On the day that marks one year since the former president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was arrested, he wrote a letter to the Brazilians who support him. The message was originally published on the website of the Workers’ Party (PT).
Read an English version of Lula’s letter below.
“Dear friends, relentless comrades in struggle,
Exactly one year ago today, I was arrested for the crime of dedicating a lifetime to building a more just, developed, and sovereign Brazil. They stopped me from running for president, to prevent me from once again walking up the ramp to the presidential palace, pushed by the arms of each and everyone of you, so that together we could reverse the dismantling of the Brazilian state that my captors are promoting.
I have been confined alone in a prison cell in Curitiba for exactly one year. They have never produced one piece of evidence against me. I am a political prisoner, exiled in my own country. Separated from the Brazilian people, my family, and my dearest friends. Forbidden to give interviews, prevented from speaking and being heard.
They thought that this long imposed silence would smother my voice forever. But it did not, and it never will. Because we are millions of voices.
For exactly one year, every day I have been embraced by the heartfelt “good-morning” and “good-night, mr. president Lula” chants that the brave members of one of the longest vigils in history sing, and also by the solidarity that comes from all over Brazil and even the world.
For exactly one year, my rivals have been looking for a reason to celebrate, but they cannot find it.
We have suffered repeated setbacks since the coup against President Dilma, it is true. But our defeats strengthen us for the fight, while their victories do not give them a minute of peace.
They are becoming increasingly rich, but the fortune that comes at the expense of the suffering of millions of Brazilians does not bring them happiness. They are becoming more and more angry and unhappy, poisoned by the very hatred they distill.
During the funeral of my grandson Arthur, Brazil was taken aback by the huge and unnecessary repressive operation mounted against me. Police cars, helicopters, heavily armed military officers. All that to prevent me from even waving at the people who expressed their solidarity to a grieving grandfather.
That was when I realized that it is not Lula who they fear.
They fear the millions of Lulas. Because they know what we are capable of when we unite to transform this country.
We are alive and strong. Together, let’s reverse each setback, each step back on the hard journey towards the Brazil that we dream of and that we have proved to be possible to build. We will win.
Love, and forward to victory!
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva”