In a week's time the second round of the Brazilian elections are to be held. In the first round Lula, the candidate of the PT came first by a large margin and looks set to win the second round. In this article Dario Castro analyses the results of the first round and looks at the situation a PT government will be facing, with the mounting debt and the huge pressure it would face both from the bourgeois on the one side and the workers on the other.

To scenes of wild rejoicing on the streets, the people of Brazil celebrated the landslide victory of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president of the Workers’ Party (PT). This was undoubtedly a heavy blow struck by the masses against the corrupt and degenerate oligarchy that has ruled Brazil for decades. It has caused shock waves that will reverberate throughout the whole of Latin America and beyond. Now however a period opens up in which the PT government will come under enormous pressure from two sides, the bourgeoisie and the workers and poor. Alan Woods outlines the tasks facing the Brazilian working class.

On August 13 the Chilean Trade Union Confederation (CUT) called a one-day general strike. This was the first general strike since the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship. It marks the beginning of a new epoch and has to be seen within the context of the general situation in the whole of the South American sub-continent.