Possibility of Lula’s surgery worries the government’s political articulation
Back in Brazil after his last trip to Japan, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) intends to carry out a medical evaluation in the next few days to confirm the need for hip surgery. The decision, however, will not be just medical and will take into account the political scenario for the PT to define the best time to undergo the intervention.
The president has been complaining of pain in his hip for some months due to a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Since then, Lula has been undergoing non-invasive treatment, but the assessment is that the condition has worsened in recent weeks and therefore it would be necessary to leave for surgery.
Members of the Planalto Palace, however, indicate that intervention at this time could hinder the advancement of some agendas of government interest in the National Congress. To avoid this removal, some allies defend that Lula postpones this decision until the parliamentary recess in mid-July.
The background for the defense of this postponement is the mobilization of Planalto articulators with the mayor, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), to try to approve the tax reform this semester. The Minister of Institutional Relations, Alexandre Padilha, has been moving with the intention of approving the matter before the parliamentary recess.
Last Friday (19), during a meeting of the South and Southeast Integration Consortium (Cosud), which brought together state governors from both regions, Lira indicated that she intends to guide the proposal after the approval of the new fiscal framework. The new tax rule passed in the House last Tuesday (23).
“After the vote on the framework, we will still have June and July to finish these discussions and be able to guide the plenary of the Chamber [a reforma tributária]even before the recess at the end of July”, said the president of the Chamber.
The evaluation among Planalto members is that the tax reform will demand a great effort on the part of the political articulation. As a result, PT supporters believe that Lula’s involvement with congressmen will be decisive for the agenda to advance at least in the Chamber this semester.
Janja may influence Lula’s decision on surgery later this semester
Despite the assessment by political allies, advisers from the Planalto Palace admit that first lady Rosângela Silva, known as Janja, will have great influence on Lula’s decision. According to these assistants, if the medical team defends the surgery immediately, the expectation is that Janja will have more influence over the decision than the political wing of the government.
With Lula’s election, the first lady began to control the president’s commitment agenda more rigorously. Since last year’s campaign, Janja has been defining periods of rest in order to preserve the PT’s health. Such influence even generated complaints from PT members.
The petista was already being advised to reduce the pace of international travel as a way to save his health. One of the president’s arguments is that he cannot stop “just because of a pain”.
In addition to the last trip to Japan, where he participated in the G7 summit, the PT member was recently in China, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Spain and England. In addition, he participated in agendas in the states of São Paulo, Bahia and Ceará.
Operation may postpone Lula’s trips inside and outside Brazil
In addition to political agendas, a possible surgery later this semester may mean that Lula has to postpone a series of trips that were already being planned. In addition to international agendas, the petista was being asked by his allies to expand visits to Brazilian states as a way to increase the government’s popularity.
If the intervention is carried out in the coming weeks, the president will only be able to make long trips after about four weeks after the operation. In this scenario, the PT would need to give up agendas abroad during the recovery period.
The government is preparing for mid-June and July visits to some African countries, such as Angola and Mozambique. Furthermore, Itamaraty is preparing some agendas with Belgium and Argentina. If that happens, only the trips to participate in the G20, in India, and the UN General Assembly, in the United States, both in September, would be maintained.
Travel within Brazil, on the other hand, could be compromised, as in addition to traveling by plane, events in the interior of the country often involve going up and down by helicopter. Other points that may impair recovery are walking and standing for several hours. In this case, he would have to postpone, for example, the trips he intends to make to each of the five regions of the country to attend the discussions of the Multi-Year Participatory Plan with civil society.
Lula would have already indicated to his closest assistants that he does not intend to give up his work agenda at this time. With that, if the medical evaluation this week allows the surgery to be postponed, the PT candidate intends to schedule the operation only for the end of the year, a period that he considers to be more viable for his removal.
Just last year, during the transition period, Lula underwent surgery to remove leukoplakia (lesion) on the vocal cords, which was considered successful. Leukoplakia is the development of white spots or plaques mainly on the vocal folds, but they can also appear in the larynx region.