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TOPIC: brazil

In The News

Kyiv In The Dark, China’s COVID Record, Stuttgart Christmas Market

👋 Goedemorgen!*

Welcome to Thursday, where 25% of Kyiv remains without power after heavy Russian air strikes on energy infrastructure, China sees record COVID cases, and sorry Thanksgiving, t’is the season for German Christmas markets. Meanwhile, Portuguese news website Mensagem reports from the city of Sintra, in western Portugal, where single parents have banded together to create a new model of joint child care.

[*Flemish]

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In Brazil And U.S., Elections As Stress Tests For Democracy

After the Brazilian presidential election and the American midterms, checking the temperature on the state of democracy in a world that has been heading in the opposite direction for too long.

-Analysis-

MONTREAL — Beyond climate change and the return of inflation, the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, we can add another element threatening the stability of the world: the backsliding of democracy and faith in a system based on the rule of law, free expression, and a sovereign choice of leaders.

The V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden publishes an annual report that has tracked this decline.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was a growing desire for democracy around the world, and the number of people living under a system of freedom and the rule of law was on the rise. But that number has been decreasing since the beginning of the 21st century.

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Kherson Pullout, Biden’s “Good Day,” Art Auction Record

👋 Bonjour!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia gives up the key city of Kherson, Biden basks in the U.S. midterms and a late Microsoft billionaire’s art auction pulls in $1.5 billion. We also take a closer look at how Sharm el-Sheikh, the Egyptian coastal resort, has been reinvented (again) to host world leaders for the COP27, and it’s come at the expense of the local ecosystem.

[*French]

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Good Ol' Lula? Brazil's Next President Must Utterly Reinvent Himself — With Moderation

Brazil's incoming president, Lula da Silva, is unlikely to govern the same way he did 20 years ago. Socio-economic conditions will likely push him toward moderation, which will benefit Brazil and the region.

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — Political comebacks have become a habit in Latin America. It is a rarity in other parts of the world, but here there is always someone who is "back".

Chile had Michelle Bachelet, Peru had Alan García and Fernando Beláunde Terry, Bolivia had Goni Sánchez de Lozada and Venezuela had Carlos Andrés Pérez — all as presidential "apparitions". In Argentina, we have Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, though as vice-president this time after a previous presidential term.

Now Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (good ol' Lula) has returned as president in Brazil. But don't expect him to govern the same way he did last time.

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Geopolitics
Marcelo Cantelmi

Brazil Divided: Why Lula's Stunning Return Doesn't Mean Bolsonaro Is Going Away

In Brazil, the leftist Lula da Silva's narrow victory margin in the presidential elections must be seen for what it is: a measured rejection, in hard times, of the outgoing Jair Bolsonaro's right-wing excesses, in favor of competent moderation. But it bodes for very uncertain times ahead

-Analysis-

SAO PAULO — October 30 election marks a remarkable return to the presidency for socialist Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, and spells defeat for the sitting president, the "Trump-like" Jair Bolsonaro. And yet, October 30 also is the beginning of a period of political cohabitation between two fierce opponents.

Cohabitation is not an uncommon situation in certain parliamentary systems, though Brazil may lack the necessary shock absorbers found in other democracies. This will be Lula da Silva's third presidential term — a historic feat for the former union leader who was jailed just four years ago over the corruption scandals that stained his earlier presidencies.

Lula, the leader of the PT or Workers Party, should not however be complacent. His victory margin was notably narrow, which can be interpreted as a reward of sorts for the achievements of his earlier administrations, and a rebuke — though not as sharp as some had hoped — for Bolsonaro's antics.

It also remains to be seen how the handover of power will play out, with Bolsonaro still not publicly conceding defeat the day after final results came in.

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Society
Vanessa Sarmiento

Race, The Great Unspoken Issue In Brazil’s Elections

Brazil is the country outside Africa with the largest black population. However, blacks have been shut out of Brazilian politics for generations. This month’s Congressional elections showed some signs of getting better, but it could also get much worse with another Bolsonaro victory.

Damazio Santana dos Santos, known as Mazo, was running for Congress in Brazil when his house was sprayed with the words Fique na senzala: “stay in the slave quarters.”

For the 43 years-old candidate from the northeast region of Bahia, the September 20 attack was not the first time he’d been targeted, having received multiple racist calls complaining about his candidacy. “I've been through so much in my life that I'm kind of num to it. I can handle it,” he told O Globo daily. “Now imagine someone who can't handle that. For that, it’s important to continue running for office, since many in our society do not want to see black people in a space where they think we don’t belong.”

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Geopolitics
Rosendo Fraga

Brazil, The Next Election With Democracy Itself At Stake

Brazilians head to the polls this week in a runoff between leftist Lula and the far-right Bolsonaro. The elections will have far-reaching consequences for Latin America, and perhaps even the Western world.

BUENOS AIRES — The outcome of Brazil's presidential election on Sunday will of course have a major impact in the region: Brazil has by far the largest population in Latin America, and trails only the United States in the Western hemisphere. But the reverberations will also be felt around the world, and not only for the country's size.

A victory for the socialist candidate Luis Inácio Lula da Silva will confirm the trend in Latin America of the "progressive" Left's return to the countries it governed in the first decade of the 21st century. But another term for the sitting president, the radical right-winger Jair Bolsonaro, may kill off this revival and strengthen the right's electoral prospects across the region. In recent elections in Peru, Colombia and Chile, conservative candidates made it to hard-fought runoffs against their leftist rivals.

