And now it’s Lula vs. Bolsonaro

Down in Brazil, everyone has an opinion about former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva leaving prison.

This is the report:

As he walked out of the jail that held him for 19 months on a bribery conviction, Lula raised a defiant fist in the air to the cheers of a crowd of supporters from his Workers Party who waved red flags and held “Free Lula” banners.

His release is expected to further polarize a country that elected far-right President Jair Bolsonaro last year in a vote that Lula said on Friday was “robbed” from his Workers Party, which governed the country from 2002 to 2016.

Investors were jolted by the prospect of Lula returning to the political stage and uniting opposition to the market-friendly government, although he is barred from running in upcoming elections.

Brazil’s currency and benchmark Bovespa stock index both fell 1.8% on Friday, weighed down first by a Supreme Court ruling paving the way for Lula’s release and deepening losses after the formal court order letting him go.

“This will strengthen the Workers Party, but also anti-Lulismo and that will strengthen Bolsonaro’s movement too,” said Lucas de Aragao at ARKO political risk consultancy in Brasilia.

Well, I don’t know who will win the political fight, but the polarization will be intense.

“Lula vs. Bolsonaro” is probably the best heavyweight fight since those classic Ali vs. Frazier bouts of the past.  You have people who believe that Lula got away with first-rate corruption, and the other side thinks he was a victim.

It’s going to be fun down in Brazil, and I don’t mean the music.

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