Free Lula and Defend Democracy in Brazil

Resolution passed at NYS AFL-CIO 2018 COPE Convention

WHEREAS,  The New York State AFL-CIO is outraged by the conviction and imprisonment of Labor Leader and former Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”). Lula has been a lifelong champion of workers. Before founding Brazil’s workers party and serving as Brazil’s president for eight years, Lula served as president of Brazil’s metalworkers union. Lula was convicted without adequate evidence of wrongdoing and in violation of Brazilian law, the Brazilian Constitution and international human rights law. Lula’s illegal conviction was designed to keep him off the ballot in the 2018 presidential elections; and

WHEREAS,  We condemn the illegal and unelected government of Michel Temer in Brazil, installed after the legislative coup against the elected government of President Dilma Rousseff; and

WHEREAS, We join the AFL-CIO, National and International affiliates, and AFL-CIO Constituency Groups in vehemently opposing the ongoing actions to invalidate the progressive policies and achievements designed to build inclusive democracy in Brazil, and in supporting the democratic, pro-worker programs for social justice that have been pursued and administered with professionalism and success, lifting over 40 million people out of poverty and creating 20 million jobs; and

WHEREAS,  The cabinet of the Temer government is overwhelmingly rich, white and male, and the unelected government has eliminated the Ministry of Women, of Racial Equality and Human Rights; and

WHEREAS,   It's economic program includes "diminishing" labor law by allowing employers to contract out any job, cutting benefits and raising the retirement age for workers, selling off oil and other national industries to multi-national companies, and stripping Afro-Brazilian communities (quilombos) of traditional land rights; and

WHEREAS,  These policies threaten to worsen inequality and political exclusion, police violence and mass incarceration directed against Afro-Brazilians; and

WHEREAS,  These regressive policies, and the language of division and hatred that have been directed against Lula and the progressive movements in Brazil demanding his freedom echo the invectives we hear in the United States today; and

WHEREAS,  The enemies of progress and opportunity, especially for people of African descent, are using the same playbook in both countries; therefore, be it

RESOLVED,  That the New York State AFL-CIO demands the immediate release of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as “Lula”, until the appeals process has been completed in accordance with the Brazilian constitution, that there should be an impartial review of Lula’s case by a judiciary not connected to the Temer government, and that Lula should be allowed to run for the Presidency in this year’s election and that the Brazilian people have the right to choose their leaders; and be it finally,

RESOLVED,  That the New York State AFL-CIO will continue to fight along with our Brazilian sisters and brothers against racism and violence, to defend democracy, for a life of dignity and equality, and to Free Lula.