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Brazil with Lula 2022: Democracy defeats the menace of fascism

November 9, 2022 at 1:23 pm

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

The threat of a Brazilian dictatorship legitimised by the ballot – with hordes of armed, ferocious zealots imposing their reactionary values, policies and codes of behaviour – persuaded democratic spirits to rise from years of internal disputes, common in times of political normality. Brazil closed the ranks on Jair Bolsonaro’s re-election – the man who spurred four years of vicious, far-right zealotry.

We needed to stop the fascists, or fascism would swallow Brazil. The day following two-time President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s electoral victory was proof enough. Bolsonaro’s supporters – enraged and organised by social media groups, invisible to most of the population – launched a blockade on several federal roads, hoping to revert their defeat by force of a military coup. Meanwhile, the current president – who lost the polls – remained silent, allowing the efforts to spread chaos throughout the country. For 48 hours, he remained in deliberate silence.

The Brazilian democracy, nevertheless, did not surrender to an imminent coup d’état, conducting a colossal civic effort to vote Bolsonaro out of office.

Lula’s political character unified left-wing, centre and even liberal rights figures, all worried about freeing the country from anti-politics and fanatism, trusting their candidate had democracy in his veins and strong coordinating abilities. At this point, consensus on potential choices or alliances would not matter.

“This is not my victory, neither of the Workers’ Party nor the parties who supported my campaign. This is a victory of an immense democratic movement we built above political parties, personal interests and ideologies, intending to make democracy victorious,” expressed Lula in his first speech after the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) confirmed the ballot results.

Ten political parties orbiting the former president’s leadership supported his successful campaign: the Workers’ Party (PT), the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), the Sustainability Network (REDE), the Green Party (PV), the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), Solidarity, Avante, Act and the Republican Party of the Social Order (PROS). After the first round, other parties also raised support that may incur in government appointments: the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Cidadania, parts of Brazil Union, the Progressives (PP) and the Republicans. The last three are members of the so-called “Centrão”, or “Big Centre”, a group of factions consistently revolving around government posts and supporting Bolsonaro, until recently.

Simone Tebet and Ciro Gomes – third and fourth-place candidates in the first round – publicly supported Labour’s bid. Tebet effectively rolled up her sleeves and travelled the country for votes, including in Bolsonarist centres of agribusiness. The United Socialist Workers’ Party (PSTU), an opposition party on the left, called for a critical vote on Lula.

But life will not be easy for the new president. The future Congress will have an opposition majority – the polls sadly elected several far-right ex-ministers to the Senate. Lula will face a test at the very limit of his abilities for political dialogue. Former President Dilma Rousseff – re-elected by a narrow margin in 2014 – faced sedition from parties defeated at the presidential polls, but was victorious in Congress. These parties coordinated themselves to block every action of her administration. Lula, however, holds diplomatic skills that foster hope for all his supporters.

Global celebrations hinder Bolsonaro’s response

Lula’s credibility abroad as a statesman is astonishing, beyond the interests of global powers to sway his course. Celso Amorim, Lula’s former foreign minister and prominent advisor, said in an interview that speaking with the president-elect means status, almost fashionable among chiefs of state who called one after another to congratulate his victory. According to the diplomat, Brazil surpassed the condition of international pariah – laid by Bolsonaro’s policies – to become a leading force in the global arena.

Lula received support from several governments, powers and even his adversary’s former idols and allies, including the US. Against every doubt cast by Bolsonaro over the ballot confidence, US President Joe Biden rushed to celebrate Lula’s victory following “free, fair and credible elections.” Right after, Biden called the president-elect to establish a joint transitional team. Former President Bill Clinton echoed the eloquent praise.

According to the Brazilian press, several governments articulated themselves in prompt eulogies to the ballot results, intending to avoid questioning from the runner-up – something Bolsonaro has been threatening to do for some years now. The global celebration of the Brazilian turning point in the broader arena hindered eventual binding from the current administration to calls for a coup, gaining life instead in some small groups and streets, allegedly spontaneously.

Frustrated Bolsonaro – the first New Republic president not to be re-elected – hid in the Presidential Palace, never acknowledging his opponent’s victory, as a storm of praise came from every corner of the world, hoping for much better relations with Lula.

