By Gustavo A. Maranges

October 30, 2022  Resumen Latinoamericano


Just a few minutes ago, Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced Lula da Silva’s victory by over 2 million votes or 1.5%. Undoubtedly it was a tight race with many obstacles for the progressive candidate, but in the end, the people’s will to leave behind 4 years of a disastrous government prevailed.

With over 99% of the voting stations counted, Lula won almost 51% of the votes, while his rival, the ultra-right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, achieved a concerning 49% of the votes. This runoff was similar to the first round’s turnout. In other words, neither of the two candidates managed to significantly mobilize those who did not take part in the political process in the first round.

Apparently, Bolsonaro achieved better results as his numbers shrank from the first round’s difference by almost three million votes. This will have to be analyzed because the third and fourth candidates of the first round presumably gave their support to Lula. However if they did not join the campaign to mobilize then it was just lip service to create a distance from Bolsonaro without giving real support to Lula.

Greater mobilization of Bolsonaro’s forces after the unexpected result of the first round and the unfair maneuvers of the neo-fascist candidate were key points in this result. Since the morning of Election Day, the federal police were on the streets obstructing the traffic instead of easing it on such an important day. They clearly had a mandate to stop buses bringing people to voting stations from rural areas.

Thousands of complaints have been posted on social media about long lines of public and private vehicles waiting to be checked by the police. Even the Uber app was out of service, and many drivers refused to give a ride to people who were clear Lula supporters. These occurrences were much more prevalent in the northeast region of the country. This area is considered the stronghold of Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT). In some places, Bolsonaro supporters went so far as to cut down trees to block roads for hours to prevent PT supporters from reaching polling stations.

In Brazil, public transportation is usually free on Election Day to ensure that lower-income people can vote. This time, many governors and mayors sympathetic to Bolsonaro refused to take such a measure. The right-wing is aware of the strong support Lula has in the poorest sectors of society and used this low blow in hopes of impacting the outcome. Maybe this would not be a relevant issue in another country, but in Brazil, public transportation is expensive for many people who have to spend an average of $US5 for a ride.

Despite all these fraudulent actions, neo-fascist forces could not stop the irrevocable will of a country to move forward, to have hope and see a path to progress.

Lula’s victory is very positive for Brazil and Latin America and the world for that matter. It is the the largest economy in the region and its support is essential for the left, and anti-imperialist processes. At the same time, the right-wing lost its most important stronghold in Latin America, which substantially reduces its power to influence regional dynamics. However, this does not mean it is defeated.

Senate and governorship’s’ composition in the country is quite complex and is not to the advantage of the new government. This is a significant reality in a federalist country.

Today’s victory is significant not just in Brazil but it shifts the relationship of forces in the entire region. The narrow victory reflects how every progressive move by Lula will be met with resistance and dirty tricks.  The threats of a coup d’état are still latent and will not be going way anytime soon. The frauds committed today, and Bolsonaro’s s statements about his intentions to try and organize a coup against Lula, show that the right-wing has a deep disdain for democracy and the peoples’ will. They will not miss an opportunity to reverse their huge defeat today as they did in Bolivia in 2019; as they are constantly trying to do in Peru, also in Argentina against Cristina Fernandez, and as they did before in Brazil against Dilma and Lula. The international right, neo liberal forces, have been set back but Lula will need to consolidate quickly because they are not going to let such a valuable country as Brazil just slip away. The licking of their wounds will be momentary.

-Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – US