My dad sent me this story the other day with a note attached saying that he hopes Obama will be the North American Lula. I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that because I don’t think my dad is quite the Leftist that Lula is, and I am almost certain that no one expects Obama to be. But what I’m going to glean from his short email is that he hopes that Obama can change the United States as drastically and to as much benefit as Lula changed Brazil.
President Lula’s main legacy will be the proof that a responsible left is possible in the continent. In many ways, his administration is a step towards political maturity in Latin America. Left-leaning political parties across the land, from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador, to the Democratic Independent Pole (PDI) in Colombia, to the Movement to Socialism (MAS) in Bolivia must feel both inspired and challenged by the PT’s success under Lula’s headship.
Lula has over a year left to complete his legacy. With his popularity hovering around the 80 per cent mark, he still has much political capital to push for further reforms and introduce new policy. His successor will either be the PT’s Dilma Rousseff, his current chief of staff, or Jose Serra of the opposition Brazilian Party of Social Democracy (PSDB). As Lula said in a recent interview, either one of them will have a high standard to maintain, and hopefully to rise even further. That, he says, makes him feel that he has done a good job.
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