From many chiefs of state, the messages expressed more than ceremonial compliments, but utter delight with the ballot results. “Blessed be the Brazilian people,” posted Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “Jallalla Brazil,” wrote Bolivian President Luis Arce, using a Quechua expression meaning, “We trust in Brazil.” Chilean President Gabriel Boric proclaimed, “Lula, rejoice!” The youngest president in Latin America then called the president-elect to emphasise that he has much to learn from his veteran skills. “Tonight, in Brazil, democracy has triumphed,” affirmed Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela. “Always count on Cuba,” insisted Miguel Diaz-Canel, chief of the island.

Europe resounded further enthusiastic demonstrations, including from Josep Borrell, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs. Lula was victorious in many European countries, such as Portugal, France and Germany. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed: “I look forward to working together on the issues that matter to the UK and Brazil.” The same was stated by Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, in North America.

Ukraine and Russia paused their war briefly to praise the president-elect.

The Palestinian resistance also celebrates

Middle Eastern media circumvented the idea that Lula’s victory implies a win for Palestine due to the former president’s positions on occupation crimes. In the Palestinian territories, Lula was the absolute champion of votes. In Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, Lula gathered support from 84.8 per cent of constituents.

Leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, running the Gaza Strip, commended Lula in a post on its official website on 31 October, referring to him as a “freedom fighter”. Basim Naim, one of the political leaders of the Palestinian group, describes Lula’s election as: “A triumph for all oppressed people worldwide, especially the Palestinian people, given his known care for Palestine in all international forums.”

Meanwhile, Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post bemoaned losing a friend in Brazil – the unelected President Bolsonaro – who always counted on Zionist support. The close friendship between Tel Aviv and Bolsonaro was reflected clearly in his first lady, as Michelle Bolsonaro appeared at the ballots wearing a T-shirt with an Israeli flag.

Lula was also praised, however, by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who recalled the former president’s visit to the Zionist country. The Israeli media instead expressed a grudge and listed many situations when Lula favoured the Palestinian people. The press never forgot that Lula refused to take flowers to Theodor Herzl’s grave, the founding father of Zionism, the ideological ethnic cleansing project intended to create the State of Israel. Lula instead visited Yasser Arafat’s mausoleum.

As reported by MEMO, covering the election implications in the Middle East, the Zionist media mentioned that Lula recognised the State of Palestine in 2010 but mixed up South America with South Africa. The Brazilian position soon after created a series of reconnaissance measures across the whole continent.

Absolute reversal of policies

Brazil has historically supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a position drastically changed by Bolsonaro’s rise to power. In 2010, the Brazilian administration recognised the State of Palestine within the pre-war 1967 borders, in which Israel expanded its occupation of the indigenous lands. Since then, Brazil has advocated Palestinian rights against occupation crimes and illegal settlements in the United Nations (UN). Rousseff gave continuity to Lula’s position, under Amorim’s chancellorship, supporting the two-state solution. Rousseff’s successor Michel Temer, under Aloysio Nunes’s chancellorship, dully followed their steps, even after her controversial impeachment.

With Bolsonaro, Brazilian diplomacy suffered an absolute reversal of policies, especially concerning Israel and Palestine. The far-right administration unconditionally aligned its policies with the Zionist occupation. Bolsonaro promised and tried – with no success – to move the Brazilian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, only deterred by the losses he would bring regarding Arab governments, which are massive consumers of Brazilian products, especially halal meat.

The background of international relations during Lula and Rousseff’s presidencies must influence the choice of the next foreign minister. Amorim’s role in such decisions is a singular motif of hope worldwide.

According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Amorim may not be the chosen one to rule foreign policy but will certainly have an opinion on whom the future government may convene to this mission. One of the mentioned names is Rousseff’s former Chancellor and former US Ambassador Mauro Vieira. With a career spanning almost 50 years, Vieira worked with Amorim and other prominent ambassadors, such as Samuel Guimarães and Luiz Felipe de Seixas Corrêa.

Brazil’s Ambassador to Croatia, Mauro Vieira

As a minister, Vieira described himself as an: “Ambassador of results – stemming from numbers, the conscience of mission, action, engagement and means.” Vieira’s proclaimed priority was opening and keeping access to foreign markets in support of the production system of Brazil. At that time, the government defined the expansion of illegal settlements and hate crimes in Palestine as a “serious obstacle” to a long-standing peace, as pointed out by then-President Rousseff.

