“We need to keep an eye on what is going on in Brazil because the challenges are all there despite Lula being in power.”Julia Felmanas.
By Logan Williams, Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America
Recently Patrick Foley, Brazil Solidarity Initiative Coordinator, sat down with Julia Felmanas, Coordinator of the PT (Brazilian Workers Party) Nucleus Londres, to discuss the progress made during the first hundred days of Lula’s presidency. Their discussion ranged from Julia’s experience at Lula’s inauguration to the anti-democratic events of January 8th where Bolsonaro supporters stormed the Brazilian congress.
Julia described her experiences in Brazilia as “being all red with a huge party atmosphere” despite huge amounts of security protocols being put in place to avoid any violent acts from the Brazilian right. She described Brasilia “as being a sea of red with supporters from right across Brazil from the south, the Amazon region and, Brasilia coming together to celebrate Lula’s victory.”
Julia went onto describe how this atmosphere changed upon her return to Brasilia later in the week with the arrival of “sinister groups of men… most likely ex-army or police personnel” in yellow shirts who began to link up in the hotels and tents outside of the Government buildings. Julia highlights that these groups most likely took part in the attacks on Brazilian democracy on the 8th January with some of these groups attempting to lobby the military to undertake a coup against Lula.
Following on from this, Julia went on to highlight the challenges faced by Lula’s government because “the largest party in the Brazilian Senate following the elections is Bolsonaro’s Party.” Julia highlighted that this still allows Bolsonaro a base from which to build which includes the former judge who put Lula in jail, Bolsonaro’s former vice president and, Bolsonaro’s former minister for women.
Despite these challenges, the Lula government has been able to work throughout both the transition and its hundred days to bring about a series of progressive legislative measures. These measures included: increasing the limits on public spending the Brazilian government is able to utilise and spend, the reintroduction of Bolsa Familia, reintroduction of the former health policy which enabled Cuban doctors to serve throughout Brazil and, Fome Zero which works to eradicate hunger across Brazil, plus the creation of a ministry of Indigenous peoples which will be led by an indigenous female activist.
Julia finished the interview by stating that is important that the global progressive movement “needs to keep an eye on what is going on in Brazil because the challenges are all there despite Lula being in power”.
- You can watch the full interview here and retweet it here.
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