São Paulo – In a speech to thousands of people in São Paulo on Friday night (Jun. 10), Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a predecessor and fellow partisan of now-suspended President Dilma Rousseff, criticized the government of interim President Michel Temer and called on Temer to “allow Brazilians to have [President] Dilma [Rousseff] back in government and run for office in 2018 to see if you'll become president.”
“I’m not going to shout ‘Down with Temer’ because it doesn’t seem appropriate for me [to say that],” Lula said as he made the appeal to the interim president and accused him of “dismantling the country. They don’t want to rule this country, they want to sell it. They don’t know how to rule, all they know is how to privatize.”
At another point in his speech, Lula criticized Temer’s cabinet reshuffle. “Failing to recognize violence on the periphery, against women, against the poor, and close down the Ministry of Human Rights is something inconceivable. If the solution for our country were to cut down ministries, then we’d better take down the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning, and maintain the ministries that address the poor and take care of the society.”
Lula went on to criticize José Serra, the foreign minister appointed by Temer, saying Serra has “admitted that Brazil must not meddle in the affairs of the big countries and that we are small and poor. That the US and Europeans are the ones that should lead, and we should bend our heads down and oblige. Well, I want to tell Serra and all those underdogs in this country—I want to tell you I’ve learned in my life that we don’t get respected because we are rich or big or have an atom bomb. I learned that we should all be equal. Brazilians are no less than Americans.”
Lula said that he has been “upset” with news that he has been ill: “There are people writing that I’m ill. But I’m not. I'm better now than when I was 50.” Lula was overcome with emotion at two points during in his speech. The first one was when he talked about the possibility of being jailed. “Every day I read they want to put me in jail, they want to jail Lula, they want to find something [wrongdoing] about Lula, or they want someone to implicate Lula,” he said.
The second moment was when he talked about his telephone conversations wiretapped as part of Operation Car Wash corruption investigations becoming public: “I can’t accept that, there’s a motive behind that, which is ruining my reputation so I won’t be able to run for president. But I tell you, the more they provoke me, the higher the odds that I run for office in 2018.”
Overcome with emotion, the former president wrapped up his speech calling for respect for him and his family: “If they think they will scare me with threats, let me say that anyone who has survived starvation until they were five years old is not afraid of threats,” he said. The former president was loudly applauded after his speech. He posed for a lot of photos and left without speaking to journalists.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.