Another name surfacing is Maria Luiza Viotti, former ambassador to Germany and the UN, now chief of staff of the UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres. Many consider Viotti the leading figure in the race to office due to her valuable experience in international governance. Still, a few refer to the eventual return of Aloysio Nunes.

Lula’s administration first established its foreign policy in Brazil twenty years ago. Since then, the Israeli position in the Middle East has changed with a wave of normalisation and collaboration accords with Arab countries. The Palestinian people feel increasingly isolated, with no rights secured by the international community. Meanwhile, reports of apartheid imposed by the Israeli occupation reached headlines against the expansion of illegal settlements, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation threats on Islamic areas in occupied Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Brazilian ambassador Maria Luísa Viotti, chief of staff of the new UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres [José Cruz/Agência Brasil]

Brazilian ambassador Maria Luísa Viotti, chief of staff of the new UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres [José Cruz/Agência Brasil]

In any event, expectations of Lula’s third term mention a new reversal of policies concerning the Palestinian people and the defence of human rights in general.

‘The world misses Brazil’

Lula’s speeches on Brazilian-world relations touched on subjects like South-South cooperation, partnership with the North, influence on global governance, integration of Latin America, industrialisation and international trade.

 My friends,

In my international travels and in my meetings with leaders from many countries, what I hear most is that the world misses Brazil.

Longing for that sovereign Brazil, that spoke as an equal with the richest and most powerful countries. And that at the same time contributed to the development of the poorer countries.

The Brazil that supported the development of African countries, through cooperation, investment and technology transfer.

Who worked for the integration of South America, Latin America and the Caribbean, who strengthened Mercosur and helped create the G20, UNASUR, CELAC and BRICS.

Today we say to the world that Brazil is back. That Brazil is too big to be relegated to this sad role of the world’s pariah.

We will win back the credibility, the predictability and the stability of the country, so that investors – domestic and foreign – will regain confidence in Brazil. So that they stop seeing our country as a source of immediate and predatory profit and become our partners in the resumption of economic growth with social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

We want fairer international trade. We want to resume our partnerships with the United States and the European Union on new terms. We are not interested in trade agreements that condemn our country to the eternal role of exporter of commodities and raw materials.

Let us re-industrialize Brazil, let us invest in the green and digital economy, let us support the creativity of our businesspeople and entrepreneurs. We want to export knowledge as well.

We will fight again for new global governance, with the inclusion of more countries in the UN Security Council and with the end of the veto, which undermines the balance between nations.

We are ready to re-engage in the fight against hunger and inequality in the world, and in efforts to promote peace among peoples.

Extract from Lula’s first speech after the Brazilian elections of 2022

Frustration from the coup plotters

Lula’s victory’s recognition by governors and members of parliament, including the presidents of Congress and Senate, and even Bolsonaro’s ministers, frustrated far-right zealots all over Brazil. Even Bolsonaro’s vice president, the retired general and now-senator Hamilton Mourão, acknowledged the results. Bolsonaro’s supporters imagined they had the muscle to burn down the country and revert the ballots under the current president’s active leadership. Yet, Bolsonaro remained uncommonly silent.

The hate campaigns against the Workers’ Party since 2005, through corruption lawfare and then the sneaky impeachment against Rousseff, effectively attracted a substantial part of the Brazilian constituency. Lula’s illegal arrest, Bolsonaro’s electoral win and extremist approaches fostered such violent rhetoric. Since the elections, the same zealots raised national flags on the streets, supporting the most disastrous government in Brazilian history. A fraction of these fanatical people still behaves like an angry army baring its teeth against the opposition. Some of those groups decided to use trucks to block the roads.

An important detail about the post-election blockades is that the Federal Highway Police (PRF), responsible for freeing the tracks for traffic, is the same corporation caught on camera suppressing the vote in pro-Lula districts through more than 500 illegal operations all over the country. The STF had to intervene and order the police to interrupt its actions.

After the elections, several videos captured police officers quietly lenient with demonstrators calling for a coup d’état. On the night of 31 October, Alexandre de Moraes, minister-chief of TSE, adopted harsher measures against state and federal police officers and commanders complicit with those actions. Moraes called for reinforcement of law and order, laid down heavy fines against the officers and threatened to arrest the chief of police in case of contempt.

