Saturday, February 4, 2023

Brazil: Lula launches centrist environmental campaign

SAO PAULO ( Associated Press) – Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva presented his government’s plan Tuesday, including a zero-deforestation initiative and appeal to moderate voters with the aim of defeating current President Jair Bolsonaro in October’s elections. Includes motions to appeal.

The 76-year-old leftist, who ruled the South American nation from 2003 to 2010, is ahead of right-wing Bolsonaro in all voting intention polls for the presidential race.

Lula presented his plan at a São Paulo hotel with former São Paulo governor Geraldo Alcamín, a right-wing politician, and became his running mate. Lula said the 34-page document would be updated at a later national level after meeting with other allies.

“Everyone here, even those who are not engineers, know that building a house begins with a good foundation,” he told supporters in a televised address. “These are our foundations. With the passage of time we will build our home.

Lula’s plan included a promise to combat “environmental crimes perpetrated by militias, land invaders, loggers and any economic organization that acts against the law.”

“Our commitment is to the continued fight against illegal deforestation and the promotion of net deforestation equal to zero, which means restoration of degraded areas and reforestation of biomes,” the document states.

The plan also ensures that “the standard of mineral regulation should be modernised, and illegal mining will be strongly combated, particularly in the Amazon.”

Bolsonaro is a strong supporter of miners, saying they should have the right to work on indigenous lands, which are among the most protected from deforestation in the country.

The plan also talks about green jobs at the parastatal Petrobras. The company should work in “sectors related to the environment and energy transition, such as gas, fertilizers, biofuels and renewable energy,” according to the document, which does not mention the amount to be invested in the initiative.

Lula’s plan, which was drafted by members of the seven parties supporting him, does not include a call to repeal the labor reform passed by Congress in 2007, which was expected. It only indicated that Lula would seek to repeal “regressive parts of existing labor laws”.

The document also fails to mention several other issues, such as regulation of the media, land reform policies, and explicit protection of abortion rights.

Lula’s allies said the draft plan sought to appeal to business leaders who have expressed concern about Lula’s bid to return to the presidency.

He said the anti-deforestation stance is aimed at politicians like environmentalist Marina Silva, a moderate who has run for president in the past three elections and has yet to endorse any current candidate.

“Talking about zero net deforestation is what Marina does,” said Senator Randolph Rodrigues, a Lula ally of the Sustainability Network party. “The rest of the writing is for the moderates to pay attention to, to see what we’re up to.”

Carlos Mello, a professor of political science at São Paulo’s Insper University, said the plan is “sufficiently broad and superficial” to attract moderates to Lula’s candidacy.

“Lula’s challenge is not to create an impact with this document. It doesn’t say much about what it will do, so that divisive issues don’t become the focus,” Mello said in a telephone interview.

A Bolsonaro supporter briefly interrupted the presentation of the government plan to shout at Lula from a few meters away, a security lapse that made the former president’s staff uneasy.

The troublemaker, right-wing politician Kike Mafra, is a friend of the president’s son, MP Eduardo Bolsonaro, and is running for Sao Paulo state legislator this year.

“He came, he provoked us, but there was no attack,” said Aloisio Mercadante, one of the coordinators of the campaign document. “This incident only underlines the caution we must take with safety in this difficult operation.”

In the last presidential campaign, Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdominal area during a rally. Doctors said the injuries nearly took his life, but he recovered in time to defeat Lula’s ally leftist Fernando Haddad. Bolsonaro has had six surgeries, most of them on his intestines, because of the damage caused during the attack.

The attacker, Adelio Bispo, has been in a mental institution since the incident.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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