A useful social democrat continues to renew himself

A useful social democrat continues to renew himself
Lula da Silva after winning the election.  AFP photo

Lula da Silva after winning the election.AFP photo

Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva was President of Brazil for eight years, from January 1, 2003 to January 1, 2011. He left the presidential palace with beautiful ratings from the people, Then it falls hard and deep. But the unruly beard unionist showed himself to be strict before. Lula missed several times – losing presidential elections in 1989, 1994 and 1998 – before putting on a suit at the turn of the century, moving to the center and winning the crowds.

The new president himself embodies the advancement he promised and brought to his country. He was born in 1945 in the poor countryside of the northeastern state of Pernambuco. His mother moved to São Paulo with her eight children when he was seven years old. As a boy he worked as a shoe polisher. At the age of 19, when he was a factory worker, he lost a little finger in a machine at an auto parts factory. In the 70s, during the military regime, he gained fame as a leader of the metalworkers’ union.

As a politician, he had to reinvent himself in order to win. Far from being a staunch socialist as Bolsonaro’s camp was in this campaign, President Lula was above all a useful social democrat. Already in his 2002 campaign, he promised a moderate economic path in a “Message to the People.” He approached work and appointed a liberal as a central banker. He had the wind in his favor economically and dropped the government debt.

Scholarships for poor Brazilians

He showed himself to the left in his social programs. Subsidies with names such as “Family Grant” and “Family Hunger” have helped lift millions out of extreme poverty. He opened schools and universities and provided scholarships to poor, indigenous, and black Brazilians. The minimum wage has been raised several times. Politician Lula unleashed not a revolution against capital, but a revolution through the wallet: a job, an education, a plate of food on the table, a salary to go shopping or for a vacation on a plane.

A Lola fan tattooed his picture on his leg.  Statue of Nikola Zulin

A Lola fan tattooed his picture on his leg.Statue of Nikola Zulin

It worked, the credit crunch that erupted around the world in 2008 reached Brazil a few years late. Only after his presidency did Labor Party Labor is part of a large-scale corruption scandal. A hostile parliament expelled Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s successor, with bitumen and feathers. Lola also got a stamp Ladraw, a thief, when he was convicted in a controversial 2017 trial. He was in prison for nearly two years. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro won the 2018 elections.

Only when the Supreme Court overturned Lula’s ruling in March last year was he able to return from exile. His return is undoubtedly historic, but has no predictive value for the coming years. The country will not go back to 2002.

The three most important files on Lola’s board

1. Poverty Reduction

The most pressing issue for the new president is undoubtedly the poverty in which many Brazilians live. The world’s seventh-largest economy has disastrously emerged from the coronavirus pandemic: of the 214 million Brazilians, nearly half live in poverty. 33 million people, twice the population of the Netherlands, suffer from acute famine. To do something about it, he wants Lula to raise the minimum wage, implement tax reforms and stick to the 600 reais (114 euros) monthly grant paid to poor families, plus an extra bonus for parents with young children. How he will pay for it is the biggest question hanging over his next presidency.

2. Amazon

During the campaign, Lula repeatedly made it clear that he has a green heart. So his plans for the Amazon rainforest are ambitious. Lula aims to end illegal deforestation by 2030 and make the region carbon neutral. After four years of widespread deforestation, will the world’s largest rainforest still be okay? Then Lula will have to come up with more than stricter laws. The problem with large-scale deforestation in recent years has not been in the lack of Brazilian case law protecting the Amazon, but in enforcement. Under Bolsonaro, hardly any action was taken against illegal logging.

3. The war in Ukraine

Lula also received a congratulatory message from the Kremlin on Sunday evening. Vladimir Putin recalled the excellent relations between Russia and Brazil at the beginning of the decade, and hopes to improve the current relations. So while Bolsonaro of Moscow was by no means misbehaving. At the moment, Brazil continues to trade with Russia as if nothing was wrong, especially in the areas of oil, gas and agriculture. Nor is Lula inclined to unconditionally take sides with Ukraine. In an interview with time He said he condemned the raid, but at the same time failed to understand why other countries were “stirring up hatred against Putin.” He said of Ukrainian President Zelensky: “He also wanted war. He would have negotiated more if he didn’t want war.”

Nick de Jagger

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