Explaining Brazil #25: What has happened to the Brazilian left?

After three electoral defeats, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (the biggest leader within the Brazilian left) finally won the Brazilian presidential race in 2002. He ruled the country for 8 years, during which Brazil experienced a global commodity boom, which combined with Lula’s social programs focused on the poor, allowed millions of Brazilians to leave extreme poverty.

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Lula and the Brazilian left

Under Lula, Brazil became more inclusive, better educated, and earned the status of an emerging power. When Lula left office, he was approved by 80 percent of Brazilians – and was respected by the top 1 percent almost as much as by the poor.

Now, eight years after the end of his second term, Lula is in prison, serving a 12-year sentence for passive corruption and money laundering. His Workers’ Party suffered major defeats in the 2016 municipal elections, losing in many key municipalities, including their crown jewel – São Paulo.

Barring the legal equivalent of a miracle, Lula will not be on the presidential ballot. So, where will the Brazilian left go in 2018 – and beyond?

On this podcast

Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

Diogo Rodriguez is a journalist and social scientist. He has contributed to publications such as Folha de S. Paulo, Estado de S. Paulo, Trip, Vida Simples, Galileu, Mundo Estranho, Exame, and Vice, among others. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.

Euan Marshall is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics, and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Independent, The Guardian, and Jacobin Magazine, among others. In 2014, he authored a comprehensive history of Brazilian soccer entitled “A to Zico: An Alphabet of Brazilian Football.”

This podcast was produced by Maria Martha Bruno. She is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others, and worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.

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