The Brazilian Northeast that supports Lula as President: “The people want to have meat on the table again”

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“Hope” is the word most heard in the state of Alagoas, in the northeast region of Brazil, among those who support the Workers’ Party (PT, left) candidate, Lula da Silva, in the October 2 presidential elections. Support for the ex-President, which represents a turning point in relation to the Government of Jair Bolsonaro, is visible among the popular, but also among politicians, and, despite collecting favoritism in the polls, the final result is considered an unknown, due to the polarized environment that has been created.

“I hope that Lula wins in the first round and I hope that he can make the necessary economic changes, in the sense of generating employment and fighting hunger”, says Renan Filho, who was mayor, federal deputy and governor of Alagoas for six years. . He left good memories with his policies, which turned the northeastern state, which was one of the most dangerous in Brazil and known as “land of colonels”, into one of the safest states today.

Renan Filho, now a candidate for federal senator, says that the priority is to “end the secret budget created by the Bolsonaro government, which is a cancer for the country”. The politician guarantees that “tax reform, with public policies for the poorest, will be the main measure for the first year of Lula’s government”.

Against hate speech

“Bolsonaro was unable to deal well with the difficulties that the world faces, such as the pandemic and this war we are experiencing”, stresses the emblematic former governor of Alagoas. “And his government propagates hatred, which is very bad. I feel that Brazil needs a more humane, more generous President, capable of uniting rather than disuniting. The northeast region, which is one of the poorest in the country, will certainly be looked at by President Lula.”

Bolsonaro’s government failed to deal well with the difficulties the world faces, such as the pandemic and the war we are experiencing. Brazil needs a more humane, more generous President, capable of uniting instead of disunitingconsiders Renan Filho, former governor of Alagoas

“We need to correct the course of Brazil, removing President Bolsonaro and bringing back Lula”, agrees Paulo Dantas, the current governor of Alagoas. He was elected in May to replace Renan Filho, and is a candidate for re-election in the October elections.

“We currently have an authoritarian government, which in the economic sphere has created a fiscal imbalance, taking money away from essentials, such as health and education, and even cutting resources in activities that were already underway in universities”, points out Dantas. “In a difficult time like the pandemic, in which many people died, Bolsonaro was against science and medicine, in particular in the use of a mask, and did not encourage vaccination.”

On the right, Renan Filho, former governor of Alagoas, with Paulo Dantas, current governor (both Lula supporters), Jorge Rebelo de Almeida, president of Vila Galé, and son Gonçalo, administrator of the group

On the right, Renan Filho, former governor of Alagoas, with Paulo Dantas, current governor (both Lula supporters), Jorge Rebelo de Almeida, president of Vila Galé, and son Gonçalo, administrator of the group

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From the perspective of Dantas, who was also mayor and federal deputy, “Brazil needs to face the world further, and Lula has this profile, he has already demonstrated that he is able to promote better governance, and he wants to invest more in science, in culture , in the arts, or in providing the necessary conditions for education to children and young people.

Lula will also invest heavily in infrastructure for works that can generate employment and income. We have a huge social debt in Brazil, and we cannot suddenly embark on neoliberal policies”, highlights the governor of Alagoas.

Look at more than 20 million families in need

In the broad electoral act in which, in addition to the President, federal and state deputies, governors and senators will be elected the atmosphere is one of radicalization of positions among those who support Bolsonaro or Lula, to the point that the topic is almost a taboo in social conversations, or even dividing families.

A very polarized environment was created. There is a great pro-Bolsonaro and pro-Lula fanaticism, which prevents reflection from focusing on a President who does the best for Brazilnote Marcius Beltrão, former secretary of Tourism of the state of Alagoas and former mayor of the municipality of Penedo, who in August gave up running for office as federal deputy. The next President of the Republic has a great challenge ahead of him, to unite the country and put hope back in the minds of Brazilians.

In the great labyrinth in which our country finds itself, what we need is a leader, so that there are not so many social differences. The President plays a key role in uniting people around causes. And without forgetting that Brazil is going through a difficult time, with more than 20 million families in a situation of social vulnerability”, points out Beltrão, highlighting the need to rescue the respect of the international community” for Brazilwho emphasizes having fallen with Bolsonaro, along with the respect for the environment, women or minorities.

