Lula’s teachings

Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva was the only one of the great leaders of the Latin American left who had not had an audience at the National Palace. Guest of honor at the inauguration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, just a month after leaving prison, it took him three years to meet again with the Mexican Premier.

Neither AMLO nor Lula bear any physical resemblance to Hugo Chávez, but all three—along with Bolivian Evo Morales and Ecuadorian Rafael Correa—were the most visible faces of populism in the hemisphere. The Brazilian leader and the Mexican activist, however, coincide in their repeated attempts to reach the Presidency in their respective countries… and in the repeated harassment of the elites.

Lula can boast of a successful administration, during the seven years he governed Brazil, after having prevented the collapse of the economy and won the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics for Brazil.

Back in Mexico, to meet with AMLO and later share his experiences with Morenoite parliamentarians from all over the country, Da Silva maintained the simplicity and high-mindedness that distinguish him. And he won over the audience by saying that —on the eve of defining whether he will compete again for the Presidency— he came to learn.

AMLO —he acknowledged— achieved in six years what it took the PT more than three decades to achieve in Brazil.

Lula is completing a six-day stay in Mexican territory, accompanied by his wife Rosángela, an escort of four elements, and a delegation that includes the PT leader, Gleisi Hoffman; Senator Humberto Costa and former ministers Aloizio Mercadante and Celso Amorín.

In addition to his first meeting with AMLO, the carioca politician attended a lunch with the leaders of the factions of the Congress of the Union. He was received by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, last Monday 28.

After choosing the electoral route to channel the social movement that he brought together around him, Lula became a leading figure in the Latin American leftist pleiad three decades ago. In a first stage, as leader of the steel workers, and later as a member of the leadership of the Labor Party, his option for the humblest and his passionate rhetoric were indicative of an inevitable presidential candidacy.

In 1997, the carioca leader attracted as much attention from the international press as the Uruguayan Tabaré Vásquez and the Mexican Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. In the summer of that year, still elected head of government, the Michoacan politician traveled to Porto Alegre to attend the seventh meeting of the Sao Paolo Forum, the leftist initiative that sought to propose an alternative to globalization and the free market.

Far away was then the effort to articulate a political organization, but the condemnation of neoliberalism was unanimous. In Chile, Carlos Ominami; in Brazil, Marco Aurelio García; in Venezuela, Teodoro Petkoff; in Brazil, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, and in Mexico, Jorge G. Castañeda and Manuel Camacho Solís…

Latin America was fighting for a definitive transition to democracy. And Mexico could have opted for the leftist route, although in 1998—at Castañeda’s urging—the then-Governor of Guanajuato, Vicente Fox, was included in the hemispheric debates.

A conclave in Tepoztlán, Morelos, had Lula, Fox and Cárdenas as protagonists. All three were nominated by their parties in the presidential elections of 2000, but only the rightist achieved victory. Lula got it 15 years ago… and she wants to try again.

Side effects

WARNING. The fuel price control imposed by the federal government has hit small and medium-sized LP gas distribution companies in different regions of the country, which are now on the verge of financial bankruptcy due to accumulated losses. Meanwhile, they regret that government policies ended up benefiting the big businessmen in the sector.

EXTERNAL. Tamaulipas, at the initiative of Governor Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca, sought and managed to establish collaboration agreements with the seven main US agencies in charge of border security issues. Along the same route, the government of Quintana Roo has sought to share information and experiences in combating crime with authorities from countries whose citizens regularly visit the main tourist spots of the Riviera Maya. With Argentina and Canada were the first contacts, but have been extended to representatives of Spain, France, Romania, Germany, Italy and Poland.

Alberto Aguirre


Vital signs

Journalist and columnist for El Economista, author of Doña Perpetua: Elba Esther Gordillo’s power and opulence. Elba Esther Gordillo against the SEP.

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