Run Lula Run!

The former president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as just Lula, lambasted the current president Jair Bolsonaro as a psychopath who has made Brazil into a global pariah.

In an interview with the Guardian, Brazil’s former leftist leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – who is widely tipped to challenge Bolsonaro for the presidency after regaining his political rights – stopped short of explicitly confirming he would run. But Lula, who rose from rural poverty to become Brazil’s first working-class president, left no doubt he was plotting an extraordinary finale to one of the world’s most enduring and dramatic political careers.

Lula said Brazil’s still-raging Covid outbreak and the socioeconomic crisis it had spawned meant it was too early to launch what would be his sixth presidential campaign since 1989. But the Workers’ party (PT) veteran claimed he had the experience and desire to lead Brazil’s “recovery” after the damage inflicted by Bolsonaro’s incompetence, and would do so, if his party and voters wished.

The seeds for Lula’s comeback were sown in March when a supreme court judge quashed the corruption conviction that forced him from the 2018 election won by Bolsonaro. Soon after the court ruled that Sergio Moro, the rightwing judge who jailed Lula before joining Bolsonaro’s cabinet, had treated the former president unfairly.

Polls suggest the leftist is well placed to defeat Bolsonaro, who critics accuse of devastating Brazil’s environment and economy and catastrophically mishandling Covid, a disease he has called a “little flu”. Brazil’s top pollster, Datafolha, recently forecast Lula would beat Bolsonaro in a second round run-off by a margin of more than 20%.

But don’t count the right wing out. The oligarchy in that country are capable of all manner of dirty tricks as can be seen in the way they arranged for the impeachment of Lula’s successor Dilma Rousseff that removed her from office and the rigged corruption trial and that removed Lula from the election that paved the way for Bolsonaro, who had been trailing until then, to win.


  1. consciousness razor says

    Matt G: I had the same thought.

    The movie was from 1998, by the way. I knew it was more than one decade ago, but I had to check with google, because my memory of it is very hazy now.

  2. Mano Singham says

    Yes, it was from the film Run Lola Run. I thought that the cult film was well enough known that people would get the allusion without me spelling it out.

  3. John Morales says

    Well, I for one was not aware of that film. Rang no bells.

    I was aware of the situation in Brazil, though.

  4. Matt G says

    The Curse of Knowledge -- assuming others know what we know.

    The movie is excellent, and deals with different outcomes (I’ll leave it at that). An appropriate reference: what if the US hadn’t worked to overthrow the governments of Central and South American countries (Mano wrote about Chile the other day)?

  5. Tired South American says

    Matt G:

    what if the US hadn’t worked to overthrow the governments of Central and South American countries

    Answer: We would have found another way to screw up. Our problem has never been the USA, but a general culture of corruption and the pervasive idea that, as long as they do some good things in return, the misdeeds of politicians should be excused (“they steal, but they act” is a popular saying). We were already heading towards failure for a long time before the US first set its sights on us.

  6. Sam N says

    @7, although, especially depending on the country the USA certainly fanned certain flames. Well, when it wasn’t actively handing brutal folks flamethrowers and encouraging them to use them. I’d rather not have that been part of the country’s legacy, but it is.

    It has been a long time since I read Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina, which does not spare the leadership of Southern and Central American countries, and I never became fully fluent in Spanish, which may have affected a thorough understanding. I recall most strongly American fruit companies devastating Guatemala. On balance it’s difficult for me to see the USA’s actions as having been a net good in any sense of the matter.

  7. mnb0 says

    President Lula is one of the very few head of states in our world who actually has done something to improve the conditions of the poorest people of his country, including the Brazilian Indians in the Amazon. Chavez and Maduro have done nothing, on the contrary, they have merely enriched themselves and their clique (no, for once the USA cannot be blamed). So tried the populist Bouterse in Suriname (no USA involvement either). Morales from Bolivia was overall a failure but at the other hand hasn’t ruined his country either. Another relative success story lately is Guyana.
    So yes, run, Lula, run. Your successor Rousseff had done a bad job.

    I had forgotten the German movie, so I didn’t immediately get it either.

  8. Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says

    “a general culture of corruption and the pervasive idea that, as long as they do some good things in return, the misdeeds of politicians should be excused”

    A political scientist I knew once opined that countries tend to get the leaders their people expect, no matter what the nominal type of government is.

  9. bmiller says

    Plus, the whole history of invasion, horrible inequality, and poor economic planning (resource extraction is rarely a good thing to run a fair economy on). On the other hand, as MNBO has pointed out, much of the left has not shown much success, either. For a variety of reasons. Chavez can be forgiven a bit, but Maduro? Come on. Maybe the real problem in South America is they didn’t slaughter and completely dispossess the indigenous population like the United States did is another reason? /sarc

  10. Tired South American says

    @Sam N:

    You’re right, I should have said that America has never been our main problem; it certainly hasn’t been helpful at all. Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina is an excellent and recommended reading, but those who begin doing so should prepare to be infuriated. It is also a bit of a slog; even the author, in retrospective, has admitted that his pacing was off.

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