Lula’s full speech after being declared innocent
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Lula’s full speech after being declared innocent

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Ex-president Lula da Silva delivered an historical speech in São Bernardo do Campo, on March 10th, 2021, two days after the annulment of Operation Car Wash convictions. Below is the full transcript.


I was sitting at your place and I was finding it a little difficult to understand the words you were saying, possibly because you were wearing a mask. I think Soventino is a doctor.

This is what I think: first, I expect everybody here to be wearing a mask, that all are taking care of themselves, and I hope that pretty soon all of you will have taken the vaccine. I wanted to talk to the doctor here, [to ask] if I can take my mask off to speak. I’m two meters away, all of you have been tested. You are all [virus] free. So, I’d like to take off my mask to speak to you.

Well, it’s been nearly three years since I left this union to turn myself in to the Federal Police. Obviously, I went against my will, because I knew they were arresting someone innocent. Many of those who are here today didn’t want me to give myself up.

I made the decision to turn myself in because it wouldn’t be right for a man at my age, a man whose history is intertwined with your history, to appear on newspaper covers and on television as a fugitive.

As I was fully aware of the untruths told about me, I made the decision then to prove my innocence inside the Federal Police headquarters, close to Judge [Sergio] Moro.

Before I left, we had written a book. I was the one who gave the final word on the book title – A Verdade Vencerá [The truth shall win]. I was so confident and so conscious of what was happening in Brazil that I was sure this day would come. And it did.

I would like to say to you that, politically, I was born inside this union. In 1969, I became this union’s shop steward, working at Villares. In 1972, I became first secretary and took care of social security. In fact, I took care of the elderly here. In 1975, I became president. In 1978, we organized the first strikes since the Osasco and Contagem strikes in 1968. And the rest of the story you know. And the creation of many of the movements here today, and I participated in almost all of them.

And the most important movement was when I became aware that, through the union, I wouldn’t be able to solve the country’s problems. At best, I would be able to accomplish a few things inside the factory, but that struggle was too economistic. Like, one day you win, the next you are defeated by inflation. You think you’re winning, and then the factory closes down, as Ford just did here, without any accountability.

The suffering the poor are going through in this country is infinitely bigger than any other crime they committed against me. It’s bigger than every pain I felt when I was jailed at the Federal Police.

So I decided I needed to get into politics and build political consciousness in the country. I always say that I am, in politics, the result of the political consciousness of the Brazilian working class. When it evolved, I evolved. And I think that justifies the invitation I made for you to be here.

Because all the people who were invited to be here are the people who were here when I went to the Federal Police, and are the people who believed before and kept on believing in my innocence, and that is why I made a point of inviting you here. Obviously, one or another coordinator of the Curitiba Vigil is not here, one of the most extraordinary things that have happened in my life.

When I decided to call this interview, many people were concerned with my humor. “How is Lula going to be? Is he angry? Will he be swearing at someone? Will he speak words of hope?”

And, sometimes, I felt like the story of the slave I read in a book. The slave was sentenced to 100 lashes. After the guy whipped him for the 98th time, he went to the slave and said “I will stop whipping you if you thank your master. If you thank your master, I won’t give you the two whippings left”. And the slave said, “How can I thank him? I’m all beaten up. Why should I stop? Give me the other two.”

So, if there is someone who has the right to be hurt about the lashes, that’s me. I’m not. People think that after the lashes, you just put some salt and pepper and the person will heal over time. No matter the scars that people carry.

I know I was the victim of the greatest legal lie ever told in 500 years of history. And that my wife, Marisa, died because of the pressure, making the CVA come earlier.

I was even prohibited from visiting my brother in his coffin, because they made the decision to take me to São Paulo, to take me to the 2nd Army barracks in Ibirapuera, and my brother, from his coffin would visit me. And they even said that no pictures could be taken.

So, if there is any Brazilian who is right to be feeling deep sorrows, that’s me. But I’m not. Sincerely, I’m not because the suffering the Brazilian people are going through, the suffering the poor people are going through in this country is infinitely bigger than any crime committed against me. Bigger than any pain I felt when I was arrested at the Federal Police.

Because there is no sharper pain for a man or a woman in any country in the world than waking up in the morning and not knowing whether they’ll be able to have a coffee and some bread and butter. There is no bigger pain for a human being than arriving home for lunch and not having a plate of beans and cassava flour to give to a child. There is nothing worse than being unemployed and, at the end of the month, not getting any pay to ensure the household’s livelihood.

It is this pain the Brazilian society is feeling now that makes me say to you: the pain I feel is nothing in face of the pain millions and millions of people are suffering.

It is much less pain than that suffered by the nearly 270,000 people who saw their loved ones pass away. Their parents, grandparents, mothers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters, grandchildren, who could not even say goodbye to them at a moment we deem the most sacred: the last visit and a last look in the face of those we love.

And many other people are suffering, which is why I want to express my solidarity in this interview with the victims of the coronavirus. With the relatives of the coronavirus victims. With the health care workers, above all, all of them, both public and private.

But especially with the national health care system SUS heroes, who for so long were politically discredited. Discredited for exercising their profession. Because only bad things happening with the SUS were shown, and when the coronavirus came, if not for the SUS, we would have lost many more people than we did. And all that in spite of all the money the government takes away from the SUS, a reckless government when it comes to health care.

