The last time Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva involved himself in matters Irish was sending a message of congratulations to Ahern and Blair on the return of Stormont:
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has sent messages congratulating the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, and the Prime Minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, for the commitment of both Heads of Government during the long process of negotiation that culminated in this historic moment, which is both an example and a source of inspiration for other regions in conflict in the world.
Now in an interview with AP while supporting Cuba over the death of Orlando Zapata he has raised the issue of Irish Hunger Strikers and criminality and rejected the legitimacy of a tactic he once engaged in:
“Look, I don’t think a hunger strike can be used as a pretext for human rights to free people. Imagine if all the criminals in Sao Paulo entered into hunger strikes to demand freedom.
We have to respect the decisions of the Cuban legal system and the government to arrest people depending on the laws of Cuba, like I want them to respect Brazil, like I want to respect what the United States does to comply with its laws.
But it’s not just in Cuba that people died from hunger strikes. Everybody knows what happened in Ireland. How many people of the IRA died on hunger strikes? I see many people today criticizing Cuba for causing a death, and they said nothing about the deaths of the IRA. It’s as if it were a normal thing to die in Ireland and not normal for people to die in other countries.
I would like that it hadn’t happened. But I cannot question the reasons why Cuba arrested him just like I don’t want Cuba to question me about people who are arrested in Brazil.”