Brazil: LULA!!

On October 6th, Lula may be elected the President of Brazil in the first round of the presidential elections. If not, he is sure to win the second round. This will be the first time in history that Brazil will be governed by a left-of-centre administration.

The opposition candidates and in particular, second-placed Jose Serra (PSDB, Social Democrats, in government) try to invoke fear in the country’s powerful financial lobbies, which have international connections, claiming that Lula is a radical leftist influenced by the MST; the Landless Peasants’ Movement.

These accusations are paramount to political slander of the worst possible type. After decades of right-wing government, Brazil is in a sorry state. Eight million out of a total population of 170m. are unemployed. Of the 76m. working, 46 million are working in the parallel market. Interest rates soar at a staggering 18%. Company income tax is so high that Brazilian goods are uncompetitive, which takes away added negotiating value at discussions with AFTA and MERCOSUL.

After losing three consecutive presidential elections, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, 56, a former metalworker and trade union leader, founder of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), has mellowed his more abrasive discourse of yesteryear. He has learnt where he can go and what he can do. He has surrounded himself with political heavyweights, such as ex-President Jose sarney.

Graham Stock, Head of the South American division at JP Morgan Chase, declared in an interview with the Financial Times, “Lula has ceased to be the black sheep that he was in previous elections”. He has allied himself with the centre-right Liberal Front (PFL), his candidate for the Vice Presidency being the famous entrepreneur Jose Alencar.

Lula has declared that he will honour agreements with the IMF and he has urged the Landless Peasants to restrain their more aggressive activities. Lula is a nationalist, who has declared he will stand up for Brazil’s interests. “A Democratic-Popular government in Brazil will not be hostile to the United States…but it will not be submissive either, as Fernando Henrique Cardodo’s government has been”.

As for the IMF, Lula declared : “We shall want autonomy to do the things we want to do. I will not accept that Brazil is treated like an insignificant country”. The behaviour of the international financial community, in its attempt to influence the elections, has been partisan and sickeningly intrusive. Brazil’s risk factor has been fixed at 1706 points, higher than Nigeria’s, although Brazil’s GDP is seventeen times higher than that of Nigeria. These are the scare mongering tactics of the irresponsible elite who want to hold on to all the reins of power and all the country’s vast mineral wealth, at the expense of the people, the majority of whom are born into a hopeless and helpless existence.

However, Lula stands at 45% of the opinion poll, and rising. Lula is the people’s candidate, who understands more than any other the real problems of Brazil’s poor, Brazil’s lower middle class and Brazil’s middle class, living a life of existence without a modicum of social justice or progress. The motto on the Brazilian flag “Ordem e Progresso” (Order and Progress) may for the first time be given real political significance under a Brazil governed by president Lula da Silva.


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