Lula's Legacy

From Mirada Global and Mensaje magazine, a look at the popularity and unique influence of Brazil's president:

A politician knows he has succeeded when his adversaries come close to him to share his popularity. This is what has happened to Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. José Serra, the social-democrat who faces Lula’s dauphin, Dilma Roussef, presented an advertisement showing both politicians with the following text: “Serra and Lula, two men with history, two leaders with experience”. Wise enough, Serra was well aware that attacking the president who has over 70% approval after eight years in office would only rebound against him. There’s a lot of truth in that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.


Lula has changed Brazil’s face, a country of continental dimensions and which has the largest available agricultural surface, to the extent that it is greater than the two that follow –the U.S. and Russia together. These calculations don’t consider the Amazon region. But land on its own isn’t enough. It also needs water, an element which is increasingly scarce worldwide. Brazil is the country that has the largest amount of renewable water per year. With a population of 193 million, it has as much water as the whole of Asia, which shelters 4 billion people.


Lula, with his undeniable charisma, has managed to keep the doors open in Washington, while maintaining a fraternal dialogue with Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales and Raúl Castro. He has even tried to mediate together with Turkey in the conflict between Iran and the Western powers that accuse the latter of developing nuclear weapons. Brazil’s international and economic lift-off consolidates its condition of regional leader. The question that remains is what will the priorities be now that the country is invited to sit at so many tables.

Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
7 years 5 months ago
I have been to Brazil four times, the most recent this March.  In some ways, especially energy, the Brazilians are way ahead of us.  They are almost energy independent and are conducting some of the deepest drilling for oil in the world off their coast.  There is no controversy except as who will get the oil revenues.  Will it be shared amongst all the Brazilian people or monopolized by the state of Rio de Janeiro where much of it is taking place.  When I was there in March there were large demonstrations organized by the state in favor of Rio receiving most of the revenues.  Also, the largest dam complex in the world is shared between Brazil and Paraguay.

I have heard that Lulu associates freely in international affairs with most of the usual suspects of the left that support terrorism and instability.  It does no harm domestically as few care.  This satisfies his leftist base in Brazil as he uses more traditional approaches for the economy and domestic affairs.  Health care for the poor is almost non existent in Brazil and education is poor, especially in the north,  Unless you have private insurance you do not get very good medical care.  There is a very large middle class just as in the United States and mostly in the South where the climate is more temperate.  Curtibia is one of the best run cities in the world.  It is a country of tremendous natural resources as the article says and it is amazing they have not done more with it till now.  Their government regulations stifle innovation and make it difficult for small manufacturing to exist.  But someone like Ford can operate easily there and has built the most sophisticated car manufacturing plant in the world near Salvador. 

The Brazilians are a fun and optimistic people and just as much of an ethnic mix as the US.  There is a community of over a million Japanese in Sao Paulo and is interesting to see them speaking Portuguese and doing the Samba.  Make sure you visit Brazil on a trip to South America and don't miss Rio, the prettiest city in the world by far.


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