“I will be able to win, otherwise they will arrest me or kill me”.
This sentence was pronounced by the now ex-president Bolsonaro during one of his last speeches of his electoral campaign for the Brazilian elections.
It is enough to read these words to understand the importance of the electoral results, to understand the tone of this political clash and the tension that reigned in the country.
Bolsonaro and Lula, two competitors for a seat at the Palácio do Planalto (seat of the presidency of the republic).
Immense country that extends for 8,511,965 km, colonized by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, with a population of 209,469,333 inhabitants, the nerve center of the South American continent, Brazil is a state that is becoming increasingly important in geopolitical and international economics.
He has recently been at the center of international public debate for the presidential elections which saw as protagonists, the former president for two terms between 2003 and 2011 Lula and the outgoing Bolsonaro.
Before analyzing the vote held on October 30, it is legitimate to ask ourselves questions: what kind of country is Brazil? What are its social and economic conditions?
It is a country of which we know very little, we Westerners associate the city of Rio, the Carnival, the Amazon forest and the great soccer champions with it, but Brazil is actually a very complex country, with a long history – often poorly told –
and a range of social and economic hardships.
Behind his patina of cheerfulness and light-heartedness he actually has to deal with what, summing up, we can identify in six major problems:
- Poverty. 4.9% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day. About 10 million people are unable to even afford the food they need to survive each day.
- The favelas. Huge slums that have sprung up on the outskirts of major Brazilian cities. In the favelas, where hundreds of thousands of people live, all basic services are missing and they are often a battleground between criminal gangs and the police.
- The landlordism. Only 3% of the population owns arable land.
- Food safety. The food production system is constantly undermined by two “phenomena”: deforestation and agriculture based only on monocultures.
- Healthcare. Public hospitals are often inaccessible and private facilities too expensive. The situation is even worse in the favelas, where the health centers are in poor condition and there are no qualified personnel.
- Illiteracy. 12 million adults are illiterate while one in seven children is denied the right to study.
It will now be legitimate to wonder and question what are the pillars of Brazilian political and economic power.
Who are the “powers that be” of this country-continent?
Brazil is a country with weak institutions, without a solid bureaucracy and a stately tradition.
There are 5 main power holders:
- The Globo Group, a conglomeration of Brazilian companies focused on media and communication.
- The banks, which are often seen by Brazilians as agents colluding with the government and holding economic power.
- The leaders of the army, who, often with the weapon of fear of a possible coup, influence the life of the institutions.
- The Catholic Church and the “Evangelicals”, who have a very strong influence on the society and politics of the country.
- The “fazenderos” or large landowners, accused of being the cause of the heavy economic underdevelopment of the country.
We therefore understand the complexity of a country that occupies almost half of the South American continent and how crucial the elections were, which pitted the ultra-Catholic conservative Jair Messias Bolsonaro against the socialist Lui Inacio Lula da Silva.
These results confirm that Brazil is a country deeply divided in two.
Lula won with 50.90% of the valid votes, a negligible difference with only two million votes and the new president will have a difficult life, considering that the congress will be the most right-wing in recent years, therefore the first slip it will not be difficult to hear about impeachment.
The division in voting can also be seen at the territorial level: the south of the country, rich and productive, voted for Bolsonaro as a whole; the north-east, poorer and dependent on public subsidies, for Lula.
Separation that also inflames society, where the right of the outgoing president was voted for by entrepreneurs, freelancers, Catholics, large farmers and public security forces. Intellectuals, professors, journalists, the unemployed voted mostly for Lula.
It should also be emphasized that Lula’s official inauguration will not arrive before January.
A month and a half will therefore have to pass in which it is reasonable to expect twists of any kind, considering that Bolsonaro was a career officer in the Brazilian army and, as we have already said, enjoys the favor of the highest military cadres in the country , who, however, currently have no fear of words and acts hostile to the result of these elections.
Another interesting fact is that of turnout, where, unlike in our country, 80% of the population voted.
However, it must be emphasized that in Brazil voting is “mandatory”, i.e. those who do not go to vote receive a symbolic fine of one euro, but the real consequences come when you abstain more than three times.
In fact, after the third time he does not go to the polls, he will be unable to run for a public and institutional office, to renew his passport and even to ask for a loan from a bank, but it is not obligatory to necessarily choose one of the two parties, in fact, it is also possible to vote for a blank ballot.
But what does the man who will have to lead this continent-state for the next few years have ahead of him?
To get an idea of the colossal challenge facing Lula, we have to look at the data which states that today as many as 33 million Brazilians suffer from hunger, 100 million live in poverty and skip at least one meal a day.
Lula’s goal is to improve the living conditions of as many Brazilians as possible.
“It is unacceptable -said the new president- that a country that produces tons of food and raw materials with which it eats a large slice of the industrialized world – let us remember how Brazil is the first world producer of animal proteins and the third food producer in the world absolutely- is not able to guarantee its citizens to have breakfast, lunch and dinner every day”.
Another issue on which Lula will have to contend will be the safeguarding of the Amazon forest, which has been heavily mistreated by Bolsonaro; an issue that concerns not only Brazil but the entire internal world.
However, Lula did not present a clear plan for safeguarding the country’s environment.
Another theme is unemployment which sees as many as 10 million people out of work and 20 million illegal workers.
Lula’s project particularly concerns social policies which include the ‘Minha Casa Minha Vida’ project, ‘Luz para Todos’ and the access of the poor to university. His great challenge is to limit the voracity of the economy to serve the rich and at the expense of the poor. The new president’s motto is: include the rich in income taxes and the poor in the government’s official budget.
The way in which the Lulas will try to transform the country, after the years of Bolsonaro’s government, will certainly also change the line in foreign policy, which will have to deal with the heavy challenges of recent times.
We’ll see what the face of the new Brazil will be.