President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) was included in the list of the 100 most influential people of 2023 by the American magazine Time. The selection, held annually and released this Thursday (13), highlights the Brazilian in the section dedicated to world leaders.
Lula appears alongside the presidents of the United States, Joe Biden, of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, among others. Compiled since 2004, the list points out global personalities from different sectors – from politics to culture, activism and technology – who stood out in some way over the period of one year, either positively or negatively. The magazine justifies the choice for Lula’s position in defense of the protection of the Amazon and the environment.
The text dedicated to the Brazilian president is signed by Al Gore, vice president of the USA during both Bill Clinton terms (1993-2001), who describes him as a climate champion. In free translation, a “climate champion”, for his leadership in the environmental cause. “Lula promised to strengthen Brazil’s position in the world”, observes Al Gore. “But nowhere can it make a more significant impact than on the twin crises of climate and biodiversity,” he adds.
Three times on the list
Also an environmental activist, Gore recalls in the text that Brazil, in recent years, has been registering “increasing deforestation and forest fires” that are transforming the role of the Amazon from a carbon sink to a “net source of emissions”. “President Lula promised to protect the Amazon, and he has done it before – reducing deforestation by 72% in his previous term,” he said.
This is the third time that Lula appears on the list of the most influential in the Time, repeating the emphasis given during the first and second presidential terms. In 2004, he was called a “Spokesperson for the developing world”. Already in 2010, as an “authentic son of the Latin American working class who sought to guide Brazil towards the First World”, as described by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.
In addition to Lula, former president Dilma Rousseff was on the list of Time of the 100 most influential people in 2011. In 2022, it was the turn of indigenous leader and activist Sônia Guajajara, now Minister of Indigenous Peoples in the Lula government, and scientist Tulio de Oliveira, one of those responsible for sequencing the omicron variant of covid -19 appear among the personalities of the year. In all, 15 Brazilians have already participated in the magazine’s list, which recently included the current Minister of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco.
In turn, in 2021, it was the turn of former president Jair Bolsonaro to be highlighted by the magazine, but negatively. Investigations by the Federal Supreme Court (STF) into lying and erroneous comments, associating the vaccine against covid-19 with the possibility of contracting AIDS, earned the right-wing extremist the citation for Time as a “controversial personality”. In December, the Federal Police concluded that there was a crime to public health in Bolsonaro’s speech.