- Bolsonaro vs Lula: Who will be Brazil’s next president?
- Brazil votes for a new president on Oct 2, and it’s a bitter contest between Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – the two biggest names in Brazilian politics.
- Bolsonaro vs Lula: Who will be Brazil’s next president? | Start Here
Channel:- Al Jazeera English
Date Published:- 2022-September-29th
Date Added:- 2022-October-2nd
- Bolsonaro vs Lula: Who will be Brazil’s next president? | Start Here
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
- Presidential Run
- Ran for President three times before succeeding.
- He was first first elected in 2002
- And, reelected in 2006
- In 2011, Lula, who was a smoker for 40 years, was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent chemotherapy, leading to a successful recovery.
- Luiz Inácio da Silva was born on 27 October 1945.
- His place of birth is Caetés; a city close to Recife, capital of Pernambuco, a state in the Northeast of Brazil.
- He was the seventh of eight children of Aristides Inácio da Silva and Eurídice Ferreira de Melo.
- He was raised Roman Catholic.
- Lula’s mother was of Portuguese and partial Italian descent.
- Two weeks after Lula’s birth, his father moved to Santos, São Paulo, with Valdomira Ferreira de Góis, a cousin of Eurídice ( his mother ).
- In December 1952, when Lula was only 7 years old, his mother decided to move to São Paulo with her children to rejoin her husband.
- After a journey of thirteen days in a pau-de-arara ( open truck bed ), they arrived in Guarujá and discovered that Aristides had formed a second family with Valdomira ( his mother’s second cousin ).
- Aristides’ two families lived in the same house for some time, but they did not get along very well.
- Four years later, Eurídice moved with her children to a small room behind a bar in São Paulo.
- After that, Lula rarely saw his father, who became an alcoholic and died in 1978.
Education & Work
- Lula had little formal education.
- He did not learn to read until he was ten years old and quit school after the second grade to work and help his family.
- His first job at age 12 was as shoe shiner and street vendor.
- By 14 he had a formal job in a warehouse.
- He lost the little finger on his left hand at 19 in an accident, while working as a press operator in an automobile parts factory.
- After the accident, he had to run to several hospitals before he received medical attention.
- This experience increased his interest in participating in the Workers’ Union.
- Around that time, he became involved in union activities and held several important union posts.
- Inspired by his brother Frei Chico, Lula joined the labour movement when he worked at Villares Metals S.A, rising steadily through the ranks.
- He was elected in 1975, and reelected in 1978, as president of the Steel Workers’ Union of São Bernardo do Campo and Diadema.
- Both cities are located in the ABCD Region, home to most of Brazil’s automobile manufacturing facilities, including Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and others.
- In the late 1970s, when Brazil was under military rule, Lula helped organize union activities, including major strikes.
- Labour courts found the strikes illegal, and Lula was jailed for a month.
- Due to this, and like other people imprisoned for political activities under the military government, Lula was awarded a lifetime pension after the fall of the military regime.
- Fome Zero (“Zero Hunger”) program
- Lula put social programs at the top of his agenda during the campaigns and after election. From very early on his leading program was to eradicate hunger, following the lead of projects already put into practice by the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, but expanded by the new Fome Zero (“Zero Hunger”) program.
- The program combined a series of programs with the goal of ending hunger in Brazil through the construction of water cisterns in Brazil’s semi-arid region of Sertão, countering teenage pregnancy, strengthening family agriculture, distributing a minimum amount of cash to the poor and many other measures.
- Housing Aid
- Lula launched a housing aid program that was far superior in scope to the policies developed until then.
- More than 15 billion euros were invested in water purification and the urbanization of favelas, and more than 40 billion in housing.
- As a priority, the government proposes to relocate the poor populations that occupy the “risk zones”, prone to floods or landslides, and then to extend the electricity network, to launch work to relocate the streets and to improve the precarious housing.
- The government is undertaking to democratize access to real estate credit.
- Child Manipulation
- During Lula’s first term, child malnutrition decreased by 46%. In May 2010, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) awarded Lula da Silva the title of “World Champion in the Fight against Hunger”.
