This is the inaugural episode of host Teri Mattson's weekly program, WTF is Going On in Latin America and the Caribbean, at its new home on Popular Resistance. You can watch the program live every Thursday on Popular Resistance's Facebook Page and YouTube Channel at 7:30 pm Eastern/4:30 Pacific. This week, Teri interviewed Michael Fox, an independent journalist and the host of Brazil on Fire, which is a Real News and NACLA production, about the recent presidential election in Brazil. Michael was in Brazil to cover the election. On Sunday, October 30, Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva was elected to be the next president of Brazil in a stunning comeback following a tight runoff race against President Jair Bolsonaro. His victory is one of an immense movement returning democracy to Latin America's largest country after four years of Bolsonaro's far-right administration.
Lula da Silva
Brazil’s left-wing former President Lula da Silva won round two of the election on October 30, despite blatant voter suppression by far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Lula got 50.9% of the total, including over 2.1 million more votes than Bolsonaro. In his victory speech, Lula said his top priority will be to ensure that no Brazilian goes hungry. He likewise pledged to provide housing for the homeless, jobs and opportunities for the poor, better education, and equality for women. Lula was a co-founder of the BRICS system, which he has called to expand. He has similarly vowed to strengthen unity in Latin America and the Caribbean through institutions of regional integration like the CELAC, UNASUR, and MERCOSUR.
The Worker’s Party in Brazil has just won the most contested election in the country’s history. From a jailed politician up until 2019 to now the president elect with the largest amount of votes in the country’s history, Lula built a formidable coalition in order to overcome all obstacles, smears, and illegal use of public funds that would be used against him. The extent to which Bolsonaro moved every lever he could to get reelected cannot be overstated. At the beginning of the year, the federal government pushed through Congress a 50% increase in the direct cash payment program “Auxilio Brasil”, Bolsonaro’s rebranded version of “Bolsa Familia”, a worker’s party program. The move also expanded to include more families on the program. Then, after the first round of voting, his administration used State-owned banks to start offering government-backed micro-loans to beneficiaries of Auxilio Brasil.
Workers’ Party (PT) candidate, former president Lula da Silva, won the Brazilian presidency with just over 50 percent of the vote in the runoff election held on October 30. Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing nationalist, received 49.10%. With a clear chain of ballot custody, the required presentation of government issued identification (ID), same-day voting at documented residential locations, site-specific paper tallies of ballots delivered in real-time (highly functional exit polls), no hackable internet connection for its electronic voting machines, open-source programming and no mail-in ballots, Bolsonaro’s repeated claims of election fraud remained unsubstantiated–even by the military that conducted an investigation at his urging in October during and after the first round of voting and found “nothing irregular.”
Just a few minutes ago, Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced Lula da Silva’s victory by over 2 million votes or 1.5%. Undoubtedly it was a tight race with many obstacles for the progressive candidate, but in the end, the people’s will to leave behind 4 years of a disastrous government prevailed. With over 99% of the voting stations counted, Lula won almost 51% of the votes, while his rival, the ultra-right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, achieved a concerning 49% of the votes. This runoff was similar to the first round’s turnout. In other words, neither of the two candidates managed to significantly mobilize those who did not take part in the political process in the first round. Apparently, Bolsonaro achieved better results as his numbers shrank from the first round’s difference by almost three million votes.al process in the first round.
Moisés Mendes, a Brazilian journalist, recently wrote that the dissemination of fake news by the Bolsonaro camp had reached a level such that voters will miss the ‘mamadeira de piroca’. The reference is to the penis-shaped baby bottles with which Bolsonaro’s campaign inundated social media in 2018, falsely charging the Workers’ Party (PT) presidential candidate, Fernando Haddad, with distributing them in schools along with ‘gay kits’ to teach homosexuality. Film director Wagner Moura is convinced the ‘mamadeira’ won Bolsonaro the 2018 election. Mendes is right; since 2 October (the date Lula won the first round with 48%), the defeated Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters have spewed a huge amount of fake news against the PT presidential candidate and his supporters.
The first round of the general elections in Brazil was held on October 2, and the results show that the country is at a crossroads. Former President Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, or PT) did not achieve victory in round one, and will face current far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in a run-off on October 30. Lula da Silva obtained 48.4% of the valid votes, while Bolsonaro reached 43.2%. The other candidates combined did not get 9% of the valid votes. The results of the elections point to a great paradox: despite being ahead of Bolsonaro, the Brazilian left did not obtain a significant vote for state governments and did not even win a third of the seats in the two chambers of the Congress, the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
From the way that the Anglo media are treating the October 2 Brazilian first-round presidential elections, a casual news consumer may get the impression that the Brazilian Workers Party suffered a crushing defeat. It takes an incredible amount of spin to create this impression. In order to pull this off, several important facts have to be downplayed or ignored. Workers Party candidate Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva beat incumbent Jair Bolsonaro by 6.2 million votes. This represents the first time since the return to democracy in 1985 that a challenger has ever beaten an incumbent in a Brazilian first-round presidential election, and no incumbent has ever lost reelection. There are reasons for this. The incumbent has the entire weight of the state behind them.
