Brazil’s Lula makes his political comeback
Brazil’s popular ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva declared on Saturday that he is returning to the bruising political frontlines to defend his successor, the embattled Dilma Rousseff.
“Our opponents talk about me from morning until night ... Well, it’s harder to kill a bird if he keeps flying. That’s why I started flying again,” Lula, 69, said at a rally in Sao Paulo state, a day after admitting he could even seek the presidency again in 2018.
“Well, now I am going to speak. I am going to talk. I am going to give interviews and I am going to make people uncomfortable,” Lula added.
On Friday he said that he did not want to see his ruling Workers’ Party lose power after 12 years.
“I am sure that our rivals are heading out to undo what we achieved in improving people’s lives,” he told the rally.
“I have broad shoulders and I have been beaten up plenty in my life. Let’s see if our rivals give our beloved Dilma a little break and start being bothered by me again,” Lula said, alongside former Uruguayan president Jose Mujica.
Lula was in office from 2003 to 2010 and was the country’s first democratically elected leftist leader.
He spent generously on social programs to reduce the number of Brazilians living in poverty and the economy boomed to the world’s seventh largest.
On his heels, Rousseff has been re-elected, but her popularity is at a staggering low of 8 percent, with the economy in recession and her government rocked by corruption scandals.
Rousseff herself has not been accused but she chaired the board at Petrobras between 2003 and 2010, when much of the alleged corruption was flourishing.
Prosecutors estimate that US$2.1 billion in bribes were paid as part of the scheme.
Lula is being investigated in an unrelated influence-peddling probe, but has not been charged.