Brazil's Lula slams Bolsonaro's 'imbecile' Covid policies

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Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, seen here speaking at a press conference on March 10, 2021, has jumped back into politics after a court annulled his corruption convictions

Brazil's former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made his return to politics Wednesday with a virulent attack on President Jair Bolsonaro and his "imbecile" handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Don't follow any imbecile decisions by the president of the republic or the health minister: get vaccinated," Lula told a press conference, in reference to Bolsonaro's vaccine skepticism and regular flouting of expert advice on containing Covid-19.

The event came two days after a Supreme Court justice annulled Lula's corruption convictions, reinstating his right to run for office and setting up a potential showdown between the popular but tarnished leftist leader and Bolsonaro, his far-right nemesis, in presidential elections next year.

Lula, a former metal worker and union leader who led Brazil through an economic boom from 2003 to 2010, also slammed Bolsonaro's management of the economy and signature policies.

"Brazil doesn't deserve this," he said.

Lula, 75, called himself the victim of "the biggest judicial lie in 500 years," repeating his claim that the graft charges against him were fabricated to sideline him from the 2018 presidential race, which Bolsonaro ultimately won.

He said he planned to "fight tirelessly" for Brazil, and that he wanted to resume touring the country once he is vaccinated against Covid-19 next week.

But he declined to say whether he would run in the elections, saying "my head doesn't have time to think about a 2022 candidacy now."

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