Lula enters the field

Image: Messala Ciulla
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By MARLON DE SOUZA*

The statesman Lula returned for the giant victory at the polls, for the popular sovereignty of the vote

President Lula at the 27th United Nations Climate Conference (COP 27) declared two initiatives that will be formally presented by his government in Brazil, starting on January 1, 2023: (i) holding the Summit of Member Countries of the Treaty of Economic Cooperation so that Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela can for the first time discuss in a sovereign way the promotion of integrated development in the region with social inclusion and a lot of climate responsibility; (ii) offer Brazil for COP 30 in 2025. The president defended that the COP be held in the Amazon state.

“Brazil is back to restore ties with the world and help fight hunger in the world again. To cooperate again with the poorest countries, especially in Africa, with investments and technology transfer. To once again strengthen relations with our Latin American and Caribbean brothers and build, together with them, a better future for our peoples. To fight for fair trade among nations, and for peace among peoples. We are back to help build a peaceful world order, based on dialogue, multilateralism and multipolarity”, said president Lula in the official auditorium of the UN event.

In 2024, Brazil will chair the G20 and President Lula has stated that the climate agenda will be one of the priorities. Lula also positioned himself for the UN to move forward from the perspective that “it is not possible for the UN to be run under the same logic as the geopolitics of the Second World War. The world has changed, countries have changed, countries want to participate more, continents want to be represented. And there is no explanation why only the winners of the Second World War are the ones who command and direct the Security Council. It is important to bear in mind that the world is in need of global governance”.

President Lula pointed out that his new government changes the international relations implemented by Jair Bolsonaro, who placed Brazil in world isolation. In his speech at this COP 27, Lula clearly indicated that he is starting to change Brazilian foreign policy with the integration of the Global South as a priority agenda. He described specific fronts that will be adopted by international trade policy, not only with regard to South America, Latin America and the Caribbean, but also to developing countries in general, such as Africa, in a project of political, productive, economic, commercial, technical cooperation and technology transfer.

This systemic rearrangement of Brazil's international policy presented by President Lula at COP 27 demonstrates the clear intention to break with the subordination in which Jair Bolsonaro has placed the country. Lula now leads Brazil to overcome the vulnerability of external dependence and the integration of Brazil in the world economic system in a high position in the international division of labor, changing the country's export agenda from the technological reindustrialization connected with decarbonization and the green economy, the reorganization of productive forces and the repositioning of Brazil in global value chains.

In this second decade of the XNUMXst century, the Amazon is an asset of international relations for all humanity. Lula knows this and by reaffirming his historic commitments in defense of the Amazon, by facing the challenges posed by climate change and by putting into practice and demanding from other countries so that the commitments agreed in Paris, guided by the search for the decarbonization of the global economy, are put into effect , Lula repositions Brazil back to world protagonism.

On November 15, President Lula met with representatives for climate change from the two largest economies in the world John Kerry (USA) and Xie Zhenhua (People's Republic of China).

Unlike the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo of the Jair Bolsonaro government, who had a practice averse to any efficient economic pragmatism, Araújo exercised ignominy, was publicly hostile towards the People's Republic of China, Brazil's main trading partner, President Lula raises to a high-level relationship with the People's Republic of China.

At the same time, President Lula does not enter into confrontation with the US. Which is a wise policy, the US is the country that currently occupies the third position in our trade balance, fundamental for the Brazilian economy. However, Lula takes Brazil out of a position of subordination, repositions our country in the perspective of mutual cooperation, agreeing on an international policy that primarily serves our national sovereignty, the interests of the development of Brazil and the countries of the Global South, in order to overcome inequalities social.

According to official information from the federal government, the main countries and blocks that were the destination of Brazilian exports, in terms of value, in the third quarter of 2022, were: People's Republic of China (US$ 22,7 billion), European Union (US $13,7 billion), United States ($10,3 billion) and Argentina ($4,4 billion). Together, these trading partners accounted for 57,1% of the entire value exported in the third quarter of 2022. As for imports, the People's Republic of China was the largest source of Brazilian imports in the third quarter of 2022. US$ were imported from this country. 17,5 billion, which represented 23,1% of the total value of imports in the period. Other commercial partners that were important suppliers to Brazil were: United States (US$ 14,3 billion), European Union (US$ 12,1 billion) and Argentina (US$ 3,5 billion). Together, they were responsible for 62,4% of all value imported by Brazil in the quarter under analysis.

Brazil has just gone through the most decisive election in its history. The election to the Presidency of Brazil this year was observed with unprecedented attention by other countries. Lula's victory contained the advance of international neo-fascism, the authoritarian, anti-democratic extreme right and climate denialism in the world.

