After one of the closest presidential elections in Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party emerged the winner against the far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro. Lula’s victory underlines the decisive shift to the left in Latin American politics. The change began with the election in 2018 of Andres Manuel Lopez in Mexico, and was followed by the victories for Alberto Fernandez in Argentina in 2019, and Gabriel Boric in Chile, Pedro Castillo in Peru, and Gustavo Petro in Colombia.
In his victory speech, Lula announced that the environment, alongside addressing hunger and poverty, are his top priorities. He welcomed international cooperation to help him end deforestation in the Amazon.
Find Lula’s election night victory speech as president-elect here.
We have reached the end of one of the most important elections in our history. An election that put two opposing projects for the country face to face, and that today has only one great winner: the Brazilian people.
This is not my victory, or the PT’s victory, or the victory of the parties that supported me in this campaign. It is the victory of a huge democratic movement that was formed, above political parties, personal interests and ideologies, so that democracy could win.
On this historic October 30th, the majority of the Brazilian people made it clear that they want more democracy, not less.
They want more social inclusion and opportunities for all, not less. They want there to be more respect and understanding among Brazilians, not less. In short, they want more freedom, equality, and fraternity in our country, not less.
The Brazilian people showed today that they want more than to exercise their sacred right to choose who will govern their lives. They want to participate actively in the decisions of the government.
The Brazilian people showed today that they want more than just the right to protest that they are hungry, that there are no jobs, that their salary is insufficient to live with dignity, that they have no access to health and education, that they lack a roof over their heads to live and to raise their children safely, that there are no prospects for the future.
The Brazilian people want to live well, eat well, have a good home. They want a good job, a salary always adjusted above inflation, they want quality health care and public education.
They want religious freedom. They want books instead of guns. They want to go to the theater, see cinema, have access to all cultural activities, because culture feeds our soul.
The Brazilian people want hope back.
This is how I understand democracy. Not just as a beautiful word written in law, but as something tangible, that we feel in our skin, and that we can build in everyday life.
It was this democracy, in the broadest sense of the term, that the Brazilian people chose today at the ballot box. It was this democracy – real, concrete – that we committed to throughout our campaign.
And it is this democracy that we will seek to build every day of our government. With economic growth distributed among the entire population, because this is how the economy should work – as an instrument to improve the lives of all, and not to perpetuate inequalities.
The wheel of the economy will start turning again, with job creation, wage appreciation and renegotiation of the debts of families who have lost their purchasing power.
The wheel of the economy will turn again with the poor included in the budget. With support for small and medium-sized rural producers, who are responsible for 70% of the food that reaches our tables.
With every possible incentive for micro and small entrepreneurs, so that they can put their extraordinary creative potential at the service of the country’s development.
It is necessary to go further. Strengthen policies to combat violence against women, and ensure that women earn the same salaries as men for equal work.
To fight relentlessly against racism, prejudice and discrimination, so that whites, Blacks and Indigenous people have the same rights and opportunities.
This is the only way we will be able to build a country for all. An egalitarian Brazil, whose priority is the people who need it most.
A Brazil with peace, democracy and opportunities.
As of January 1, 2023, I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not only for those who voted for me. There are not two Brazils. We are a single country, a single people, a great nation.
It is of no interest to anyone to live in a family where discord reigns. It’s time to bring families back together, to rebuild the bonds of friendship broken by the criminal spread of hate.
No one is interested in living in a divided country, in a permanent state of war.
This country needs peace and unity. The people do not want to fight anymore. The people are tired of seeing the other as an enemy to be feared or destroyed.
It’s time to put down the weapons that should never have been taken up. Guns kill. And we choose life.
The challenge is immense. This country must be rebuilt in all its dimensions. In politics, in the economy, in public management, in institutional harmony, in international relations and, above all, in caring for the people most in need.
We need to rebuild the very soul of this country. To recover generosity, solidarity, respect for differences, and love for one’s neighbor.
To bring back the joy of being Brazilian, and the pride we always had in the Green and Yellow and the flag of our country. This Green and Yellow and this flag that belong to no one but the Brazilian people.
Our most urgent commitment is to end hunger again. We cannot accept as normal that millions of men, women and children in this country have nothing to eat, or that they consume fewer calories and proteins than necessary.
If we are the world’s third largest producer of food and the first in animal protein, if we have technology and a huge amount of arable land, if we are able to export to the entire world, then we have the duty to guarantee that every Brazilian can have breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
This will, once again, be the number one commitment of our government.
We cannot accept as normal that entire families are forced to sleep on the streets, exposed to the cold, rain and violence.
Therefore, we will resume Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life), with priority for low-income families, and bring back the social inclusion programs that lifted 36 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty.
Brazil can no longer live with this immense bottomless pit, this wall of concrete and inequality that separates Brazil into unequal parts that do not recognize each other. This country needs to recognize itself. It needs to reconnect with itself.
Beyond fighting extreme poverty and hunger, we are going to reestablish dialogue in this country.
We have to reestablish the dialogue with the Legislature and the Judiciary. Without attempts to exaggerate, intervene, control, or co-opt, but rather to rebuild a harmonious, republican coexistence among the three branches of government.
Democratic normality is consecrated in the Constitution. It establishes the rights and obligations of each power, each institution, the Armed Forces, and each one of us.