“There is great pro-Bolsonaro and pro-Lula fanaticism. In the great labyrinth in which our country finds itself, what we need is a leader, so that there are not so many social differences“, notes Marcius Beltrão, former mayor of Penedo

Does your vote go to Lula or Bolsonaro? Neither of them would vote for Ciro Gomes, the name of the center-left who looks at the people and also the business community, has a vision of placing the Brazilian product on the international market, in a model with less taxes., explains Beltrão. In the blindness of the electoral environment, he explains, people vote for Bolsonaro so they don’t elect Lula, and God grant that what is best president for the people, not for the politicians, wins.

Despite the PT candidate being the favorite in the polls, the final result of the elections is expected to be “very disputed, big business people in Brazil support Bolsonaro, but the people are with Lula”, notes Mozart Luna, a journalist from the state of Alagoas specializing in tourism. He underlines that the current President “has managed to play a math game, cut the tax on the circulation of goods and services [ICMS]with that the fuel went down 50% and the inflation also went down, that was his big move”.

University professors Bárbara Pinheiro (center) and Tiago Teixeira (left) emphasize that Bolsonarism has paralyzed investment in education

University professors Bárbara Pinheiro (center) and Tiago Teixeira (left) emphasize that Bolsonarism has paralyzed investment in education

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“Today we live in a very polarized political scenario in Brazil, we have back the factors of capital and labor in the conflict that Karl Marx spoke about”, concludes the journalist.

Undoing the “setbacks” in the culture

In cultural and academic circles, the support of Northeasterners to Lula is also notorious, due to their discontent with the current situation. “One of the great setbacks in Brazil with Bolsonarism was in culture, which sensitizes the people to criticism, and all a tyrannical society needs is to eliminate culture”, he considers. Bárbara Carine Pinheiro, writer and professor at the Federal University of Bahia. She was the founder of the first Afro-Brazilian school in the country, in Salvador, Escolinha Maria Felipa.

Lula’s government will have to undo all the misfortune of the last six years, and one of the demands of civil society is investment in health and education”, says Pinheiro. There were public policies in place at universities, scholarships or exchange programs, and all of that stopped, there was a total freeze of funds in education, and also in health.

If Lula’s image was tarnished a few years ago with scandals such as ‘Mensalão’ eventually being released from prison and blameless before the courts this is no longer the focus of Brazilians, according to the writer. “The people want to have meat on the table again, to be able to furnish the house or support their children in their studies, and that is why they are on Lula’s side”, underlines Pinheiro.

“As it is, the cost of living is impossible for those who have to buy food or pay for school”, says artisan Eduardo Faustino

“As it is, the cost of living is impossible for those who have to buy food or pay for school”, says artisan Eduardo Faustino

“From a moral point of view, Bolsonarism is a movement to validate violence”, says the university student. “It is this ideology of violence that is at the base of processes of discrimination against the black or indigenous population. Even when Lula takes office, on January 1st, people will continue to reverberate with hatred. This does not end overnight.”

From the perspective of philosopher Tiago Teixeira, “the Brazil has overlooked many ills that have to be solved, and has experienced a setback in these years of Bolsonaro. The university professor also continues: If he continues, we will regress to the times before Pedro Álvares Cabral. I have high hopes for Lula, but we live in a bubble: things are not over yet”.

Talking to the people, the emphasis is always on rising prices that have made life hard for the poorest. “I want things to get better, the way they are is impossible for those who need to buy food or pay for school”, says Eduardo Faustino, a potter from Alagoas. The situation is serious, he says, “particularly for us artisans, who do not sell a basic necessities product”.

“I have no doubt that Lula will win, he is the favorite, at least here in the northeast”, he says. He wants to see changes “especially in terms of employment, we are in a difficult situation because of so much unemployment”.

Also Marília Lauane, a waitress at the resort Vila Galé Alagoas in Maceió, underlines that “with Bolsonaro everything increased, and we Northeasterners, who are the poorest population, really like Lula, he helped a lot with the price of gasoline or food”.

“With Bolsonaro came the increase of everything. We Northeasterners are the poorest population and we really like Lula”, highlights Marília Lauane, a waitress.

For the Portuguese group Vila Galé, which opened a space in Maceió, in the state of Alagoas in August, its tenth hotel in Brazil, where it has been operating for 20 years, having to deal with political changes in the ‘sister country’ is nothing new. . “We have large investments in Brazil and we will continue to do so, whatever the outcome of the elections. We’ve been through several situations here”, guarantees Jorge Rebelo de Almeida, president of Vila Galé.

“What I thought was important for Brazil is that there was no such great political radicalization, and this election will be a big unknown until the last minute”. makes the Portuguese hotelier notice. “We cannot take sides, the people will choose to exercise democracy, and our business in Brazil will continue, with or without crisis.”

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