SÃO PAULO, Brazil — São Paulo samba school Gaviões da Fiel paid tribute to former-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during its Carnival parade performance in São Paulo Sunday night, telling every step of his story through samba song and dance, according to Brazilian news site Band.
With its original samba, "Verás que um filho fiel não foge à luta, Lula, o retrato de uma nação" ("You can see a loyal son does not flee the fight, Lula, portrait of a nation"), the 3,900 performers told the story of a young warrior who grew up in poverty, but ended up with the country's most important job from 2003 to 2010, leaving the presidency with an 80% approval rate, reported Band.
"Let's make an analogy with the people, showing that an ordinary citizen can get there. You just have to have perseverance and willingness to pursue your goals," Delmo de Moraes, director of Gaviões da Fiel, told Band.
Lula's early story of being a fighter against Brazil's dictatorship isn't the only time in his life the samba school made reference to when calling him a warrior. The former president is currently being treated for larynx cancer, and had just gone home after radiation therapy before the Carnival festivities started, which is why he couldn't be a part of the homage to his life, according to Brazilian news site R7. He did, however, record a video in the hospital, thanking the samba school for its tribute and reminding everyone that he isn't the only Brazilian to have faced difficulties and to have fought for a better Brazil.
But his wife and former-first lady Marisa Letícia, who took his place in the parade, said that if her husband appeared to be better in the next few days, his doctors might allow him to take part in the Champions Parade, if Gaviões da Fiel takes one of the first places in the competition, reported R7.
"As soon as he can speak normally again, he can go back to work," she said to R7 before the tribute started.