The Constitution governs our collective existence, and no one, absolutely no one, is above it, no one has the right to ignore it or to flout it.
It is also more urgent than ever to resume the dialogue between the people and the government.
That’s why we’ll bring back the national conferences. So that the interested parties can choose their priorities, and present the government with suggestions for public policies for each sector: education, health, security, women’s rights, racial equality, youth, housing, and so many others.
Let’s resume the dialogue with the governors and the mayors, to define together the priority public works for each population.
It doesn’t matter which party the governor and the mayor belong to. Our commitment will always be to improve the lives of the people of each state and each municipality in this country.
We will also reestablish the dialogue between government, businessmen, workers and organized civil society, with the return of the Council for Economic and Social Development.
In other words, the major political decisions that impact the lives of 215 million Brazilians will not be made in secret, in the dead of night, but after a broad dialogue with society.
I believe that the main problems of Brazil, of the world, of the human being, can be solved with dialogue, and not with brute force.
Let no one doubt the power of the word, when it comes to seeking understanding and the common good.
In my international travels and in my meetings with leaders from many countries, what I hear most is that the world misses Brazil.
Longing for that sovereign Brazil, that spoke as an equal with the richest and most powerful countries. And that at the same time contributed to the development of the poorer countries.
The Brazil that supported the development of African countries, through cooperation, investment, and technology transfer.
Who worked for the integration of South America, Latin America and the Caribbean, who strengthened Mercosur, and helped create the G20, UNASUR, CELAC and BRICS.
Today we say to the world that Brazil is back. That Brazil is too big to be relegated to this sad role of the world’s pariah.
We will win back the credibility, the predictability and the stability of the country, so that investors – domestic and foreign – will regain confidence in Brazil. So that they stop seeing our country as a source of immediate and predatory profit, and become our partners in the resumption of economic growth with social inclusion and environmental sustainability.
We want fairer international trade. We want to resume our partnerships with the United States and the European Union on new terms. We are not interested in trade agreements that condemn our country to the eternal role of exporter of commodities and raw materials.
Let us re-industrialize Brazil, let us invest in the green and digital economy, let us support the creativity of our businessmen and entrepreneurs. We want to export knowledge as well.
We will fight again for new global governance, with the inclusion of more countries in the UN Security Council and with the end of the veto, which undermines the balance between nations.
We are ready to re-engage in the fight against hunger and inequality in the world, and in efforts to promote peace among peoples.
Brazil is ready to resume its protagonism in the fight against the climate crisis, protecting all of our ecosystems, especially the Amazon forest.
Under our government, we were able to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80%, considerably reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.
Now, let’s fight for zero deforestation of the Amazon.
Brazil and the planet need a living Amazon. A standing tree is worth more than tons of wood illegally extracted by those who think only of easy profit, at the expense of the deterioration of life on Earth.
A river of clean water is worth much more than all the gold extracted at the expense of mercury that kills animals and puts human life at risk.
When an Indigenous child is murdered by the greed of the exploiters of the environment, a part of humanity dies along with it.
For this reason, we will resume monitoring and surveillance of the Amazon, and combat any and all illegal activity – whether it be mining, logging or illegal agriculture.
At the same time, we will promote the sustainable development of the communities that live in the Amazon region. We will prove once again that it is possible to generate wealth without destroying the environment.
We are open to international cooperation to preserve the Amazon, whether in the form of investment or scientific research. But always under the leadership of Brazil, without ever renouncing our sovereignty.
We are committed to Indigenous peoples, to the other peoples of the forest, and to biodiversity. We want environmental peacemaking.
We are not interested in a war for the environment, but we are ready to defend it from any threat.
The new Brazil that we will build on January 1st is not only of interest to the Brazilian people, but to all people who work for peace, solidarity and brotherhood, anywhere in the world.
Last Wednesday, Pope Francis sent an important message to Brazil, praying that the Brazilian people will be free of hatred, intolerance and violence.
I want to say that we wish the same, and we will work tirelessly for a Brazil where love prevails over hate, truth conquers lies, and hope is greater than fear.
Every day of my life I am reminded of the greatest teaching of Jesus Christ, which is to love your neighbor. So I believe that the most important virtue of a good leader will always be love – for his country and for his people.
As far as we are concerned, there is no lack of love in this country. We will take great care of Brazil and the Brazilian people. We will live in a new time. One of peace, of love and of hope.
A time when the Brazilian people will once again have the right to dream. And the opportunities to accomplish all that they dream of.
For this, I invite each and every Brazilian, regardless of which candidate they voted for in this election. More than ever, let’s work together for Brazil, focusing on what unites us, rather than on our differences.
I know the scale of the mission that history has in store for me, and I know that I will not be able to fulfill it alone. I will need everyone – political parties, workers, businessmen, congressmen, governors, mayors, people of all religions. Brazilians who dream of a more developed, fairer, and more fraternal Brazil.
I will say again what I said during the whole campaign. Something that was never just the mere promise of a candidate, but a profession of faith, a lifetime commitment.
O Brasil tem jeito (Brazil has a way forward). All of us together will be able to fix this country, and build a Brazil the size of our dreams – with opportunities to transform them into reality.
Once again, I renew my eternal gratitude to the Brazilian people. A big hug, and may God bless our journey.