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🗳️ "A Win for Lula (and Democracy) in Brazil"

Today, Explained

Table of Contents

Host: Noel King
Guest: Samantha Pearson | Brazil Correspondent | The Wall Street Journal
Category: 🗳️ Politics | Brazilian Election

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[0:01] NK: "Luiz Inacio “Lula” DaSilva, one-time Brazilian president, one-time convict of corruption, claimed a win in Brazil’s presidential race [...]. Lula’s a leftist and his speech promising [...] a new era of peace, love and hope was standard lefty fare. But he also suggested the election was a win for democracy, and a loss for authoritarianism.That part was aimed at the incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro [...] [who] in response said –  nothing. He’s been silent. At another time in history, we might think: he’s seething before a polite concession. But this is not another time in history."

[3:54] SP: "[Bolsonaro] was on the fringes of Brazilian politics. [...] He was that crazy guy that no one speaks to. [...] Then came [an] massive economic crisis here in Brazil [...] and people were desperate, desperate for something completely different. They wanted someone who was against everything that they had seen before. They had this opinion, which is justified, that all politicians in Brazil are corrupt, so they didn't want anyone from the system. They wanted an anti-establishment figure."

[7:09] SP: "We're seeing across Latin America [...] incumbents are being kicked out of office partly as a response to the COVID pandemic. [...] Bolsonaro was accused of belittling the disease at the beginning. [...] He was also criticized for not doing enough to bring vaccines quickly enough to Brazil. [...] Inflation has risen dramatically in Brazil [...]. Unemployment peaked at about 15% last year. That's really affected a lot of poor families in Brazil. About 33 million people now in Brazil just can't afford to eat."

[8:36] SP: "Lula [...] came from a very poor background. He was the seventh son of illiterate farm workers. When he came to power in 2003, [...] he was the first person from poverty that ever became Brazil's president. [...] He was extremely popular. [...] He also got lucky, to be fair, during his two terms in office in the 2000s, that was when China's commodity boom was happening. And that really benefited Brazil, because China is the biggest buyer of Brazilian commodities. [...] Lula channeled a lot of that cash into social welfare programs, infrastructure, which created jobs."

[10:01] SP: "[Lula] left with an approval rating of more than 80%. [...] Then came the car wash corruption scandal, which then eventually landed Lula in jail. The car wash corruption scandal was the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil's history [...]. It was an investigation into a scheme whereby businessmen would basically pay bribes to politicians in order to win contracts, primarily at Petrobras, which is Brazil's big oil company, but also with other state companies. [...] Lula was convicted in 2017 and 2019 of corruption and money laundering, [...] [but he] actually only spent 19 months in jail [until] he was released in November 2019 for a series of very technical reasons that I would say that most Brazilians don't actually understand."

[17:24] SP: "Bolsonaro is an authoritarian figure and [...] in the past said many things that would lead you to believe that he would like to stage some kind of intervention [...] in Brazil’s democracy. He said in the past that he would like to close down Congress. And then more recently, he's been questioning the voting processes, saying that he doesn't believe that it was a fair vote and that he's not going to accept the results. [...] Then the question would be is he going to get support for that message mainly from the military."

[18:53] SP: "There was concern that people would take to the streets and maybe things would get violent. But absolutely nothing has happened so far. And that's good. But it is also a little bit terrifying. [...] When [Bolsonaro] has to hand over power in January, what's going to happen then? Maybe there will be some kind of uprising, as we saw in the US. Maybe there will be these violent protests by his supporters. So it's not over yet."

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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🗓️ 10/31/2022
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