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Friday, January 27, 2023

Lula Receives Criticism for Using a Private Plane for Cop27

Brazil president-elect’s decided to fly on a jet owned by a billionaire health industry mogul

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BRAZIL: After traveling to the Cop27 environmental summit on a private plane owned by a billionaire businessman, Brazil’s president Lula da Silva has come under fire at home.

After winning the election on October 30, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has committed to repairing most of the environmental harm caused by the departing far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

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After Bolsonaro decimated environmental protection organizations and encouraged loggers, prospectors, and ranchers to enter the rainforest to exploit its rich natural resources, Amazonian deforestation reached a 15-year high.

However, both Lula’s opponents and admirers criticized his choice to travel to Egypt on a Gulfstream G600 owned by an influential figure in the health industry.

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Lula’s spokeswoman hasn’t commented on the matter. Still, his vice-president-elect said that José Seripieri Junior, the jet’s owner, was traveling to Egypt with Lula rather than lending him the vehicle.

The transition coordinator for Lula claimed he hadn’t broken any laws.

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Lula cannot fly on commercial planes, according to Dias, since there is a high likelihood that he will be bothered or attacked by far-right radicals, some of whom have openly voiced a desire to see him killed.

But the controversy was proof he won’t have much of a honeymoon period, coming just two weeks after Lula defeated Bolsonaro in the closest runoff election since Brazil’s military dictators left power in 1985.

Lula doesn’t assume office until January 1st, but last week, after he made a speech in which he pledged to govern for the poor rather than the financial markets, the Brazilian real fell in value versus the dollar. The stock market experienced its worst single-day decline in almost a year.

Both recovered a large portion of their losses the following day. Still, it served as a harsh signal that the leftist leader would have little room for maneuver, especially with Bolsonaro’s forces powerful in Congress and ardent followers still denying the election results in public.

Before handing the presidency over to Dilma Rousseff, a fellow member of the Workers’ party, Lula held office from 2003 to 2011.

After Rousseff was removed from office and a corruption scandal rocked the party, Lula was imprisoned in 2018.

Although the accusations against him were dropped on a technicality, and he was released over two years later, many voters have never forgiven him.

After Seripieri Junior, the founder of Qualicorp, one of Brazil’s most well-known private health plans, was identified as the owner of the private jet, the uproar surrounding his travel to Egypt increased the feeling of dread.

Seripiero started Qualicorp in 1997 but left the business in 2019 and is currently in charge of Qsade, another health insurance program. In 2020, he was temporarily detained due to an inquiry into unauthorized political financing.

Also Read: Bolsonaro vs Lula: Brazil Votes in Heated Presidential Face-off

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