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News > Latin America

Brazil: A New Left Candidate Enters the Presidential Fray

  • Guilherme Boulos, leader of the Homeless Workers' Movement, MTST.

    Guilherme Boulos, leader of the Homeless Workers' Movement, MTST. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 October 2017

Guilherme Boulos has advocated in favor of decent, public housing for Brazil's homeless population.

Guilherme Boulos, leader of Brazil's Homeless Workers' Movement, MTST, has been tapped as a 2018 presidential candidate for the Socialism and Liberty Party, PSOL. 

Brazil's MST Occupies Federal Agency Patio, Protests Cuts

The announcement came after Chico Alencar, Brazil's lower house member representing the state of Rio de Janeiro, declined to accept the political party's invite to run for president next year.

“PSOL will signal towards Boulos,” Alencar said yesterday. His statement came after three months of in-party consultations and evaluations concerning his possible candidacy for president, according to Brasil 24/7.

Ivan Valente, PSOL congressman for the state of Sao Paulo, said that Boulos “has ideological and programmatic positions that are well aligned with the party.”

While Boulos avoided commenting on the issue during an interview with TV Estadao on Tuesday, he neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of running for president as a PSOL candidate.

PSOL is a left-wing political party formed by dissident Worker's Party, PT, members in 2005.

As president of the MTST, Boulos has advocated in favor of decent, public housing for Brazil's homeless population. He's led the legal proceedings related to numerous occupation campaigns of abandoned buildings in and around major cities, particularly Sao Paulo, and has been arrested for his activism.

Since July, he has dedicated himself to the Vamos organization. The group unites sectors of the PT, PSOL the Communist Party of Brazil and a slew of social activists to articulate a political program that counters the presidential administration of Michel Temer.

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Inspired by the Landless Worker's Movement, MST, the MTST was formed in 1997 as an urban social movement that stages squatter occupations to pressure local governments to provide decent housing for Brazil's homeless population. MTST estimates that within all the abandoned public buildings in Brazil lay over five million housing units, an amount capable to address Brazil's housing deficit which, according to specialists, fluctuates between 5.5 and 6 million.

News of Boulos' potential bid comes after a bill was proposed in July in Hawai'i that would give doctors autonomy to prescribe homeless people housing.

The impetus of the bill, according to the BBC, is to improve public health as people who live on the streets are subject to increased cases of infection due to lack of hygiene, increased back and leg pain and a host of other health issues.

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