Lula finds unexpected allies in Xuxa and the former PT executioners | International

The presenter Xuxa Meneghel and the ex-minister Joaquim Barbosa, in their respective calls to vote for Lula in the presidential elections on Sunday.
The presenter Xuxa Meneghel and the ex-minister Joaquim Barbosa, in their respective calls to vote for Lula in the presidential elections on Sunday.RR H.H.

Last-minute calls for useful votes are all the rage in Brazil. Launched on the hunt for the undecided that will allow him to obtain enough support to reach the Planalto Palace without the need for a second round, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, favorite in all the polls, has gathered a series of unexpected allies in the final stretch of the campaign that pits him against President Jair Bolsonaro. Each endorsement is welcome by the candidate, and even more so if they are artists and celebrities such as Xuxa and Caetano Veloso, or if they are endorsements loaded with symbolism that at other times have been in front of Lula’s Workers’ Party, such as the magistrate of the scandal mensalão, or are brothers of another of his rivals, Ciro Gomes, the third in contention.

Lula’s strategists are so close to the desired 50% of the valid votes necessary to win in the first place on Sunday the 2nd, that they have pressed the accelerator to try to remove Bolsonaro from power as soon as possible, who accumulates around a third of the supports. The biggest political blow came this Tuesday on account of the respected former magistrate Joaquim Barbosa, who has recorded a series of videos in which he lambastes Bolsonaro and adheres to the left-wing leader.

“In 2018, I warned Brazilians that Jair Bolsonaro would be a terrible choice for the Presidency of the Republic. Bolsonaro is not a serious man, he is not fit to govern a country like ours, he is not up to the task, he does not have any dignity to hold a position of such relevance, “says Barbosa in one of the videos. He also points to the international prestige of the country. In the world’s major democracies, he asserts, the current president is seen as “an abject, despicable human being, a person to be avoided.” That isolation is costly for Brazil. “It is necessary to vote for Lula in the first round to close this election next Sunday,” concludes the first black magistrate of the highest court in Brazil.

With an impeccable resume, that of Barbosa, the son of a bricklayer and a cleaning woman, is an inspiring biography. Originally chosen by Lula to reach the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil, as a magistrate he gained national recognition by convicting politicians of corruption, and was a speaker in the process known as Mensalão, that led to jail two former presidents of the PT: José Dirceu and José Genoino. Barbosa was even considered a potential presidential contender four years ago.

Barbosa’s messages appear in the midst of the effort of the Lulista campaign to sign up support that will allow him to broaden his base of voters outside the orbit of his party. The strategy also involves attracting undecided voters from Ciro Gomes and Simone Tebet, third and fourth in the polls. Although added together they do not reach 15% in the latest measurements, any small percentage can be decisive.

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Former Justice Barbosa joins the list of figures who have declared their support for Lula in recent days, despite having been antagonists of the PT. There also stands out the former Minister of Justice, jurist and professor Miguel Reale Júnior, who was one of the authors of the request for impeachment against Lula’s successor and political goddaughter, Dilma Rousseff, which led to her departure from power.

From the PT militancy they usually consider the impeachment a political coup. A critic of Bolsonaro, Reale had already supported Tebet but a week ago he joined Lula with the argument that it is important that he win in the first round to prevent any desperate action by the president. “Brazil can’t stand four more years of Bolsonaro, with threats of a coup, attacks on the Federal Supreme Court and a total lack of empathy with those who suffer the most,” he declared, justifying his turn.

The movements also take place in the midst of an offensive to take the votes of Ciro Gomes, of the PDT, who does not give his arm to twist and feels the object of a “campaign of intimidation” to step aside. In a family of politicians, this tension has caused the rupture of the former governor of Ceará with his own brothers. In the local campaign for governor, Ivo and Cid Gomes have chosen to distance themselves and support the PT candidate as a way to build bridges with what they see as the next government party. Ciro has taken that blow badly, which he describes as “a stab in the back.”

Lula’s campaign has also displayed the public support of a wide range of artists and celebrities, with a strong presence on social networks, among whom the singer Caetano Veloso, a historic Gomes follower who has come out to ask for helpful vote. This Tuesday Xuxa has also joined. The presenter, with more than 12 million followers on Instagram, has posted a video in which, dressed in a red jacket, the color of the PT, she makes the “L” sign with her fingers, which has been popularized by the former president’s followers along with a brief message: “First round. Love, respect and democracy”.

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