Merino unveils the stage that opens Lula’s victory in Brazil

The triumph of Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva in the presidential elections of Brazil they keep on talking in a Argentina immersed in a process of polarization that seems to be accentuated as next year’s electoral process approaches.

The picture Lula Da Silva with a cap that bore the slogan “Cristina Kichner 2023”, after beating the current president by just over two million votes, Jair Bolsonarofueled speculation in national territory.

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In a one-on-one with Buenos Aires Deputies (DB)the sociologist and researcher at Conicet, Gabriel Merino (GM)analyzed in depth the victory of Lula da Silvastrategic alliances and how their assumption will affect the bilateral relationship with Argentina.

DB- What is the benefit of Lula’s victory in Argentina?

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GM- How does Lula’s victory benefit you? First is that a regional integration agenda with an autonomist perspective is recovered, which is key, in a world that is advancing towards an increasingly large regionalization process.

In a world that is advancing towards a growing relative multipolarity, it becomes essential to build a pole of regional power from which to have a voice of its own, higher levels of relative autonomy, of sovereignty from which to propose a development project.

The return of an agenda of power or emerging power in Brazil, pulls and influences the region, aside from Brazil, the articulation with Argentina in that policy is fundamental and projecting there, is to have a policy at the South American level.

The sociologist and CONICET researcher, Gabriel Merino, gave a political analysis of the elections in Brazil.

Secondly, it is fundamental because it is an economic policy more linked to internal development, more popular consumption. For the industry in Brazil it can be very beneficial for this reason for Argentina, this for two reasons, because for each point of GDP growth in Brazil, that impacts the growth of 0.25/0.3 points in Argentina.

If the industry in Brazil is propped up again, that will drive the Argentine industry, which is the sector that generates many quality jobs and increases our productive complexity, our value-added production.

DB- Why did Lula forge agreements with liberal sectors?

GM- There is a broad coalition in Brazil. Undoubtedly, this will influence the agenda. First of all, Lulismo was reconstituted based on a key political and social alliance in Brazil, which at the time was key to the development of the PT governments, which is the alliance between the popular sectors, represented, for example, in the Single Central of Workers, Unions, the Landless Movement, the Homeless Movement and Urban Workers, the Student Movement and Left and National and Popular Movements; all this network with important sectors of the developmentalist and nationalist elites, a neo-developmentalist bourgeoisie represented in the National Confederation of Industry.

Here there is obviously an articulation, but at the same time very important contradictions, mainly of an agenda. For example, regarding the distribution of income or certain public policies. Later, Lula also established alliances with liberal sectors, more to the right, which in any case had a common agenda to stop the authoritarianism or neo-fascism of Bolsonaro and his hardest core, to avoid exacerbating this path of Brazil, which was going towards a crisis of the state of rights, of liberal democracy.

With Bolsonaro, even the idea of ​​formal democracy was put at stake, that was being put into crisis and this also meant an alliance on the part of Lula with liberal sectors, with more traditional parties, even with globalist sectors, such as the current government of the United States, who have a tactical agreement.

Obviously these sectors are very much against what they call popular governments, even neo-developmentalists, there you will see a complex tension in Brazil and the political landscape is also complex, therefore you have to see Lula’s maneuvering capacity and the dynamic that the popular forces have in proposing their own agendas, but without a doubt it will be complex.

DB- Can this polarization of Brazil be replicated in Argentina?

GM- There are contradictions that cross the entire continent and have similar features in the countries. The tension between an autonomist regionalism versus an opening-up insertion or one that prioritizes the hemispheric and more subordinate to Washington is clear, there is a tension.

The same thing happens between primary export projects, more peripheral, without capacity development at the national level, compared to more developmentalist, industrialist models, more interested in developing social and state capacities. In trying to discuss the condition of the periphery, these are structural tensions.

It is necessary to see if the configuration, the political scenario is going to be the same. Because in Brazil the paradox occurred that many sectors of the right, of the traditional elites, for example Fernando Enrique Cardoso, who would be closer to those models of peripheral neoliberalism, although with a look more from Brazil, with a negotiated dependency, very much from the top of the Brazilian business community, linked to finance and agribusiness.

Well Cardoso ends up supporting Lula, it’s as if a sector of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta here supported a candidate from the Frente de Todos, for example Cristina. That is rare that happens here. This occurs in Brazil due to the Bolsonaro government’s own experience and its radicalism, a very strong conservative reaction, which raised eyebrows among many of those liberal and more traditional political elites.

Here there is a nuance that I think is not going to be repeated in Argentina, but what could happen in Argentina is a cracking down of the opposition, on the right, so to speak.

*gabriel merino: PhD in Social Sciences and BA in Sociology. Adjunct Researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET-Argentina), with workplace Institute for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences (IdIHCS) of the National University of La Plata (UNLP). Adjunct Professor of the UNLP in the chairs of “Identity, State and Society in Argentina and Latin America” ​​and “Geography of Europe and Russia”. Postgraduate professor at the UNLP in “Geopolitics and Development”, “Analysis of World and Latin American Geopolitics in the XXI Century” and “Eurasia and the contemporary historical-spatial transition”, among others. Guest Adjunct Professor at the National University of Mar del Plata. Member of the Institute of International Relations (IRI). Co-coordinator of the CLACSO working group “China and the map of world power”. Director of the Research and Development project: “The South Atlantic and its relations with other regions of global geopolitical interest” CIG-IdIHCS-UNLP.

Merino unveils the stage that opens Lula’s victory in Brazil