You know that the vaccine issue is not about whether we have the money or not. It is about whether I love life or death. It is about knowing the role of a president of the Republic as regards people’s health care. Because a president is not elected to say nonsense and [spread] fake news. A president is not elected to encourage the purchase of weapons, as if we needed any weapons.

Those who need weapons are our armed forces. Those who need guns are our police officers, who often go out to the streets to fight against violence with an old, rusty 38-caliber gun. But not Brazilian society.

It is not the farmers who need weapons to kill landless workers or to kill small farmers. It is not the militias who need weapons to terrorize our country’s city outskirts. To kill boys and girls, mostly black boys and girls, the biggest victims of the weapons and stray bullets of this country.

We are going through a delicate moment. And I would like to talk a little about that with you. But before that I would like to continue thanking you all, Wagner.

First to you, thanking once again this union for allowing me this democratic space for us to have this chat.

My most special thanks to President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina, who had the decency of, as a candidate to the presidency of his country’s republic, against the far right, he had the courage to go to the Federal Police in Curitiba to visit me. What’s more, I asked him not to give any interviews so that he wouldn’t be attacked by the right in Argentina, and he said, “ Lula, I have no problem with what the right is going to say. My problem is what I came here to do. I came here to show you my solidarity, because I believe you are the victim of the biggest political lie there has ever been in Latin America”.

So, to President Alberto Fernandez, who was the first person to call me after Fachin’s ruling, and to the Argentine people for their solidarity, my thank you.

My thanks to our dear Pope Francis. Not just because he sent a person to visit me in Curitiba, to deliver a letter, whom the Federal Police did not let in because they thought he was an “impostor”, that he was not a representative of the Pope, yet he was a representative of the Pope. And later I received a letter from the Pope, besides the Pope’s beautiful pronouncements, in different moments.

And the fact that the Pope had the courage to receive me at the Vatican, where we had a long conversation, not about my case, but about the struggle against inequality, which is the greatest evil looming over the planet Earth today, a planet that is round, it is not a rectangle or a square. And Bolsonaro doesn’t know that.

Therefore, it is always important to repeat, if you can: the planet is round. He has an astronaut in the government, Minister Pontes, of Science and Technology, who flew over it in a Russian rocket when I was president. If he didn’t fall asleep, he saw the planet is round.

So, he could tell his president, “Hey, president, don’t say that nonsense anymore. Don’t believe in that Olavo de Carvalho, you know? Accept the world is round”. I am grateful because Pope Francis is, undeniably, the most important religious man we have today.

I want to thank the people, brother Aloizio Mercadante, of the Puebla Group. Leaders from all over Latin America who showed solidarity and trusted my innocence. I want to thank the São Paulo Forum, which is a leftist Latin-American organization. And I want to thank many political leaders. I must also mention brother Pepe Mujica, a former president of Uruguay, one of the most extraordinary persons I’ve ever met.

I cannot forget to thank Bernie Sanders for his solidarity, this brother and senator from the United States, almost a presidential candidate who left the campaign.

I want to very tenderly acknowledge the behavior of Mayor Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, who while running for her election had the courage, when the right was writing articles in newspapers saying that she would lose the race because she had taken me there, said, “Lula, to me, solidarity is worth more than an election. I brought you here to award you the title of Honorary Citizen, and I’m going to win my election because of my gesture”. And she did win the elections. For that I want to thank our dear Paris mayor.

I want to thank brother [José Luis Rodríguez] Zapatero, brother Evo Morales, Monk Coen, our dear Martinho da Vila, our dear Chico Buarque, our dear Noam Chomsky, one of the greatest living intellectuals of our time.

I want to thank my dear, old man … Before saying his name, this brother spent four years trying to give one of his farms in the São Paulo state heartland to the University of São Paulo (USP), for a USP campus. And USP spent four years without giving any answer. One day he looked for me, through an advisor of his, saying that he had a farm he wanted to donate to start a university.

Jail was not the suffering I thought it would be because I don’t know how many inmates in the history of humanity had so many people…

In less than 20 hours, brother Fernando Haddad, who is here, accepted the area. And this brother, I had the pleasure of visiting the university with him, fully operational. I don’t know what the university is like today after the destruction carried out by [Michel] Temer and Bolsonaro, but it is my dear brother Raduan Nassar, a brother who has already turned 80.

I want to thank my biographer, who never finishes my book, brother Fernando Morais. I want to thank Martin Schulz, who is a minister in Germany and represents the Social Democracy. And Roberto Gualtieri, from Spain’s Podemos, and former Italian prime minister [Massimo] D’Alema.

I want to thank from the bottom of my heart the people at the vigil. There are many people here who have been to the vigils, who spent a long time in the vigils, who stood up to some crazy things the Federal Police did.

There was a chief, I don’t know if he was healthy or not, if he drank or not, but he provoked the vigil. He even fired a gun to scare the vigil.

There were cops, neighbors offending vigil members every day. And all these people stayed there for 580 days. Every single morning, from Sunday to Sunday, shouting “President Lula”, having lunch and shouting “President Lula”, at two in the afternoon. And at seven in the evening, they shouted “President Lula”. And every single day I would wake up and go to sleep with women and men from all over Brazil shouting my name.

So, jail was not the suffering I thought it would be, because I don’t know how many prisoners in the history of humanity had so many people.

And here I have to thank the trade union movement. Thank, João Paulo, the Landless Workers Movement, because brother Baggio, there in Paraná [state], was a hero.