- Family Allowance
- The largest assistance program was Bolsa Família (Family Allowance), which was based upon the previous Bolsa Escola (School Allowance), which was conditional on school attendance, first introduced in the city of Campinas by then-mayor José Roberto Magalhães Teixeira.
- Not long thereafter, other municipalities and states adopted similar programs. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso later federalized the program in 2001.
- In 2003, Lula formed Bolsa Família by combining Bolsa Escola with additional allowances for food and kitchen gas.
- This was preceded by the creation of a new ministry – the Ministry of Social Development and Eradication of Hunger.
- This merger reduced administrative costs and bureaucratic complexity for both the families involved and the administration of the program.
- Government Budget
- Fome Zero has a government budget and accepts donations from the private sector and international organizations.
- The Bolsa Família program has been praised internationally for its achievements, despite internal criticism accusing it of having turned into an electoral weapon.
- Growth Acceleration Program (PAC)
- Along with projects such as Fome Zero and Bolsa Família, another Lula administration flagship program was the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC).
- The PAC had a total budget of $646 billion reais (US$353 billion) by 2010, and was the Lula administration’s main investment program.
- It was intended to strengthen Brazil’s infrastructure, and consequently to stimulate the private sector and create more jobs.
- The social and urban infrastructure sector was scheduled to receive $84.2 billion reais (US$46 billion).
- As Lula gained strength in the run-up to the 2002 elections, the fear of drastic measures, and comparisons with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, increased internal market speculation. This led to some market hysteria, contributing to a drop in the value of the real, and a downgrade of Brazil’s credit rating.
- Henrique Meirelles of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party
- Lula also chose Henrique Meirelles of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, a prominent market-oriented economist, as head of the Brazilian Central Bank. As a former CEO of the BankBoston he was well known to the market. Meirelles was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2002 as a member of the opposing PSDB, but resigned as deputy to become Governor of the Central Bank.
- International Monetary Fund ( IMF )
- Lula and his cabinet followed in part the lead of the previous government, by renewing all agreements with the International Monetary Fund, which were signed by the time Argentina defaulted on its own deals in 2001.
- His government achieved a satisfactory primary budget surplus in the first two years, as required by the IMF agreement, exceeding the target for the third year.
- In late 2005, the government paid off its debt to the IMF in full, two years ahead of schedule.
- Mensalão scandal
- The Brazilian economy was generally not affected by the mensalão scandal, which related to vote buying in the Brazilian Congress.
- In early 2006, however, Antonio Palocci had to resign as finance minister due to his involvement in an abuse of power scandal.
- Guido Mantega, a member of the PT
- Lula then appointed Guido Mantega, a member of the PT and an economist by profession, as finance minister.
- Mantega, a former Marxist who had written a PhD thesis (in Sociology) on the history of economic ideas in Brazil from a left-wing viewpoint, was known for his criticism of high interest rates, something he claimed satisfied banking interests.
- Mantega was also supportive of a higher level of employment by the state.
- Growth Acceleration Program (Programa de Aceleração de Crescimento, PAC)
- Not long after the start of his second term, Lula’s government announced the Growth Acceleration Program (Programa de Aceleração de Crescimento, PAC), an investment program to solve many of the problems that prevented the Brazilian economy from expanding more rapidly.
- The measures included investment in the creation and repair of roads and railways, simplification and reduction of taxation, and modernization of the country’s energy production to avoid further shortages.
- The money pledged to be spent on this program was considered to be around R$ 500 billion (more than 250 billion dollars) over four years.
- Prior to taking office, Lula had been a critic of privatization.
- In his government, however, his administration created public-private partnership concessions for seven federal roadways.
- Economic Turn Around
- After decades with the largest foreign debt among emerging economies, Brazil became a net creditor for the first time in January 2008.
- By mid-2008, both Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s had elevated the classification of Brazilian debt from speculative to investment grade.
- Banks made record profits under Lula’s government.
