Half a hundred photographs signed by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and that depict historical moments of his life were auctioned on Wednesday in Sao Paulo in an act to support the freedom of the Brazilian president, four days after his first year in prison corruption.
From the bearded syndicalist who harangued the masses in times of the military dictatorship (1964-1985) to the fine political leader on his way to being invested as head of state, 43 photographers have donated part of their work to join the cry of "Free cell".
The auction was held in a bar in the capital of São Paulo, without the pomp that is presumed in this type of event, but with a dedicated militancy that did not stop chanting in favor of the maximum leader of the Workers' Party (PT) of Brazil.
In some moments the auction seemed like a party and in others a political rally, until the blow of the hammer.
At 20.30 local time (23.30 GMT) bids were launched with a minimum haul of 1,313 reais (about $ 340) for each of the 50 snapshots.
The attendees, also connected via Internet, presented their offers with frenzy and in some cases exceeded up to 20,000 reais ($ 5,155) per photo.
"Lula Prison is a democratic issue and we decided to campaign for their freedom with this auction, they are photos from 1978 to 2018 and they are well diversified: he as a trade unionist, in his privacy, with (Barack) Obama, with (José) Mujica … ", says the photographer and organizer of the event, Monica Zarattini.
Lula is being held since April 7, 2018 in a police headquarters in the city of Curitiba (south) to serve a sentence of 12 years and 1 month for passive corruption and money laundering.
The ex-governor was condemned for having received bribes in exchange for favoring the construction company OAS, which would have materialized in the reserve and reform of a three-story apartment in Guarujá, on the Sao Paulo coast. He denies all the accusations and considers himself a "political prisoner".
The collection of the bid will go to the Lula Institute, a charity founded by the ex-ruler, according to the organizers. With each photo auctioned, applause and a new opportunity to shout "Lula libre, Lula libre".
Lula's official photographer, Ricardo Stuckert, participated in this initiative which, in his opinion, represents "the history of Brazil" and "rescues that image for society".
"Lula is emotion, every day there was a moment that you said, it is not possible, one of those images happened in Barbalha (in 2016) at the end of a rally, he did something he always does: he left, broke the protocol and went there to greet people, Lula is that, "he tells Efe about the story behind one of the photos he has donated for the cause.
"I wanted to photograph him straight, but I did not get it and I took a picture with him on his back and the people hugging him, that picture is emblematic because everyone looks at or embraces Lula or tries to reach him. it marked me a lot ", completes.
Decades before it was the photographer Juca Martins who followed in the footsteps of a bushy-bearded Lula and was immersed in the union movement that emerged in the metropolitan region of Sao Paulo, in the midst of a military dictatorship.
One of those moments captured by Martins is that of a Lula giving a speech at an assembly of metallurgists and before a crowded Vila Euclides stadium, in the town of Sao Bernardo do Campo.
"There was no sound equipment, it was talking about the throat (…) The assembly was held in an improvised manner, so what Lula was talking about was transmitted by word of mouth throughout the stadium." And what did he say? They said, and someone from the front would reply: 'He finished talking about this,' and so on, "recalls Efe.
Far away are the years of union struggle and the golden age at the head of the Presidency (2003-2010). Last February, Lula received a second sentence of 12 years and 11 months accused of having benefited from the millionaire reforms that three construction companies, including OAS and Odebrecht, carried out in a country house whose ownership is attributed to it in Atibaia, in the interior of Sao Paulo.
Lula accumulates a total of eight criminal proceedings opened in the courts, including the two for which he has already been convicted.
In the auction, which lasted well into the night, its militants strongly denied the legitimacy of these accusations, continue with blind faith to their leader and hope to see him soon out of prison.