Tuesday 1 November 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 1/11/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Fernando Augusto Pacheco

Second coming

“Brazil is back. The world was missing Brazil. We are too big to be a pariah.” Those were the words that president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva used to sum up in a speech on São Paulo’s Avenida Paulista what his victory at the ballot box means. The translation: Lula (pictured) will prioritise foreign policy and Brazil’s relationship with the international community.

After four years of insular rule, Brazil and its allies can expect the world’s fourth-largest democracy to once more be an important player at climate conferences and other international summits. The country is also likely to play a larger role in Latin America, where outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro has been ostracised diplomatically.

Almost immediately after Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court confirmed Lula’s victory, messages of congratulations began flooding in from world leaders. Among the first was Joe Biden, who will remember that it took 38 days for Bolsonaro – a staunch ally of Donald Trump – to congratulate him on his own election. The messages had a second purpose: they were foreign leaders’ ways of tacitly imploring Bolsonaro to concede defeat.

At the time of writing, the president has yet to do so. While the efficiency of Brazil’s voting system means that an appeal would probably have little basis in fact, the world will anxiously hope for a peaceful transition of power and not a facsimile of the riots that accompanied Trump’s exit from the White House.

It will take time for Brazil’s international image to recover but, in his speech, Lula said that he will try to heal a divided Brazil and “recuperate the soul of this country”. It’s easy to be optimistic in an address; governing will be harder. But Lula’s victory undeniably opens a new chapter in Brazil’s history – one that gives Brazilians like me hope that our country can rediscover its relevance on the world stage.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a senior correspondent for Monocle 24.

Image: Getty Images

Politics / South Korea

No stone unturned

South Korean investigators began combing through CCTV and social-media footage yesterday as politicians and journalists asked questions about the lack of planning that led to one of the country’s worst disasters. At least 154 people were killed on Saturday in a crush at a Halloween event in Seoul. Prime minister Han Duck-soo has promised a “thorough investigation” into the cause of the crush and the lack of preparation for an event that 100,000 people had been expected to attend. Seoul’s mayor, Oh Se-hoon, is under particular scrutiny and his critics remain unsatisfied by his argument that measures weren’t seen as necessary because the event wasn’t officially scheduled. An editorial in the Korea JoongAng Daily newspaper summed up the emerging mood, saying that, “the disaster could have been avoided if the police and fire authorities had thoroughly prepared for possible scenarios”. With schoolchildren and foreign nationals among the dead, questions about responsibility are unlikely to be forgotten.

Image: Alamy

Defence / USA & Australia

Base loaded

The Pentagon is reportedly planning to send a fleet of B52 bombers to an air base in northern Australia, in the latest strengthening of ties between Washington and Canberra. Boeing’s B52 is a long-range heavy bomber capable of deploying nuclear and conventional weapons. That makes it the most effective plane of its kind in the US’s inventory. The planned deployment will not go unnoticed in Beijing and the move sends a strong signal to China amid rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific, particularly over the status of Taiwan. “The strategic environment around Taiwan is clearly at the top of this agenda,” William Yang, a journalist based in Taipei, tells The Monocle Minute. “These moves can potentially have a reassuring effect to the Taiwanese government and people, as the level of threat from China increases.” Amid bitter fighting in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, a growing democratic presence in the Indo-Pacific might cause Xi Jinping to think twice about a similar move.

For more on tensions in the Indo-Pacific, the war in Ukraine and other big diplomatic issues, tune in to Monocle 24.

Image: Luigi Fiano

Culture / Italy

Art of gold

The connection between banking and the arts in Italy runs deep, stretching back to the Medici family in Renaissance Florence and beyond. In an effort to spread its wealth, Intesa Sanpaolo – the country’s largest bank, which has acquired artworks worth €850m – has opened two new galleries. The venues, in Turin and Naples, house a permanent collection of paintings by artists such as Caravaggio and Andy Warhol. The museums, which charge €7 for entry, follow the bank’s galleries in Milan and Vicenza.

“We decided from the beginning that rather than open our properties sporadically, we would convert them into large permanent museums,” Michele Coppola, the bank’s executive director of art, culture and historic assets, tells Monocle. Italy is loaded with cultural assets but it has rarely fully realised the financial potential of that cachet. With these galleries, Intesa Sanpaolo can project Italy’s heritage to the world, while also injecting money into the economy.

To read the full story, including a tour of Gallerie d’Italia’s Naples museum, pick up the November issue of Monocle, which is out now.

Image: Gullane Filmes / Marie Hippenmeyer

Film / Greece

Bigger picture

The 63rd edition of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) opens on Thursday with 199 full-length movies and 68 shorts. This year’s programme includes from indigenous directors in Canada, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, and will pay homage to perspectives that have long been overlooked in mainstream cinema.

Highlights include Barry Barclay’s Ngāti, the first full-length fictional film directed by a Māori film-maker, and Birdwatchers (pictured), which depicts the struggles of a Guarani-Kaiowá community trying to reclaim their ancestral land in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Greek films, such as Maria Douza’s coming-of-age story Listen, will also take centre stage. TIFF is also hoping to boost future Greek film-makers as well as present ones. The festival’s Agora, an event offering networking opportunities for the region’s industry professionals, will run in parallel to the festival. As a result, TIFF can hope to create lasting benefits from hosting global talent.

Image: Getty Images

Monocle 24 / The Foreign Desk

Historical series: The Sputnik crisis

In part one of our historical series, we travel back in time to 1957 to unpack the Sputnik crisis. What did this new satellite foreshadow, and how did the Soviet Union do it? Andrew Mueller speaks to Henry Rees-Sheridan, Tom Nichols, Mark Galeotti and Linda Dawson.

Monocle Films / Portugal

Portugal: The Monocle Handbook

Part of a new travel series, Portugal: The Monocle Handbook is a practical guide that will introduce you to the best the country has to offer as we present our favourite spots across the country. Order your copy today.


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