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Lula or Bolsonaro

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Lula or Bolsonaro

Brazil is very important in Latin America, despite the fact that the two entities live back to back separated by language and idiosyncrasy.

It remains to be seen who will win on October 30: Lula or Bolsonaro. The left or the right? The disparity in the polls has already been stressed. What Lula thought was going to be a walk in the first round did not happen. Some thought that the former trade unionist was going to win by 15 points. Lula won by four and a fraction: 48.4 to 44.2, Bolsonaro won in almost all the cities of some size and Lula in the periphery.

Bolivian Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, a key person at the Inter-American Institute for Democracy, thinks that the winner will be Jair Bolsonaro. Why? List three reasons:

The first: because Bolsonaro has been rising and Lula has stagnated or dropped in voting intentions. When that happens in a second electoral round, Sánchez Berzaín affirms, there is a certain guarantee that the vote will lean towards whoever is ascending in the voting.

The second: because Bolsonaro is the underdog (perceived as a loser), despite holding the presidency of Brazil. Voters see it that way in poll after poll.

The third: because Lula is an old man who has spent several years in jail accused of corruption. It is true that Justice pardoned him, but not because they found him innocent, but because there was no manifest guilt. That is not enough to convince a disbelieving and skeptical society.

The country is totally polarized between the left and the right, although really, left-wing populism faces right-wing populism

Of the three reasons put forward by Sánchez Berzaín, the first seems reasonable and has a certain forcefulness. There is a tradition that indicates that whoever is going to get to the first place had better be second. This became very clear in 1990, between Fujimori and Vargas Llosa. The other two reasons put forward by Sánchez Berzaín lack relief.

In any case, whoever wins will be by 51% to 49 or 52% to 48. That is, the country is totally polarized between progressive left even if they take advantage of the models that make the least progress on the planet and right, although really, they face the populism of the left against the populism of the right. Lula is the embodiment of leftist populism. Bolsonaro belongs to right-wing populism in a country that has the precedent of Getulio Vargas.

Jair Bolsonaro has been called “the Trump of the Tropics”. They have similarities (and of course, differences). But the similarities are worth approaching.

The most serious are the ones that reflect the attitude towards science expressed in the delicate issue of vaccines against covid-19. Bolsonaro does not believe in them, to which he has every right, but not to lie or scare. He has expressed, orally, through Facebook, later reproduced by CNN in Spanish, that the vaccine increases the risk of contracting AIDS, which earned him a court complaint.

Vaccines, especially those from Pfizer and Moderna, are over 90% effective. That’s not speculation, it’s science. In the same way that when both laboratories affirm that they have developed vaccines for children between 5 and 13 years of age, there is no need to be afraid of them. Vaccines are infinitely safe. Putting them in the arms of children is the best and most economical way to care for them to develop into adults.

In any case, Trump’s most serious and pernicious influence is not in the field of science, but in what the United States calls “the big lie”

In any case, Trump’s most serious and pernicious influence is not in the field of science, but in what the United States calls “the big lie”, the big lie, related to the fact that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president because he was imposed by a monumental fraud committed in the “hinge” states. Something that Trump says without providing any evidence.

Indeed, Bolsonaro has made this his own. big lie, and we do not know to what extent his supporters will be willing to sustain this lie. We know that in the United States there are up to 30 percent of Republicans willing to believe Trump, despite the fact that 62 courts have rejected his demands, but we do not know what will happen in Brazil.

Can Jair Bolsonaro unleash a civil war in Brazil? The short answer is that he can’t. The long one is that he may not want to. It would be so tremendous that he might not be able to decisively involve the Armed Forces. The Armed Forces have not yet recovered from the coup they struck in 1964 against Joāo Goulart, accusing him of being under Cuban influence. It lasted until 1985. It is true that it was “barely” 21 years, and that it is a question of a new generation of officers, but it was not entirely clear what Brazil got out of that nationalist adventure, except for a huge loss of prestige.

Since then the states acquired great autonomy. Bolsonaro has won in 12 states, including the Federal District, where Brasilia, the nation’s capital, is located, a city conceived and designed by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, two of Brazil’s best architects. Bolsonaro has also won in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Actually, Jair Bolsonaro has triumphed where there were middle social groups capable of supporting his candidacy. Lula da Silva, in all the others. We will see on Sunday, October 30, we will see who is more in the huge country.


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