Lula was in power and there peace in the land. Literacy and poverty were on the decline an health was improving
Military rule had ended and democracy reigns and there was hope.
Brazil had a population of about 180 million ( now about 208 million), and with its huge resources and a more healthy and literate, it was ready to burst out.
It did under Lula, competing and gaining respect around the world but that was shattered when Dilma Rouseff, took over from Lula ( he nominated her as his successor ). She was the first woman to be president and she was expected to continue Lula's very successful programmes.
She did but the powerful business elite, who had lost their lucrative hold on Brazil, which they had enjoyed under the almost 30 years of military rule, were chafing and plotted their return to power.
Dilma Rouseff, was charged with corruption and was impeached by Congress, 2/3 of its members were under investigation themselves, and so to protect themselves, they began the process. Rouseff proved to be too inept to handle this. She was removed from office and a new election was called.
The " elites" were afraid that Lula would run gain and would win ( he was and still remained very popular ) and so they implicated him and he was charged and was found guilty by a very biased Court and imprisoned ( he is still imprisoned, professing his innocence but to no avail)
Jair Bolsonaro, a former army officer, was chosen to run by the " elites" He ran a " scorched earth" campaign, promising to be tough on law and order, to overturn the populist policies of Lula and Dilma, to open up the country's resources, especially the Amazon( many have taken advantage of this and have been " clear burning "for agriculture and cattle ranching, despoiling the land, and even chasing out the indigenous occupants).
In the short time that Bolsonaro, has been in power, poverty has increased, health is neglected and literacy has lagged and now the COVID 19 virus is running rampant and bodies are piling up.
Bolsonaro has called the threat a 'fantasy"and when questioned about the climbing deaths, he replied " What do you want me to do".
There are over 100,000 cases and thousands are dying . The health system has collapsed and bodies are piling up, so much so that mass graves trenches are used.
The state of Manaus s one of the hardest hit and " lots of bodies are piled up on top of each other, without any identification".
Brazil has become the " crisis center" of Latin America.
Bolsonaro is incapable and unprepared for the task. He provides no leadership. He has no answers and his laissez- faire approach is driving Brazil to the brink.
The " sleeping giant" of 20 years ago is now slipping backwards and it will take strong, competent leadership, which is sadly missing, to stop this huge rolling boulder.