Lula da Silva has shown possibly the most remarkable comeback in Brazil’s history. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a popular but controversial former president of Brazil, narrowly won Sunday’s presidential election. A former union leader won 50.9% of the vote against incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing candidate.
Several dramatic arcs have already marked the life of Lula da Silva. It begins with the hero’s journey: from a poor child who moves to the big city, leads a labor union, and becomes Brazil’s most popular leader. Then tragedy strikes: from a celebrated statesman implicated in a staggering corruption scheme, sent to prison, and forced to watch rivals destroy his legacy from the sidelines.
Despite that, the endings never seem to stick. The Brazilian Supreme Court annulled Lula’s corruption convictions in April 2021, saying the judge who tried him had been biased, which deprived him of a fair trial. After the bombshell decision, Brazil was set to see the far-right Bolsonaro challenge Lula in the October 2022 elections.
The new twist in Lula’s story surprises him, who is now 76 and has been preparing for a quiet life away from power. It didn’t take him long to return to the political arena. “I never gave up,” he mumbles in his distinctive gravelly voice, hoarse with age.
“Politics lives in every cell of my body because I have a cause. And in the 12 years since I left office, I see that all the policies I created to benefit the poor have been destroyed.”
The Brazilian public, however, remains deeply divided over Lula’s guilt or innocence: according to a poll, 44% believe his conviction was justified, while 40% believe it was unjust.
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