Violence appeal: A backfire

Two measures connected to public security marked Bolsonaro’s administration as a cause for concern. The first was the appointment of the army to several government areas to an unprecedented degree – never seen before, even in times of military dictatorship. Bolsonaro ordered the integration of the army into his electoral staff, tasked with evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the voting machines – still, never finding any sign of issues. The second one was the general liberation of arms sales, arming the civil population and militia more than the combined efforts of military forces and police.

As Lula’s campaign gained ground towards the presidency, some episodes of violence tested the far-right zealots’ spirits and disposition to react to an imminent loss.

A former congressperson and close friend of Bolsonaro, Roberto Jefferson, under house arrest for corruption, decided to tease the justice system with a series of contempt. Jefferson then insulted the chief of justice, Carmen Lucia, by calling her a “whore”. The judiciary establishment responded by requesting his return to jail. Jefferson responded with gunshots and grenades from his home arsenal, harming at least two officers. Society reacted with disgust.

The day before the elections, a video surfaced online of far-right Congressperson Carla Zambelli chasing a black man at gunpoint in a wealthy neighbourhood of São Paulo. Zambelli insisted she had been assaulted. However, several videos exposed her lies. Zambelli committed an electoral crime by carrying a weapon during the elections. Questioned by reporters, she vowed to keep disobeying justice’s orders. Once more, the commentary on the press and social media reflected disgust at an action more than brutal: racist.

These scenes of violence, featuring first-hand allies of Bolsonaro, projected a sense of backfire in the presidential campaign. Bolsonaro tried consistently to expand his electoral support among undecided or moderate voters.

The Brazilian people, nevertheless, did not fall for these provocations – either by Bolsonaro’s allies or radicalised truck drivers. This fact proves something Lula affirmed in his first speech: “The majority of the Brazilian people made it clear that they want more democracy, not less.”

The hard struggle for ‘bread and roses’ in Brazil

More than the bared teeth of a few fanatics – some of them encouraged by pro-Bolsonaro neo-charismatic preachers – the democratic struggle in Brazil faced several setbacks making the far-right administration return to a tragic past.

A message from foreign unionists of the International Progressive movement wished luck to Lula in his new government, hoping for “bread and roses for Brazil”. The phrase seems like a song by the famous Brazilian rock band, Titãs: “We want more than food; we want food and joy, and we want art.” However, food security is an emergency in the current country.

“Hunger – once eradicated – now strikes millions of working families,” pointed out the unionist document. During Bolsonaro’s term – occurring alongside the COVID pandemic – hunger in Brazil reached epidemic highs. The Brazilian Research Network on Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security (Rede Penssan) underscored that more than 33 million people live without access to primary meals.

The phrase “bread and roses” also alludes to Ken Loach’s homonymous film about a union of outsourced janitorial workers in Los Angeles. The extreme deterioration of labour led to an authentic and material mobilisation in 1990, serving as a motif to comparison on the labour reform in Brazil and the workers’ conditions under Bolsonaro.

In four years, unemployment reached 14 per cent of the population, with a slight improvement during the elections with emergency measures, despite expanding the amount of informal and precarious work.

The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) recorded 13.2 million people working without a legal contract – the highest degree of these cases in the last decade. Bolsonaro’s policies also downsized the population’s purchasing power by rescinding the Politics on Valorisation of the Minimum Wage -introduced by Lula and enshrined into law by Rousseff. During Bolsonaro’s four-year presidential term, the minimum wage was never effectively raised by readjustment above the rampant inflation rate.

Some problems affecting Brazilian society led vast niches to dangerous mistakes. The most severe was the government’s neglect and denial of COVID. Bolsonaro talks about and bets on “herd immunity”, distributing ineffective drugs and building distrust against the scientific research and vaccination campaigns. His approach led a country, once proud of its healthcare system’s background and effectiveness, to struggle to persuade families to vaccinate their children. The government delayed the purchase of vaccines available in advance by several laboratories. Almost 700,000 people died from COVID in Brazil.

