Andrew Downie

Andrew Downie is a Scots-born correspondent who has spent nearly 30 years in Latin America, much of them in Brazil. He currently divides his time between São Paulo and Madrid

Can Lula use the pro-Bolsonaro riots to unite Brazil?

A week is a long time in politics. Just ask Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.  On 1 January this year he was greeted by adoring crowds at Brasilia’s presidential palace after being sworn in for a four-year term. Seven days later that same building had been overrun by far-right insurrectionists intent on overthrowing him.

Rest in peace, Pelé, the undisputed King of football

When Lionel Messi won the World Cup for Argentina earlier this month, it not only filled the last hole in his trophy cabinet, it also seemed to end the debate over who was the greatest footballer of all time. Football fans have debated for years about whether Messi was equal to Pelé and Diego Maradona,

Lula faces an uphill battle in Brazil

The Brazilian presidential election yesterday was billed as one of the most consequential in decades – not just for the country but for the future of the planet. Anyone paying attention to either the climate crisis or the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, could hardly quibble with that description. The good news is that the

Why do Brazilian footballers like Bolsonaro?

There are weeks when Jair Bolsonaro dominates the headlines in Brazil and there are weeks when that honour goes to Neymar. Both men have been in the news this week, which is understandable given the run-off election for president is on 30 October, and the World Cup kicks off in less than a month. One

Bolsonaro isn’t finished yet

São Paulo The polls got it wrong again. In the first round of Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, challenger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) got 48.4 per cent of the vote, 5.2 points ahead of the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Polls had predicted a possible first-round win for the insurgent. But – with neither candidate

Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil’s football fight

Brazil’s football strip is one of the most recognisable garments in sport, perhaps the most potent symbol of Brazil’s sizeable soft power. People who can’t name the country’s capital or president are familiar with the players who made the yellow jersey famous. Names such as Pelé, Sócrates, Ronaldo and Marta are known and loved the world

Latin America in crisis again

It wasn’t so long ago that British readers, on hearing about the incompetence and corruption of Latin America’s political leaders, could gasp, despair or smirk, depending on their own political leanings and the leaders in question, and rest assured that, for all the United Kingdom’s problems, they were immune to such folly. Institutions were stable,