By Eduardo Davis
Brasilia, Sept. 27 (EFE) .- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday celebrated his first 1,000 days in office with a stern warning about a possible third term for former head of state Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who left office in 2010 with high approval ratings.
The right-hander made clear reference in a speech in the general election on October 2, 2022 in which he will likely run for a second term, although polls show him far behind Lula, who now appears to be heading for a convincing first-round victory.
In particular, Bolsonaro alluded to the fact that Lula was convicted in 2017 of accepting bribes in exchange for helping Brazilian construction company OAS secure lucrative contracts from the oil company of Petrobras state and sentenced to almost a decade behind bars.
Bolsonaro, a controversial figure in Brazil before becoming head of state who is a declared admirer of the Brazilian military regime of 1964-1985 and who has a habit of making misogynistic, homophobic and racist statements, has benefited politically from the legal problems of Lula because the ex-president was excluded. of the 2018 presidential election amid polls showing he would have won by a wide margin.
Lula, however, was exonerated and his political rights restored in April this year after Brazil’s Supreme Court overturned his corruption convictions amid disclosures of serious misconduct by prosecutors.
“We had 1000 days without corruption. Obviously, he was not eliminated. But if there was corruption, we would take the necessary measures (because) this government does not tolerate it, ”Bolsonaro said.
Charges of corruption now hang over the president and his four sons. Some of the allegations stem from a series of reports released this year by a Brazilian news site that accused Bolsonaro of overseeing a corruption program during his nearly 30 years as federal lawmaker.
Referring to ongoing investigations into him and his family, including over irregularities in the Covid-19 vaccine negotiations, the president said investigators “have nothing”.
In addition to warning against corruption, Bolsonaro also attempted in his speech to label Lula – a former Marxist trade union brand who ruled between 2003 and 2010 as a pragmatic centrist and left office with a rate of record approval of over 80 percent – as a socialist in the mold of the late Hugo Chavez and his protege, the current Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
“Whoever forgets the past is doomed to have no future,” Bolsonaro said, adding that “don’t think that some things that happen to our neighbors cannot happen to us”.
“Who would have imagined a few years ago that rich Venezuela would be what it is today? “
Bolsonaro, who notoriously dismissed Covid-19 as a “miserable flu” and denounced state and municipal governments for mask warrants and other preventative measures, on Monday attempted to blame the country’s high levels of inflation. countries (the annual rate is now in double digits) and unemployment (14.1% in the second quarter) on the decisions of governors and mayors who “closed everything” in 2020.
Now under investigation by the Brazilian Congress for its management of Covid-19, which has claimed nearly 600,000 lives in Brazil (second most in the world after the United States), the president said his approach was balanced and pragmatic.
“Now we are all paying the price,” said Bolsonaro, who said his administration “was also concerned about public health and jobs,” which “always go hand in hand.”
He also predicted that Brazil’s economy, which contracted 4.1% in 2020 due to lockdowns triggered by the pandemic, will grow by almost 5% both this year and in 2022.
“They say I’m a denier, but I care about everyone’s freedom and rights,” Bolsonaro said. EFE
ed / mc