Da Silva Wins Brazil’s Presidency

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva beat incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential runoff election October 30. Da Silva won 50.9 percent of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1 percent. This is, as the Wall Street Journal put it, “the country’s closest presidential race in history.” Da Silva is scheduled to take office January 1.

Da Silva was previously president from 2003 to 2010. A former union leader, he was inspired to run for office in part by prodding from late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. During his presidency, Brazil improved relations with Russia and China. He was incarcerated in 2018 on corruption charges but released from prison soon afterward.

Bolsonaro, an antiestablishment right-winger, has been called by some the “tropical Trump.” His populist style alienated him from his equals in foreign capitals, especially in Europe.

Big takeaway—relations with Europe: Brazil is the largest economy in mercosur, a South American trade bloc that includes Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The European Union and mercosur were to sign a trade agreement in 2019. It would have been the largest trade zone in the world. But the deal fell through after a spat between Bolsonaro and French President Emmanuel Macron over deforestation.

Da Silva wants a trade deal between the EU and mercosur negotiated within six months of taking office. With Bolsonaro out of the way, an agreement could be reached as early as next year. This would dramatically boost Europe’s influence in a region formerly controlled by Spain and Portugal.

“The EU has wanted to make this deal for years, but it has encountered various obstacles. Now it appears an EU-mercosur trade bloc will finally become reality. … The mercosur countries possess resources that Europe needs. In return, Europe is supplying some of Latin America’s needs as well. The reality though is that by linking itself with Europe in this way, Latin America is contributing to the rise of a modern resurrection of the medieval Holy Roman Empire!”
—Gerald Flurry, Trumpet editor in chief

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