Given the threat that Jair Bolsonaro represented to the democracy of Latin America’s largest country, the whole region should feel some relief that Lula da Silva defeated him in Brazil’s presidential election. And yet, there are many pro-democracy activists in Latin America for whom Lula returning to office is a cause for anxiety.


Brazilians go to the polls Sunday in a presidential election pitting left-wing former President Inacio Luiz “Lula” da Silva against the far-right incumbent, President Jair Bolsonaro. The contest has become a poster child of the “democracy versus autocracy” narrative, given Bolsonaro’s populist, authoritarian brand of politics.


“The worst is yet to come.” That’s the message from the International Monetary Fund about what to expect in 2023. For Latin America, the IMF’s bad news about the year to come will add to a pile of years’ worth of other economic and political problems and will be critical to every political story in the region for the year to come.


The results of Brazil’s first-round presidential election were an unpleasant shock for the left, even if Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party, or PT, finished first and remains the frontrunner against Jair Bolsonaro on Oct. 30. The PT is now a diminished political force, due as much to its own mistakes as the rise of the far right.

Bolsanaro vs Lula in brazil's debate ahead of a presidential election

Based on the results of the first-round voting in Brazil’s presidential election and current polling, Lula da Silva is expected to defeat Jair Bolsonaro in the second-round runoff on Oct. 30. But no matter who wins, the next president of Brazil will face a polarized political system and disillusioned electorate.

Then-Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and then-Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attend an arrival ceremony for Obasanjo discussing Brazil's foreign policy

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is favored to win the 2022 presidential election and return to the office he held between 2003 and 2010. But despite Lula’s pledge to prioritize relations with Africa as he did in his first stint in office, a return to the heydays of the 2000s is a long shot.

A soldier in a coca field as part of the war on drugs in Colombia

The “War on Drugs” has failed. While that statement is absolutely true, it’s also a cheap applause line. Calling out the failures of the war on drugs is easy, and these days doing so generally finds widespread support. But it’s easier to criticize the current failed approach than to develop and implement alternatives.