Thank the brothers and sisters of the MAB [from the Portuguese Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens, or Movement of those Affected by Dams], with their extraordinary work, and the brothers and sisters from the leftist parties who are here. Regrettably I don’t have everybody’s name, but I have to thank them.

Before thanking my lawyers, and the other lawyers, who not representing me in the lawsuit, still were lawyers, joined in solidarity, did so much all over the country.

I want to thank one person, someone I don’t know, but who’s called Claudio Wagner. He’s the expert who is investigating all of the hacker’s messages to prove the veracity of the denunciation.

What’s funny is that, over five long years, broad sectors of the press required no veracity from [Judge] Moro. Nor any veracity from the prosecutors, from the Federal Police, before publishing all the lies they told about me.

But now we have an expert, investigating the documents, which are at the Federal Police. So, it’s not a PT thing, it’s a Federal Police thing, authorized by a justice of the Supreme Court. And still, even with this expert conducting his investigation, you see the press.

And I find it funny that Moro says, “I don’t recognize that veracity”. The prosecutors say they don’t either, despite an expert’s assessment and their release authorized by the Supreme Court.

In my case they never asked for any authorization. It was funny because many times I went for a deposition and the police chief’s greatest concern was not the question but the leak. And the leak was selected.

A journalist was assigned at [newspaper] Folha; a journalist was assigned at [newspaper] Estadão; others at [magazines] Época, Veja, and IstoÉ; journalists especially assigned on countless television channels. And everybody remembers.

How many news stories of the main television news program showed an oil pipe, a gas pipe gushing out money, to talk for twenty or thirty minutes about the prosecutors’ charges without any evidence.

But they aired that. Against Lula there was no need to prove that the document was serious. Destroying was necessary. After all, a fingerless lathe operator had already done too much in this country. They needed to stop this fellow from thinking of governing the country again.

Because Latin America in 500 years had never worked with a social inclusion policy. Social inclusion was for 35% of society. Those who can afford to go to the theater are just a small fraction. Those who can afford to go to the movies are very few. Those who can afford to go to a restaurant are but a few. Those who can go to beautiful parks, to vernissages in this country, who go to exhibitions they are just a small portion.

The majority, stay where you are! After all, a worker’s role is to work. And the role played by the poor is to wait for the government’s aid policies, when they come.

And, because of that, I tell you, yesterday was a gratifying day. I am thankful to Justice Fachin because he did something we had been claiming since 2016.

The decision he belatedly made, five years later, was claimed by us in 2016. We said to exhaustion: Lula’s indictment, and the inclusion of Petrobras in Lula’s life, as a criminal, was the reason why the Car Wash prosecutors’ gang, not the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the prosecutorial taskforce gang, and Moro, they realized that the only way to catch me was to take me to Car Wash, because I had been discharged in several other lawsuits outside Car Wash; but their obsession, because they wanted to start a political party, was to criminalize me.

I was very happy because, after so many lies said against me, yesterday [March 9, 2021] I think we had an epic Jornal Nacional news program. Yesterday, I think those who watched television could not believe their eyes. For the first time, the truth prevailed.

The truth told by, not someone from the PT, by Gilmar Mendes, chief justice of the Supreme Court’s second panel; by [Justice] Ricardo Lewandowski, and even by [Justice] Carmen Lucia, who said they had never seen anything like that.

And I, as I believe I’ve got a little experience, was happy with the truth, because that is what the media is for. A journalist is not to go out to the streets to obey an editor’s orders.

You don’t know, but here in this room, there is nobody who has dealt with the press 10% of what I have. Since 1975 I deal with the press, and a lot of different press. And I’ve always said that the role of the press, when a journalist goes out to the streets, they are committed to telling the truth. The bare naked truth.

It doesn’t matter if it’s against the PT, against the PCdoB, against the PSOL, against the PMDB, against anyone. The bare naked truth, which is what we need a free press for.

Not a press that releases that which it politically and ideologically wishes. The ideology of the news story, of the paper, the TV channel, or of the magazine must be placed in a little corner, in the editorial, as what the magazine thinks. But you, journalists, must be free. And your commitment is to write what you saw. To write what the people told you, not what the editor wants you to write.

So, I got happy because I hope the truth, the truth as told by Globo yesterday, becomes Globo’s new standard behavior as regards the truth.

Globo [television network] doesn’t have to like or dislike the president. It doesn’t have to like or dislike a political party. That it should decide at the time of voting. But when the time comes for reporting, it has to inform the truth and only the truth.

And I was happy yesterday because I saw the truth delivered by two Supreme Court justices. And I hope it will continue like this. Because before [Justice] Gilmar [Mendes] would not appear. Before, [Justice] Lewandowski would not appear either. Only the accusers would appear for half an hour and, sometimes, Gilmar and Lewandowski, if ruling against the accusers, would get thirty seconds.

Of my lawyers I won’t tell you, because the effort it took for my lawyers to appear for 30 seconds was monumental, and they didn’t appear on many occasions. Even so I keep saying that press freedom is one of the greatest reasons for the upholding of democracy in any country in the world, anywhere on the planet Earth.

So, my brothers and sisters, I wish to thank my lawyers. It’s funny, my lawyers were not criminal lawyers, which is why so many times I was asked to hire someone famous. Someone really important, a former minister, someone who ….

And I said that to defend the truth, I didn’t need that. Once I was asked to talk to a person and that person said something like this to me, “I can even participate, but I need 3 million reals”. And I started wondering, if a person to defend me asks for three million and if I pay him or her, that is confirmation that I am a criminal. Where am I going to get three million to pay a lawyer?

