For sure I wasn’t the only one shedding a few happy tears of relief when I heard the news. (Having lived for 15 years in a neighboring country, Brazil has a special place in my heart). He made it!
Still, “Difficult” and “Divided” are the words that have dominated Brazilian and international media coverage of Lula da Silva’s victory over Bolsonaro so far. Commentators quickly pointed out that the new President will face fierce opposition in and outside Congress, where Bolsonaro has powerful allies. Brazilian society is deeply polarized and the economy is in bad shape.
Lula has announced he’ll increase minimum wages and restore the purchasing power of tens of millions of Brazilians who have suffered greatly from inflation and the rising cost of living under Bolsonaro. He’ll introduce improved labor legislation and tax reforms that favor low incomes.
To counter Bolsonaro’s reckless environmental management, Lula promised to fight illegal mining and protect the Amazon forest. Illegal logging, destructive agribusiness and deforestation will be halted. And that’s not just good news for Brazilians. A healthy Amazon means a healthy planet for us all.
But how will Lula achieve his generous social and environmental plans, commentators ask? Short of cash and lacking the momentum he enjoyed during his two successful terms as President between 2003 and 2010, he’ll have to move mountains.
Yes, that’s all true. But first and foremost, let’s be glad that the tides are finally turning. Let’s give the man a warm welcome!