Over 400 notable Brazilian intellectuals, artists and political activists signed a petition titled “Letter of the Brazilians,” calling on former president Lula da Silva to consider launching his candidacy for the presidential elections next year.
Those who signed the petition include theologian and writer Leonardo Boff, journalist and writer Fernando de Morais, writer Eric Nepomuceno, political scientist Emir Sader and Landless Workers Movement, MST, leader João Pedro Stedile, Brazil de Fato reports.
Also included are notable musicians Chico Buarque, Beth Carvalho and Martinho da Vila as well as actors and actresses Marieta Severo, Dira Paes and Bete Mendes.
“We ask former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to consider the possibility of launching his candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic next year, as a way of guaranteeing the Brazilian people the dignity, pride and autonomy they have lost,” the petition reads.
“He was a worker, a poor son of the Northeast, who assumed the Presidency of the Republic a few years ago and gave a substantive and authentic meaning to the Brazilian democracy.”
The petition, which was launched on Friday, is expected to go public on Monday. It will be available online for all Brazilians to sign.
Slamming Temer’s administration, the petition speaks out against the current state of affairs in Brazil. Since he took office in August 2016, the Brazilian government has cut social spending, increased foreign investment, and implemented environmental deregulation.
Temer’s administration has also witnessed an increase in police violence against Black and Indigenous communities and urban poverty.
“There is no democracy in hunger, in the absence of effective political participation, without quality education and health, without decent housing, in the end, without social inclusion,” the petition adds.
“Why Lula? Because it is still necessary to include many people and to re-include those who have been banished again; because it is important to distribute with all Brazilians what Brazilians produce. Brazil needs Lula!”
Lula, an extremely popular two-term president who left office in January 2011, was called “the most successful politician of his time” by the London Review of Books.
Through his administration, the socialist leader improved worker’s rights laws, created anti-hunger programs, established water filtration systems across the country and implemented a basic income for impoverished families — all while improving the country’s economy.
From 2003 to 2011, Lula was able to bring down inflation, increase job growth, and pay off foreign debts owed by Brazil for centuries. Many of his policies were continued under the administration of former president Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016 for her alleged involvement in corruption scandals.