1. The “Zero Hunger” program’s total discredit
Among these mishaps are reverses suffered by the so-called “Zero Hunger” program, one of President Lula da Silva’s main battle flags and most important contribution to social welfare. While President Lula has failed to create a national consensus for this welfare initiative, it has at least helped him gain considerable international support.
“Zero Hunger” is quickly becoming totally discredited. The problems started with the confusion surrounding its official launching. The media reported that President Lula da Silva and his entire Cabinet would fly to Guaribas, in the state of Piauí. The town is listed as Brazil’s poorest by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and was to serve as the official launching site to kick off this important government program.
However, the trip was cancelled at the last moment, and the official launching of “Zero Hunger” has been postponed indefinitely. Guaribas is famous now in Brazil as the city President Lula could not reach. Adding to the confusion are the statements of town officials that while Guaribas has material needs, none of its residents suffers from actual hunger.
At the same time, specialists and political observers attacked the program, which no longer enjoys the unanimous support of the Workers’ Party (PT)1 members, and their closer allies, serving in the Lula administration.