Opinion: The Triumphal Return of the “300 Picaretas”

Enter, stage center and stage right, the Centrão, a flexible bloc of over 200 members of Congress, who embody the reincarnation of the 300 Picaretas.

RIBEIRÃO PRETO, BRAZIL - (Opinion) Back in 1993, running for President after serving in Congress for four years, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva famously said that “300 picaretas” formed a majority of the 513 seats in Brazil’s lower house of Congress.

“Picareta” has dozens of synonyms in Portuguese; in English: “Reprobate”, “Scoundrel”, “Rapscallion”, Miscreant”, “Scalawag”, and Shakespeare’s “Varlet” all come to mind, describing a dishonest, unprincipled person.

Lula knew well whereof he spoke. Upon achieving the presidency in 2002, he focused on obtaining Congressional approval of his social programs. Recognizing the need for support from “picaretas”, he . . .

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