United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover met with former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva to express support for his presidential candidacy on Thursday. The actor turned political activist said he traveled to Brazil show "solidarity" and to confirm that others in the United States also support him.
"I came here to demonstrate my solidarity and to say that there are others in my country who also have solidarity with you. We have to use our voice because we know that the moment is important not only for Brazil but for all the Americas," said Glover.
Glover went on to emphasize that people are struggling against the policies of the “extreme right” in the United States and that Lula's past presidency and candidacy served as a notable example of political measures aimed at reducing inequality in society.
"We are also fighting the far right in our country, and his presidency was a remarkable example of policies for the poorest," he said adding: "I like to quote from Dr. (Martin Luther) King, who said, quoting Dante, that the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who are neutral in times of crisis."
When asked “Why does Brazil attract you?” during an interview with Rede Brasil Atual, Glover stated: “Much of (my) work with TransAfrica Forum deals with workers' rights, mainly the rights and (social) condition of 150 million African-descendants in the (western) hemisphere, of which, 80 million live in Brazil. Due to its leadership in the region and world, Brazil can have an extraordinary influence in the future of African descendants.”
Lula previously met Glover while he was president and also in 2011 when the activist attended a congress organized by the Central Workers' Union in Guarulhos, Sao Paulo.
Earlier this week, Brazil's Supreme Court rejected Lula's habeas corpus appeal against a 12-year prison sentence previously issued over corruption and money-laundering charges. Legal experts and observers, however, argue that his sentencing stems from a carefully orchestrated "lawfare" and media campaign to sideline one of Brazil's most popular politicians from participating in this year's presidential election.
“If they don't want me to be a (presidential) candidate, go to the polls and vote against me. Don't create artifices and tricks to prevent my candidacy,” Lula told his judicial and media critics.
Lula's two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the U.N. World Hunger Map. One of his most ambitious and successful programs is Family Allowance (Bolsa Familia). Launched in 2003, it provided stipends to families living below the poverty line. In turn, those families must prove that their children are attending school and have been vaccinated.
To date, Lula has topped every presidential election poll, including those conducted by Datafolha, Vox Populi, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.