And I wish to say to my dear Cristiano Zanin and my dear Valeska Teixeira, and their firm, thank you very much! Because what happened on Monday only happened because of courage.

Do you remember when I said I wouldn’t swap my dignity for my freedom and said that my ankle was not a pigeon’s ankle. I was not going to wear, you know, an ankle bracelet, that I was not go accept house arrest, because my home is not jail. Many people thought I was being too radical; I was just saying the way I felt. I was sure this day would come.

The day finally arrived with Fachin’s vote recognizing I had never committed any wrongdoing. Recognizing that I was never involved in Petrobras. And all the bitterness I felt, all the suffering I had to bear, it’s over.

I am in peace. Will the lawsuit go on? Yes, it will. No problem. I have already been found innocent in every lawsuit out of Curitiba. But we are going to keep on fighting to prove that Moro was unfair. Because he doesn’t have the right to turn himself into the biggest liar in the history of Brazil, and to be considered a hero by those who wanted to convict me. A god with feet of clay can’t stand long.

I am sure that today he is suffering much more than I did. I am sure that [prosecutor Deltan] Dallagnol must be suffering much more than I did, because they know they made mistakes, and I knew I hadn’t made any.

For that, my thanks to my lawyers. And my thanks to all the lawyers of Brazil who showed their solidarity. All of them. There were many people who acted in solidarity with me, many documents that were signed, and I am sincerely very thankful to all.

I want to thank, but before I thank [him], say that once I had a very important lawyer. When the news about the triplex came out, that lawyer said to me, “Hey, Lula”, one of Brazil’s most important criminal lawyers, “Hey Lula, this is the deal: you should not worry about the triplex thing, because there is no way that will succeed. That won’t stick, it won’t go ahead.”

They invented an offshore [firm] in Panama, invented a businesswoman with that offshore, only to say that that businesswoman and that the offshore had connections with [construction company] OAS and Petrobras and, therefore, that was what they needed to convict me.

And the triplex, they couldn’t establish a case with, and for which they never presented a single document, never presented a cent, was the reason for my conviction to nine years in prison. And to pay a fine that is worth fifty times the apartment!

And now Boulos is a victim of the apartment, as he is indicted for having occupied the apartment. It’s funny because, if I was the owner, I never sued Boulos. So I want to know who sued this lad who broke into an apartment they said was mine. And I haven’t sued him, but someone has.

But you must know this, Boulos, you have all my solidarity. If need be for our breaking in on your behalf, we will.

Well, I want to greet my dear Gleisi Hoffmann, whose role was not only to preside over the party, but also to defend the PT and me.

You know it’s really tough. May you never have to see your face in the newspapers as you are being incriminated for any crime at all. Because you will realize that a lot of people who said they were your friends will soon disappear. Weeks and months will go by without you ever receiving a call.

People who were after you, 24 hours a day, will disappear. I don’t wish this evil to anyone, which is why when I was president, I made three speeches at the swearing in of heads of the prosecutor’s office, and I used to say, I consider the Prosecutor’s Office a very important institution. As this is a very important institution, it is imperative that the person acting as prosecutor be absolutely honest and serious.

We cannot go on releasing people’s names without any evidence. We can’t criminalize people before we can prove they committed a crime. And that is what happened. [Operation] Car Wash made a deal with the media. And that was necessary, because that was Moro’s theory in an article he wrote in 1994, where he said, “only the press can help convict a person”. And after that anything goes.

So, I wish to thank Gleise, for all her work, as a sister, as a lawyer, as president of the party. I want to thank brother Fernando Haddad, who also visited me as a lawyer, not as a PT brother, my party brother, Emílio used to go as a lawyer.

I made two extraordinary friends, people I didn’t know, two lawyers from Curitiba who visited me for 580 days, every single day. One of them went in the morning, the other one in the afternoon. They just didn’t go on Saturdays and Sundays. Can you imagine two people coming to visit you every single day?

One came with lunch, sent by Janja, the other arrived in the afternoon with dinner sent by Janja. You know, sometimes the food was cold, but I ate it and didn’t complain, because I knew that the people were starving outside. I heated it because I had a little device to heat food. A shop floor worker knows how to heat food in a lunchbox. So, I didn’t really eat cold food, it was all warm.

Well, once Janja sent me some soup, soup that was inside a thermos. And I think the soup kept on cooking inside the thermos and it wouldn’t come out of the bottle. The grains had swollen, I think it was lentils, and I couldn’t get the food out of the thermos bottle. But I kept on pulling it out with a spoon, tapping the bottom of the bottle until the soup was no longer soup, but it tasted good.

I want to thank governors Rui Costa, Wellington Dias, Camilo Santana, Fátima Bezerra, and all the governors of [Brazil’s] Northeast, and from all over the country, who are fighting to provide vaccines.

It’s a titanic struggle against an incompetent government, against an incompetent minister of health, and against people who do not respect life. So, my solidarity with the governors!

I want to thank all my brothers and sisters at the trade union central bodies, thank all the brothers and sisters from the political parties present here today, to thank the social movements, the CUT, Força Sindical, CGTB, MST, MTST, my brothers and sisters at [national students’ union] UNE, who played an extraordinary role during the time I was in the government.

And I want to thank you, the Brazilian press, for after all I said here today, you can be sure that not even [television mogul] João Roberto Marinho likes the press better than I do. Nor does he want more democracy in the press than I do, much less the president of the Republic.

