October 30th can become a shifting point in global politics. The United States’ biggest fear may come to flourish. A majority left-wing South America may happen if Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or Lula can defeat the far-right Trump-like figure in Jair Bolsonaro. As the Brazilians are heading towards the second round of the 2022 Brazilian Presidential election.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Lula is the former Brazilian president from 2003 to 2010, making it through his two terms before hitting his consecutive terms limit. His well regarded in Brazil for his popular policies that helped the impoverished. He left office as the most popular president in Brazilian history. Lula planned to run in 2018 after the disaster of the center-right presidency of Michel Temer. However, a problem would arise for Lula.
In 2017, Lula was arrested and convicted of money laundering and corruption. Sentenced to 9 years in prison. This disqualified him from running for president in the 2018 elections. However, his trials were riddled with corruption. The judge that oversaw Lula’s case for money laundering was appointed as the Minister of Justice after the case by the recently elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. This raised questions about whether or not there was an intervention in the trial by Bolsonaro. In 2021, Supreme Court judge Edson Fachin ruled and was supported by the other Supreme Court judges that Lula was not tried in the proper courts. Then later, finding that the judge who presided over the corruption charges colluded with the prosecution. Thus nullifying the charges of corruption and money laundering. Lula was now free to run for president in 2022.
Jair Bolsonaro is currently the President of Brazil, winning his position in 2018. Bolsonaro’s victory came about after Lula’s conviction, disqualified him from running. The Workers’ Party, had to find a new candidate. Their selection was Lula’s former minister of education, Fernando Haddad. The first round ended with Bolsonaro securing 46% and his closest opponent and the replacement for Lula, receiving just 29% as Bolsonaro failed to reach 50+1% of the votes. Bolsonaro secured 55% and the presidency in the second round.
Jair Bolsonaro is a far-right politician. Privatization of all state-run industries, Nationalist, anti-immigration, pro-gun, and anti-homosexuality. Bolsonaro pushed theories that the 2018 Brazilian elections were nearly rigged against him. That the 2020 United States election was rigged against Donald Trump. Bolsonaro has threatened a military coup d’etat if election reforms were not made before the 2022 Brazilian elections.
2022 Brazilian Elections
Brazil held its first round of elections in early October. This saw Lula take the victory over Bolsonaro. However, Lula failed to get 50+1% of the votes, only gathering 48.4% of the vote. This triggered a second round of elections between Lula and Bolsonaro on October 30th. If Lula wins the election, it will be a revolutionary moment in time for the left. Especially in the developing world.
South America’s Shift Left
South America has started a massive transition in recent years. Chile elected its first socialist president since Salvador Allende (1970-1973) in early 2022. This comes after the Augusto Pinochet coup d’etat that ended Salvador Allende’s presidency. Pinochet’s government outlawed labor unions and left-wing political parties. Colombia earlier this year elected Gustav Petro, a former left-wing nationalist guerrilla, becoming the first left-leaning president of Colombia in history. Peru changed from a centrist president to a Marxist president in 2021. In Honduras, the conservative president to a Democratic Socialist in 2021.
This shift has left very few countries with right-wing governments in South America, with Ecuador and Uruguay being the biggest, depending on if Lula can defeat Bolsonaro. One of the United States’ biggest fear under the Nixon administration may be realized, 60 years later.