By Stefani Costa, from Lisbon
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 are demonstrating against the decision.
The announcement by Chancellor João Gomes Cravinho took place last Thursday (23) during a press conference at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasília.
The purpose of the trip was to settle the details regarding the Portuguese-Brazilian summit scheduled to take place between the 22nd and 25th of April in the Portuguese capital. The Portuguese minister’s agenda also included a meeting with vice-president Geraldo Alckmin.
Last Friday (24) the leader of the Liberal Initiative party, Rui Rocha, threatened to leave the plenary along with the other party deputies if Augusto Santos Silva (President of the Assembly of the Republic) confirmed Luiz Inácio’s participation on the 25th. According to him, the action was an affront to democracy, as the issue was not discussed among the other parliamentarians.
André Ventura, president of the far-right Chega party, called this Tuesday afternoon (28) a press conference to repudiate Lula’s visit to Portugal. The leader stated that he will carry out the biggest act against a head of state ever seen in Portugal if the Brazilian president attends the Assembly on the day of the Carnation Revolution.
“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!”, he said.
Ventura also said that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will not have an easy life in his country and that the endemic corruption that is destroying Portuguese democracy has ties and ramifications in Brazil. “Bringing an element of contamination on the 25th of April while so many are talking about pacification and stabilization is the worst thing we can do to democracy”, he reinforced.
Known for strongly supporting former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), in January of this year, the leader of Chega had already called Lula a “bandit” during a parliamentary session.
Straight to the point
The rapprochement between Brazil and Portugal had already started even before Lula took office. In November last year, Prime Minister António Costa (PS) received the then president-elect at his official residence. Head of State Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (PSD) also opened the doors of the Belém Palace to the PT.
On the occasion, in addition to participating in the Luso-Brazilian summit, Luiz Inácio had confirmed that he would return to the “brother country” to sign the diploma for the Camões Literature Prize with Chico Buarque.
The symbolic act of being in Portugal in the week when the country celebrates freedom is important. However, Lula’s return is also necessary for other reasons. With the increase in the cost of living and the lack of support from the Portuguese government to the Brazilian community, many citizens are asking for help to return to Brazil.
The well-known structural flaws of the SEF (the body that issues residence and work permits in the country), combined with unemployment, high inflation and the housing crisis, have led thousands of immigrants to face difficulties in surviving.
Currently, the backlog with foreigners at the SEF already exceeds 200,000 people, according to the Minister of Internal Administration of Portugal, José Luís Carneiro. Last month, the Brazilian embassy in Lisbon, together with the three consulates in the country, disclosed that in this index there are already more than 100,000 Brazilians waiting for a response.
Pedro Prola, coordinator of the PT Nucleus in Lisbon, believes that Lula’s visit and participation will be fundamental to deepen the historic ties between Brazil and Portugal after four years of little dialogue.
According to him, Luiz Inácio was always involved in the activities of the 25th of April, being respected in all spheres of Portuguese society. “In this moment of hope with the resumption of democracy in Brazil, the Brazilian community in Portugal will welcome Lula with joy and a democratic spirit”, he points out.
The attempt to exploit Lula’s visit to the Portuguese Parliament has also been mobilizing associations of Brazilian immigrants. Cyntia de Paula, president of Casa do Brasil in Lisbon, stated that Lula is very welcome and that it will be a great joy to receive him again on such an important date for democracy and freedom.
“Casa do Brasil recognizes that far-right parties elect mainly immigrants as enemies. The attempt to prevent President Lula’s visit is a deplorable act and does not represent the Brazilian community. A proven fact in the 2022 election, in which Luiz Inácio won the majority in Portugal, with 65% of the valid votes in the second round”, he concludes.