When Lula became president of Brazil, it represented a turning point in latin american politics. Around the same time his workers party was voted in, in Uraguay, Equador, Chile, etc…. the masses decided to put a left-leaning party in power. Probably in hopes to put an end to the poverty they’d been living in since the days of colonialism.
When he got in, I was psyched. He put more women and black people in cabinet positions then ever before. He brought members of one of the most famous grassroots social movements in the world, MST (The Landless Movement), in his cabinet. Hell, he made Brazil’s most beloved singer, Gilberto Gil, minister of culture. Then he started talking about how global trade rules unfairly favored rich nations, and that Brazil would seek to make their own system, one where third world nations wouldn’t simply be forced to live by the rules the first world makes. As if that weren’t enough, one of his main programs – fome zero – sought to eradicate hunger in the country.
Clearly this progressive agenda (though not all his policies are that progressive) would generate lots of enemies amongst the powerful forces, home and abroad. Just to add fuel to the fire, I loved when Brazil decided that since the US fingerprints all foreign visitors, Brazil will fingerprint all American visitors. hahaha. But the inevitable has happened — a scandal involving money, corruption, and his party.
While we all know power can corrupt, I don’t buy this one. A man who grew up in the poorest state in Brazil. A man who sold oranges on the street, and later led strikes against a dictatorship. A man who lost one of his fingers in an industrial accident — I highly doubt he’s guilty. Rather — I think those traditional forces are trying to cripple a government seeking to make some rather revolutionary changes.