The ceremony began with a minute’s silence in memory of former Brazilian star Pelé and Benedict XVI, both of whom died this week at the ages of 82 and 95, respectively.
Dressed in a blue suit and tie, Lula promised in his first speech to “rebuild” the country on the “ruins” of the legacy of the far-right Bolsonaro.
“They emptied health resources, dismantled education, culture, science and technology, destroyed environmental protection,” said Lula, who also reaffirmed his commitment to reduce deforestation in the Amazon to zero.
“There is no need to fell any more trees,” said the president, assuring that this will not prevent him from supporting Brazil’s powerful agricultural sector.
Contrary to tradition, his predecessor was absent. Bolsonaro traveled to the United States on Friday, two days before the end of his government term.
The leftist was supported by about twenty heads of state, the largest number for a takeover in Brazil. Among these are the leaders of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras and Uruguay, as well as the King of Spain, Felipe VI.
Washington sent Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first indigenous woman to form a cabinet in the United States, while Vice President Wang Qishan attended on behalf of China.
Aboard the already traditional black Rolls Royce convertible, Lula later traveled with the first lady, the sociologist Rosangela da Silva “Janja”, to the presidential palace of Planalto, where a tide of supporters dressed in red, the color of his Workers Party.
In Bolsonaro’s absence, Chief Raoni, together with representatives of other minorities and popular classes in Brazil, were in charge of handing him the presidential sash, a green and yellow silk ribbon embroidered with gold and diamonds, which Lula received without being able to contain tears. .
“It is unacceptable that we continue to live with prejudice, discrimination and racism. We are a people of many colors and everyone should have the same rights,” he said.
Lula addressed half of the electorate that did not vote for him in the runoff on October 30 (50.9% of the votes compared to 49.1% for Bolsonaro), a result that revealed a nation split in two.
“There are not two Brazils. We are a single country, a single people,” Lula said. “I am going to govern for the 215 million Brazilians looking towards our bright future and not through the rear-view mirror of a past of division and intolerance”, she assured.
“It was a wonderful speech, of reconciliation,” said Suellen Campos Leopoldo, a 33-year-old woman who traveled from Santa Catarina (south) with her husband to attend the ceremony.
This had an unprecedented security device, with thousands of agents deployed in the peaceful capital.
Preparations for the inauguration had been shaken after the arrest of a Bolsonaro member who planted an explosive near the Brasilia airport to provoke the declaration of a state of siege and thus prevent the inauguration, according to his own confession.
Since the ballot, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters mobilized in various cities to reject the result at the polls and call for military intervention.
The leftist president will have greater immediate challenges than he has faced in his other two presidencies, which left him with an unusual popularity rating of 87%.
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