My thanks to all of you. Because I know that you will continue working to try to improve the role of the press in building the Brazilian democracy.

Brothers and sisters, I was thinking of what I would talk with you about today. Yesterday I was up till midnight scribbling a few things, removing things, changing something, and I reached the conclusion that I had to talk to you a little about the situation in this country. It would be a mistake on my part not to tell you that Brazil doesn’t deserve what it is going through.

I’m 75 years old. I joke that I have the energy of a thirty-year-old and that I’m as horny as a twenty-year-old. I think that is why I haven’t taken the vaccine yet, because they don’t know if I am 30, or 20, or 75. But now I’m saying it’s 75 and that next week, God willing, I will take my vaccine. I will take my vaccine. I don’t care from which country it is from, I don’t care if it is two or just one shot; I am going to take my vaccine, and I want to advertise that to the Brazilian people.

Do not follow any stupid decision by the president of the Republic or by the minister of health. Take the vaccine. Take the vaccine, because the vaccine is one of the things that can rid of Covid.

But even if you take the vaccine, don’t go thinking that you can take the vaccine and just take off your shirt, go to a bar, ask for a cold beer, and meet for a chat, no way! You must keep isolated, and you must continue wearing a mask and using alcohol. For God’s sake.

This virus, this night, killed almost 2,000 people. The problem is that these deaths are being naturalized, because we hear about them in the morning, and in the afternoon, and in the evening, you turn on a television channel, read a paper, listen to a radio station, always speaking of death, so you start naturalizing these deaths in the people’s minds, but those were deaths, many of them, that could have been avoided. Avoided if we had a government that did the basics.

You see the art of governing is not easy; it is the art of decision making. A president of the Republic who respected himself and respected the Brazilian people, the first thing he would have done in March last year would be to set up a crisis committee.

Bringing together the minister of health, state secretaries of health, Fiocruz scientists, Butantan scientists, and other scientists. And every week, guide Brazilian society on what to do.

We had to prioritize the money and buy all the vaccines we could anywhere on the planet Earth. There were moments vaccines were available and we refused them. Pfizer even offered vaccines, and we didn’t want them, the World Health Organization.

Because there was a president who invented a certain chloroquine. There was a president who said that anyone afraid of Covid is a pussy, that Covid was a little flu, that Covid was a coward’s thing, that he was a former athlete, and so he wouldn’t catch it. That is not the role, in a civilized world, of a president of the Republic.

A president of the Republic should have a crisis committee and every week have a crisis committee spokesperson orienting society, visiting the states, visiting cities, checking hospital conditions, working to set up field hospitals wherever they are needed. Trying to prevent oxygen from finishing as happened in Manaus. That should be the role of a president of the Republic.

Now, he doesn’t know what it is to be president of the Republic. All his life he was nothing. He was not even a captain. He was a lieutenant who got promoted to captain because he retired. And he retired because he wanted to blow up a barracks, because he became a soldiers’ trade unionist, he wanted a pay raise.

After he retired, he never did anything in life. He was a councilman and representative for 32 years. He was in office but made a point of trying to convey the idea to society that he was not a politician.

Can you imagine the power of fanaticism? Through fake news, the world elected Trump. Through fake news, the world elected Bolsonaro.

Because your dad or your mom must have said one day, “Son, lies fly supersonic jets, the truth travels on the back of a tortoise”. So, a lie is much more powerful, because it is easier to believe. The truth you have to explain, a lie no.

I learned one of these days that there are 50 million people all over the world who believe the Earth is flat. That is, do you realize the kind of madness that is taking hold of this country?

Many deaths could have been avoided, many deaths. And that the role of the churches is to help to orient people, it is not to sell a seed of beans or hold services with a crowd of people not wearing masks, saying there is a medicine that can cure you.

I believe that Jesus can save people, but the people need to help themselves. If a person is ignorant, doesn’t wear a mask, doesn’t go into isolation, doesn’t wash his or her hands as necessary, God is going to say, “Hold on, I’ve got too many people to take care of, my child. Take care of yourself!”

So, this country is in total disarray, divided because there is no government at all. I am going to repeat that, this country has no government.

This country doesn’t take care of the economy, this country doesn’t take care of employment, this country doesn’t take care of wages, this country doesn’t take care of health, this country doesn’t take care of the environment, this country doesn’t take care of education, this country doesn’t take care of the youths, this country doesn’t take care of the kids in our suburbs. So, what do they take care of?

How long has it been since you, my brother union leaders, last heard the words investment, development, job generation, income distribution? It’s been a very long time.

I don’t know if [trade union confederation] CUT has already published the document, has met with the labor movement, but there is something I’ve been wanting for a long time to be produced, and finally it seems [statistics and economic labor think tank] Dieese produced… do you remember when the Prosecutor’s Office used the media to sell the big story that this country had recovered 4 billion reals for Petrobras?

You are tired of hearing this, “Oh, that Dallagnol is going to Globo for a meeting and is going to say that he recovered one billion, two billion reals”. Do you know the losses that [Operation] Car Wash [caused]…I’m saying that Car Wash could have investigated corruption, arrested dishonest business owners, arrested dishonest politicians, but could have allowed the companies to keep operating.

