USW stands in solidarity with Brazilian President Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva

In Brazil today, the democratically elected government is under attack by conservative sectors of society who want to regain power.  

The Worker’s Party’s and former metalworker’s union leader  Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva was elected President in 2002, and re-elected for a second term.  Thereafter, Dilma Rousseff, also from the Worker’s Party was elected the first woman President of the country, and re-elected for a current second term.

Lula’s two terms in office were considered by all as landmarks for economic growth, with an emphasis on employment and income distribution. With rapid social improvements, the Brazilian GDP became the seventh in the world. There was real increase of 53.6% in the minimum wage and more than 15 million new formal jobs were created, which lifted 40 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty.

During his government, more than six million domestic employees - historically marginalized second-class workers in Brazilian society - had their rights recognized to match those of other workers.

And now he is under attack of lies and non-supported accusations by reactionary forces who want to return to power.

Below is a letter from our union partners in Brazil with more detail:

#LulaValeALuta   Lula – it’s worth the fight

Dear comrades,

Brazil is at a turning point for the survival of democracy. Conservative sectors are using the judiciary and big media conglomerates to persecute former president Lula and his family with a sordid campaign of lies and accusations without evidence.

The fight is between the party of exclusion, which is headed by neoliberals who want to return to government, and the party of inclusion, which for 13 years has been promoting justice and social inclusion and income distribution in our country.

In order to derail the candidacy of the labor leader, Brazilian media, led by only six families, echo misinformation and enhance massive manipulation and distortion of facts. Nonetheless, they will never erase reality: Lula was the most popular, democratic president of the Republic. He is an example of selflessness, a driving force and a collective symbol of achievement of the working class and the poor.

Because of the international relevance of this ongoing political struggle and consequences of what happens in Brazil for progressive sectors all over the world, we are proposing this international petition and request your support:

IN DEFENSE OF LULA, SYMBOL OF SOCIAL STRUGGLE AND INCLUSION

Since the beginning of the resistance against civilian and military dictatorship in the late 1970s and the ensuing re-democratization of Brazil, the name of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has become an example of determination, a symbol of social struggle and justice for the working class and especially for the poor.

Whether leading historic strikes that shook the foundations of the military regime or in dealing with harassment and abuse by its police, Lula has always shown the good judgement and serenity to move forward, propelling the best of each and all to build a new era.  This contributed to the founding of the Workers Party (PT) and the CUT-Brazil, and in the fight for democratic freedoms.

As years passed, the metal worker leader was elected President. His two terms in office were considered by all as landmarks for economic growth, with an emphasis on employment and income distribution. With rapid social improvements, the Brazilian GDP became the seventh in the world. There was real increase of 53.6% in the minimum wage and more than 15 million new formal jobs were created, which lifted 40 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty.

During his government, more than six million domestic employees - historically marginalized second-class workers in Brazilian society - had their rights recognized to match those of other workers.

With determination, Lula has prioritized Latin American integration and the strengthening of ties with African countries. The aim was for more equitable international relations without despotism or subservience, welcoming refugees with open arms, thus strengthening the self-determination of peoples, holding firm the banner of understanding and peaceful coexistence in a world at war.

We therefore denounce this sordid and irresponsible campaign led by conservative groups who use the judiciary and the media to persecute a former Brazilian President and his family. The same old dominant class which more than once supported former dictatorships and all sorts of misgovernment against sovereignty and democracy is now attempting to taint the reputation of a most relevant Brazilian so as to derail his presence in the national political arena and implement a neoliberal backlash, privatizing the State and excluding common people (“commoners”).

With confidence in the exemplary life led by Lula, we raise our voice against attempts of coups d’etat never again.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

Washington D.C. Public Affairs and Legislative Issues:
Gary Hubbard at 202-778-4384

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222