"Lula, I am so intensely grateful to your government for making me believe that a better world is possible."

Poço Fundo, April 18, 2018

Dear Lula, I would so like to be able to go to you, to give you a hug of gratitude. I am living through a dilemma of sadness and hope. On the one hand, because I know your legacy to the Brazilian people is being dismantled day by day, and on the other, because I know that no one can steal that legacy from us; it has become an idea that belongs to all good Brazilians, as I’ve already told you.

Lula, I am so intensely grateful to your government for making me believe that a better world is possible. I am a family farmer, part of a group that benefited from dozens of social programs that revolutionized the economy of my municipality of Poço Fundo, Minas Gerais, and all the other cities whose economy is based on agriculture. Before your government, we could barely set foot in public banks. The loans available were destined in advance to the city’s big landowners. Under your government, we became priorities. The “Luz Pra Todos” Program reached the vast majority of this municipality’s farmers. Those who did not have access to electricity received it, and those who already had it received additional so they could increase their investment. The projects have multiplied and the rural life of my municipality has changed radically. Hundreds of machines for drying coffee, for processing it, tractors, trucks, along with hundreds of storage sheds and the PRONAFs credit to pay for planting and harvesting. Thanks to these changes, rural households consumers on a level never before seen in the countryside. To give you an idea in concrete terms, in my rural region alone, between 30 families there are 24 tractors, 20 machines for drying coffee, and 9 coffee processing machines – all paid for by Pronaf.

Lula, I have always been a member of the Workers’ Party (PT), since the 1980s. I gained my first political experience in the Cebs of Catholic Church, where I remain active to this day. It was in the CPT that I learned to love the planet and have a consciousness about planet-wide sustainability. I am immensely proud to say that I am a co-founder of the COOPFAM cooperative, an organization recognized worldwide for its community-level organizing and the quality of its product. Either by irony or by destiny, we registered ourselves as a cooperative in 2002, the year of your first electoral victory. Our co-op is a reference in Brazil in organic coffee production and fair trade. It was founded by small farmers who belonged to the CPT-Cebs, members of the PT locally. I am proud to say that it was thanks to your government, through the MDA subsidies program for co-ops and small farmer associations, that we expanded our marketing across the world by participating in international trade fairs. We have sold our coffee in more than 15 countries. I personally participated in the BioFah in Nuremburg, Germany in 2008. It was a highlight of my life. Imagine a small organic coffee farmer at such a well-known fair, meeting and negotiating with the industry’s biggest businesspeople! Can you imagine what a big deal that was?

Lula, my life is kind of symbiotic with yours. I got married in the year you were elected, 2002. I have two beautiful princesses, 12 and 14 years old, who are my purpose in life.

Today Ana Clara stands out in school for her intellectual ability, for her social and political consciousness. She’s your defender since she was born. She writes very well. It makes me so sad to know that now, just as she is about to start high school, programs to support education are being scrapped. On the other hand, I hold onto the hope that the Brazilian left will continue to win elections.

Lula, I wish I could keep writing to tell you how much I love belonging to the PT and being your fan, but I`ll bid you farewell here, so that this text doesn’t become tiresome to read.

Hugs and kisses from someone who loves you deeply,

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