one doubts that Lula da Silva would be a broad winner in these elections but it happens that, since April, Lula has been held in a Federal Police cell in the state of Curitiba. He has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in an arbitrary trial, with no sign of legality, on charges of passive corruption and money laundering. No evidence of such charges against the top left-wing political leader, simply because the crimes have never existed.

The latest polls published make it clear that Lula da Silva, who has almost 40% of the voting intentions, would be elected in the first round. But if he fails to do so, he will wipe out all the other contenders in a possible second round of voting.

Former army captain and deputy Jair Bolsonaro, candidate of the Social Liberal Party, which represents the extreme right, is second in the polls, with 19% of the intention to vote.

The candidate considered to be the representative of the (not extreme) right is the one presented by the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) with the support of the Brazilian Democratic, Labor, Social Democratic and Solidarity parties. He is the former governor of Sao Paolo Geraldo Alckmin. He is ranked third in the polls with about 5% of the declarations of intent to vote.

Other parties that have announced their own candidates are the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), with Manuela d’Avila as its presidential candidate and the ruling Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) of former Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, both with very low voter intention rates.

Alckmin’s campaign strives to gain followers among the owners of capital with an irrational, homophobic, racist and misogynistic discourse. They have very abundant financial resources, but the public fears that a large part of the right wing will choose to join the right-wing extremist campaign.

There has been massive manipulation by the unelected government of Michael Temer and the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia to prevent the election of Lula as president of the largest nation in South America. This  has transformed the Brazilian popular leader, from a central protagonist and determinant of a national electoral process into an emblematic figure of Latin American independence in the face of the imperialist hegemonic power of the United States.

Thus, Brazil will have a presidential election this year that should have been aimed at restoring to the South American giant the precarious normality it had achieved in 1985. After 21 years of a military dictatorship widely supported by the owners of capital and representatives of imperialist interests in Brazil, Brazil’s tenuous normality was broken by the institutional coup that removed Dilma Rousseff in April 2016 and culminated in the arbitrary imprisonment of Lula two years later. 

The solution could be in the hands of the magistrates of the Superior Electoral Court or, ultimately, those of the Supreme Court of Justice. However, this would require that the country’s vital decisions be returned to the hands of the Brazilian people.

Unfortunately, in Latin America, the approach of the legal system to politics has given rise to repeated behavior in which judges and prosecutors prevaricate and lend themselves to the persecution of popular leaders. This has been shown in the cases of Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador, where former presidents Lula, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Rafael Correa are being harassed and prosecuted for crimes that they did not commit and which obviously cannot be proven.

In the event that the manipulation of the process through violence or corruption is imposed and Lula’s inclusion on the ballot is prevented, it is expected that a sufficient number of voters will choose to do so in favor of Fernando Haddad, former mayor of Sao Paolo and former minister of education during the government of the popular labor leader, who is already registered as an aspirant for the vice presidency with Lula.

In Brazil, the cards are on the table. What their people want is known. What is also known is just how much violence and cruelty imperialism and the local exploiters is capable of to impose their rule.

More articles by:

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

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