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Free Lula!

April 9, 2018

Joint Statement from the International Network in Defense of Humanity, Caribbean Chapter, and Caribbean Peace Movement

Lula’s supporters protest his imprisonment. – Photo: Morning Star, a London-based cooperative newspaper

The International Network in Defense of Humanity, Caribbean Chapter, and the Caribbean Peace Movement (CPM) are disgusted and outraged by the latest episode in the orchestrated illicit right-wing oligarchical campaign to target and “bring down” by foul means one of the most outstanding and respected leaders of South America’s 21st century Socialist Movement: namely, the conviction by a powerful right-wing judge of Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, former president of Brazil, on trumped up corruption charges, and Lula’s incarceration on a 12-year prison sentence.

We Caribbean people find it almost beyond belief that a respected and revered people’s champion like Lula – the highly principled president who lifted millions of downtrodden Brazilians out of miserable poverty and who gave Brazil a new and outstanding image in the international community – could be so brazenly attacked and victimized in this manner by the Brazilian capitalist establishment and their traditional right-wing collaborators in the U.S. State Department.

For us in the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to arrive at some understanding of the injustice and infamy of this conviction and the imprisonment of Lula, we would have to imagine our greatest and most revered historic political leaders – Barbados’ Errol Barrow and Jamaica’s Michael Manley, for example – being hounded down by corrupt and vindictive establishment prosecutors and judges and railroaded into prison!

As profoundly difficult (if not impossible) as it is for us to contemplate such a scenario in our Caribbean Community, this is precisely what has been unfolding in South America over the past five years or so!

We Caribbean people find it almost beyond belief that a respected and revered people’s champion like Lula could be so brazenly attacked and victimized in this manner by the Brazilian capitalist establishment and their traditional right-wing collaborators in the U.S. State Department.

We need to recall that an historic South American anti-imperialist and socialist movement emerged in the early years of the 21st century, and that by the year 2012 several outstanding socialist or progressive nationalist leaders had been elected to power by the South American masses throughout the region: Hugo Chavez in Venezuela; Evo Morales in Bolivia; Rafael Correa in Ecuador; Nestor and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina; Fernando Lugo Mendez in Paraguay; Lula in Brazil; Jose “Pepe” Mujica in Uruguay; Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua; and Michelle Bachelet in Chile. And of course they joined Fidel Castro’s revolutionary Cuba, which had been carrying the banner of socialism in the Americas and the Caribbean since 1959!

This was a truly historic development and constituted the high point of the centuries-long historic struggle of the masses of working-class and impoverished South Americans to transform the unequal, elitist, oppressive, capitalistic and oligarchical societies that had been foisted upon them ever since the Spanish imperialists colonized the region in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Here then was a tremendous breakthrough in the progressive, working-class movement to develop new, just, equal and inclusive South American societies. And the impressive results were there for all to see in the millions of people who were lifted out of poverty and the hundreds of new socially uplifting programs and institutions that were birthed in virtually all of the countries in question, but especially in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

But of course, the powerful traditional South American oligarchical classes and institutions – and their North American and European masters and collaborators – did not simply fade away!

Rather, they, in partnership with the powerful U.S. State Department and the international capitalist establishment, have carried out a vicious and unprincipled counter-offensive in which they have deployed every conceivable weapon – ranging from physical assassination, to economic sabotage, to trumped up corruption and impeachment charges – against the South American socialist leaders and their governmental administrations.

Of course, the whole idea is that since they can’t defeat these popular democratically elected leaders at the polls, then find some underhanded, illicit way to circumvent the electoral process and secure their removal!

The tragic outline of this treasonous political, economic and judicial insurgency campaign against the South American progressive and revolutionary forces is as follows:

1) 2012 – the impeachment of Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo Mendez on ridiculous charges of “insecurity” and “nepotism”;

2) 2013 – the suspected assassination of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez;

3) 2016 – the impeachment of Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff on ludicrous charges of so-called “administrative misconduct” and “disregard for the federal budget”;

4) 2016 – the effort by the fascist opposition in Venezuela to launch impeachment and recall processes against President Nicolas Maduro;

5) 2017 – the prosecution of Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner on a trumped up charge of “trying to defraud the government”; and

6) 2017 – the prosecution and conviction of Lula on an equally trumped up charge of accepting a bribe when he was president of Brazil.

And it should be noted for the record that the witch hunts against both Lula and Cristina Kirchner are also “preemptive strikes” that are designed to eliminate them from competing in up-coming presidential elections that they are both highly favored to win!

We in the International Network in Defense of Humanity, Caribbean Chapter, and the Caribbean Peace Movement fully comprehend that nothing less than a “war” is being waged against the socialist, nationalist and other progressive forces of South America and the Caribbean and that a variety of legal and constitutional processes are being twisted out of shape, bastardized and prostituted and used for illicit political purposes.

At this time, however, we wish to place our focus squarely and specifically on Brazil.

We hereby denounce the egregious injustice that has been inflicted on Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva! We wish him, the officers and members of the Workers Party of Brazil, and the masses of working-class Brazilians to know that we are with them in this struggle.

The International Network in Defense of Humanity, Caribbean Chapter, and the Caribbean Peace Movement (CPM) hereby CALL upon the governments of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and indeed upon ALL nations and governments that have a commitment to decency and justice to raise their voices and publicly demand that Lula be freed and that he be permitted to compete in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil.

We say “FREE LULA!”

SIGNED:

David Comissiong, Coordinator, Caribbean Chapter, International Network in Defense of Humanity

Hope Mc Nish, President. Jamaica Peace Council

David Denny, General Secretary, Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration

Gerald Perreira, Leader, Organization for the Victory of the People (Guyana)

Robert “Bobby” Clarke, General Secretary, Clement Payne Movement (Barbados)

Lalu Hanuman, President, Caribbean Against Apartheid in Palestine

Trevor Prescod MP, President, Israel Lovell Foundation (Barbados)

Khafra Kambon, Coordinator, Caribbean Pan-African Network

Garcin Malsa, President, International Movement for Reparations (Martinique)

Edson Crawford, Executive Officer, Peoples Empowerment Party (Barbados)

Fuad Abubakr, Leader, New National Vision (Trinidad and Tobago)

Cuban Barbadian Friendship Association, Bridgetown, Barbados

Onkphra Wells, Chairman, Pan African Coalition of Organizations (Barbados)

Friends of Venezuela Solidarity Committee, Bridgetown, Barbados

Trevor Browne, Chairman, Jamaica Cuba Friendship Association

Francisco Manuel Perez Santana, Citizen, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Cikiah Thomas, Chairman, Global Afrikan Congress

Anthony “Gabby” Carter, Cultural Ambassador, Barbados

Ana Polyte, Member, Venezuela Institute For Culture and Cooperation (St. Lucia)

Christophe Simpson, Leader, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism (Jamaica)

David Abdullah, Leader, Movement for Social Justice (Trinidad & Tobago)

To learn more, contact Gerald Perreira at mojadi94@gmail.com.

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