For Lula voters, “Brazil can dream again”

Brazilian presidential election 2022case

“Liberation” gives the floor to five Brazilians who voted Lula against Jair Bolsonaro to “save democracy” and envisage “a better future”.

Huge relief after weeks of imagining the worst. Sunday evening, a little before midnight French time, the 60 million voters of Lula were able to blow when their protege was announced the winner, with 50.9% of the votes cast, of the Brazilian presidential election. More than the return to power of the former steelworker, it is above all for them the joy of seeing the departure of a president who has constantly threatening democracy and whose mandate has been tainted scandals of all kinds. For Freedfive Brazilians look back on the years spent with Jair Bolsonaro in power and on the future they imagine for their country.

Maria Silvia, 58, professor of life and earth sciences in São Paulo

“The past few weeks have been heavy and scary. I imagined the worst, I think I would have left Brazil if Lula hadn’t won. For me, four more years of Bolsonaro was impossible for the fragile democracy that is our country. Seeing Lula return to power is a real relief and a great hope. I know he will recover a broken country, that it will be hard, especially with a Congress that is going to be totally against him, but his return means that we will remain a democracy. And that at the head of this democracy, we have someone who cares about the people and the poorest. It’s going to take time to lessen the hate, the quantity of weapons in circulation and the number of crazy people who think they can do whatever they want. But at least today Brazil can dream again.”

Wendell, 41, works in the administrative sector in São Carlos (State of São Paulo)

“For four years, I have seen on a daily basis how Jair Bolsonaro has attacked not only democracy, but all the pillars that support it. This result is therefore a relief. And also a symbolic victory: my father worked in factories and was unionized, like Lula was at the start of his career. I hope to see things improve, even though nothing will be easy for him because he will have to multiply alliances to govern.

“It will take time, much more than a single mandate, as the right and the far right have divided the country in recent years by multiplying fake news. I also hope that once Jair Bolsonaro leaves power, he will pay. That he will be arrested and imprisoned for the crimes he committed during his tenure, especially during the Covid. Only the people who live here could see the chaos he unleashed.”

Lara Ramos, 27, environmental public policy researcher and teacher in São Luís (State of Maranhão)

“This election, which was hard and trying, was also a source of pride for me. I am proud to be from the Nordeste and to work for the State of Maranhão, which contributed very strongly to the election of Lula. Our region was attacked so much by Bolsonaro, who said that we did not know how to vote, that we were an illiterate people… Today, everyone thanks us, because without us, Lula probably would not have been elected [il a obtenu 71,1 % des voix dans le Maranhão, ndlr]. With the departure of Bolsonaro, I know that my region will be valued.

“From a more personal point of view, for me being bisexual, I will now feel more secure. I will be less afraid to show signs of affection in the street, and I will again have the possibility and the space to discuss politics and participate in the construction of a country that I love.

“Brazil today is traumatized, many institutions have been destroyed and need to be rebuilt. I am thinking in particular of those defending the environment and biodiversity. I hope that with this victory, my country can find the right path, that of democracy and respect for institutions. Let the government once again start respecting the poor, the traditional communities, the opposition, and seek to build a Brazil without violence where everyone has enough to eat.”

Nice, 48 years old, janitor in a school in the small town of Iraquara (State of Bahia)

“Until Lula’s victory was made official, it was a lot of pain and anguish for us. Jair Bolsonaro does not like the inhabitants of the Nordeste and he does not like black people. And everyone knows that here in the state of Bahia we are mostly black. Today, I am proud to be from Nordeste. We managed to free Bolsonaro from power, it’s the greatest victory I could dream of. Under his tenure, we suffered a lot, not least because of the prices that we saw skyrocketing. So when we learned that Lula had been elected, it was a huge relief for us, as if, all of a sudden, all our suffering disappeared and hope returned. We know that Lula is on our side, that unlike other governments, he knows who we are, respects us and will fight for us.”

Luis, 49, French teacher in São Paulo

“This second round was very stressful, I went through all the feelings: fear, hope, anxiety and worry, then obviously a relief when we knew that Lula was elected. Today I feel, like many Brazilians, morally exhausted. As a middle-class white man, I was not particularly affected by Jair Bolsonaro’s policies, apart from the price hikes that I, like everyone else, suffered. But I worry about the poorest, the blacks, the people from the suburbs, whom he attacked constantly. Some lack food, many don’t have jobs, whereas under Dilma Rousseff and Lula we solved these problems. I don’t want to be well in a miserable country, I want everyone to be able to have a good standard of living.

“However, I am still very worried. When you see, after four years of this fascist government, that almost half the population still votes for this guy, it’s something that scares me, that saddens me and worries me. Certain large media groups, which for years have praised the travesty of justice that was the Lava Jato investigation and called Lula a thief have something to do with it. It will take time for mentalities to change. It now remains to be seen how what we can call the third round will unfold: will Bolsonaro challenge? Should we expect a Trump scenario?

For Lula voters, “Brazil can dream again”