"Planting the seeds of hope, like you taught us to do."

Belém, April 16, 2018

Dear Comrade Lula,

I think about you at every moment. The way you have been imprisoned is so unjust and disgusting. What a situation. Our greatest warrior, great and dearest leader, our beloved hero, brutally taken away from us. President Lula, I don’t know you personally, but I feel such immense love for you. I cried for several days after your imprisonment. I implore you not to feel lonely, not to feel sad. May you have patience, peace of mind, and divine inspiration as long as you’re in there. Out here we are resisting, fighting, defending you, and planting the seeds of hope, like you taught us to do.

We know that you are there for us. After all the heroic, great, and historic things you have done, you deserved to be treated like a king, not only by the people and progressive groups, but also by this entire nation. No matter what, these hateful and despicable people who persecute you can’t cover up you legacy and enormous worldwide prestige.

What a privilege I feel to have lived and existed at the same time as you, and to have witnessed the unimaginable social and structural transformation that a Northeastern migrant, a factory worker, a man of the people, carried out for our country. Lula, you are a gigantic phenomenon in the history of Brazil and the world. Our inferiority complex, our history as a colonized country always subservient towards imperialist powers, always kept us from believing that limited our belief that Brazil could achieve the heights that it did under your government. A true peaceful revolution, where for the first time in 500 years, we experienced what it is like to live in a vibrant democracy, in a more just and solidary society with plenty of opportunities for the people. A triumphant eradication of misery and hunger, the reduction of this criminal social inequality. A country the size of Brazil, the sixth-largest economy in the world, growing with social inclusion. All this in 8 years. We are not going to forget; now we know our potential and that we can go even further.

I am 39 years old, I am a forest engineer and for nearly 15 years, I have worked with traditional communities in in the Amazon (riverside communities, indigenous, descendants of escaped enslaved people, etc…), producing in a participatory way the means and knowledge for sustainable development. That is, ways of reconciling improvements in the quality of life through the preservation of the forest and natural resources. And take note of this: my doctoral research demonstrated that the social policies implemented under your government and that of President Dilma not only provided notable and innumerable improvements in local living conditions according to a variety of measures (schooling, nutrition, income, consumption, extractive production, well-being, and self-esteem), but also a decrease in the unsustainable and predatory exploitation of natural resources. In other words, As a result, as poverty decreased, many communities began to do more to preserve the forest, improve their social organization, and diversify their sources of income. To give a concrete example, the situation of exclusion and misery in which many of those families used to live forced them to cut down lots of trees and get ripped off by an unjust, unregulated market when they sold the wood, just to provide for their basic needs. The social policies of Lula’s and Dilma’s governments empowered many traditional communities in the Amazon to improve their management and protection of the forest. Anyway, I could go on about many other similar experiences, but I’ll stop here because I know that you have many other letters to read!

Dear president, your courage inspires and strengthens me. Your humanity is so profound and true. You represent the best, the most beautiful, fullest essence of the Brazilian people. Our gratitude is abundant, our love for you is absolute, and we will not rest until we are able to see you free and governing this country again.

A strong hug, and I’ll see you soon. With all my heart,






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