CARACAS (AFP) - Crisis-hit Venezuela denounced on Sunday (April 8) the imprisonment of Brazil's ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as a "judicial inquisition" to derail his re-election bid.
"Venezuela expresses its absolute solidarity with the former president of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, victim of a judicial inquisition," the foreign ministry said in a statement about the leader who was a potent symbol of Latin America's left.
"The Brazilian and international right, in agreement with servile imperialism, intends to prevent" Brazilian people from re-electing Lula in October elections.
"Comrade Lula is the greatest popular leader in the political history of the South American nation," the ministry said.
Hyperinflation, scarcities of basic food and medicine, and skyrocketing violence are gripping Venezuela.
The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on President Nicolas Maduro and his officials, with Washington calling him a "dictator."
Brazil's Lula served the first day of a 12-year prison sentence for corruption on Sunday.
The 72-year-old, who served two terms as head of state between 2003 and 2010, entered the prison in the southern city of Curitiba late on Saturday (April 7), becoming Brazil's first ex-president to be jailed as a criminal.