- Second Term In Office
- His Own Administration
- Lula’s second term was much more confident; Lula was then not only the undisputed master of popular affection, as the first president to bring a modest well-being to many people, but also in complete control of his own administration.
- His two leading ministers were gone.
- Palocci was no longer needed to calm the nerves of overseas investors and Lula had never liked and somewhat feared José Dirceu, a virtuoso of cold political calculation and intrigue.
- His Own Administration
- 2008 – Wall Street Crash
- Their joint elimination freed Lula for sole command in Brasilia.
- When, midway through his second term its test came, he handled it with aplomb.
- The crash of Wall Street in 2008 might have been a tsunami in the US and Europe, he declared, but in Brazil it would be no more than a little ‘ripple’ (“uma marolinha”).
- The phrase was seized on by the Brazilian press as proof of reckless economic ignorance and irresponsibility.
- In 2008, Brazil enjoyed economic good health to fight the global financial crisis with a large economic stimulus lasting, at least, until 2014.
- The Lula administration’s economic policies also helped to significantly raise living standards, with the percentage of Brazilians belonging to the consumerist middle class rising from 50% to 73% of the population.
- Summer Olympics
- Under Lula, Brazil became the world’s eighth-largest economy, more than 20 million people rose out of acute poverty and Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics, the first time the Games will be held in South America.
- Lula served two terms as president from 2003 through 2010 and left office on 1 January 2011.
- During his farewell speech he said he felt an additional burden to prove that he could handle the presidency despite his humble beginnings. “If I failed, it would be the workers’ class which would be failing; it would be this country’s poor who would be proving they did not have what it takes to rule.”
- Bolsonaro was born on 21 March 1955 in Glicério, São Paulo, in southeast Brazil, to Percy Geraldo Bolsonaro and Olinda Bonturi.
- His family is mostly of Italian descent, with some German ancestry.
- On his father’s side, he is the great-grandson of Italians from Veneto and Calabria.
- Bolsonaro’s paternal grandfather’s family comes from Veneto, more precisely Anguillara Veneta, in the province of Padua.
- His great-grandfather, Vittorio Bolzonaro (the surname was originally written with a Z), was born on 12 April 1878.
- Vittorio‘s parents immigrated to Brazil when he was ten, together with his siblings, Giovanna and Tranquillo.
- His German ancestry came from his father’s maternal grandfather, Carl “Carlos” Hintze, born in Hamburg around 1876, who immigrated to Brazil in 1883.
- His maternal grandparents were born in Lucca, in Tuscany, and went to live in Brazil in the 1890s.
- Bolsonaro spent most of his childhood moving around São Paulo with his family, living in Ribeira, Jundiaí, and Sete Barras, before settling in Eldorado, in the state’s southern region, in 1966, where he grew up with his five brothers.
- Parents Passing
- On 21 January 2022, his mother Olinda Bonturi Bolsonaro died at age 94.
- His father Percy Geraldo Bolsonaro died in 1995.
- Jair Bolsonaro is known for his strong opposition to left-wing policies.
- Most notably, he has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, Environmental regulations, abortion, affirmative action (particularly racial quotas), immigration ( particularly from Haiti, Africa and the Middle East, which he once called “the scum of humanity”), drug liberalization, land reforms, and secularism at the federal level, among other things.
- He has also made statements in defense of the Brazilian military regime ( a dictatorship known for constant human rights violations ).
- He argues that torture is a “legitimate practice” and says that he would try to pass new legislation regarding the introduction of life imprisonment to the Brazilian penal code.
- Bolsonaro supports the privatization of state-owned companies and advocates free market policies, although critics have stated that his policy-making record does not in fact show him to be a supporter of economic liberalism.
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project ( OCCRP )
- In 2020, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), an international non-governmental organization that investigates crime and corruption, gave Bolsonaro its Person of the Year Award, which “recognizes the individual who has done the most in the world to advance organized criminal activity and corruption”.
- Bolsonaro received the award for “surrounding himself with corrupt figures, using propaganda to promote his populist agenda, undermining the justice system, and waging a destructive war against the Amazon region that has enriched some of the country’s worst land owners.”
