The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Brazil’s president celebrates 100 days in office with lower popularity and higher polarization

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva just completed his first 100 days in office (of this term) with a low popularity rating of 38 percent, an economy in intensive care, a divided country and dangerous diplomatic relations with China, Russia and Iran. It is a third term for da Silva (also referred to as Lula), for the moment, does not seem to meet the expectations of friends and foes.

The economy is his greatest challenge ahead. The leader of the Workers’ Party has failed to consolidate the foundations of the nation’s fiscal and economic policies. The assistance programs of yesteryear have been reduced and so has their popularity. Even seemingly loyal supporters, like writer Paulo Coelho, have called his management “pathetic.”

A congress controlled by opponents

Lula has to face an adverse and highly polarized legislature. He is forced to be moderate and make political concessions to meet ambitious campaign promises. Blaming the previous government is an excuse that looks less and less credible.

On the positive side, the leader of the Workers’ Party has restored dynamism in diplomatic relations with countries like the United States, Germany and France. He has found points of great agreement on the climate agenda, women’s empowerment, trade and indigenous peoples.

Geopolitical chess mistakes

Lula has aligned himself with the dangerous triangle of China, Russia and Iran. Brazil supports a peace plan in Ukraine that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government says is illegal and immoral. In addition,  Brazil opened its doors to Iranian warships, despite concerns expressed by the United States.

Successful climate agenda

Lula’s participation in the UN climate summit COP27 in Egypt marked the return of Brazil as a key player in the global climate agenda. The fight against illegal mining, environmental protection and attention to indigenous peoples have begun as a great triumph at the local and international level. However, it will need more than that to meet the social demands of the largest country in Latin America.

Geopolitics of Latin America

Lula returns to power, reaping the successes of the past Bolsonaro administration that gave Brazil the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). On the other hand, former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was elected last month as the new president of the BRICS Bank, made up of China, Russia, India and South Africa. All of these are significant positions at the international level in which Brazil wants to be a key player.

In Latin America, Lula has returned to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). From this platform, he called for regional unity and asked to treat the dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela with “much affection.” Shameful.

Lula has maintained a tepid and timorous relationship with the Ortega regime in Nicaragua. He has never condemned crimes against humanity and religious persecution. He has called for a constructive dialogue and has offered citizenship to more than 300 exiles. He still does not dare to call Ortega a dictator.

Brazil is also promoting a relaunch of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). The regional block collapsed in 2017, after becoming an ideological conclave of the left, incapable of addressing issues of governance, economy, security or regional integration.

A bittersweet start

Lula reaches his first 100 days with a bittersweet taste. Brazil has changed and the world, too. The promised prosperity and social welfare do not seem to be close, and the clock is ticking.

The political astuteness of the former union leader has allowed him some harmony with the various powers of the state and even with the armed forces, but he has failed in a big way on the economic and social agenda. A thin red line to be considered.

The divisiveness and non-conformity in Brazil are sensitive subjects, and the January riots ratify it. Lula will have to assess whether his personal ambitions to be a global leader are not an obstacle to deal with the internal agenda. It is a matter of priorities.

Arturo McFields Yescas is a journalist and former Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organization of American States and a journalist. Follow him on Twitter: @ArturoMcfields

Tags Brazil International Latin America Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva South America

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

See all Hill.TV See all Video

main area bottom custom html

MAIN Area bottom

Main area bottom

Top Stories

See All

Most Popular

Load more