Sao Paulo, Aug 12 (EFE).- Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reiterated Thursday his criticism of incumbent Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and promised to do what he can to stop the right-winger from winning another term in 2022.
Brazil, which has lost 566,000 lives to Covid-19, “does not deserve to be governed by a mass murderer,” the 75-year-old Workers Party founder said during an event in Sao Paulo to present his new book.
“The humiliation that Brazil is suffering before the world is not possible,” Lula said.
The giant South American nation is second only to the United States in deaths from coronavirus, while only the US and India – home to 1.3 billion people – have had more confirmed cases than Brazil.
Lula, leading in the polls ahead of next year’s presidential contest, said that Bolsonaro campaigned in 2018 on “hatred” of politics despite his having “lived his entire life as a politician.”
Bolsonaro spent years as a city councilman in Rio de Janeiro and federal lawmaker before running for president.
The incumbent head of state is the world’s most prominent pandemic denialist, repeatedly dismissing Covid-19 as a “measly flu,” denouncing state and municipal governments for mask mandates and other preventive measures and resisting calls to address the economic effects of the public health crisis.
“That citizen (Bolsonaro) did not take care of the pandemic, of hunger, of employment, of wages,” Lula said.
He also blasted Bolsonaro for embracing “the old politics” that he had promised to bury, pointing to the administration’s new alliances with the clientelist center-right parties that have dominated the Brazilian Congress for three decades.
Lula, who enjoyed high approval ratings when he left office in 2011 after two terms, spent 580 days behind bars on corruption convictions that Brazil’s Supreme Court later overturned amid revelations of misconduct by the prosecutors and judges.
In his new book, the former auto worker and union leader discusses his travails in the judicial system as a target of the now-discredited Lava Jato (Car Wash) corruption probe.
“The attempt to destroy the PT (Workers Party) and the Brazilian left did not work. We managed to survive and come out of that process much stronger,” Lula said Thursday.
Lula’s political rights were restored in April and he is expected to be the PT standard-bearer in the 2022 election. EFE