The Caribbean Peace Movement (CPM) is disgusted and outraged by the latest episode in the orchestrated illicit right-wing oligarchical campaign to target and “bring down” one of the most outstanding and respected leaders of Latin America’s 21st century Socialist Movement, namely the conviction by a powerful right-wing judge of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (former president of Brazil) on trumped up corruption charges, and Lula’s incarceration on a 12 year prison sentence.
We find it almost beyond belief that a respected and revered people’s champion like Lula – the highly principled president who lifted millions of downtrodden Brazilians out of miserable poverty and who gave Brazil a new and outstanding image in the international community – could be so brazenly attacked and victimized in this manner.
For us in the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to arrive at some understanding of the injustice and infamy of this conviction and imprisonment of Lula, we would have to imagine our greatest and most revered historic political leaders – Barbados’ Errol Barrow and Jamaica’s Michael Manley for example – being hounded down by corrupt and vindictive establishment prosecutors and judges and railroaded into prison.
As profoundly difficult (if not impossible) as it is for us to contemplate such a scenario in our Caribbean Community, this is precisely what has been unfolding in Latin America over the past five years or so.
We need to recall that an historic Latin American anti-imperialist and socialist movement emerged in the early years of the 21st century, and that by the year 2012 several outstanding socialist or progressive nationalist leaders had been elected to power by the Latin American masses throughout the region :– Hugo Chavez in Venezuela; Evo Morales in Bolivia; Rafael Correa in Ecuador; Nestor and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina; Fernando Lugo Mendez in Paraguay; Lula in Brazil ; Jose Pepe Mujica in Uruguay; Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua; and Michelle Bachelet in Chile. And of course they joined Fidel Castro’s revolutionary Cuba, which had been carrying the banner of Socialism in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1959.
This was a truly historic development, and constituted the high point of the century’s long historical struggle of the masses of working-class and impoverished Latin Americans to transform the unequal, elitist, capitalistic and oligarchical societies that had been foisted upon them ever since the Spanish imperialists had colonized the region in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Here then was a tremendous breakthrough in the progressive, working-class movement to develop new, just, equal and inclusive Latin American societies. The impressive results were there for all to see in the millions of people who were lifted out of poverty, and the hundreds of new socially uplifting programmes and institutions that were birthed in virtually all of the countries in question, but especially in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.
We in the Caribbean Peace Movement fully comprehend that nothing less than a “war” is being waged against the socialist, nationalist, and other progressive forces of Latin America and the Caribbean.
At this time however, we wish to place our focus squarely and specifically on Brazil.
We hereby denounce the egregious injustice that has been inflicted on Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva! We wish him, the officers and members of the Workers Party of Brazil, and the masses of working-class Brazilians to know that we are with them in this struggle.
The Caribbean Peace Movement hereby calls upon the governments of the Caribbean Community, and indeed upon all nations and Governments that have a commitment to decency and justice, to raise their voices and publicly demand that Lula be freed and that he be permitted to contest the upcoming Presidential election in Brazil.
We say “Free Lula!”
The Caribbean Peace Movement