It is the tradition of inaugurations in Brazil for the incoming president to ascend the ramp of the Planalto Palace, the country’s equivalent to the West Wing of the White House, and receive the presidential sash from the outgoing head of state. The gesture is meant to symbolize a peaceful transition of power. In the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, which took place on January 1, things were a little different. In a final emulation of his political idol Donald Trump, the outgoing president, Jair Bolsonaro, often referred to as the “Trump of the tropics,” was absent. He had flown to Orlando, Florida, two days earlier for an extended vacation.
Instead, Lula used the moment to send a political message. He chose to walk the ramp with a small group of individuals meant to represent those his government will prioritize. Among them was the 90-year-old Indigenous leader Raoni Metukitire, of the Amazonian Kayapó people. Bolsonaro had attacked Raoni in a 2019 United Nations General Assembly speech, accusing him of being a pawn of foreign governments and NGOs that seek to undermine development in the Brazi... Read more