Views on Women
- In a public speech in April 2017, Bolsonaro said he had five children, that the first four were male and that for the fifth he produced a daughter out of “a moment of weakness”.
- Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, Bolsonaro and his administration have been accused of downplaying the crisis while the number of Brazilians infected by the virus climbed exponentially by mid-2020.
- Bolsonaro claimed that COVID-19 is no deadlier than “the flu” and that his priority was the nation’s economic recovery rather than the health crisis.
- In fact, as of early 2021, the Brazilian economy was bouncing back, albeit somewhat slowly and inconsistently, as the pandemic was still threatening to undo any economic recovery.
- Bolsonaro continually accused political opponents and the press of exaggerating the threat of the virus and called it a “fantasy” created by the media.
Covid Management Over The Years
- In August 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, Bolsonaro’s approval rating showed signs of recovery, reaching its highest level since his inauguration.
- In November 2020, he said he would not take a COVID vaccine if it became available, but he later said he would support any possible vaccine if the Brazilian Health Agency deemed it safe.
- In the same broadcast, he called face masks “the last taboo to fall”.
- In early 2021, Bolsonaro’s approval ratings fell again, mostly due to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination controversies, and the concurrent economic crisis that evolved under his watch.
- Days after Brazil surpassed Russia as the country worst hit by COVID, Bolsonaro held a political rally in Brasília; while surrounded by supporters and his own security guards, who were wearing masks, he did not.
- In June 2021, nationwide protests erupted against Bolsonaro’s response to the pandemic; in São Paulo alone there were estimated to be 100,000 protesters on the streets.
- In July 2021, YouTube removed videos posted by Bolsonaro for spreading false information about the virus.
- YouTube has reportedly removed 15 videos altogether; one that was removed had shown that Brazil’s former health minister, Eduardo Pazuello, comparing the virus to HIV.
- In other videos, Bolsonaro criticized efforts to stop the spread of the virus, such as wearing masks or taking the vaccine.
- By the end of June 2021, more members of the opposition started to call for his impeachment over his handling of the pandemic and spreading misinformation.
- The opposition signed a document with multiple accusations, such as blaming Bolsonaro for the deaths of 500,000 Brazilians from COVID-19, stating that his government had blatantly turned down expert advice on tackling the virus, and at least 20 other grievances.
- Bolsonaro has endorsed conspiracy theories of voter fraud in past elections, including claims that attempts were made to rig the 2018 presidential election against him; he has also questioned the outcome of the 2020 United States presidential election.
- During his presidency, he has repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of electronic voting and advocated the use of paper ballots in the 2022 election.
- Bolsonaro has said that he will not accept the results of the 2022 election if electoral reforms are not implemented, and has threatened a military coup if he is defeated.
- Most experts on Brazilian politics, including Defense Minister Celso Amorim, have questioned the likelihood of a coup attempt, and polls have found that few Bolsonaro supporters would likely endorse a coup.
- In May 2022, Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns warned Bolsonaro against any further attacks on Brazil’s electoral system.
- Bolsonaro has been married three times and has five children.
- His first wife was Rogéria Nantes Braga (with whom he has three sons: Flávio, Carlos and Eduardo).
- His second marriage was with Ana Cristina Valle (with whom he has a son, Renan).
- In 2007, he married his third and current wife Michelle de Paula Firmo Reinaldo (with whom he has a daughter, Laura).
- Michelle de Paula Firmo Reinaldo
- While working in Congress, Bolsonaro hired Michelle as a secretary and over the next two years she received unusual promotions and her salary more than tripled.
- He was forced to fire her after the Supreme Federal Court ruled that nepotism is illegal in the public administration.
- As of 2018, Bolsonaro and his wife lived in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.
- Bolsonaro has three granddaughters, two by his son Flávio and one by his son Eduardo.
- Eduardo and Flávio Bolsonaro are Evangelical Protestant Christians and members of the Baptist Church in Brazil.
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