André Ventura, leader of the Portuguese far right, who called Lula a “bandit”

The leader of the Chega party confirmed this Thursday (23) that he is organizing a major event to bring together representatives of the extreme right in Portugal with the presence of former presidents Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil) and Donald Trump (USA).

During a press conference, the deputy attested that the conference would take place in May, but also said that he would only be able to confirm the dates within a week or two.

Ventura is liaising with other European leaders, including Santiago Abascal (president of VOX Spain) and Giorgia Meloni (Italian Prime Minister). Asked about other names, he preferred not to reveal more details at the moment. “I will be on May 10th and 11th at an event with the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, so it will probably be before or after those two days,” he explained. The president of Chega wants the summit to be similar to the Political Action Conference of Conservatives (CPAC), held annually in the USA. The objective is to have an event of the same importance on European soil and for Lisbon to be the host city. For André, Jair Bolsonaro’s participation would have a very important meaning for the international conservative movement, since it is an agenda with the definition of alliances and articulations in the fight against ‘socialism’ in Europe, the USA and South America. “Given the situation in Brazil in particular, where Lula da Silva won these last elections, with all that this represents, it seems to us to make sense that former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro could be present”, he pointed out.

Asked about his party’s xenophobic and reactionary positions at a time when the number of Brazilian residents exceeds 300,000 in Portugal, André Ventura reinforced that Chega’s relationship with the country’s largest immigrant community is “perfect” and that he doubts that there will be any another party with as many leaders coming from Brazil as yours.”Many of the Brazilians who are here, especially those who are arriving now, are also fleeing from ‘socialism’ and we want to welcome these people to share experiences with them about it. of what ‘socialism’ has also been in Portugal”, he explained.

Despite being governed by the PS, the current Portuguese administration is far from being considered socialist in practical terms. In addition, it is important to note that in the 2022 presidential election, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva obtained a majority in Portugal, with 65% of the valid votes in the second round. In the cities of Porto and Lisbon, the PT won with twice the voters’ preference.
The Portuguese representative of the ultra-right said he had already communicated to the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (PSD), and the Minister of Internal Administration, José Luís Carneiro (PS), the need for guarantees regarding the logistics, organization and event security. Ventura also revealed that Marcelo Rebelo is willing to receive Jair Bolsonaro if the former Brazilian president makes the request.

About Bolsonaro never having visited Portugal while president of Brazil, André Ventura pondered saying that this may not have happened due to the lack of invitation by the management of the current prime minister, António Costa (PS). “The Portuguese government belonged to the ‘socialists’ since Jair Bolsonaro took office until the moment he left. Therefore, I think there was never any diplomatic and political initiative for an official visit.”
Ventura does not rule out the possibility of receiving private funding for the summit, as it is an event with high costs, especially if the US Republican party confirms the presence of Donald Trump. “A large part will be financed by Chega. We will probably have to ask for support, but I want everything to be done with complete transparency and solidity so that those who contribute know what they are supporting”.

Portuguese ultra-right organized against Lula

In February, after the invitation by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal for Lula to participate in Parliament in a solemn session of the 25th of April (Carnation Revolution), leaders of various right-wing and far-right parties in the country demonstrated against the decision. .

In addition to coming to the celebrations that mark Freedom Day for the Portuguese people, the Brazilian government also confirmed Lula’s presence at the Luso-Brazilian summit between the 22nd and 25th of April. Luiz Inácio is also expected to sign the diploma for the Camões Prize for Literature to the musician and writer Chico Buarque, in addition to a possible meeting with Workers’ Party militants residing in the country. André Ventura had already called for acts against Lula’s presence, stating that he would carry out the biggest act against a head of state ever seen in Portugal if the Brazilian president appears in the Assembly of the Republic on the day of the Carnation Revolution or on any subsequent date. “We will fight with all means at our disposal to prevent the speech in Parliament on April 25 of this year. The contact we made with associations of Brazilian immigrants, businessmen, some evangelical churches and partners in Brazil, show that it is possible to mobilize the community for the biggest demonstration ever!”

For Cyntia de Paula, president of the Casa do Brasil in Lisbon, this attack on Lula’s arrival does not represent the will of most Brazilians living in the country. According to her, the institution she presides over recognizes that far-right parties elect mainly immigrants as enemies. “The attempt to prevent Lula’s visit is a deplorable act and does not represent the Brazilian community”, she reinforced in an official statement last month.

Lula and the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa. reproduction

Brazilians experience crisis in Portugal

The arrival of the President of Brazil in Lusitanian lands is more than necessary at a time when thousands of immigrants face difficulties in regularizing themselves in the country. Due to bureaucracy and the scarce structure provided by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), the body responsible for granting work and residence permits in Portugal is “condemning” many to hunger and misery.

The increase in the cost of living and the lack of efficient public policies to stop the housing crisis have also contributed to the vulnerability of many Brazilians. The number of people who requested support to return to Brazil quadrupled between 2021 and 2022, representing 92% of all requests (as indicated by the data from the Support Program for Voluntary Return and Reintegration of the International Organization for Migration, IOM ).

Pedro Prola, coordinator of the PT Nucleus in Lisbon, had already said that Lula’s visit and participation will be fundamental to deepen the historic ties between Brazil and Portugal after four years of little dialogue. “In this moment of hope with the resumption of democracy in Brazil, the Brazilian community in Portugal will receive Lula with joy and a democratic spirit”, he concludes.

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