Yesterday I left Brazil in anguish. As you know, theybarred me from visiting you in an unjustified, arbitrary and impolite manner. Afterwords I visited my brothers and sisters who are rag pickers, peasants, slum dwellers, teachers, public servants,laborers and members of diverse Catholic Pastorals. I could feel the pain of your people, sharetheir impotence against injustice and theirfrustration at the persecution of their biggest leader. I also noted the enormous institutional, social and political deterioration that Brazil is suffering from because of the ambition of a few who concentrate power and prevent differences from being solved within the framework ofdemocracy.
The most bitter pill, however, awaited me in the Curitiba airport. There I learned that they attackedyou again in the media and on the social networks. I can affirm that they lied about the Rosary that Pope Francis sent you. They said that you,imprisoned and unable to communicate, were also lying! I was astonished to see your inquisitorssaying that their source for this lie was the Vatican itself. My surprise was even greater when I saw that on an internet page called Vatican News they published a text in aggressive Portuguese, full ofinaccuracies and typos. Communications on this page cannot be considered official but, effectively, it is a site that is dependent on the Vatican’s Communication Secretary. While reading it I could not hide my astonishment. Apparently an editor on this site, God knows for what motive and and who requested it, wanted to cause a stir and succeeded. As soon as I could complain to his superiors thearticle was removed from the site and replaced with an adequate text (https://www.vaticannews.va/pt/vaticano/news/2018-06/precisacao-sobre-caso-grabois-lula.html), but the damage was already done. Unfortunately, the media companies that spread the story of the supposed Vatican denial did not publish the new article with the correct information. Could it be that we live in the era of post truth?
I have never revealed the content of a meeting with Pope Francis before because I am loyal, I respect and admire him greatly. Nevertheless, I know that his support for the social movements and the poor has given him more than one headache. As you know, he also suffers from systematic attacks of the Pharisees and Herodians of our times.Nevertheless, taking the circumstances into consideration, I feel obligated to tell you how it went. I was in the Vatican during May to visit PopeFrancis, who honors me with a friendship which I don’t deserve, loves the great homeland and, as he himself has said, is worried about the current situation. As you know, he is very clear and straight forward, does not need a spokesman and I never pretended to be one. I suffer a lot when the mediaputs me in this role. I only try to help the dialogue with the social movements, as I’ve been doing since we met in Buenos Aires more than 10 years ago, fighting for a society without slaves or theexcluded. Currently, I collaborate with the Dicastery for the Promotion of Human Development, presided over by Cardinal Peter Turkson, with whom I have organized three world encounters of people’s movements and other activities to promote accessand essencial rights to land, housing and work.
During that time in May, friends from the Brazilian peoples’ social movements offered me an opportunity to visit you. This made me very happy because I admire you and the way you acted as a President for the poorest of the poor. I am sure that you are the target of a political persecution equal to that of Nelson Mandela and other political leaders in recent history. I took advantage, therefore, of this visit to the Vatican to speak with the Pope about the situation and ask him for a Blessed Rosary to bring to you. This is what happened. It is incredible that such a simple gesture of solidarity andcloseness by the Pope, an object that is used to pray with, would generate so many problems but it is not the first time and the Vatican News is responsible for permitting that such an inappropriate and unprofessional article would be published. The responsible party has asked me for forgiveness and I forgive him because everyone makes mistakes. But I also know that this caused serious damage.
I would also like to clarify that when they refused to let me see you, I asked your comrades to take you the Rosary clearly stating that it came from the Pope with his blessings. This is why what you saidon your Facebook account – which was erroneously denounced as fake news that, when corrected, was censored – is simply what I told you: the truth. I deliver this letter to your helpers with expressedauthorization for you to publish it so that it can serve to mitigate the damage caused, although I fear that those who hate the worker who deliveredforty million excluded people from hunger andhelped Latin America stand up against the global powers are not going to tell the truth.
I ask your forgiveness and wish you a strong fraternal, Latin American solidarity hug. I pray for your freedom, your people and our Great Homeland.