Lula’s return - “Brazil is back”

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Lula’s return – “Brazil is back” 

Will Lula’s presidency finally bring peace for Brazil after the chaos caused by his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro? 

By: Sara Csornai

 

President Luiz Inácio (Lula) da Silva was elected president of the Federative Republic of Brazil on November 30, 2022. “Brazil is back, hope, once again, prevailed over fear”,  Lula claimed in hopes of reconstructing the largest democracy of Latin America. 

“Brazil is reconnecting with itself, with [the] region and with the world” said the leftist president during the UN General Assembly. After the left-wing Workers’ Party winning the elections by around 2 million votes, Lula is attempting to close the gap created by Bolsonaro’s Conservative-Liberal Party, which gained dozens of seats in the Congress, assigning the new administration’s first challenge. “Meaning that Lula will probably need to strike deals with exacting the same political leaders who have been allied with Bolsonaro over the past two and a half years.” -said Richard Lapper from Chatham House, the Royal Institution International Affairs, the think tank headquartered in London. 

 

But what does this mean for Brazil, and what does Lula’s presidency propose to the economy? 

As Brazil was facing an intimidating amount of threatening issues including high crime rates, continually rising poverty, an education crisis and slow economic growth. However the presidency has already made progress in negotiations, Lula’s administration has slowly started improving the country’s economy, with poverty and hunger rates drastically dropping, social spendings rising and foreign investments increasing among with future plans including the expansion of state-funded social housing, the increase of minimum wage with higher taxation on the wealth and the introduction of the “debt forgiveness program”.  

 

Lula’s foreign policy 

 The delegates applauded Luiz Inácio da Silva as he indicated his disapproval of the economic embargo of Cuba, Lula’s victory has been attended as a return of a more engaging and constructive Brazilian foreign policy. Brazil’s ties are back to normal with major partners such as China, The U.S. and the EU causing Brazil to regain its status as a  lead character in the Global South, which is reflected by Japan’s invitation of the Brazilian President to the G7 summit. After the relationship between Brazil and the EU has declined in the past, it now is back with the ratification of the EU-Mercosur free trade deal, brought back in many ways.  

Yet, Lula has some controversy in his foreign policy, with his attitude towards the Ukrainian-Russia conflict, reflected by his comments regarding the war, such as “considering both Ukraine and Russia equally responsible for the conflict”, according to the president’s diplomatic adviser, Celso Amorim, “Russia’s concerns over Ukraine must be taken into account”. 

In conclusion, Lula’s foreign policy record has been impressive as he successfully reversed the diplomatic isolation caused by the Bolsonaro presidency. However, Brazil’s relations from other aspects have gradually worsened, particularly with the West.  

The economic route that the Brazilian president chooses to take and his capacity to manage Brazil’s leadership role as a global powerhouse will mostly determine Brazil’s role in foreign affairs. 

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