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A victory for the left in the Brazilian elections could be the lifeline that Cuba and Venezuela need right now


SAO PAULO, Brazil – While Brazil’s perennial leftist leader Lula da Silva may enjoy the support of most of Brazil’s art community, incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro struck a major blow this week by receiving the endorsement audience of the country’s biggest soccer star, Neymar.

In a video uploaded to Twitter, the scoring legend danced and sang along to a Bolsonaro campaign jingle, proclaiming: “Vote, vote and confirm, 22 is Bolsonaro.” The right-wing candidate, whose voting number is 22, later returned the favor with a visit to the Neymar Foundation in Praia Grande, Sao Paulo. However, even the backing of the great Neymar may not be enough to salvage Bolsonaro’s lagging campaign.

An uptight nation gathered around its television screens Thursday night to watch the final presidential debate, on the Globo television channel, which features many of Brazil’s most popular telenovelas. In fact, the debate began at the odd timeslot of 10:30 p.m. and lasted until 2 a.m., immediately after Pantanal, a Brazilian soap opera.

The debate featured a unique and engaging format that resembled a bit of a game show, in which various permutations of candidates and questions were drawn from glass bowls, with two candidates at a time going head-to-head in increments of three minutes.

President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a press conference on the International Anti-Corruption Day at the Planalto Palace on December 9, 2021 in Brasilia, Brazil.
(Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

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Some of the most tense moments occurred when one of the seven presidential candidates, Soraya Thronicke, asked Bolsonaro directly if he had plans to stage a coup in the event of an electoral defeat.

Bolsonaro dodged the question, saying, “Well, that’s not the point,” before going on to claim that former ally Thronicke owed her Senate seat to his coattails.

The problem with Bolsonaro’s possible refusal to accept the election results is the elephant in the room. He has made conflicting statements on the issue, but in widely reported remarks in mid-September, he appeared to acknowledge the possibility of losing his re-election bid, which seems increasingly likely if polls are to be believed.

“If it is God’s will, I continue… if not, I pass the (presidential) band and I retire,” Bolsonaro said on a Christian podcast. “At my age, I have nothing else to do here on Earth if my journey in politics ends on December 31.”

President Jair Bolsonaro on stage at his last campaign rally in Sao Paulo.  Photo: David Unsworth for Fox News Digital.

President Jair Bolsonaro on stage at his last campaign rally in Sao Paulo. Photo: David Unsworth for Fox News Digital.
(Photo: David Unsworth for Fox News Digital.)

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It’s a departure from the more aggressive statements he made in late August, when he declared, “I have three choices for my future: arrest, assassination, or victory.”

While the loss of Bolsonaro is likely to be met with street protests and accusations of electoral fraud by some of the former army captain’s strident supporters, it seems highly unlikely that Brazil’s military will intervene in any kind of attempted coup. to keep Bolsonaro in power. Energy.

Nycollas Liberato, president of Brazil’s Students for Freedom and a former cadet at the Agulhas Negras Military Academy (the Brazilian equivalent of West Point), echoes that view, noting: “The supporters of both (Bolsonaro and Lula) they have a very aggressive and intolerant policy towards those who do not agree with them…however, I do not think that Brazil is at risk of a post-election democratic rupture.The armed forces…are behaving in an exemplary manner and are not engaging in dubious political statements”.

Brazilian presidential candidate for the leftist Workers' Party (PT) and former president (2003-2010), Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, speaks during an electoral rally in Manaus, Brazil, on August 31, 2022.

Brazilian presidential candidate for the leftist Workers’ Party (PT) and former president (2003-2010), Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, speaks during an electoral rally in Manaus, Brazil, on August 31, 2022.
((Photo by MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP via Getty Images))

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Both camps see the other candidate as a serious threat.

Brazilians generally acknowledge that Lula is corrupt, but excuse him by arguing that all politicians in the country are corrupt; they see Lula as a sort of cheery Robin Hood figure, redistributing resources to the poor.

Political analyst Flavio Morgenstern argues that “Lula has a very strong ideological appeal in a country contaminated by socialist ideas,” adding that “he is the only charismatic character on the left, due to his already mythical past.”

That past worries some. Political analyst Cristian Derosa argues: “If Lula is elected, the result will be the return of the strengthening of the Sao Paulo Forum bloc, an entity created by Lula and Fidel Castro to maintain the power of the left in Latin America.”

Supporters of the imprisoned former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, place a banner with the image of the former president and with a text written in Portuguese that says "Freedom for Lula, "Lula is innocent, Lula is a political prisoner," at a bus station in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Supporters of the imprisoned former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, place a banner with the image of the former president and with a text written in Portuguese that reads “Freedom for Lula, Lula is innocent, Lula is a political prisoner”, in a bus station in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

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“In this project… Brazil has the role of the main financier. During their administrations, Lula and [ex-president] Dilma carried out many projects in Venezuela and Cuba, such as ports and hydroelectric plants.”

However, Lula is unlikely to seek major changes that would jeopardize current US-Brazil relations.

Derosa argues that “the political forces represented by Lula are anti-American by definition”, but points out that “Lula is skilled in negotiations and has always maintained a position of dialogue with everyone. He would not make a commercial break, but he will certainly prefer multilateral relations. .. it would hardly break with the United States, even more so while the United States is governed by the Democratic Party.”

Morgenstern adds that “with Biden, Lula would have an ally with some tension… his interest (in the US) has always been purely economic”, but “Lula’s friends are enemies even of the American left… the communist dictatorships of Latin America, China, Russia, the Palestinian Authority”.

As for why Lula’s close association with dictatorships has never been brought against him in Brazil, Morgenstern sees a significant difference between the parties in Brazil and elsewhere: “The Brazilian ideological left really believes that ‘social inequality’ It is the biggest problem in the universe, which is why he is a declared fan of dictatorships (Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua), unlike the American left.”

Brazilians will go to the polls on October 2 and will have a second round on October 30 if no candidate wins 50%.





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