Some of Bolsonaro’s policies only aimed to gather ideological adherence by conservative niches. Bolsonaro, for instance, ordered to avoid the expression “obstetric violence” – a situation many pregnant women suffer in Brazil – from public documents, treating the concept as something improper with “leftist” bias. Bolsonaro also removed the LGBTQIA+ community from the State Policy of Human Rights, even though Brazil reached new highs of hate crimes and murders of such minorities. Additionally, the government reduced the Ministry of Health’s HIV programme – a policy once celebrated worldwide.

Still, in the healthcare sector, Bolsonaro approved the extinction of 22,400 posts, including 10,600 community agents, at the end of 2019. The far-right president changed the rules of the transfer of funds to the Unified Health System (SUS), demanding a new user registration system to reduce the amount allocated to municipalities – used to attend to a large part of the population often ignored. These actions preceded the pandemic and worsened its impact in the following year. Bolsonaro’s policies made states and municipalities hastily try to fulfil unfeasible deficiencies to aid the people.

An electoral package of ‘kindness’

Misery and hunger laid down over Brazil, turning the needy population into a viable target for a provisory package of “kindness” created by campaigning Bolsonaro. Trying the re-election at any cost, the far-right president raised the emergency aid once ostracised and turned it into a tool to plunge poverty-stricken families further into debt through payment-deducted loans with high interest rates. Bolsonaro also allowed Brazilian workers to withdraw parts of their Length-of-Service Guarantee Fund (FGTS) to apply for mortgages, distributing capital and promises to the impoverished population.

Further measures had a strict target audience: truck drivers. With rampant inflation over fuel prices, Bolsonaro gave them R$1,000 monthly to expire next December. Ten days before the elections, the government announced it would pay every instalment in advance. In number, the re-election candidate injected more than $1 billion into the transport sector in his last-ditch attempts to buy votes. However, it is only part of his electoral package of conditional “kindness”.

In July, Congress approved an amendment to the Constitution allowing the government to raise R$41.25 billion in the resources allocated to social programmes and pensions during the electoral campaign. The government would have absolute freedom to specify the payments.

“Together with Parliament, we will overcome this challenge. These houses [Congress and Senate] were never short in courage. I have much to thank the members of parliament for approving useful and healthy measures. We are partners, Parliament and Executive, are brothers living in full harmony. We depend on each other,” said Bolsonaro during the legislative vote.

The relationship between the government and Congress also changed through a novelty created in 2019 and implemented in the following year: the so-called rapporteur’s amendments – popularly, the “secret budget”. They allow members of Parliament to send resources directly from the public treasury to their districts. There is no transparent track on how, by whom and where they use the money – a mechanism adopted to buy legislative support and institutionalise embezzlement and corruption.

Optimism within the environmental struggle

One of the quickest shifts of international approach after Lula’s election was the announcement by the Minister of Environment of Norway Espen Barth Eide that his country will send $482 million to fight Amazon deforestation. Oslo had no choice but to suspend the climate aid to Brazil during Bolsonaro’s government.

“Regarding Lula, his campaign underscored the need to preserve the Amazon Forest and protect its indigenous people. Therefore, we are eager to contact his teams as fast as possible to prepare for the resumption of a historically positive collaboration between Norway and Brazil,” said the minister. “We salute Brazil back to its position as a global partner in efforts to reduce deforestation. We are ready to talk,” Barth Eide confirmed.

Lula affirmed that Brazil is eager to resume its leading role in the environmental struggle and reminded us that his administration, as well as Rousseff’s, reduced the deforestation of the Amazon by 80 per cent, curbing much of the carbon emissions of the whole region. Bolsonaro instead raised it by 70 per cent, encouraging Amazon deforestation over the years – a scandal, according to Eide.

“Stopping the Amazon deforestation is crucial if we want to meet the Paris Agreement’s sustainable development goals. Standing forests afford protection against climate change,” continued Eide.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi soon invited Lula to partake in the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), between 6 and 18 November, in the seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. Lula’s presence, according to Al-Sisi, will have a positive influence on the forum’s good results.

In Brazil, endemic paralysis in environmental protection was the motto of Bolsonaro’s administration. An online report on “Flexibilisation of Social-Environment Laws”, published in late 2021 by the Heinrich Boll Foundation and the NGO FASE, exposed a series of environmental setbacks in the course of debate in the public arena. Over three years, the government refused to delimit an inch of indigenous land, deepening the demarcation deficit and actions of assault, invasion and illegal exploration.