Because, in the end, just for you to have an idea, on account of Operation Car Wash, Brazil failed to receive investments worth 172 billion reals. According to this Dieese survey, the country lost 4 million reals. I’m not talking about the 14 million unemployed workers. All I’m saying is that, on account of Car Wash, the havoc it wreaked in this country’s job generation capacity, it made 4 million reals and 400,000 jobs.

Only in construction, 1.1 million direct jobs. Now if you get the oil and gas, shipbuilding, and steel production chains, how many jobs do they account for? This has never been said. Not a single institute has had the courage to publish the loss this country has incurred. This country that, when the PT was governing it, came to be the sixth economy in the world.

I remember that in Copenhagen, during the Olympics congress, I would joke with France and England, saying, “Get ready, because we have already left you behind, now I want to outrank Germany. Get ready, because Brazil wasn’t born to be small, Brazil was born to be big.”

And that is why some rulers think big, because there are those who think small, they are small. This country came to be ranked the sixth economy in the world. In every poll, it was the most admired country in the world, the country where the people were happiest and most believed in the future.

It was a highly respected country by China, Russia, India, Germany, France, England, by the United States. This country had a project of nation-building. What does this country have today?

You have never heard me talk about privatization. Who thinks that only the private sector is good?

A government-owned company, like [bank] Banco do Brasil, a state-run company like Petrobras, well run, as it was during our government, which became the world’s fourth energy company.

Petrobras invested 40 billion reals a year. We did not discover the deep-water, pre-salt oil reserve to export crude oil. We discovered the pre-salt to export byproducts, for us to have a powerful petrochemical company in Brazil.

That is why we coined the motto, “the pre-salt is our passport to the future”. That is why we put 50% of the royalties in education, why we thought of establishing a Brazilian people fund. All that is being destroyed.

They have sold our [fuel distribution company] BR, we don’t know who they sold it to. A company that made, in 2019, 70 billion reals was sold for 3.9 billion reals!

Have you seen [economy minister] Guedes say a word about economic growth, about development and income distribution? No, it’s just sell, sell. Let’s sell. Now, once they sell and spend the money on current expenses, the country will be poorer.

The GDP will not grow and the debt will keep on growing. Because the only way for you to reduce Brazil’s debt is not to stop spending on what is necessary. Because if you have to invest in education and health, if you have to invest in transportation and infrastructure, you will have to put the money.

What will make our debt-to-GDP ratio fall is economic growth, is public investment. Because what’s the logic of public investment? If the State does not trust its policies and doesn’t invest, why would a businessperson do so?

I will give you some facts that you might not know of, I’m going to tell you because I’m here inside the union.

When this country had as president of the Republic a metalworker in 2008, the auto industry sold 4 million cars a year in this country. Thirteen years later, this country sells 2 million cars. That is, today the auto industry is half of what it used to be in 2008. Because there is no chance of investment if there is no demand. For you to have demand, you must have jobs.

Why do you think the PT is fighting for a 600-real emergency wage? It’s not because we think the State has to pay 600 reals for the rest of one’s life. It’s because the State can only stop paying when the State is generating jobs and the people making an income, from their work, then you don’t need an emergency wage.

But, while the government doesn’t take care of the jobs, of income, you must have an emergency wage so that people will not starve. You don’t need to read Marx to understand that. You don’t need to read an article by [economist] Delfim Neto to understand that. It’s your own home’s logic.

If a woman, your wives and family have the money, she goes to the supermarket, to the street market, buys a new notebook, buys a pair of shoes, buys a shirt, everything starts working again. If she doesn’t, she stays home prostrated, in front of a stove waiting, “When will I ever have the money to buy anything?”

Brazil is not his [Bolsonaro’s] and the militias’. Brazil belongs to 230 million people. And these people want to work, to eat, to have a home, to have leisure.

Because governing a country… a president of the Republic must talk with the unionists. A president cannot possibly refuse to talk with the workforce.

A president must talk with businesspeople, and it seems to me that Bolsonaro only talks with the Louro from [department store] Havan. Ana Braga’s pet Louro died, Louro José, but there is the Louro from Havan, it’s like a chat, since there is no productive meeting with business.

I had a council of 100 people. Attending it were unionists, big businesspeople, indigenous people, evangelical preachers, Catholic priests and bishops, black people. Because I wanted to listen to society. During my term in office, we held 74 national conferences to listen to what society wanted.

Bolsonaro doesn’t bring anybody together. He gets together militiamen. He doesn’t show his face in the interviews. As he leaves the [presidential home] Palácio [da Alvorada], he stops to say, “I’m releasing guns, I’m releasing four more guns, two more assault rifles, pretty soon there will be cannons for everyone.”

These people don’t need guns. The people need employment, work contracts, wages, books, education. The State must be present in this country’s city outskirts. The State must be there with education, culture, health, social assistance policies. That is the role of a president of the Republic.

Hasn’t Bolsonaro read about anything we did? You, Haddad, haven’t you published any book for Bolsonaro to read? So many primers we published. Hasn’t the PCdoB written a primer to send to Bolsonaro showing him it is possible to govern differently? Hey Miguel, your [trade union confederation] Força Sindical should write one, and Sérgio have his CUT write another one for him [Bolsonaro] to know it is possible to govern.

You don’t know how happy I was every time a worker showed me a rump steak and said, “I’m gonna have rump and beer!” It’s a fantastic thing.

You don’t know the happiness it is to see a small farmer, represented here by brother João Paulo of the Landless Workers’ Movement, produce and know the price is guaranteed, know that his produce will not stay in a basement in his house or rotting in the sun and in the rain.

