Lula government embarks on “reconstruction” of Brazil

Brasilia, Jan 6 (EFE).- President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva brought his 37 Cabinet ministers together for the first time Friday and told them that their task is to rebuild Brazil on behalf of “the people abandoned by the state.”

After four years “under an authoritarian government,” the government that took office Jan. 1 faces a country “in a situation of chaos,” the 77-year-old former autoworker and union leader said.

Lula, who governed Brazil from 2003-2011, narrowly defeated right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in October to secure a third term as president.

He called for reconciliation and an end to “family quarrels” rooted in political differences “established by hate.”

Bolsonaro, an outspoken admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime, routinely disparaged women, the LGBT community and indigenous people while labeling everyone to the left of him politically as “communists.”

In his comments Friday, Workers Party founder Lula stressed the “broad front” character of his administration, comprising parties ranging from the left to the center-right.

“We don’t have a monolithic government. It is a government of equals who think differently” but are united by a commitment to reconstruction, democracy and solidarity with the neediest Brazilians, he said.

“What we want is that when a Brazilian, for whatever reason, cannot work, the state guarantees him or her a minimum of security,” Lula said.

The president, whose previous tenure was marred by a scandal over a top aide’s resort to vote-buying to get Lula’s program through an opposition-dominated Congress, emphasized that Cabinet ministers have “the obligation to do things in the correct way.”

“Anyone who does a wrong thing will be politely invited to leave the government” and will answer for his or her actions before the appropriate authorities, Lula said, affirming his government’s “commitment to be honest with the people.”

Recalling the achievement of his first two terms in substantially reducing hunger and poverty, he set a goal of ensuring that by the end of his third term, “every Brazilian can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.” EFE ed/dr

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