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Lula’s second breath

In 1980 I travelled to São Paulo to meet Lula, a firebrand trade unionist. Twenty-six years later, a wealthier and more democratic Brazil is preparing to re-elect him to a second presidential term

By Jonathan Power   October 2006

“Antônio das Mortes,” a film by Glauber Rocha, tells the story of a small village in northeast Brazil. A group of land-hungry peasants have taken to banditry. The local landowner and police chief decide they need Antônio das Mortes, a professional assassin. Antônio arrives and meets the peasants’ leader in the village square.

Soon the peasant is dead, a knife through his heart. The peasants weep and dance. Antônio is overcome. He asks the landlord to open the granary and help the near-starving people. The landlord refuses. In a vision, Antônio sees the peasant leader crucified on a gnarled tree.…

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