Photo credit: The Week UK
By BO Staff Writer
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has personally awarded former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, with the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award 2019 in prison in Curitiba, Brazil.
Lula was honored for his years of leading the struggle towards an egalitarian society.
“Privileged elites have undermined the country’s fragile democratic institutions, especially the judiciary, and have taken extraordinary and illegal measures to prevent Lula from running for president in 2018, when all polls predicted his victory,” the AFL-CIO statement read.
Lula has been imprisoned since April 7, 2018 after he was convicted on bogus charges. A reflection of his legacy suggests remarkable revolutionary gains for Brazilians. In 2003 while still a trade union leader in the steel industry, Lula waged a struggle against hunger by leading a campaign known as “Bolsa Familia” (family allowance). This led to successive PT governments implementing policies on social benefits for the people. Hence fifty million Brazilians were taken out of poverty.
In 2009 Lula initiated the ‘Minha Casa Minha Vida’ (MCMV) meaning, ‘My House, My Life’ program. Millions were housed via this program.
Also during Lula’s tenure (when Haddad served as Minister of Education) the ‘Fund for Maintenance and Development of Basic Education and Valuation of Education Professionals (Fundeb)’ and the ‘Programa Universidade Para Todos (University for All Program)’ were established to increase the number of schools and campuses, and to educate more people. An unprecedented high number of people were educated via higher education institutions during Lula’s term in office.
Moreover at least 70% of the food in Brazil was produced within the country in family farms; a high minimum wage was legislated on, and the employment rate increased under Lula.
It is also significant that from 2005 to 2012 Brazil’s economy grew by 30% and on an average of 2.6% per annum, due to its social policies.