The results of the first round of the presidential election in Brazil are coming and without a doubt it is the most anticipated news in Brazil, Latin America and the world too for that matter. Eleven candidates ran, but as everyone knew it was really a battle between the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the current president Jair Bolsonaro. The pre-election atmosphere was very tense including several attacks on Lula’s campaign organizers this past week reflecting the extreme level of politicization and polarization of Brazilian society at this moment. And in the background is Bolsonaro’s threats of a possible coup d’état if he lost in the first round, that also contributed to the growing tension.
This Sunday October 2, Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, will elect its president. This election is decisive not only for the South American country but also for the entire region, since its outcome will heavily influence the correlation of forces. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (progressive candidate of the Workers’ Party)’s predicted victory would be a boost for the Latin America left and the rejection of neo liberalism, which has strengthened in the last 3 years. Meanwhile, if Jair Bolsonaro (ultra-right and Trump supporter) wins, it would mean a retrenching for the right-wing to resist. Regarding this election that carries such weight, Resumen Latinoamericano in English interviewed Micaela Ovelar Marquez, who is in Brazil directing a documentary on the current political electoral process of that country.
Brazilian presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Tuesday accused President Jair Bolsonaro of lying 20 times during a meeting with international diplomats in which the far-right incumbent repeated his baseless attacks on the integrity of the nation's election system. While offering no credible evidence to support his claim, Bolsonaro told dozens of diplomats from countries including the United States and members of the European Union that the Brazilian electoral system is "completely vulnerable" to fraud in the run-up to this October's presidential election. According to Folha de São Paulo, two of the diplomats present for Bolsonaro's 50-minute presentation at the Palácio da Alvorada, the executive residence, accused the president of using "Trumpist tactics," a reference to former U.S. President Donald Trump's failed efforts to delegitimize and ultimately overturn the 2020 election.
This week Brazil’s Superior Justice Court ordered the Justice Ministry to grant former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his defense team access to previously sealed information on the existence of partnerships between the US Department of Justice and the Lava Jato investigation task force. As US Attorney General William Barr pointed out in his response to a 2019 US congressional inquiry led by Hank Johnson, the fact that the Lava Jato investigation represented a partnership between the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Brazilian Justice Ministry has been public knowledge in the US, available on the DOJ’s own website, since 2016.
The Brazilian Supreme Court this month dismissed all charges against former President Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva. A towering figure in national politics, Lula was the country’s president for eight years between 2003 and 2011. He was later convicted on highly dubious corruption charges and spent 18 months in prison, where his plight drew worldwide attention, making him, in the estimation of Noam Chomsky, the “world’s most prominent political prisoner.” Lula’s incarceration directly led to far-right authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro coming to power, as Lula, the overwhelming favorite in the polls, was barred from running against him. Sergio Moro, the judge who imprisoned Lula—and secretly worked with the prosecution to convict him—became President Bolsonaro’s justice minister.
“The word ‘give up’ does not exist in my dictionary. I learned from my mother: ‘always struggle,’” affirmed former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Wednesday March 10, in the main office of the ABC Metalworkers’ Union in São Bernardo do Campo in the metropolitan region of São Paulo. His address occurred after the annulment of the sentences against him emitted during the Operation Car Wash case, by the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba, in the state of Paraná. The decision, made on Monday March 8, was published by Minister Edson Fachin of the Supreme Federal Court (STF). People voiced their support for the ex-president on social media and by shouting greetings to Lula from their windows in cities like São Paulo.
On March 8th, Brazilian Supreme Court Minister Edson Fachin dismissed all Lava Jato related charges against former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. The ruling came as a surprise to some, since Fachin has been accused of pro-Lava Jato bias in past rulings, and leaked Telegram messages, published by the Intercept in 2019, shows task-force chief Dalton Dallagnol talking about a 45 minute meeting with the Supreme Court Minister, shouting with glee and bragging to fellow prosecutors, “Fachin is ours!“. After last month’s Supreme Court ruling, that all 6 terabytes of Telegram conversations obtained by hacker Walter Delgatti in the so called “Operation Spoofing” were admissible as evidence in the Triplex apartment case against Lula, something had to be done to stop the bleeding. As Delgatti said in a recent interview, Dalton Dallagnol never erased any of his chats.