One of the setbacks was the Legislative Bill No. 2633/2020, known as the “Land Grabbing Bill”, dismissing inspections on medium rural properties and allowing invaders to “legalise” their ownership of expropriated lands from indigenous lands and Afro-Brazilian settlements, the quilombolas. Another proceeding scheme is the Legislative Decree Bill No. 177/2021, allowing the president to retreat Brazil from the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No. 169) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

One of the most controversial plans of the current government is the Legislative Bill No. 490/2007, the so-called Indigenous Timestamp, altering the demarcation laws and severely restricting the choices of people whose property rights precede the 1988 Constitution.

Bolsonaro also adopted several measures to impair and preclude Indigenous lands, enable rural lease, change the property law and drastically cut the protection budget.

Last week, the Supreme Court formed a majority to force the government to resume the Amazon Fund, of which R$3.5 billion remain frozen at the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).

Environmental protection is one of the commitments of Lula’s campaign, dully reaffirmed in his victory speech on 30 October. Some of his sentences pointed out radical political changes over the previous government: “Brazil and the planet need a living Amazon. A standing tree is worth more than tonnes of wood illegally extracted by those who think only of easy profit, at the expense of the deterioration of life on Earth. A river of clean water is worth much more than all the gold extracted at the expense of mercury that kills animals and puts human life at risk. When an Indigenous child is murdered by the greed of the exploiters of the environment, a part of humanity dies along with it.”

Lula committed himself to resume monitoring and surveillance over the Amazon and fight each illegal activity at any cost: mining, logging or invasive agropastoralism. Lula promised to promote the sustainable development of communities living in the Amazon region, while preserving the ecosystem.

Many chiefs of state celebrating Lula voiced their worries about the environment. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre pointed to: “New possibilities open to Brazil – and to the important role of Brazil in global issues – and a new hope for common efforts in fighting climate change.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry voiced eagerness to cooperate with the future administration on the environmental agenda.

An almost impossible Brazil challenges Lula

The 2016 spending cap severely restricts the federal budget and Lula will have to face it if he wants to employ much-needed social programmes. Lula’s plans to strengthen the state’s role are bold, including recreating ministries made extinct by Bolsonaro and setting up a new one: the Ministry of the Indigenous People.

The current project of Budget Guidelines Law (LDE) foresees the 2023 spending threshold, imposing on the Ministry of Health the lower budget of the last decade (R$149.9 billion), reducing by R$22.7 billion, the amount used in 2022.

That is just one of the many challenges underscored by the press for the next government. Agencia Lupa gathered several predictions for multiple sectors, including the economy, healthcare, education, environment and public security. It doesn’t add up.

Bolsonaro’s government knows the public budget will end the current year critically in the red. Experts project a primary deficit of R$63.7 billion. To honour such an amount, the federal administration will have to emit more and more debt.

The funds to the Ministry of Education have been in freefall since 2014, and the budget for basic, professional and higher education may decrease again.

The growing starving population is evident on the streets, with the misery boom in major cities. Extreme poverty reached an unprecedented high affecting 5.3 million people.

Maintaining and raising aid for impoverished families will be another challenge for Lula’s government. First, Bolsonaro refused to support the people, then proposed R$400 with an electoral extension of R$200 through Constitutional Amendment No. 123/2022, expiring on 31 December. To keep the R$600, the future administration must allocate an additional R$52 billion and debate new budgetary rules. Furthermore, Lula’s commitment is to raise the amount for families with children.

Murders, rapes and femicides are a further concern to the Brazilian government after the current government unscrupulously armed a berserk population. Threats of political violence were rife during the electoral campaign, but Lula will have to face the advance of new forms of organised crime all over the country. A report by Agencia Lupa concluded that 53 criminal factions currently act in every state of Brazil.

Meanwhile, the rampant spending of the “secret budget”, which may be rescinded by justice review or only by the approval of the most interested party – the members of parliament – are currently around R$19.4 billion for the near future.

Lula’s leadership, international support and the sense of alert of the democratic forces against the far-right mobilisation may be the fuel to sustain a rescue project for a dilapidated country since the coup d’état that ousted President Rousseff in 2016.

The people’s hopes for a dignified life will be the best judge in this new, unprecedented democratic venture.

Good luck, Lula.

Good luck, Brazil.