(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247)
EIGHT MONTHS AFTER LULA’S ARREST, MILITANTS STRENGTHEN MOBILIZATION IN FRONT OF THE PF
Exactly eight months ago, on April 7, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) arrived at the Federal Police Superintendence (PF), in Curitiba (PR), where he was arrested after conviction without evidence in the “triplex case”; since then, supporters of the former president remain mobilized in front of the PF building and build, day after day, the Free Lula Vigil, an area of democratic resistance and political formation
DECEMBER 8, 2018 AT 06:32 // SIGN UP FOR TV 247
Lia Bianchini (Brazil de Fato) –Exactly eight months ago, on April 7, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) arrived at the Federal Police Superintendence (PF), in Curitiba (PR), where he was arrested after unprovoked conviction in the “triplex case”. Since then, supporters of the former president remain mobilized in front of the PF building and build day after day the Free Lula Vigil, an area of democratic resistance and political formation.
If, during the first few weeks, the occupation was kept on the cobblestones, on the streets and sidewalks of the Santa Cândida neighborhood, today militants have a plot of land on the corner of the Superintendence, as well as a nearby lodge called Casa Lula Livre. As of the second half of 2018, the Marielle Vive Training and Culture Center, which is used for food and political training and cultural activities, has also started to operate.
Theory and practice
Luana Lustosa is a member of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) in the southern region of Paraná and has been in Vigil since the first day. She says that during the eight months, the mobilization went through a process of “maturing.”
“When it came close to 100 days, we were already in a position to systematize some things and plan. Medium-term planning was a shy thing. No one had the courage to do it, because it seemed that we were accepting the idea that Lula was going to stay in jail. But now we have some maturity to make plans, and things have gotten a much better quality, “he says.
It is a consensus among the members that the Vigil is strengthened every day.
The Marielle Center was inaugurated in September, with the presence of Marinete da Silva and Antonio Francisco da Silva Neto, parents of the former councilor Marielle Franco, who gives the name to the space. Also in September, filmmaker Silvio Tendler was at the Center to inaugurate the Cine Lula Livre movie theater, with his documentary “Dedo na Ferida”. The space also hosted MST training courses and the 1st Training Meeting of the Unique Culture Front of Curitiba.
Luana explains that the dynamics of the Free Lula Vigil and the Marielle Center unite “the practical exercise of militancy to theorist,” making people who come to these spaces understand “what it means to remain here and what it means to have a political prisoner with the popular influence of Lula’s size. “
Since April, the organization estimates that around 40,000 people have circulated through the spaces that make up the Lula Livre Vigil, among party activists and popular movements and supporters of the former president. At the entrance of the Vigil, the guest book, opened in May, has the signature of more than 11 thousand people.
Within the prison of the PF, in the same period, former president Lula received about 90 visits, on Mondays and Thursdays, from national and international personalities, such as singers Chico Buarque and Martinho da Vila, nun Coen, theologian Leonardo Boff , former Uruguayan President Pepe Mujica, Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, American linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky and Portuguese sociologist Boaventura Souza Santos. Most of the visitors were also at the Lula Livre Vigil to convey Lula’s messages to militancy.
In addition to the former president’s visitors, the Cuban popular doctor Aleida Guevara, hostess Bela Gil, chef Bel Coelho and artists such as Chico César, Ana Cañas, Lucélia Santos and Orã Figueiredo also attended the Vigil.
For Sandra dos Santos, a militant of the Workers’ Party and a member of the coordination of the Lula Livre Vigil, the eight months “brought an awakening to militancy.” In its interpretation, the Vigil has played a central role, both in the denunciation, national and international, to the political prison of former President Lula, and in the political formation of militants.
In designing scenarios for 2019, with the beginning of Jair Bolsonaro’s (PSL) administration, Santos says that the moment demands caution, because the conjuncture is “a lot of psychological pressure, and militancy needs to seek emotional balance.” She explains, however, that the militancy that has formed in the Vigil “will not retreat nor cross the arms”.
“What we know is that we are going through a process of coups, setbacks, and that everything that is happening is part of the coup. What will come, we do not know, have to understand even better. What I value is that there is no alternative: we can not afford to fold our arms. We will continue the struggle and the resistance, “he promises.
The organization expects that the Free Lula Vigil will continue with the daily schedule of greetings to the former president, talk wheels on political issues and cultural activities while Lula is kept in jail at the PF Superintendence. For December, Christmas and New Year celebrations are scheduled at the Vigil, and dozens of supporters from Paraná and other states promise to come to Curitiba to “spend Christmas with Lula.”