Washington’s first red flag for Lula

By Aristotle Drummond

This column reported firsthand that the US State Department was suspicious of the extent of Lula’s alignment with the Bolivarians, Russia and China. Which, as noted here, limited Biden’s visit to environmental issues and “defense of democracy.” Now, White House senior adviser Ricardo Zuniga, in an interview with the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, expresses his desire to see Brazil align with most Latin American countries in condemning what is happening in Nicaragua and Venezuela. And that a political rapprochement with China would displease the White House. Bolsonaro has treated China, which is the biggest buyer of Brazilian goods, badly. It was enough for Lula to restore the good relationship without exaggeration. The trip to China will clarify the question.


• The innovation among those who confuse a left-wing government with an affront to all that is established in Western Judeo-Christian society knows no bounds. Now on the agenda is the formal and legal acceptance of the trial, that is, the union of three people, of the same or different sex.

• President Lula wants to impose legal protections on workers at apps like Uber, Globo, IFood and others. The risk is to end the occupation, which serves a million Brazilians. In the case of Uber, many have other activities and the app is a source of income.

• And Minister Fernando Haddad wants to tax online betting. The measure could make turf, which directly or indirectly employs 100,000 Brazilians, unviable.

• Another government measure related to taxes: the government will try to tax exports. In the past, when coffee exports were taxed, the result was smuggling into Paraguay.

• Previ, a pension fund for Banco do Brasil employees, with assets equivalent to 50 billion euros, was handed over by the government to a trade unionist trained in History. In previous PT governments, state funds were the target of major corruption.

• Former President of Uruguay and ex-Tupamaro Jose Mujica was in Brasilia, attending a meeting of South American trade unions and visited Lula. Mujica said it was time “for the workers to be freed from the exploitation of the urban elites.”

• Minister Simone Tebet, who came third in the presidential election and supported Lula in the second round, wants to fine companies that pay differential wages to women. Entrepreneurs argue that there are many women who earn more than men because they show more skills and performance, not because of sex.

• Chico Buarque closes a series of presentations across the country. Success with the singer Mónica Salmaso, the show that before the elections was dominated by political compositions is now more plural. With the end of the European winter, Chico Buarque should return to Paris in April.

• Petropolis, the imperial city 70 km from Rio, turns 180 years old. It was the summer residence of the Imperial Family, where Princess D. Francisca, mother of the Duke of Bragança, D. Duarte, lived. The German writer Stefan Zweig, Rui Barbosa, Osvaldo Cruz lived there – he was even the president of the Chamber – and to this day it is a summer resort for the elite of Rio de Janeiro. The Imperial Museum is the most visited in Brazil.

• The Presidente Costa e Silva Bridge – a 13km monumental project connecting Rio de Janeiro with Niterói and the northern coast, which includes Cabo Frio and Búzios – turns 59 this week. The project was accused of “pharaonic delusion of military governments”, but today, it has a daily traffic of 150 thousand vehicles. The left now and then tries to remove the name of the ruler who built it. Sting so far without success.

• BNDES suspended the auction scheduled for this month for a major tourism project in Jericoacoara, Ceará, due to a veto from the government’s environmental district. The project provided for an offer of 500 rooms and a water complex. Soon, it will create more than a thousand jobs.

Rio de Janeiro, March 2023

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