Brazil – Lula’s Third Term – from Leftist to Globalist? Peter KoenigFri 5:35 pm +01:00, 4 Nov 2022
Brazil – Lula’s Third Term – from Leftist to Globalist
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On Sunday 30 November 2022, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – or Lula for short, of the left-wing Workers Party – was elected with a razor thin margin as the new President of Brazil. He “won” the election with 50.83% of the votes against his opponent’s 49.17% (NYT 31 October 2022), the incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro, of Brazil’s right-wing Liberal Party. He is Brazil’s 38th President, in office since 1 January 2019.
Lula has previously served two terms as President, from 2003-2010. The President Elect is to be inaugurated on 1 January 2023 as the 39th President. Lula is slated to be the first Brazilian President to serve three terms.
The winning-margin could hardly be slimmer. One could dare say, it’s within the regular margin of error of such elections. Under normal circumstances, a recount might be of the order. Most likely Washington would not allow it, because the US needs a “left-wing” President, as they have “allowed”, or manipulated, in the latest wave of elections, throughout Latin America.
What most people may not have realized yet, is that left and right in the traditional sense, do no longer exist. They have been overruled by “Globalism and Anti-Globalism”. The left, throughout the world has been hijacked by the neoliberal globalist complex, making us believe that the Great Reset and UN Agenda 2030 are kind of a socialist concept in which eventually all will be “equal”. As equal as in “you will own nothing but be happy”.
Therefore Washington is inclined to favor a “left” / globalist candidate over a right-wing or conservative nationalist.
Mr. Bolsonaro may be right-wing, having adopted many unpopular policies, like “privatizing” junks of the Amazon area, as well as some of the precious water resources, under- and above ground, treasured by the Amazon Region. But he is a nationalist, not a globalist at all.
What made President Bolsonaro popular among large segments of the population are his poverty alleviation efforts. For one, he continued supporting the Bolsa Familia Program (BFP), created under Lula in 2003, to help poor families out of poverty.
The BFP family allowance program provides monthly subsidies to qualifying low-income people. The BFP is largely responsible for nearly 60 percent of poverty reduction over the past two decades. Under Bolsonaro, BFP was also expanding access of the poor to education and health services.
Realizing how covid – which Bolsonaro always looked at with skepticism – increased destitution among the Brazilian poor and transferred basic resources of low-income people through bankruptcies and joblessness from the poor upwards, putting even more people into poverty, Bolsonaro hastily designed a new social agenda, Auxílio Brasil, eventually to replace BFP.
Auxílio Brasil, initially designed as a modest pandemic bonus for the poor, was beefed-up by Bolsonaro to make more of a difference. While focusing particularly at people hit hard by covid’s economic disaster, it also continues as a BFP-like poverty alleviation program. This clear- and foresight of better economic equilibrium in the Brazilian population, has earned Bolsonaro considerable support from especially the young and destitute, and from countless favela-dwellers.
According to a World Bank report, out of the 22 million people lifted out of poverty across Latin America by pandemic-related government transfers in 2020, 77 percent of them were in Brazil. See this.
Compare that to less generous pandemic assistance offered under leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, where 3.8 million more people fell into poverty during the pandemic.
Bolsonaro’s popularity, in fact, shot through the roof, as the poor backed him in record numbers.
When Brazil’s election results emerged, the incumbent Bolsonaro kept quiet. He did not concede, not congratulate Lula. He simply didn’t respond. In a later public announcement, on 31 October, Bolsonaro briefly said that he intends to honor the Constitution and the process of transfer of power may begin. As of this day, however, Bolsonaro has not conceded – or congratulated Lula for his victory. In other words, he has not really accepted defeat (yet?).
By publicly accepting the transfer of power, but not openly accepting defeat, Bolsonaro may quietly be nudging his many followers, many of them young people; poor people, whom the poverty alleviation programs he supported helped; victims of the international covid narrative – to protest his narrow defeat. It is well known that Bolsonaro has often questioned the Brazilian election system and may believe foul play was involved.
What will happen during the next two months in terms of social unrest – or not – until presidential power is transferred on 1 January 2023 to Lula – and maybe beyond – is anybody’s guess.
