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Lula intends to campaign from prison

The former Brazilian president, convicted of corruption, discusses in his cell with his team the political strategies

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Lula intends to campaign from prison

"Good morning, President Lula!" It is nine in morning and greeting announces beginning of day at door of Federal police building in Curitiba, where former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is imprisoned since April 7. Condemned for Petrobras case, his sentence is 12 years and one month in prison, assuming that higher courts do not accept his resources.

A month ago, a group of fans of former president took turns in front of building to greet Lula and keep a vigil with political activities that, as y promise, will not end until leader of Workers ' Party (PT) is released. But it's hard for Lula to hear m. His cell, on fourth floor, is in back and only window leads to an inner courtyard, far from where village is.

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The Federal police building was erected in final destination of a procession that daily left militants from all over Brazil arrive. "I intend to stay here until I get out. Lula pulled millions of children out of poverty; It was fundamental for country, "says Carioca Richard Faullaber, 63, a PT member since 1981 and a volunteer professor in a favela. The first days of imprisonment were also attended by Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, ologian Leonardo Boff and former President Dilma Rousseff. To all of m justice forbade m to enter, arguing that it could hinder operation of building. Friends ' visits were not authorized until one month after ir entry into prison.

To accomodate militants, PT rented a land located approximately one kilometer. There are dozens of tents and two canvas tents, toilets with shower and a kitchen. On morning of April 28th, someone shot at people who were re, leaving two wounded. A week later, a Federal police commissioner attacked group, destroying sound equipment used to greet former president.

In a cell of 15 square meters, most popular political figure in Brazil fulfills its isolated sentence in a special room, a privilege granted by virtue of its status as former president. Space, an old police shelter, was remodeled to receive it. It has a bed, an individual bathroom and a normal door, instead of typical prison bars. His routine also differs from that of remaining 21 inmates — most of whom are condemned by Petrobras case, like him — who are found one floor below. Once a day, Lula is entitled to two hours of sunshine on a terrace.

Practically every day he receives his lawyers. And, on Thursdays, his sons, daughter-in-law and grandson are dealt day of visitation with some friends and important party names, with whom he discusses political strategies. Even though he was a prisoner — and no close date to get out of jail — former president is preparing to dispute election. He will be first presidential candidate in prison since return of democracy. "Lula is our Pelé. We do not leave best of team in dock, " president of PT, Gleisi Hoffmann, recently visited country. The party's plan is that, during campaign, or PT members will replace it in interviews. Training also wants justice to authorize him to leave prison to participate in televised debates, which are very important in Brazil.

Yet Lula is optimistic about his interlocutors. "He knows it's hard, but he expects him to be released before campaign starts," says Deputy PT Wadih Damous, who is also one of his lawyers. Lula continues to lead polls, and not even his entry into prison has made him lose his intention to vote. In past few months, PT is strengning and growing in a divided country with few viable left-wing options. In last survey, former president obtained a 31% intention of vote, more than double that second classified, extreme right-winger Jair Bolsonaro.

But you can hardly get to final stretch. Brazilian legislation prevents those sentenced in second instance, as it is case, from being candidates and, after registering ir candidacy, this may be challenged by Electoral Tribunal. The only chance I can dispute election is for Supreme Courts to accept sis that it still has a chance of being acquitted ultimately.

It is his last hope and that of party that helped to create on February 10, 1980, when he was a worker who had led main strikes of Brazil. Outside building, or workers shout, in unison: "Good night, President Lula." Tomorrow will start all over again.

Exercise, television and reading

Inside his cell, Lula performs improvised stretching and bodybuilding exercises with a piece of elastic band. Television also sees something because, at time of arrest, he was allowed to take a small device, which only tunes channels in open. But Lula complains about quality of programs and content of information

So he prefers to read books, which he keeps stacked in one of corners of cell, according to deputy of PT Wadih Damous. At this moment is reading The lies that men Tell, a compilation of tales about Lie, Brazilian Luiz Fernando Veríssimo. He has already gone through love in Times of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez, and some political titles, such as elite of backwardness: from slavery to Lava Jato, from sociologist Jesse Souza, who defends that Brazil burdens scars of this tragic Historical period.

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