The world understands that Lula's victory at the polls means that civilizing values, respect for human rights and the commitment to face climate change with determination are back in force in Brazil. President Lula indicated at COP 27 that he will fight deforestation in all Brazilian ecosystems, rebuild environmental and control bodies that were weakened during the Bolsonaro government, and punish environmental crimes.

The newly-elected president also described that “environmental crimes, which grew alarmingly during the government that is coming to an end, will now be fought relentlessly”. Lula pointed out that he will strengthen inspection bodies and monitoring systems, which were dismantled in the last four years. President Lula pointed out that his government, which begins on January 1st, will "severely punish those responsible for any illegal activity, be it prospecting, mining, logging or improper agricultural occupation".

It is these crimes mentioned above that affect indigenous peoples in particular. For this reason, President Lula announced that he will create the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, so that “the indigenous people themselves present policy proposals to the government that guarantee them a dignified survival, security, peace and sustainability”. Lula reaffirms his historic commitment to the preservation of the Amazon and defense of native peoples.

 

Portugal

Then, on the agenda in Portugal on the last 18/11, President Lula was received as head of state, had an agenda with Prime Minister Antônio Costa, with the President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and with the President of Mozambique Filipe Nyesi in a clear demonstration of reestablishment of ties with Portugal (Jair Bolsonaro has not set foot in Portugal in four years and was hostile to the prime minister) and of reaffirmation of the policy of relations with Portuguese-speaking countries and mutual cultivation of respect for all countries.

In Portugal, President Lula also had a meeting with the Brazilian community at the Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISTE) where he stated that although they were defeated at the polls, reactionary politics and violence still persist in society and that “it will defeat Bolsonarism in the country”. Brazil without using the practices of the extreme right”.

 

International policy of the new government

For the term that begins on January 1, it is essential to guarantee the sovereignty and energy security of the country, with an expansion of the energy supply, deepening the diversification of the matrix, with the expansion of renewable sources at prices compatible with the Brazilian reality. In addition, it is necessary to expand production capacity for derivatives in Brazil, taking advantage of the great wealth of the pre-salt layer, with prices that take into account production costs in Brazil.

It will be necessary to protect the country's assets and recompose the inducing and coordinating role of the State and state-owned companies so that they fulfill, with agility and dynamism, their role in the process of economic development and social, productive and environmental progress in the country.

President Lula has already declared that he is opposed to the privatization of Petrobras and Pré-Sal Petróleo SA (PPSA). Petrobras must have its strategic and investment plan oriented towards energy security, national self-sufficiency in oil and derivatives, the guarantee of fuel supply in the country. Only with this policy will Petrobras return to being an integrated energy company, investing in exploration, production, refining and distribution, but also acting in segments that are connected to the ecological and energy transition, such as gas, fertilizers, biofuels and renewable energies. It is necessary to preserve the sharing regime, and the pre-salt social fund must once again be at the service of the future.

Defending our sovereignty requires recovering the foreign policy that made us a global player and, at the same time, contributing to the development of developing countries, through cooperation, investment and technology transfer.

Brazil's world policy should prioritize international South-South cooperation with Latin America and Africa, but also, at the same time, maintain international trade relations with the countries of the European Union and the United States and defend the expansion of Brazil's participation in the seats of multilateral organizations as President Lula did at this COP 27.

To defend our sovereignty is to defend the integration of South America, Latin America and the Caribbean, with a view to maintaining regional security and promoting an integrated development of our region, based on potential productive complementarities between our countries. It is to once again strengthen Mercosur, Unasur, Celac and the BRICS.

To defend our sovereignty is to freely establish the partnerships that are best for the country, in a sharing of mutual gain, without submission to anyone. It means working to build a new global order committed to multilateralism, respect for the sovereignty of nations, peace, social inclusion and environmental sustainability, which addresses the needs and interests of developing countries, with new guidelines for trade abroad, trade integration and international partnerships in particular with technology transfer from the People's Republic of China to reindustrialize Brazil from the production of capital goods based on technology industry, Artificial Intelligence and Industry 4.0.

 

The statesman has returned

The statesman Lula returned for the giant victory at the polls, for the popular sovereignty of the vote. Unlike the current president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) who carried out verbal attacks against the institutions that support democracy, in particular the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and some of his ministers, Lula reveals himself as a statesman as soon as he is newly elected. On November 9, President Lula – in a gesture of deference, I respect the institutions of the Democratic State of Law like any great statesman – visited STF President Rosa Weber, an agenda that included the presence of Justices of the Court Gilmar Mendes, Ricardo Lewandowski, Cármen Lúcia, Dias Toffoli, Luiz Fux, Edson Fachin, Alexandre de Moraes, Nunes Marques and André Mendonça.

Following that, President Lula met with the president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) Alexandre de Moraes. It is important to note that the magistrate Alexandre de Moraes was vital, he was the mainstay of democracy in Brazil. Moraes, with courage and honesty, built himself up as the legitimate guardian of the Constitution.

