On a cold and gray morning, this Saturday, May 7, a joyful crowd waits outside the Expo Center Norte in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This vast concrete shed, wedged between road interchanges and soulless shopping centers, is nevertheless a most ungrateful place. But neither the gloomy weather nor the sadness of the surroundings discouraged those present. For all, it was indeed a question of attending a historic event: nothing less than the launch of the campaign of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as a candidate for the presidential election in October.
No question of missing the launch of their champion, undisputed leader of the local left, described as the “warrior of the brazilian people” and “best president of all time”. Alongside Workers’ Party (PT) activists, dressed in bright red, crowd workers in orange reflective vests, LGBT activists decked in rainbow flags, indigenous leaders with shimmering headdresses and supporters of the Corinthians football club in black and white jersey… the whole palette of lulism came together, determined to color the greyness.
“I am very confident, Lula will be the next president of Brazil! », enthuses José, 75, a former construction worker, tanned face and crooked smile. On the forecourt, the atmosphere is cheerful, if not wacky. A man in a top hat covered with shells crosses paths with another wearing a curious zebra mask… The current head of state, Jair Bolsonaro, candidate for re-election, “has no chance of winning. The extreme right sank the country! »assures Marcia, a 40-year-old “PTist” activist, black and from the outskirts of Sao Paulo.
Admittedly, Lula’s candidacy is not a surprise or a first. At 76, the latter is a grognard of local politics, candidate five times in the supreme election and president of the country for two terms (2003-2011). But, for him as for his supporters, the campaign which opens has a particular flavor. Humiliated, imprisoned for
five hundred and eighty days for corruption, before being released and seeing all of his court convictions overturned, the former steelworker is not only keen to win at the polls. For him, it is also a question of clearing his flouted honor and ensuring his place in history.
“Brazil must return to a normal country”
This Saturday, at the Expo Center, everyone expected to attend a real “show”, and to see the Brazilian phoenix rise from its ashes, with a passion of which it has the secret. However, nothing happened. Lula does not finally indulge in any walkabout. Looking bored, even grumpy, the leader of the left exchanges a kiss with his fiancée, Rosangela da Silva, a 56-year-old sociologist, before heading to the desk and reading page after page of his speech: a challenge for this outstanding tribune, accustomed to haranguing the crowd by improvising and strolling on stage.
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