We would buy the product and distribute it if necessary, but we had to build stocks if just to regulate prices. Hey all, how is it possible that cooking gas now costs 105 reals? How can the onion increase by 60% and tomato by I don’t know how much? How can electric energy rise so much?

How can gasoline, hey David, you are an oil worker, I’m going to take this moment to say this in front of you. It is inadmissible that the price of Brazilian fuel should follow the international price if we are not importers of oil. Brazil is an oil exporter.

If we produce the raw material here, if we take it from the bottom of the sea, if we can refine it here… we produce aviation fuel, we produce diesel, and with the same quality as produced in the European Union.

Because before I arrived at the presidency, this you don’t know, because the press never released anything. Our gasoline had 1,500 ppm, parts per… I don’t know how much, million, something like that. I don’t understand it, but I know it was like that.

We made it go down to 50, European standard, you know what that is? European standard for when you walk the streets you won’t be breathing carbon dioxide from polluted gasoline, polluted diesel oil. So we made our refineries comply with world standards. And now we are importing gasoline from the USA and diesel oil from the USA. That’s not logical.

In 1953, when we were starting Petrobras, newspaper O Estado de São Paulo and its editorial wrote articles saying that Brazil was ignorant, that Brazil had no need for oil, didn’t need oil, that Brazil had to buy it from the United States.

Now we are back in 53: Brazil has the raw material…you are young and might not remember everything, but when we discovered the pre-salt, you know what [journalist] Miriam Leitão was saying? She said something like, “Well, yes, we’ve found oil in the pre-salt layer, but we can’t explore it because we don’t have the technology and the barrel of oil will be too expensive.” Do you remember that, David? What a nerve she had!

Not only are we looking for oil 6, 7 thousand meters deep, but the cost of the barrel is just one dollar more expensive than the barrel from Saudi Arabia, whose oil is almost out in the sunlight. Do you know what this means?

This means investment in research and technology we developed at Petrobras. That is why there was a coup against [former president] Dilma, because no oil in Brazil can stay in the hands of Brazilians. It must be in the hands of the Americans because they need reserves for war.

After World War 2, they learned that only those with huge oil reserves can win a war, because they know that Germany lost the war because they couldn’t get to Baku, in Russia, to have access to gasoline.

So, the rich countries have huge reserves of fuel. All of them. And we, such a huge country, in a country that has the most important technology for drilling in deep waters, are getting rid of this to meet the interests of the oil market god.

The economy is bad, and Covid is taking over the country. It appears that the Manaus strain kills, that it is 10 times more contagious than the other strain and kills two times more, or that’s what I heard some scientists saying.

This country could be researching vaccines and making vaccines. When H1N1 appeared, in 2000 and something, I was president of the Republic, and we vaccinated 80 million Brazilians in three months. This country has a health system that knows how to do that.

Where is our dear (vaccination campaign character] Zé Gotinha? Bolsonaro sent him away because he thought he was a PT activist. He was not a PT activist. He was invented by a lot of important people involved in this country’s health care who had nothing to do with the PT. The vaccination character was nonpartisan, he was a humanist. And where is he now? Gone.

I wanted you to meditate about that.

This country has no government, this country has no minister of health, this country has no minister of the economy, this country has a braggart. The president, because he knows nothing, says “it’s all [minister of economy] Guedes’s calculations”.

And in that regard, you know the country has become impoverished. The GDP has fallen, the wage mass has fallen, retail sales have fallen, food production for the people has become unsustainable, and the president doesn’t care about that. The president is just concerned about selling more guns.

It must be repeated many times for the sake of Marielle. It must. He has to give farmers a guarantee by saying, “buy assault rifles, buy machine guns, if a landless worker shows up, shoot him down”.

I feel quite young for a fight, so I want you to know that I will not give up, ever; giving up is not part of my dictionary.

As Trump said, if you hear anyone saying bad things about me, beat the person up and I’ll pay the legal fees. Bolsonaro will call criminal militiamen.

Lastly, my sisters and brothers, I wanted to tell you that when you reach the age I’ve reached and you get from God the generosity I have been granted, there is no more room for hatred, no more room for, I’d say, anger or hate. I’ve been blessed by God for many things.

If we fail from a sociological or philosophical point of view – did you like that Boulos, my saying sociological? – if we were, Haddad, to analyze all this, we wouldn’t have made, Nobre, the revolution of creating new unionism in 78, because it was impossible to create anything. But we did.

We wouldn’t have freedom of party organization, and I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of creating the most important Latin-American leftist party. And much less of being president.

Do you remember who I ran in my first election against, against Dr. Ulisses Guimarães, Dr. Leonel de Moura Brizola, Dr. Paulo Salim Maluf, Dr. Mario Covas, Dr. Afif, Dr. Aureliano… they were all doctors!

The only guy who was not a doctor was me. And I went to the second round. And I didn’t win because [television network] Globo cheated me. Globo orchestrated that debate thing, as recognized by the Globo directors of the time.

So, I’ve been blessed by God. I want to finish by saying that I am quite happy with life. Car Wash vanished from my life. I don’t expect the people who accuse me will stop accusing me, I don’t.

I am pleased that what my lawyers have been saying for a very long time has been recognized: the president is innocent, the president is not the owner of the apartment.

We defeated 11 lawsuits over five years. That is, we were 100% successful with {Justice] Fachin’s decision. All of a sudden, my four lawsuits had disappeared. Why didn’t Fachin do that before? I’ve been saying this for five years.