Although Lula was elected President of the Republic this year with 50,90% against 49,10%, that is, he won by 2.139.645 votes, his victory was colossal, Homeric.

The extreme right to guarantee the re-election of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) used all the power of the central government machine that was at its disposal; the release of billions of reais from the Secret Budget to the base of allies, approval of a Constitutional Amendment that established a state of emergency to have extraordinary credit with a notorious electoral objective for the maintenance of the Auxílio Brasil of R$ 600 until December 2022, aid truck drivers and taxi drivers in the amount of R$ 1.000, the release of payroll loans for beneficiaries of the Auxílio Brasil, in addition to illegal methods applied by the deinstitutionalized extreme right such as a technological avalanche of sharing fake news in society through social networks such as that if he won “Lula would close churches”, “institute unisex bathrooms”.

Lula won the election against the moral harassment of businessmen in the service area, industrialists on their employees to vote for Jair Bolsonaro as evidenced by Labor prosecutors throughout the country. There is even suspicion under the use of roadblocks by sectors of the Federal Highway Police to prevent voters from voting for Lula. Against all this Lula won.

More than that, Lula won against political violence. Left-wing militants were murdered, threatened across the country. The anti-democratic environment was mobilized in a veiled way throughout the national territory in society against Lula's candidacy.

It is important to point out that the broad front strategy in defense of democracy was successful. We on the left had a contrary position, but we must recognize that without the broad front we would probably have lost the election. We were right in our position that it was necessary to form a left front, a leading nucleus of the left electoral campaign, within the broad front, in this we were right.

But if it weren't for the center-democracy, senator Simone Tebet (MDB/MS), elected federal deputy Marina Silva (REDE/SP), former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB), elected vice-president Geraldo Alckmin (PSB ) and other center-right leaders who joined in the first or second round, it is likely that if such a personality or political representation had not joined President Lula's campaign, we would not have reached even a small percentage of the electorate, we would not have had the necessary votes that led us to victory. This adherence by the center-right to Lula's president program made the difference between Lula's defeat and Bolsonaro's victory, and in keeping Brazil on the path of economic tragedy or Lula's victory that we achieved to bring the country back to its reconstruction, restoration of democracy and return to the civilizing process.

Former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso rescued his biography. One of the most important intellectuals in this country, at the decisive moment, crossed the street and came to the side of the democrats, declared his vote for Lula against the authoritarianism in course. I think the country was happier seeing Cardoso, former minister Marina Silva in the center-left field closing ranks with the democrats, a place that had always been her place and that for some time her absence was felt. Senator Simone Tebet also played a great role, proactive and qualified defense of political positions to rebuild Brazil.

Incidentally, it is important to underline the participation of former governor Geraldo Alckmin throughout the campaign, the dialogue he established with the center of society, with agribusiness entrepreneurs, bankers and industrialists presenting Lula's government program. Now as coordinator of the Transition Cabinet, vice-president Geraldo Alckmin has played a role in de-tensioning society. In his public statements to the press, Alckmin calmly and didactically defends the democratic and popular program for the country. Alckmin has dignified the Vice Presidency of the Republic and the fight for democracy in the current situation.

But those who resisted in Parliament and society against the coup d'état that overthrew President Dilma Rousseff were decisive for Lula's victory. Those who fought against the conviction, political imprisonment and banning of Lula's candidacy in 2018. Those who formed the resistance in acts across the country, in the judgment of the Regional Court of the 4th Region, jurists, intellectuals and journalists, politicians from Brazil abroad, the Lula Livre Movement, the Lula Livre Vigil in Curitiba, the social and trade union movements, the PT, the leftist parties, every political activist, militant of the leftist parties who in all these years and during all the months of the electoral campaign this year fought for the guidelines of this government program. These were essential, without them Lula would never have won.

It is important to remember that within the PT there were senior leaders who wanted to abandon it, they did not want the PT institutionally fighting for Lula's freedom, they wanted to abandon him in jail, they were against Lula's candidacy for president, and at the moment of definition there were members of the PT who rose up in defense of the institutional party struggle for Lula's freedom, and personally defended Lula's candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic in deliberative and decision-making moments and publicly in the press so that Lula would be the PT's candidate. These can never be forgotten by the government that starts on January 1, 2023.

The fact that we observe some of the most qualified people in national politics returning to some of the highest positions in the Republic as possible future ministers of the new Lula government is an impulse that the country will be rebuilt. Fernando Haddad, for example, is a statesman, one of the most qualified figures in Brazilian politics. His campaign and his program for governor of São Paulo were instrumental in reducing Jair Bolsonaro's vote in the Southeast. Fernando Haddad as a minister – whether in an economic or political portfolio – will improve the government and the country.

* Marlon Luiz de Souza, journalist, is a master's student in World Political Economy at UFABC.

 

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