The historical leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will begin this Sunday to write a new chapter of his impressive biography, when he assumes his third presidential term, an unprecedented event in the recent history of Brazil.
At 77, this former metallurgical worker who became a global icon will become the oldest Brazilian president to receive the presidential sash, after a fierce campaign against his main political enemy, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, himself the first president to lose a re-election since the redemocratization of the country.
Everything is rigorously planned in the ceremony to be held in Brasilia, which includes the traditional parade in a Rolls-Royce opened by the Esplanade of Ministries, from the dreamlike Metropolitan Cathedral and among tens of thousands of people, the inauguration session in the National Congress and the transfer of the presidential sash at the top of the Planalto Palace ramp before dozens of heads of state and other authorities.
That is precisely the only point that this year escapes the protocol. According to tradition, Bolsonaro should hang the presidential sash on Lula, in what for many would be the photo of the year. But in this context of extreme rivalry between the two – Bolsonaro has not explicitly accepted defeat or congratulated Lula – the far-right traveled to Miami, USA, on Friday and will not attend the ceremony.
Later, with Lula now president, the “Festival of the Future” will be held, a popular party organized by the first lady, the sociologist Rosangela da Silva, with the participation of dozens of artists.
a complete twist
No one doubts that, starting this January 1, Brazil will turn around completely under the reins of Lula, who reflects a very different country from the one he received in 2003, during his first presidency: economically weakened by inflation and debt, extremely polarized and with a right-wing Congress, heavily influenced by Bolsonarism.
“Today, we are telling the world that Brazil is back, that Brazil is too big to be relegated to this sad pariah role in the world“, he assured in his first speech after his victory, achieved after forming a broad front and by the narrowest margin in recent history.
The future president has already said that his government’s number 1 priority will be to fight hunger and that he intends to change almost everything from his predecessor, from environmental policy, highly criticized for the increase in fires and deforestation, especially in the Amazon, to foreign relations, which have left Brazil practically isolated in Latin America, including economic management.
For most analysts, this third term of Lula will be much more complicated than the previous ones (2003-2010).
“The challenge for the new government is not only to digest the fiscal legacy (of the Bolsonaro government), but to recover sustained growth when the world is entering recession. It has a cursed inheritancenot only in the fiscal area, but in the environmental area and in terms of economic and social results,” explained economist Jose Roberto Mendonca de Barros to the local press.
He will also have Bolsonarismo, who for years has dedicated himself to demonizing his figure, very active on social networks and in the streets, willing to do anything to truncate his government.
jail and resurrection
A new challenge for this universal Brazilian who four years ago was practically buried politically, when he was convicted of corruption in the framework of the Lava Jato mega-operation and entered jail after entrenching himself in the Metallurgical Workers Union and starring in a media delivery.
Lula was disqualified from running in the October 2018 elections (in which he was a clear favorite and which Bolsonaro would end up winning), a fact that left Brazil even more fractured, between those who considered him a “thief” and those who believed him. victim of a conspiracy to prevent his return to power.
The latter was confirmed when the portal The Intercept Brasil leaked some private conversations between then-judge Sergio Moro – who sentenced Lula and later assumed the portfolio of Justice in the Bolsonaro government – and the prosecutors in the Lava Jato case.
Lula spent a year and seven months behind bars until he was released in November 2019 due to a procedural matter. With his political rights restored, he began to prepare his sixth presidential candidacy while Justice was acquitting him or annulling the almost 20 cases that were open against him.
Eight years before entering prison, the leftist left the presidency with record popularity numbersafter two terms in which he gained enormous international prestige, especially for the social programs that lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty thanks to the boom in raw materials and frenetic diplomatic activity in the golden age of leftist governments in the region.
In those years, former US President Barack Obama referred to him as “the man” and highlighted “his gift for connecting with the people”, while former British Prime Minister Tony Blair went so far as to describe him as “one of the most exceptional leaders of the modern era”.
Before being president, the patriarch of the left, born in 1945 in a poor and semi-arid area of the northeast, lived a childhood marked by hunger, in which he worked as a shoe shiner and street vendor, and was a worker, union leader, co-founder of the Workers’ Party (PT) and three-time presidential candidate.
He has been married three times. His first wife, Maria de Lourdes da Silva, died of hepatitis two years after their marriage. In 1974, he married Marisa Leticia Rocco and they had three children. After 43 years together, Marisa passed away in 2017 from a stroke.
This year he took a break from his campaign to marry the 56-year-old sociologist Rosangela da Silva, better known as Janja, who was very present during all electoral campaign events. The couple began their relationship in December 2017, but it was not made public until 2019, when Lula had been in prison for more than a year.
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