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LGBTQ Plus
João Damião

For LGBTQ+ Who Fled Bolsonaro’s Brazil, The Fear Of “Homophobe President” Winning Again

Portugal became a refuge for the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community who faced real danger following Jair Bolsonaro's victory four years ago. Some of those who left say that if Lula beats the right-wing incumbent in Sunday's presidential election, they would move back home.

LISBON — Nanny Aguiar sought in Lisbon the security that Jair Bolsonaro took away. Whenever she plays the violin or performs at Palácio do Grilo, in Xabregas, a neighborhood in the east of the city centre, Aguiar is reminded of everything she felt that October night five years ago. That night she lit candles in her house and made the decision to leave behind Recife the coastal Brazilian city where she was born 30 years earlier, and move to Lisbon.

That night of Oct. 22, 2018, Jair Bolsonaro emerged victorious in the presidential elections, with 64% of the votes in the second round. The life of Aguiar and Brazil’s entire LGBTQ+ community would never be the same.

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

Despite living in a different city, Aguiar never changed her polling station, in the extreme south of Recife, near her mother’s house away. “It was an excuse to spend another Sunday with her”, She says, laughing. “That day, I voted, had lunch with my mother and only came home that night.”

It was on the return journey, by car, that reality hit her. “This guy did not appear from nowhere in 2018, we had known for a long time who Bolsonaro was: a racist and homophobe. The problem is, he was a joke. No one ten years ago thought that someone like that could legitimately be in power.”

For nearly four years, the man residing in the presidential palace in Brasilia makes statements like “having a gay child is a lack of beating” or “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual child. I'd rather my child die in an accident.”

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Economy
Martin Redrado and Carlos Corach*

Brazil And Argentina, It's Time For A Single Market

Amid rising global tensions, Brazil and Argentina must form a strategic economic alliance that will help them interact with the world's chief powers.

-OpEd-

BUENOS AIRES — Humanity is facing some exceptional challenges and propositions that would have seemed implausible years ago. Every day we see a slight reconfiguration or axial shift in global power relations, specifically in the political, military, technological and socio-economic realms.

As a result, regionalism is replacing globalization, which, after decades of ascendancy, has being first threatened by a global pandemic and now with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In this context, it is imperative to rethink inter-state relations in South America, especially between the region's two biggest states, Brazil and Argentina. Both countries need each other in order to face today's global challenges.

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Geopolitics
Alina Grytsenko

South Korea To South America, Putin’s Threats May Push New Countries To Go Nuclear

Beyond the already existing nuclear powers, at least eight countries could be poised to discard non-proliferation status quo and arm themselves with nuclear arsenals.

KYIV — Vladimir Putin's nuclear threats fundamentally undermine the basic principles of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction developed in the post-War period. Indeed, signs show that several nations have recently been intensifying activities around acquiring a nuclear arsenal for national security.

As a non-nuclear power invaded by nuclear-armed Russia, Ukraine stands as an example to other countries around the world of the vulnerability inherent in not having an atomic arsenal.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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But if Russia actually uses nuclear weapons, the risk of new countries seeking these weapons of mass destruction for the first time may quickly accelerate.

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Society
Rubens Valente

Why Brazil Is Excavating An Infamous Torture Center 40 Years Later

As the country gears up for a politically-charged run-off election, a team of archaeologists, historians and forensics experts are set to excavate the grounds and buildings of one of the worst torture centers in São Paulo, trying to recover the country's painful history of torture during the military regime.

In 1964, the Brazilian Armed Forces carried out a coup, with support from the United States government, and installed a dictatorship that lasted for over 20 years. Although free elections returned to the country in the 1980s and a new constitution was approved in 1988, Brazil has lagged other South American countries when it comes to reconciling itself with the aftermaths of the dictatorship.

Challenging the crimes of the military elites is portrayed as a “leftist” cause in Brazil. Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has even celebrated — on several occasions, including during the Congress session that voted to impeach former president Dilma Rousseff — the torture that was committed by the regime.

In contrast, countries like Argentina and Chile have made big strides in reckoning with their bloody past and prosecuting members of the military juntas.

SÂO PAULO — For the first time, an archaeological, historical and forensic project in Brazil intends to excavate the grounds and buildings of the former headquarters of a DOI-CODI (Department of Information Operations - Center for Internal Defense Operations), the much feared intelligence agency that carried out violent political repression during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985).

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Geopolitics
Marcelo Cantelmi

What Lula Needs Now To Win: Move To The Center And Mea Culpa

Despite the leftist candidate's first-place finish, the voter mood in Brazil's presidential campaign is clearly conservative. So Lula will have to move clearly to the political center to vanquish the divisive but still popular Jair Bolsonaro. He also needs to send a message of contrition to skeptical voters about past mistakes.

-Analysis-

The first round of Brazil's presidential elections closed with two winners, a novelty but not necessarily a political surprise.

Leftist candidate and former president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, was clearly the winner. His victory came on the back of the successes of his two previous administrations (2003-2011), kept alive today by the harsh reality that large swathes of Brazilians see no real future for themselves.

Lula, the head of the Workers Party or PT, also moved a tad toward the political Center in a bid to seduce middle-class voters, with some success. Another factor in his first-round success was a decisive vote cast against the current government, though this was less considerable than anticipated.

The other big winner of the day was the sitting president, Jair Bolsonaro. For many voters, his defects turn out to be virtues. They were little concerned by his bombastic declarations, his authoritarian bent, contempt for modernity, his retrograde views on gender and his painful management of the pandemic. They do not believe in Lula, and envisage no other alternative.

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