As Lula is poised to take over his third term Presidency, also a first in Brazilian history, a look into Lula’s history may be of the order.
In the run-up to the 2002 Brazil elections, with Lula a favored candidate, his leftist stance led especially western media to compare him to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whose reputation as a consequential and convinced socialist was meant to discredit Lula before the elections. To no avail.
Later as President, Lula nominated Henrique Meirelles of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, a prominent market-oriented economist, as head of the Brazilian Central Bank. Mr. Meirelles was a former CEO of the Bank FleetBoston.
Through BankBoston, other than Bank of America, the foremost bank in New England, headquartered in Boston, Lula gained almost unlimited access to Wall Street banking. He entered into agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), following all the Fund’s mostly restrictive conditionalities.
The IMF hailed Lula as a perfect leader, whom other Latin American governments could take as an example for good financial management. In his first term, Brazil’s Central Bank, budget, and debt management was basically run by the IMF and Wall Street. By 2008, after decades with the largest foreign debt among emerging economies, Brazil became a net creditor for the first time. Banks made record profits under Lula’s government.
In his second term, Lula became the undisputed master of popular affection, as the first president to bring a modest well-being to many people. Wall Street, the World Bank and IMF loved him. They would do anything to help him succeed, because Lula’s success, meant increasing access to Brazil’s enormous treasures of natural resources, minerals, water and the richest biodiversity on earth.
The 2008 crash of Wall Street, was an economic blow for the US and Europe, but Brazil continued to enjoy financial good health. The Lula administration’s economic policies helped to significantly raise living standards. According to the Washington Post, the percentage of Brazilians belonging to the middle class rose from 50% to 73% of the population. More than 20 million people rose out of extreme poverty. Under Lula, Brazil became the world’s eighth-largest economy.
In 2016, Lula was investigated for alleged involvement in two cases in the infamous corruption case, “Operation Car Wash”. The criminal investigation uncovered corruption between the State-owned oil and petrol company, Petrobrás, several construction companies, and various Brazilian politicians, to obtain secret campaign funds. The investigation was conducted under former Federal Criminal Court Judge Sergio Moro.
In 2017, Lula was found guilty and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment. Another three years were added in 2018 by the Federal Court. Lula started serving his sentence in April 2018, while his appeals were pending.
It was never clear whether Lula was really involved in the corruption scandal, judge Moro accused him of. The judge had at one point his own ambitions for the presidency, but eventually joined Bolsonaro’s cabinet in 2019.
In 2021, the Federal Supreme Court crushed Lula’s sentence, ruling that former judge Moro had no jurisdiction to investigate and try the cases. Lula was liberated and ready to become a prime candidate for the 2022 Presidential elections.
It is not clear yet, how Lula will rule Brazil in his third Presidential Term. How he will deal with the Amazon Region – a huge area of biodiversity that impacts on way more than just Brazil. In a recent CNN interview question on whether he would agree that the patrimony of the Amazon was a world patrimony and should therefore be managed by the UN, Lula replied without hesitation that he agrees transferring the Amazon area to a UN protectorate organization (the reference has since been removed from internet.)
That is clearly an admission to globalism, especially knowing – or he should know – that the UN has long ceased to be the independent world body that it was created to be, working for peace, equality and the protection of Mother Earth and Human Rights.
Hélas, the UN in the past 20 to 30 years, has gently drifted under the control of the West, with Washington’s leadership, towards doing the bidding of the G7, of the Corporate Digital, Financial and Military Complex.
Brazilians who voted for Bolsonaro – about half the population – definitely want a sovereign, autonomous Brazil. They reject the western imposed globalism. The vast majority of those who voted for Lula, think likewise: A sovereign Brazil, master of her own resources. They haven’t realized yet, that under pressure from Washington and its western allies, the left has turned into a clan of neoliberal globalists.
It’s never too late to resist that Big Capital-driven trend.
Time will tell, whether Lula will keep his promise to be the President of ALL Brazil – and the once-upon-a-time during his first presidential-term commitment, to protect the Amazon Region as a sovereign Brazilian patrimony – for the long-term survival of Mother Earth.
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Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020).
Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is also is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.
Featured image is from teleSUR