Lula da Silva, 77, sworn in as Brazil’s president while predecessor Jair Bolsonaro flies to the United States
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president on Sunday. He sharply indicted former conservative leader Jair Bolsonaro and promised a drastic change of course to save a nation plagued by hunger, poverty and racism.
Speaking to Congress after officially taking over the reins of Latin America’s largest country, Lula said democracy was the real winner in October’s presidential election, when he ousted Bolsonaro in the most tense election in a generation.
Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for the United States on Friday after refusing to concede defeat, has rattled the cages of Brazil’s fledgling democracy with unfounded allegations of electoral weaknesses that have spawned a violent movement of electoral deniers.
“Democracy was the big winner in this election, overcoming … the most vicious threats to freedom of choice and the most abject campaign of lies and hate planned to manipulate and embarrass the electorate,” Lula told lawmakers.
Lula da Silva, 77, took office as Brazil’s president for his third term. Luca is pictured on the left walking with a group representing different sections of society
Lula previously served as President of Brazil from 2003 to 2011. His supporters gathered to watch his swearing-in ceremony on Sunday
Lula, who was behind bars during Bolsonaro’s 2019 inauguration over later overturned bribery convictions, made a veiled threat to his predecessor.
Bolsonaro faces increasing legal risks for his anti-democratic rhetoric and handling of the pandemic after losing presidential immunity.
The former president’s trip to Orlando, Fla. protects him from any imminent legal danger in Brazil. Where exactly he is in the Sunshine State is unclear.
“We have no spirit of vengeance against those who tried to subjugate the nation to their personal and ideological agendas, but we will uphold the rule of law,” Lula said, without naming his predecessor. ‘Those who made a mistake will answer for their mistakes.’
He also accused Bolsonaro’s government of committing “genocide” by failing to adequately respond to the COVID-19 virus that killed more than 680,000 Brazilians.
“The responsibilities for this genocide must be established and must not go unpunished,” he said.
Lula’s plans for the government contrasted sharply with Bolsonaro’s four-year tenure, which was marked by backsliding on environmental protection in the Amazon rainforest, looser gun laws and weaker protections for tribal peoples and minorities.
Lula said he wants Brazil, one of the world’s largest food producers, to become a green superpower.
He reiterated his commitment to ending deforestation in the Amazon, which rose to a 15-year high under Bolsonaro, and to reversing Bolsonaro’s loose gun policy, which has led to a sharp rise in gun ownership.
“Brazil doesn’t want more guns, it wants peace and security for its people,” he said.
Lula was seen alongside his wife Rosangela Silva (right) and Vice President Geraldo Alckmin (second left). Alckmin’s wife Maria Lucia Ribeiro was also present (far left)
Viewers reacted emotionally to Lula’s inauguration as President
A woman was seen wiping away her tea while looking at Lula
Firefighters sprayed water on those attending Lula’s inauguration outside the Planalto Presidential Palace
Another supporter was seen holding back her tears
Supporters were seen with their hands over their hearts while listening to the national anthem
Several signs with Lula’s face were seen among the crowd, along with t-shirts and hats with his name on them
After the swearing-in ceremony, Lula drove in an open-top Rolls-Royce to the Planalto Palace, where he met his wife and a motley crew, including Chief Raoni Metuktire of the Kayapó tribe, a small black boy and a disabled man.
Lula was then presented with the presidential sash by Aline Sousa, a black garbage collector – a highly symbolic act in Brazil that Bolsonaro has repeatedly said he would never do.
Tens of thousands gathered to celebrate on Brasilia’s Esplanade cheered as Lula wiped away tears.
In a subsequent speech, he promised to unite the polarized country and rule all Brazilians.
“Nobody cares about a country that’s constantly at war or a family that’s in disharmony,” Lula said. “There are not two Brazilians. We are one country, one great nation.”
Lula said he was fiscally cautious but made it clear his primary focus would be ending hunger and reducing rampant inequality. He also said he aims to improve women’s rights and attack racism and Brazil’s legacy of slavery.
“That will be the hallmark of our government,” he said.
Allies said Lula’s newfound social conscience was the result of his 580 days incarceration in 2018 and 2019.
Lucia was greeted by Indigenous Brazilian leader Raoni Meturktire (four from left).
Lula was seen alongside Metukire, known as Chief Raoni
Lula’s inauguration took place under heightened security.
Some of Bolsonaro’s supporters have claimed the election was stolen and called for a military coup to prevent Lula from returning to office amid a climate of vandalism and violence.
On Christmas Eve, a Bolsonaro supporter was arrested for building a bomb that was discovered on a truck loaded with aviation fuel at the entrance to Brasilia Airport and confessed he was trying to create chaos to provoke military intervention.
Bolsonaro has seen his support from many former allies evaporate over the anti-democracy protests.
On Saturday night, then-President Hamilton Mourao, who was Bolsonaro’s vice president, criticized his former boss for allowing anti-democratic sentiment after his election defeat.
“Leaders who should calm and unite the nation … have allowed silence or inappropriate and harmful protagonists to create an atmosphere of chaos and social disintegration,” Mourao said.
Lula (middle) standing with his wife (right) and Metikire (left)
Lula’s election victory marked a stunning political comeback, winning an unprecedented third term after a hiatus during which he spent a year and a half behind bars.
In his earlier years as President of the Workers Party (PT) from 2003 to 2010, the former union leader lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty during a commodity boom that boosted the economy.
Now he faces the daunting challenge of improving Brazil’s sluggish economy while unifying a country painfully polarized under Bolsonaro.
“A lot is expected of Lula. He will have the difficult mission of restoring normalcy and predictability to Brazil and, most importantly, delivering results quickly that improve the quality of life for residents,” said Creomar de Souza, director of the Dharma Political Risk consultancy in Brasilia.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11590753/Lula-da-Silva-77-sworn-Brazils-president-predecessor-Jair-Bolsonaro-flies-US.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Lula da Silva, 77, sworn in as Brazil’s president while predecessor Jair Bolsonaro flies to the United States