Brazilian community at UM speaks on Bolsonaro’s shocking election defeat

Thousands flood the streets after Lula won the Brazilian Election on Oct. 30. @LulaOfficial on Twitter Photo credit: Ricardo Stuckert

A polarizing election, the results evoked drastic reactions from people on both sides of the ballot.

For supporters of Lula da Silva, millions flooded the streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, cheering and shouting in celebration of a long-awaited victory and the defeat of who many referred to as “Trump of the Tropics”.

For supporters of Bolsonaro, the loss was met with widespread grief, sadness and disbelief as they witnessed the end of an era. And for many die-hard Bolsonaro supporters, it was met with anger.

Thousands of Bolsonaro’s supporters took to the streets, blocking major highways and preventing the flow of traffic to locations such as São Paulo’s airports. Truck drivers mounted barricades on transport arteries, causing severe disruption to the transportation of food and fuel.

After 48 hours of silence, Bolsonaro spoke to the Brazilian people briefly on Tuesday in Brasília following his election defeat.

“As President of the Republic and as a citizen, I will continue to respect all the commandments of our Constitution,” Bolsonaro said. “I’ve always been called anti-democratic but, unlike my opponents, I’ve always played inside the Constitution’s limits.”

In the aftermath of the election, many UM students wonder what the future of Brazil could look like under the Lula Administration.

“If anything, seeing his victory speech, where he emphasized he will govern for everyone, putting in place government programs to help the most vulnerable groups in our population, prioritizing environmental policies once again and working with other countries to promote Brazil’s development, shows me that he is on the right track,” a female Brazilian UM student said, who chose to speak anonymously given the span of drastically polarized views the Brazilian community at UM.

Given the dramatic divisions this election has placed among some Brazilian students, many refused to speak on the matter when asked for an interview.

Nonetheless, there was a diverse series of opinions among those who did.

“Lula does not have the support of the productive sector, does not have the majority seats in congress and lost to Bolsonaro in four of the five regions of the country,” said a male Brazilian UM student, who was not shy to voice his criticism for the Lula Administration and his corrupt history.

Lula will begin his term under a watchful eye, given his past involvement in Operation Car Wash (PT: Operação Lava Jato), a money laundering scheme that led to his short-term imprisonment in 2018. Taking into account his past crimes and current promises, many are wondering if he is the right fit to lead Brazil into the future.

“Regardless of political stance, we should respect the results of the elections democratically,” said the male student. “But one thing was made clear for all the Brazilians and people watching around the world: Crime pays handsomely in Brazil.”