I know it is embarrassing for many people who accused me to stop accusing me. It’s tough, because once you get on the lying road, it’s difficult to go back. But look at how I am so much more serene that [Globo anchor] William Bonner yesterday breaking the news. Look at how I look tranquil, that truth prevailed, that truth will continue to prevail.

That’s why, my brothers and sisters, I can say to you that I want to dedicate the rest of the life I am left with, and I hope it is long, really long – you start enjoying life when you are closer to heaven –, to walk all over this country and talk to the people.

The people do not have the right to allow a guy who is causing the troubles Bolsonaro is causing to the country to continue governing and to continue selling the country. I don’t know which attitude, but some attitude we must take, so that the people can start dreaming again.

This country has had dreams, this country has made accomplishments. We dreamed about making this country big. We built and strengthened the Mercosur. We built Unasur, because we wanted to create a Latin-American economic bloc, a bloc with 400 million people, a reasonably big GDP, to negotiate on a par with Europe.

Because Europe only wants to negotiate for them to sell their industrial products and for us to sell agricultural products. No. We don’t want to make of agribusiness, we respect agribusiness, agribusiness has much technology, it is very important, but Brazil wants to be an industrialized country. Brazil wants to have new industries; the country wants to have new technologies.

Don’t be afraid of me. I am radical. And I am radical because I want to get to the root causes of this country’s problems. I am radical because I want to help build a fair world. A more humane world.

We dreamed of that. We created the BRICS, we created the BRICS’ bank, we created the Bank of the South. Brazil had a project of nation-building, Brazil had a sovereignty project. Because it’s been 500 years since we were discovered.

When are we going to take care of our own noses? When will I wake up in the morning without having to ask permission to breathe to the US government? When will I wake up in the morning knowing that my people are all having breakfast, that they will have lunch and dinner, that the children are at school, that the children have access to health and culture? When will we wake up? This is possible. We have proved that.

So, my brothers and sisters, it is for building this dream and helping to make it come true that I feel so young. I feel young to still fight a lot. I want you to know that I will never give up; giving up doesn’t exist in my dictionary.

I learned with my mother to always fight, to always believe, always try, because if we don’t believe in ourselves, no one will. If you won’t respect yourself, no one will.

To the people who have mistreated me all these years, I want to tell you… I want to talk with the political class. Because we often, Haddad, we often, Boulos, quite often we refuse to talk with certain politicians, it’s in our nature.

But see, I would like National Congress only to have good people, leftist people, progressive people, but it’s not like that. The people didn’t think like that. The people elected whom they wanted to elect. We have to talk with whomever is there to see if we can fix this country.

I need to talk with the entrepreneurs. I want to know why they are so crazy as not to realize that, if they want to grow economically, if they want the stock exchange to rise, if they want the economy to grow, the people to have an income, the people to live in dignity, otherwise there is no growth.

Is that difficult or are we going to be held hostage of the market god that only wants to make money no matter what?

We had the experience of the 2008 crisis, with the US subprime and, later on, with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. And when they go bankrupt, who puts the money to bail them out? The State! The State they reject, the State they destroy. When they go bankrupt, the State puts the money needed to bail them out.

In the United States, when the housing system collapsed with the bubble, with the subprime, they first helped the banks, and only then they thought about the wretched who had lost their homes. When will we ever think about those at the bottom first?

So, don’t be afraid of me. I am a radical. I am a radical because I want to get down to the root causes of this country’s problems. I am radical because I want to help build a fair world. A more humane world. A world in which working and asking for a pay raise is not a crime. A world in which a woman is not made fun of just for being a woman. A world in which people are not made fun of for what they want to be. A world in which come to definitively end this damned racial prejudice in this country. A world in which there are no more stray bullets. A world in which the youths can go about freely anywhere without worrying about being shot.

A world in which the people are happy wherever they wish to be, in which the people may be whatever they decide to be. A world in which we have to respect each other’s religiosity, each one being what one wishes to be, each one with whatever spirituality they choose to have. No one is obliged to have my religion, have whichever you choose, the one you believe in. People can be LGBT, and we have to respect what the people do. That world is possible, that world is absolutely possible.

And that is why I invite you to fight together in this country to make sure that each and every Brazilian, regardless of age, takes the vaccine.

And for that we must force the government to buy the vaccine, but at the same time, we must fight for the emergency wage, and at the same time we must fight for investments in job generation, especially driven by infrastructure.

We have to fight for a relief policy for microentrepreneurs, to the small Brazilian businesses, who can’t bear it and go bankrupt. How many restaurants have closed down? So many drugstores have closed down. So many laundries have closed down. So many beauty parlors. What is the government for? For trying and finding a solution for these people.

So, everybody, now I wish to apologize to you, because as [Justice] Gilmar Mendes spoke too much yesterday, so have I today, but you will excuse me because it’s been five years since I last spoke with the press.

You know the last time I gave an interview for television? It was for Roberto D’avila, on GloboNews, five or six years ago. Maybe four years ago.

I became some sort of virus: don’t touch Lula, don’t listen to Lula. Once I was sentenced to three years in jail in Manaus. Do you know what my weapon was? The judge said I had a sharp tongue. So, I want to say to you to defend the Brazilian people, to defend the things that will save this country, I will keep my tongue sharp.

And I want to thank you, because if it hadn’t been for you, possibly I wouldn’t have made it here.

Thank you very much!


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