Brazil’s ex-President Lula on Venezuela: Maduro is democratic, Guaidó should be in prison, US blockade kills civilians


In comments ignored by English-language media, Lula da Silva slammed the US coup attempt against Venezuela, calling Nicolás Maduro a democratic leader who has supported dialogue while blasting Juan Guaidó as a criminal.

The far-right government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is one of Washington’s closest allies in Latin America. It has played a major supporting role in the Donald Trump administration’s coup attempt against Venezuela, even supporting a terror plot against the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

This March, the Bolsonaro administration signed a historic military agreement, bringing Brazil directly into the US imperial sphere of influence, essentially merging the country’s defense industry with Washington’s military-industrial complex.

Days before the deal was finalized, however, Brazil’s former president, the left-wing labor organizer Lula da Silva, spoke out vociferously against US meddling in Latin America, harshly criticizing Washington’s putsch against Evo Morales in Bolivia and its ongoing coup attempt against Venezuela.

In an interview with Brazilian media that has yet to be covered in the English-language press, Lula condemned US-backed Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó as a warmongering criminal who should be in prison. He went on to emphasize that President Nicolás Maduro is a democratically elected leader who has encouraged peace and diplomacy.

“Europe and the United States can’t recognize a fraud who declares himself to be president,” Lula said, referring to Guaidó. “It is not right. Because if fashion takes over democracy, it is thrown in the garbage, and any scammer can declare themself president. I could declare myself president of Brazil, but where would democracy go?”

Lula was interviewed by Folha de S.Paulo, the most widely circulated Brazilian newspaper, which is owned by an elite family of billionaire media oligarchs.

When the paper pushed back against his comments, calling Maduro a “dictator,” Lula stressed that the Venezuelan president was elected, and has shown the kind of patience and restraint that no other leader would in similar circumstances.

“He [Guaidó] should be in prison,” Lula said. “And Maduro was so democratic and did not arrest him when he went to Colombia to try to instigate an invasion of Venezuela.”

“The one who is taking the initiative to talk is Maduro, not Guaidó,” Lula stated. “Guaidó would like the Americans to invade Venezuela — in fact, he even tried to force it.”

The newspaper pushed back again, saying Maduro has presided over an economic crisis in Venezuela.

“Whether his government is doing well or not, that’s another story. But you aren’t going to attack all of the countries that aren’t doing well,” Lula responded.

“People can’t criticize Maduro and not criticize the blockade. The blockade doesn’t attack soldiers, it doesn’t kill the guilty, the blockade kills innocents,” the former Brazilian president said.

These remarks from Lula received virtually no coverage in the English-language press, although they were widely covered in Portuguese- and Spanish-language media.

Lula defends Bolivian President Evo Morales

The Brazilian paper also pushed Lula to denounce Bolivian President Evo Morales, who was overthrown in a US-backed far-right military coup in November 2019.

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