SAO PAULO – Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Saturday that his wife, who passed away this week after nine days in a coma from a cerebral hemorrhage, died in sorrow because of the evil recently done to her.
The ex-head of state, in a brief address after the vigil for his wife Marisa Leticia Rocco, was referring to the court cases opened by the Justice system against him, and in three of which his spouse was also implicated. He declared the innocence of both of them.
“Marisa died in sorrow because of how they slandered her and for their stupidity and the evil they made her suffer,” the former president said about the legal charges against his wife, also accused of having benefited from the gigantic corruption ring at the heart of the state-run oil company Petrobras.
Lula insisted on declaring her innocence and said he is waiting for her accusers to apologize for what they did.
“I’m 71 years old and I’m going to live a lot longer. I hope to prove that those wretches insinuated groundless charges against Marisa, and that they have the decency to apologize, he said during the vigil at the headquarters of the Metallurgists Union in Sao Bernardo do Campo, a city in Sao Paulo’s industrial belt where the couple met 44 years ago and where they lived.
Lula, who has talked about possibly running for president again in 2018, is accused of having received payoffs from a company that had been awarded Petrobras contracts irregularly, and which included such perks as a seaside apartment and a country estate in the couple’s name.
“I wish to say that this man who is burying his wife is not someone afraid of being arrested. My conscience is clear. I am certain of my wife’s conscience and the work she did. It’s not up to me to prove I am innocent. They are the ones who have to prove that the lies they spread are truths,” he said.
The vigil for the former president’s wife attracted hundreds of admirers and dozens of politicians, chiefly leftists and among them ex-President Dilma Rousseff, successor and political protegee of Lula.
“Rocco, who was Brazil’s first lady between 2003 and 2011, faced charges along with her husband for allegedly accepting bribes and favors from construction giant Odebrecht, one of the companies implicated in a $2 billion scandal centered on state-controlled oil company Petrobras.
Despite his legal issues, the still-popular Lula has suggested more than once that he may be a candidate in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election.”