“Our country was facing a surreal polarisation”: Revista Traços street paper on Lula’s Brazilian election win

Compiled by Tony Inglis

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Front cover of Revista Traços street paper

After Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – known as Lula – defeated Jair Bolsonaro, leader of Brazil’s most far right government in decades, narrowly in a runoff vote, vendors and staff at Brasília-based street paper Revista Traços reacted, breathing a sigh of relief.

Street papers in Brazil have expressed “relief” after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – known as Lula – defeated far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro in a narrow runoff election to be the country’s president.

Lula’s victory means an end to Brazil’s most right-wing government in decades, with promises to protect the Amazon rainforest and represent even the country’s most marginalised.

The Brasília-based street paper Revista Traços told INSP that, even though there was much work to be done, the election of a more progressively minded president showed a path forward.

“Our country was facing a surreal polarisation where people were building political thoughts of extremism, fascism, racism,” said Leandra De Fátima Da Silva Neiva, who sells Revista Traços.

“Knowing our history, I know that Brazil can never go back to being a dictatorship, because it was decadent for the nation. We cannot go back to that. I think of evolution and progress.

“During the pandemic crisis, we had vaccine denialism, and thousands of lives could have been spared. We have the denial of Brazilian hunger every single day. So many people are homeless and hungry, in addition to high inflation and disrespect for minorities. That's why I support Lula and I will always be on the right side: in defense of democracy, progress, income distribution, social equality, and in defense of all classes of Brazilian people.”

People who sell street papers are often called “vendors” but, at Revista Traços, they are given the title of “spokespeople of culture and tourism” due to their respected knowledge of and proximity to their city’s cultural sector. Lula’s first speech as president elect echoed the values of the street paper in this way, declaring that “culture nourishes the soul”, and reinforcing the rights of people to consume art.

Leandra had previously met with Lula to talk about his support of Revista Traços and the values of street papers.

Brazil currently faces huge challenges. 33 million of its people experience hunger and 100 million live in poverty, this is despite its reputation as one of the world’s largest economies.

People gather in the streets to celebrate Lula's victory in the Brazilian presidential election

People on the streets celebrating Lula's victory. Courtesy of Revista Traços.

With Lula, we can start talking again about investment in education, health, and culture. Hunger and death will no longer be the project.

Maíra Valério, journalist, Revista Traços

I support Lula and I will always be on the right side: in defense of democracy, progress, income distribution, social equality, and in defense of all classes of Brazilian people.

Revista Traços vendor Leandra
Street paper vendor Leandra meets Brazilian president Lula

Leandra showing Traços to Lula. Courtesy of Revista Traços.

“When it comes to the rights of minorities in Brazil, the fight is never over,” added Maíra Valério, a journalist working on the editorial side of the magazine.

“But seeing Lula get elected as president again is indeed a relief, especially when we consider how much the other side didn't play fair. With Lula, we can start talking again about investment in education, health, and culture. Hunger and death will no longer be the project.

“We still have a very conservative congress and things will be tough, but it feels good to have hope again.”

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