The Standard-Bearer of the Latin American Left Is out of Prison and Ready to Fight

“They didn’t arrest a man,” Brazil’s Lula says, “they tried to silence an idea.”

Lula, Brazil's former president, greets supporters outside the Sindicato dos Metalurgicos do ABC on Saturday in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

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A day after being released from prison, Brazil’s former leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the standard-bearer of the Latin American left, pledged to fight right-wing leaders across Latin America, starting with Brazil’s ecocidal authoritarian president, Jair Bolsonaro.

“I want to tell them I’m back,” said Lula, as he is known, in a 45-minute speech to cheering supporters in front of a metalworkers union headquarters in São Bernardo do Campo.

The 74-year-old was imprisoned in 2018 after being found guilty of receiving bribes for public contracts. Lula has denied those charges, saying he was the victim of political persecution. “They didn’t arrest a man,” he said Friday after a judge ordered his release, “they tried to silence an idea and ideas don’t go away.”


And then Lula dropped a sizzle reel on Twitter.

Lula has received support on Twitter from leaders all over the world, including Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. 

Lula served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and left the presidency with “sky-high approval ratings.” He won’t be able to run for office until 2025 because of Brazil’s so-called “clean record” law, which prevents candidates from running for public office for eight years if they’ve lost their political jobs because of corruption, but he’s already planning his political comeback.

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro asked his followers on Twitter not to give ammunition to “the scoundrel.” 

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