Brazil’s Ex-President on Venezuela: Maduro is Democratic, Guaidó Should Be in Prison, US Blockade Kills Civilians

Ben Norton reports on comments by Lula da Silva that have been ignored by English-language media. 

Brazil’s Lula da Silva.

By Ben Norton
The Grayzone

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 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S.-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.

Defends Evo Morales

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

Folha de S.Paulo noted that Morales had run for a fourth term as president, although the paper failed to mention that Bolivia’s Supreme Court permitted him to do so.

In the first round of the October 2019 election, Morales won with more than a 10 percent margin.

The newspaper falsely claimed that there were irregularities in the election — a myth initially spread by the Organization of American States (OAS) that has subsequently been debunked by numerous investigations by top scholars.

Lula defended Morales and his government against the newspaper’s claims that the Bolivian election was marred by supposed “complications.”

“Wasn’t George Bush complicated in his election against Al Gore? It was complicated, Bush took control of the government for eight years,” Lula replied.

“Was Trump not complicated? It was complicated, and he took power,” he said.

“Was Bolsonaro not complicated? Everyone knows the farce of ‘fake news.’”

US Coups Usher Extreme-Right into Power in Brazil

Remarks like these illustrate why Washington has backed coups and meddled in Brazil’s internal politics in order to overthrow Lula and his left-wing Workers’ Party and prevent them from returning to power.

Lula has not only been one of the most popular politicians in Brazil, he represents a regional buffer against U.S. hegemony. When he left office in 2010, after completing his second term as head of state, he had a staggering 87 percent approval rating — one of the highest in the entire world.

Lula’s successor from the Workers’ Party, President Dilma Rousseff, was ousted in 2016 in a parliamentary coup led by Brazil’s right-wing opposition and a collection of oligarchs that was backed behind the scenes by the United States.

Lula has repeatedly stressed that Washington played a decisive role in the coups in Brazil. “Everything that is happening has the hand of the United States on it,” he said in a 2019 interview.

“The U.S. created the Lava Jato investigation,” Lula added, referring to the supposed “anti-corruption” operation that was used to oust the Workers’ Party and install the far-right administration of Jair Bolsonaro, an extremist who has called for restoring the military dictatorship.

In 2018, Lula was campaigning again for the presidential election, and leading the polls by a huge margin. It was only then that he was imprisoned on false charges of corruption, providing an opening for Bolsonaro to take power.

The judge who oversaw Lava Jato and imprisoned Lula, Sergio Moro, was subsequently rewarded by Bolsonaro with a post as minister of justice.

Immediately after taking office, Bolsonaro and Moro paid a special visit to CIA headquarters.

“No Brazilian president had ever paid a visit to the CIA,” commented Celso Amorim, who served as Foreign Minister under Lula. “This is an explicitly submissive position. Nothing compares to this.”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebelspodcast, which he co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

This article is from The Grayzone.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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8 comments for “Brazil’s Ex-President on Venezuela: Maduro is Democratic, Guaidó Should Be in Prison, US Blockade Kills Civilians

  1. Exiled in Ard mhaca
    April 7, 2020 at 14:20

    Trump says nationalisation won’t work in the US ” just look at Venezuela” he says. What he won’t say is the US blockade of Venezuela is causing untold misery and suffering to its people. It must be a hell of a crime in his eyes for a nation to redistribute the wealth from its own natural resources to feed and educate the poor. Same in Bolivia. There isn’t a pitchfork in hell sharp enough for Trump.

  2. garrett wyse
    April 4, 2020 at 15:54

    So will Lula get a chance to become President again? It is very obvious they are very afraid of Lula, he has that unacceptable ability to be popular, be successful and have integrity. They simple cannot win against that so as with many before (Allende, Morales etc.) they must be outed other ways. Is this not becoming clear to even the most narrow minded?

  3. dfnslblty
    April 4, 2020 at 10:18

    Notice > EX-president
    Current president and potus continuing warring with Venezuela.
    Murder by governments remains murder – crimes against humans.
    Stop War

  4. April 4, 2020 at 09:11

    Logic tells me that Lula is correct. Logic also tells me that Maduro was democratically elected and that Guaido is a US puppet. The wealthy are trying to take over Venezuela just like they are doing in the United States and other countries around the world.

    April 4, 2020 at 08:42

    Indeed. One more chapter in the continuing story of America telling everyone else how to run their country.

    And the irony never catches up with those in Washington who cannot even run their own.

  6. Sam F
    April 4, 2020 at 08:33

    It is clear to all who study US interference in Latin America that it has never served democracy, and is intended only to attack socialism in any form, by sponsoring right-wing militarists there. That is because the rich control US politics, and are afraid that socialism in the US would take away their toys and privileges. Nothing could be more helpful to the US than the defeat of the rich.

    We can hope that the epidemic shows to the people of the US the dictatorship of the rich, and causes their downfall.

    • Anonymous
      April 5, 2020 at 11:38

      They say that knowing is half the battle, but American culture has been specifically been tweaked to make sure that it’s only a small fraction. Things are not going to change here.

    April 3, 2020 at 18:29

    “Brazil’s Ex-President on Venezuela: Maduro is Democratic, Guaidó Should Be in Prison, US Blockade Kills Civilians”

    Almost nothing anyone could say is truer, but less likely to be acted upon.

    American power has no time for truth or principles.

Comments are closed.