Lula Participates in the Opening of the 8th National Encounter of MAB in Rio de Janeiro

The ex-president congratulated the movement for raising the flag of national sovereignty and promised to mobilize to guarantee the rights of those impacted by the crime in Mariana, MG Photo: […]

The ex-president congratulated the movement for raising the flag of national sovereignty and promised to mobilize to guarantee the rights of those impacted by the crime in Mariana, MG

Photo: Marcelo Aguilar

“I would like to begin my speech by congratulating and thanking the leadership of MAB for having the boldness and courage to organize its encounter around a theme of such importance for Brazil, which is sovereignty, especially the issue of water and energy,” said ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva into his microphone at the official opening of the 8th National Encounter of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), happening at the Terreirão do Samba in Rio de Janeiro.

In front of Lula was a crowd of approximately 3,500 people affected by dams from twenty-two states in Brazil. At his back, on the stages, there were dozens of union leaders, intellectuals, congress people and senators. One of them, Senator Robert Requião of Paraná (of the PMDB), also highlighted the importance of the issue of national sovereignty in this period of privatization.

“I think it is exceptional that the social movements have found a common denominator, which is the defense of national sovereignty. It is the raw material of the unity against this concessionist government. With MAB showing up for this, it is showing that it definitively is inserting itself, not in the private struggle against usurpation of the dams, but rather in the general struggle for independence and sovereignty of Brazil.”

Hours before the opening of MAB’s Encounter, the launch of the Mixed Parliamentary Front in Defense of National Sovereignty occurred at the Rio de Janeiro Engineering Club, also located in the city of Rio de Janeiro. With Requião as president, the Front brings together names such as Lindbergh Farias (PT), JandiraFeghali (PCdoB) and Gleisi Hoffmann (PT), who were also present at the opening of the Encounter.

Photo: Joka Madruga

The ex-president also highlighted the importance of workers organizing themselves in the current political conjuncture. “Right now it is the social movements that have the courage to say to the Brazilian elite: If you don’t have the competence to win an election, if you don’t have the competence to govern this country, then let the people do it, because the people know how to do it.”

Along the same lines, Ivanei Dallas Costa, of the national coordination of MAB, commended the popular mobilization as the only possibility of getting out of the situation imposed by the pro- coup sectors. “Only with the people taking the streets will we have some possibility of stopping the regressions that international capital is trying to impose on our country. Through privatization, they are trying to steal all of our rivers, our forests and our oil,” she said.

Tomorrow, Tuesday October 2nd, the affected people who participated in the Encounter, along with ex-president Lula, will join with the diverse groups that make up the Worker & Peasant Energy Platform of the Popular Brazilian Front for the Day of Struggle for National Sovereignty. Starting at 11am at the headquarters of Eletrobras, the mobilization will march to Petrobras, both located in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

TheDoce River Basin

Before the event, Lula gave an exclusive interview to MAB’s communications team and Brasil de Fato. In the interview he criticized the slowness of the Justice Department in relation to the crime that happened in Mariana, MG. “Justice, when it is serves to take away from the movement, it is fast. When it favors the movement it tends to be slow, because they have many lawyers. The fact is that what happened in Mariana cannot be repeated.”

This month Lula will be part of a new Caravan that will visit 11 municipalities in Minas Gerais, including Governador Valadares, where the water was contaminated by the mining waste that was released into the Doceriver. “I will go to Governador Valadares for a protest where we will demand that Vale go to trial and compensate the thousands of farmers, investors, rural land owners and fishers so that they can recuperate their livelihoods with financial compensation from Vale. That is why we are doing an event there. We will make sure to mobilize society to recover the dignity of the people lost in the mud of Mariana.”

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