Lula da Silva – New President of Brazil
The leftist leader Lula da Silva recently made a comeback as the new President of Brazil after defeating incumbent far right President Jair Bolsonaro.
Who is Lula da Silva?
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, served as the President of Brazil for two terms between 2002 and 2010. During his previous tenures as the president, Brazil witnessed a massive economic growth and large-scale implementation of social welfare programmes that raised millions of people out of poverty. The most popular of these social welfare programmes is the Bolsa Familia. It provided cash to poor families if they send their children to schools and get them to undergo regular health check-ups. Lula left office since the laws in the country did not allow third consecutive presidential term.
Lula started education only when he was 10 years old. He was forced to drop out after grade 5 because of the need for full-time job as a metalworker. He was elected as the leader of workers’ union in 1975. He led large-scale labour protests against military regime in Brazil. In 1980, he cofounded the Workers’ Party (PT), which later went on to become the main left-wing political party in the country.
After Lula left Presidential post, he and his handpicked successor to the post, Dilma Rousseff, faced various corruption charges. While Rousseff was impeached in 2016, Lula was convicted for corruption and money laundering the following year. In 2018, Lula started a 12-year sentence in prison. In March 2021, he was cleared of all charges after the Supreme Court overturned the convictions.
Significance of Lula’s return
The victory of Lula in this recent election indicates the leftist shift in Latin American politics. This shift began with the 2018 election victory of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico. This was followed by victories for Alberto Fernandez in Argentina in 2019, and Gabriel Boric in Chile, Pedro Castillo in Peru, and Gustavo Petro in Colombia. With Lula’s election win, Latin America’s 6 largest economies will be under the control of leftist politicians.
India is expected to have improved ties with Brazil under Lula. He visited India as the Chief Guest to the 2004 Republic Day parade and again in 2007 and 2008. He hosted former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006 and 2010 and former Indian President Pratibha Patil in 2008. He was the President of Brazil when the inaugural edition of BRICS meeting was held in Russia in 2009.