Lula ascends to power in Brazil and denounces Bolsonaro's anti-democratic threats

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva rides on a motorcade after his swearing-in ceremony, in Brasilia, Brazil, January 1, 2023. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in as the president of Brazil on Sunday, delivering a scathing indictment of previous far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro and pledging a radical course correction to rescue a nation beset by hunger, poverty, and racism.

In a speech to Congress after formally assuming control of Latin America's largest nation, the leftist declared that democracy was the genuine victor of the October presidential race. He defeated Bolsonaro in the most contentious contest in a generation.

Bolsonaro, who departed Brazil for the United States on Friday after refusing to acknowledge the loss, rattled the cages of Brazil's young democracy with unfounded accusations of electoral flaws that gave rise to a violent movement of election deniers.

"Democracy was the great victor in this election, overcoming ... the most violent threats to the freedom to vote, and the most abject campaign of lies and hate plotted to manipulate and embarrass the electorate," Lula told lawmakers.

Lula, incarcerated during Bolsonaro's 2019 inauguration due to subsequently reversed corruption convictions, issued a veiled threat against his predecessor.

Without addressing Bolsonaro by name, Lula stated, "We do not carry any spirit of revenge against those who tried to subjugate the nation to their personal and ideological designs, but we will guarantee the rule of law," Those who erred will be held accountable for their errors.

In addition, he accused Bolsonaro's administration of "genocide" for failing to adequately respond to the COVID-19 virus, which killed over 680,000 Brazilians.

"The responsibilities for this genocide must be investigated and not go unpunished," he stated.

Bolsonaro's journey to Florida shields him from immediate legal peril in Brazil. Still, after losing his presidential immunity, he faces rising court dangers due to his anti-democratic statements and epidemic response, according to legal experts.

A rollback of environmental protections in the Amazon rainforest, looser gun regulations, and weakened rights for indigenous and minority populations marked Bolsonaro's four years in office.

Lula stated that he intends to transform Brazil, one of the world's leading food producers, into a green superpower.

U.S. support

Lula restored the authority of the government's environmental protection agency Ibama to battle illegal deforestation, which Bolsonaro had weakened. She overturned legislation that encouraged unlawful mining on protected indigenous territories.

In addition, he defroze the billion-dollar Amazon fund supported by Norway and Germany to support sustainability initiatives, reaffirming his commitment to halting deforestation in the Amazon, which reached a 15-year high under Bolsonaro.

The administration of former U.S. President Joe Biden, who had little in common with Bolsonaro and chafed at his poor environmental initiatives, wished luck to Lula and his vice president, Geraldo Alckmin.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted, "We look forward to continuing the strong U.S.-Brazil partnership in trade, security, sustainability, innovation, and inclusion," "Here's to a bright future for our countries - and the world."

In a letter congratulating Lula on his return to government, King Charles of England promised to increase cooperation with Brazil, particularly on environmental issues.

"I was encouraged to hear you emphasize the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis in your victory speech and at COP27," the king wrote in a public letter from the British embassy.

After the inauguration, Lula rode in an open-top Rolls-Royce to the Planalto palace, where he ascended the castle's ramp with his wife and a varied company that included the chief of the Kayapó tribe, a young Black child, a cook, and a disabled man.

Aline Sousa, a Black garbage collector, then presented Lula with the presidential sash, a highly significant rite in Brazil that Bolsonaro had frequently stated he would never perform.

Tens of thousands of people who had gathered to celebrate on the esplanade of Brasilia applauded as Lula brushed away tears.

In the following speech, he vowed to unify the fractured nation and rule for the benefit of all Brazilians.

Lula stated, "There are not two Brazils," We are one nation, a wonderful nation.

Lula stated that he would be fiscally responsible but made it clear that he would prioritize eradicating hunger and reducing widespread inequality. He also said he intended to advance women's rights and combat racism and Brazil's past of slavery.

He stated, "This will be the hallmark of our government,"

Reuters reported on Sunday that allies suggested Lula's newfound social consciousness was the product of his 580 days in prison.

Tight security

In his first decrees, Lula rescinded Bolsonaro's more permissive gun policies, which significantly increased gun ownership.

"Brazil does not want more weapons; it wants peace and security for its people," he stated.

The inauguration of Lula took place amid increased security.

Some of Bolsonaro's supporters have asserted that the election was stolen and have called for a military coup to prevent Lula from coming to office in a climate of violence and vandalism.

On Christmas Eve, a Bolsonaro fan was apprehended for constructing a bomb that was discovered on a vehicle carrying aviation fuel at the entrance to Brasilia airport, and he confessed he intended to trigger a military intervention.

Bolsonaro has lost the backing of many erstwhile friends due to the anti-democratic demonstrations.

Saturday night, Bolsonaro's former vice president and interim president, Hamilton Mourao, attacked his former boss for enabling anti-democratic sentiment to flourish after the election.

"Leaders who were supposed to reassure and unite the nation ... allowed silence or inopportune and deleterious protagonism to create an atmosphere of chaos and social disintegration," stated Mourao.

Lula's election victory was a dramatic political comeback, granting him an unprecedented third term after a one-year absence in prison.

During his two previous stints as president, from 2003 to 2010, the former union leader brought millions of Brazilians out of poverty during a commodity boom that bolstered the economy.

Now, he has the formidable job of reviving Brazil's sluggish economy and unifying a fractured nation.

Creomar de Souza, the director of Dharma Political Risk in Brasilia, stated, "A lot is expected of Lula," He will be tasked with restoring normalcy and predictability in Brazil and, above all, delivering fast results that improve the quality of life for its citizens.

Publish : 2023-01-02 11:20:00

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