For a few days, it appeared that former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had disappeared from the campaign for re-election of his comrade and protégé, incumbent president Dilma Rousseff.
But with only five days left before the second-round run-off on October 26, he reappeared in fine form, ripping into rival candidate Aécio Neves of the centrist PSDB in a speech in Pernambuco, the only state in Brazil’s poor and politically important northeast where Dilma lost in the first round of the elections on Oct 6.
The 13th in our series of guest posts on the outlook for 2014 is by Marcos Troyjo of Columbia University
As a new year begins, uncertainties generally abound. But that is not true about Brazil in 2014. Quite the contrary. The world can clearly see what is coming Brazil’s way: a country treading below potential.
When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was campaigning for president in 2002, he wanted to signal his willingness to stick to the tenets of economic stability established by Fernando Henrique Cardoso and yet push for change in other fronts. He did so by writing a ‘Letter to the Brazilian People’.
Pope Francis’ visit last week seemed to last forever – every night the pontiff was on prime time television, awing the gathered millions with his sermons on Copacabana beach. His Gregorian tones and the freezing winds of an unusually cold winter made a change for a scene usually associated with the more worldly pursuits of sun-bathing and beer swilling.
Perhaps this week of Catholicism and the constant invoking of the Holy Trinity also infected the strategists at the ruling Workers’ Party in Brasília. What else could have moved President Dilma Rousseff’s to tell Folha de S.Paulo that she and her mentor, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the man who represents the spirit of the PT, are in fact “one”.
It has been two years since the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva left his job in Brasília after serving the maximum two consecutive terms.
But he remains in the headlines, though not always for reasons he would like. This week, persistent rumours that he is “sick” surfaced again, paradoxically alongside other mutterings that he might be considering a comeback for president next year.
There has been some noise and confusion around Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party (PT) recently, particularly regarding what on earth its champion, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, thinks about the recent political upheaval on the streets and how his anointed successor, Dilma Rousseff is handling it.
Remember the hacker who exposed Lula’s loot? And remember how that wasn’t much of a collection for a president accused of corruption? Well, apparently, Lula has even less property than the hacker claimed.
Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is facing plenty of pressure these days over allegations he was directly involved in the country’s biggest corruption case, the Mensalão.
Now comes an expose of what are supposedly his properties.
Hugo Chávez has talked of staying in power until 2021, even 2031 – much to the despair of his opponents, many of whom are currently suffering from acute depression after failing at their best chance of unseating him yet.
So they will have pricked up their ears on Thursday when it emerged that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the heavyweight former Brazilian president and a close Chavez ally, thinks Venezuela’s leader “should start preparing his succession”.