‘Thief, You Belong in Prison!’: Brazilians Jeer Socialist President Lula Outside Luxury NYC Hotel

Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, of the Workers' Party (PT), offers a press conference during the municipal elections' first round at a school in Sao Bernardo do Campo, 25 km south of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on October 2, 2016. - Brazilians furious at recession and corruption voted …

Brazilian citizens protested the presence of their country’s president, radical leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in New York City on Sunday, branding him a “thief” and a “communist.”

The protesters – who chanted “Lula, thief, your place is in prison” – disparaged the president as a “communist,” a “bastard,” and an “alcoholic,” suggesting he “go [back] to Cuba” in response to Lula’s presence in Havana for a summit with communist leaders there over the weekend. During his stay, Lula defended the communist Castro regime and criticized the United States for its alleged “embargo”: in reality, the Castro regime severely limits its citizens’ access to Cuban goods.

“The drunkard is here!” women can be heard shouting amid the New York protest.

“How’s it going in Cuba?” another shouted as Lula’s security escorted him away:

Lula is in New York to participate in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly this week. Prior to his arrival, the radical leftist president traveled to Havana to participate in the “G77+China” summit that took place on September 15-16. 

International human rights activists condemned the event as a “Summit of Immorality” in response to its guest list, which featured democratically elected leaders, dictators, and representatives from 134 countries choosing to legitimize host country Cuba with their presence. The communist Castro regime is a serial human rights violator that has brought Cuba to ruins and subjected its citizens to inhumane living conditions for more than six decades.

All three of Latin America’s socialist and/or communist dictators participated in the summit: Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, and Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel.

During his remarks at the G77+China summit on Saturday, Lula – a notorious pro-China hardline socialist – criticized America’s alleged “embargo” on Cuba, describing it as a “form of suffocation.” Lula also expressed his disapproval of Cuba’s inclusion on the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism, despite the Castro regime’s ties to Iran, Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and other nefarious actors.

Brazil's President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during the G77+China Summit at the Convention Palace in Havana on September 16, 2023. The G77+China, a group of developing and emerging countries representing 80 percent of the global population, gathers Friday in Cuba seeking to promote a "new economic world order" amid warnings of growing polarization. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Brazil’s President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during the G77+China Summit at the Convention Palace in Havana on September 16, 2023 (YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images).

“Cuba has been an advocate of fairer global governance. And to this day it is the victim of an illegal economic embargo,” Lula said on Saturday. “Brazil is against any unilateral coercive measure. We reject Cuba’s inclusion on the list of states sponsoring terrorism.”

The United States included Cuba on its list of state sponsors of terrorism in January 2021 during the administration of former President Donald Trump because of the Castro regime’s extensive ties to terrorist organizations around the world.

According to the Castro regime, Lula held a private meeting with Díaz-Canel in Havana, where Lula highlighted the “importance” Cuba has to him. Lula also reportedly paid a “personal visit” to Cuba’s true dictator and recently unretired nonagenarian Raúl Castro that was not part of his official agenda.

Lula departed from Havana and arrived in New York on Saturday evening to participate in the United Nations General Assembly this week, staying at the luxurious Lotte New York Palace in Manhattan, where the group of protesters gathered to espouse chants against him.

Local Brazilian media outlets have reported that, based on publicly available information from the Brazilian government’s transparency website, the Brazilian government has spent 7.5 million Brazilian reais ($1.5 million) of Brazilian taxpayer money to cover the expenses of Lula and his delegation during their stay in New York, an amount paid in advance in July.

Lula, who was previously the president of Brazil between 2003 and 2010, began his third presidential term in January after narrowly defeating former conservative President Jair Bolsonaro in the 2022 elections.

In 2019, he was sentenced to more than two decades in prison on multiple corruption charges that allegedly took place during his first two presidential terms. Police authorities discovered his involvement in corruption as part of a broad nationwide investigation known as Operação Lava Jato (“Operation Car Wash”).

The nation’s top court, the Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF), overturned his conviction on procedural grounds, allowing Lula to run for office in 2022. The STF ruling did not challenge any of the evidence against Lula or the appeals that affirmed the original conviction.

Lula is scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, marking the second time both presidents meet this year; Biden received Lula at the White House in February. 

U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (L) walk to the Oval Office before a bilateral meeting at the White House on February 10, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

According to the White House, both Lula and Biden will participate in an event with American and Brazilian labor leaders to “highlight the central and critical role that workers play in building a sustainable, democratic, equitable, and peaceful world.”

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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