By Ethan Nichols, World News Editor
The planet can breathe easy knowing Lula da Silva won Brazil’s presidency.
The return of leftist icon Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva represents a tremendous win not just for the people of Brazil, but also for progressive movements across the world.
Following four years of a reactionary, right-wing administration, the people of Brazil selected Lula to return to the presidency for a third non-consecutive term beginning in 2023.
Brazil’s current president, Jair Bolsonaro is a right-wing nationalist. Throughout his political career, he has remained consistent. He has long been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage. In 2002, Bolsonaro stated, “If I see two men kissing in the street, I will beat them.”
This kind of rhetoric has characterized the last four years in Brazil. Bolsonaro was also known for being staunchly pro-gun, anti-regulation, pro-privatization and being responsible for rolling back environmental protections resulting in a major increase in deforestation and logging in the Amazon rainforest.
Lula’s win represents a major win for the environment. Under Lula’s first two terms in office from 2003-2010, there was an 80% drop in deforestation in the Amazon. Under Bolsonaro, deforestation surged 73%, reaching its highest point in more than 15 years.
Our planet could not stand another four years of Jair Bolsonaro.
The Amazon rainforest is absolutely vital to the planet’s carbon dioxide and oxygen cycles. It absorbs large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions each year, protecting the atmosphere.
The Amazon contains more than half of the planet’s remaining rainforests and is the largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest in the world. More than 30 million Indigenous people live in the Amazon, with more than 3,300 formally acknowledged indigenous territories.
We can not afford to let the Amazon continue to die. Our planet, our very way of life, depends on it.
Lula has pledged to protect the environment and to preserve the Amazon.
In addition to environmental concerns, Lula centered the working class in his campaign, just as he has for the entirety of his political career.
Lula began his career working in an auto factory. It was there that he joined union efforts, becoming the president of the Steel Workers Union in the region. He participated in major union actions, including massive strikes in the late 1970s that were deemed illegal. He was jailed for a month due to his role in organizing strikes.
With roots in the labor movement of Latin America, Lula centered workers in his political career.
Lula campaigned on a strong minimum wage, a guaranteed income, ending hunger, resuming a popular housing program, guaranteeing access to low-cost medicine and improving education access, as well as increasing environmental protections and ending deforestation.
In 2010, he left office with 80% favorability and was once described by former U.S. President Barack Obama as “the most popular politician in the world.”
Watching videos of Lula speaking, it’s easy to see why. He has a charismatic yet down-to-earth style of speaking. He’s a natural orator and is able to connect with everyday people.
The energy surrounding his current campaign is palpable from the videos of massive crowds straining to hear the former president speak.
Part of the reason Lula was able to bring together such a broad coalition to capture the presidency for a third time was by reviving a reminiscent fondness of the economic boom that happened under his first two terms.
The social welfare projects that Lula implemented during his first two terms lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty and resulted in Brazil rising to the eighth largest economy in the world.