Peace in the Household

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Brazilian truckers and other supporters of conservative President Jair Bolsonaro blocked roads in the South American country recently in protest at the victory of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the leftist ex-president who served previously from 2003 to 2010, and won the general election runoff on Oct. 30.

Others demonstrated near army installations and begged the military to intervene and overturn the election. Many expressed dismay at a resumption of the leftist policies that Lula pursued when he was in charge. “We hope the army will intervene in this situation, we know that those elections were fraudulent,” said Reinaldo da Silva, 65, a retiree in Sao Paulo, in an interview with Reuters. “I came today because I want Brazil to be free, socialism does not work…”

A military junta ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. Bolsonaro served in the military as a captain but had a mixed relationship with the generals at that time and during his presidency, Americas Quarterly explained.

Lula’s policies reduced poverty in Brazil but also dramatically expanded the government’s reach in the economy, the Americas Quarterly added. Bolsonaro, on the other hand, was a pro-business conservative, though, as the Financial Times noted, his threats not to accept the vote spooked many corporate leaders.

As CBS and Agence France-Presse reported, many observers feared that Bolsonaro would launch an insurrectionist event. But important leaders like the speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress and foreign leaders, including key Bolsonaro allies in China and Russia, recognized Lula’s win.

As Vox wrote, Bolsonaro waited for two days to acknowledge his defeat to Lula. Rather than explicitly conceding, he said he would follow the Brazilian Constitution and assist in a transition to a new administration. A day later, the Guardian reported, he appeared to fully concede.

“All of Bolsonaro’s escape valves were shut off,” Council of the Americas vice-president and Brazilian analyst Brian Winter told the Associated Press. “He was prevailed upon from all sides not to contest the results and burn down the house on his way out.”

Now Lula is preparing for the start of his third term as president on Jan. 1. He’s already talking about outlaying an additional $39 billion on infrastructure spending and other projects. He has also pledged to expand the Brazilian economy without furthering the devastation of the Amazon, an ecological treasure that is crucial to removing climate change-causing carbon emissions from the atmosphere, according to the New York Times. Bolsonaro permitted deforestation in the region to promote growth, the newspaper noted.

Lula has four years to persuade his critics whether his predecessor should succeed him.

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