Down But Not Out, Brazil’s Lula Mulls an Unlikely Return

BloombergLuiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains such a towering figure in Brazilian politics that even his absence casts a shadow.

When President Michel Temer last week inaugurated a long-awaited irrigation project in Monteiro, a dusty town in Brazil’s arid northeast, much of the praise from locals and visiting dignitaries went to Lula for launching the much-needed infrastructure over a decade ago.

“I thank God for the works,” said Joao Bezerra, a grizzled 51-year old farmer. “But I also thank the man who started it: Lula.”

The 71-year old former metal worker, trade union leader and two-time president retains the devotion of many Brazilians, particularly in the northeast. Despite a devastating corruption scandal, much of which originated on his watch, and the catastrophic unraveling of the economy under his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, Lula is considering a comeback. Facing no fewer than five separate criminal charges against him — three linked to Operation Carwash — the leftwing leader is still the most popular in opinion polls only 18 months ahead of the next presidential race. …



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