By Hamidou ANNE – After the four years in power of the far-right populist, Jair Bolsonaro, Lula returns to the head of Brazil and resuscitates an immense hope for the left and for all the people who suffer and count on politics to change the course of their fate. Its record in eight years is eloquent and would make all the presidents come with great ideas blush before yielding under the pressure of the supporters of immobility, sitting on their privileges.
Lula takes the lead of one of the most unequal countries in the world. During previous mandates, he undertook an interventionist social policy and obtained spectacular results. Thanks to Lula, in eight years, 30 million Brazilians emerged from extreme poverty, 15 million jobs were created, unemployment fell from 12.6% to 8% of the active population. Lula designed the Bolsa Família program, which became state law in January 2004. their children to school. This program inspired the Family Security Grants implemented in Senegal since 2012. Lula left power in 2011 with an exceptional popularity rate of 80%. He repositioned Brazil on the international geopolitical chessboard, ceded power to a woman, Dilma Rousseff, and paved the way for the progressive current in several Latin American countries. In his action of economic and social revolution, Lula did not give up on the requirement to preserve democracy and public freedoms; subjects on which the Latin American left has not always been above reproach.
Lula is a historical figure of the left and of the international progressive movement. His journey is exceptional. A child from a very poor family, he was a metalworker, an activist and then a union leader before entering politics to change the lives of his family. Lula has made his own the urgency to change the course of a painful Latin American history, caught in the throes of pronunciamientos, the constant threat from the United States and the stranglehold of the politico-religious oligarchy on the economy of a country with enormous but fragile potential.
The man’s journey allows us to have a better understanding of what he accomplished in two terms between 2003 and 2011 and of his erection as an enemy of the conservatives and extremists who managed to imprison him fraudulently, to dismiss his former minister and liquidate his legacy by putting Jair Bolsonaro in power.
Lula was re-elected on October 30. It puts an end to four crazy years of Bolsonaro. The former far-right soldier’s objective, upon his election, was to scuttle the legacy of the left. He ruled with racism, verbal violence and tolerance of physical violence, excess and division. Among his first decisions was the abolition of the Ministry of Culture. Its management of the Covid-19 pandemic has made Brazil the second most bereaved country in the world with 700,000 dead. He did not balk at the walkabouts in the midst of a pandemic, the peremptory remarks on “the flu” and the virilistic and macho mentions in the face of those he described as “whispers” who, according to him, were afraid of a hypothetical virus. .
Lula returns to power to show that history does not stop, that it continues to be written in the direction of transforming the lives of the poor and oppressed, those whom politics is supposed to defend and protect. On the other hand, he returns to the head of a divided country. He won only 2 million votes against his opponent. With 49.1% of the vote, 58 million Brazilian citizens voted for an openly racist president, a far-right man nostalgic for the dark years of the dictatorship.
The challenge for Lula is to reconcile a divided country. Like Trump, beaten after a single term, Bolsonaro will leave but his ideas will continue to rot the social body of his country. Through violence, excesses and the division of their fellow citizens, authoritarian populists destroy their country after coming to power through lies and unrealistic and unrealizable promises. They end up leaving but their ideas remain strong in people’s minds and nourish destinies and ambitions. We must observe how the Republican Party in the United States has been trumped up. It has become a den of leaders who no longer have any limits, do not shrink from any racist or even conspiratorial abjection to please a social base that has become hysterical. Within the Gop, we even manage to purge moderate figures like Liz Cheney, pushed out because she is opposed to Trump.
Bolsonaro has been backed and is backed by the powerhouses of money, wealthy football stars like Neymar and is only narrowly losing despite a disastrous record and extremist leanings. His ideas have become commonplace in Brazil, as all extremist ideas, wrapped in lies, violence, hatred of elites and conspiracy, have become normalized everywhere. In Africa, we are no exception. Let us learn from these echoes that reach us from Brazil to hope to avoid the precipice of authoritarian populism that can come to power through elections. But then, it devitalizes democracy because it is opposed to the plurality of opinions that public freedoms confer and guarantee.