[Marxism] NYT, Sao Paolo "consultant" lay ou thet plan for defeating Lula
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Oct 3 04:26:32 MDT 2006
Washington sees an opening for a strategic victory in Brazil,
definitively pulling Brazil from its shaky alliance with Argentina,
Bolivia, Venezuela, and Cuba,, and moving toward camp of Colombia,
Perul, and the official victor in the Mexico election.
October 3, 2006
In Brazil Balloting, Leader Finds His Base May Turn to Sand
er/index.html?inline=nyt-per> LARRY ROHTER
RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 2 Until the very end, President
o_lula_da_silva/index.html?inline=nyt-per> Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of
s/brazil/index.html?inline=nyt-geo> Brazil was predicting victory in the
first round in his campaign for re-election.
He was wrong, and now he faces what promises to be the most draining,
potentially dangerous campaign of his long career, against an opponent
he and many others had discounted.
Mr. da Silva, a 60-year-old former factory worker and labor leader who
has been beleaguered by one scandal after another for nearly two years,
polled 48.65 percent of the vote in the presidential election on Sunday,
short of the majority he needed to avoid a runoff on Oct. 29.
That outcome assured a second chance for Geraldo Alckmin of the
Brazilian Social Democratic Party, who won 41.6 percent of the vote.
This is going to be an interesting second round clarifying, I hope,
a chastened Mr. da Silva said Monday afternoon at a news conference in
Brasília. I have to convince the people.
Mr. da Silva had appeared to be on his way to a resounding victory until
mid-September, when the police caught operatives of his leftist Workers
Party trying to buy a contrived dossier they apparently thought would
incriminate Mr. Alckmins party in a kickback scandal. That
skullduggery, which Mr. da Silva says supporters carried out without his
approval or knowledge, put him on the defensive, where he remains.
This second round is starting with Lula declining and Alckmin rising,
which could lead to even more surprises if it continues, said Rubens
Figueiredo, a political analyst and consultant in São Paulo. Public
opinion has shifted in a short time because of the dossier case, which
still hasnt run its course.
As a result, the second round that Mr. da Silva neither wanted nor
expected promises to be extraordinarily hard-fought and full of
contrasts. The differences are not so much of ideas both parties have
been fighting for the same space left of center since Mr. da Silva
tacked toward the center in order to win in 2002 but of personality
and political style.
Mr. da Silva, who has been a candidate in all five of Brazils
presidential elections since a military dictatorship ended in 1985, is
excitable, voluble and charismatic, the poor peasant lad who has made
good and wants everyone to know it.
Mr. Alckmin, a mild-mannered 53-year-old anesthesiologist, is none of
that, which was originally considered a liability but now looks
attractive to voters who say they yearn for honesty and competence.
Put a cassock on Alckmin and hed look just like a priest from a
small-town parish, said Jairo Nicolau, a political science professor at
Candido Mendes University, in Rio de Janeiro.
Or to put it another way, he talks like that brilliant but boring
professor that everyone remembers from school, the kind of guy who knows
the price of a square meter of asphalt and really likes the details of
This is the third time that Mr. da Silva is competing in a second round,
but the first time as the incumbent. In contrast with the outcome in
2002, when he won nearly everywhere and ended up with more than 60
percent of the vote, he faces a situation in which 11 of the countrys
27 states voted in favor of his rival in the first round, including all
the states in the industrialized, more prosperous south.
The most unpredictable factor in the vote, however, is what Tereza
Cruvinel, a columnist for the daily O Globo, calls the police
dimension of the campaign. The federal police are still investigating
the case, and every day seems to bring another round of headlines that
further incriminate operatives of Mr. da Silvas party and damage his
The longer this drags on, the more the opposition has a banner to
exploit, Mr. Nicolau said. Lula needs to bring the campaign to his
strong area, what he has achieved, and he cant do that right now. This
needs to be resolved as quickly as possible, because if it goes on for
another 10 or 15 days, it is going to be devastating for him, or even
Mr. Alckmin knows that, and has already begun hammering away at Mr. da
Silva and his entourage, saying his own victory would mean ethics
defeating corruption. In an interview published Monday, he also
insinuated that a cover-up was under way to protect Mr. da Silva and
others close to him until after the election.
The problem is not just the purchase of the dossier, which is itself
extremely grave, Mr. Alckmin said in the interview, in O Estado de São
Paulo. It is lamentable that 15 days later, the origins of the money,
the origins of the dollars, the holders of the bank accounts are not
known. Nothing has been explained.
The image of piles of neatly wrapped American dollars and Brazilian
reals stacked on a table, published in newspapers one day before the
vote, resonated powerfully throughout Brazil.
As one newspaper columnist pointed out, the $792,000 involved would be
enough to feed for a month 28,000 of the families enrolled in the Family
Allowance program, the backbone of Mr. da Silvas efforts to aid the
If the electoral tribunal permits it, youre going to see that image
over and over again in Alckmins television advertisements, said Mr.
Figueiredo, the political analyst.
Mr. da Silvas campaign advisers say they hope to shift the focus away
from the dossier, which the president compared in his news conference on
Monday to shooting himself in the foot. They want to focus on the
economy, which is stable, if growing slowly; inflation, which has been
contained; the minimum wage, which has risen, and social welfare
programs like the Family Allowance.
The presidents orientation is to continue showing what weve done and
to compare that with the previous government, Tarso Genro, one of the
few remaining close advisers to Mr. da Silva who has not been forced to
resign, indicted, expelled from Congress or investigated by the police,
told reporters in Brasília on Sunday night. Theres going to be a lot
of debate now that its not an unequal debate of three against one.
At the last minute, Mr. da Silva pulled out of a debate with his three
main opponents last week.
This time, though, Mr. da Silva has to take part in debates, no matter
what the dangers, Mr. Figueiredo said. The risks are higher for him
and the situation favors Alckmin, because hes not carrying the ethical
burden that Lula is, but Lula has to show he does not disrespect
2006 <http://www.nytco.com/> The New York Times Company
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