LATAM POLITICS TODAY Lula eyes 'green' farm loans to tackle Amazon deforestation

Brazil's former president and presidential frontrunner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, look on during a meeting of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), that officially nominated him as the candidate of the party, in Brasilia, Brazil, July 29, 2022. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
  • New polls keep Lula ahead in Brazil's electoral runup
  • Brazil's Lula, Bolsonaro officially begin their campaigns
  • Costa Rica eyes raising $2.7 bln via sale of state assets

Aug 17 (Reuters) - The latest in Latin American politics today:

Brazil's Lula eyes 'green' farm loans to tackle Amazon deforestation

SAO PAULO - Advisors to leftist Brazilian presidential hopeful Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are proposing subsidized "green" farm loans to spur planting of soybeans and corn on open pasture and reduce deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

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The proposal, revealed to Reuters by a senior Lula advisor, is one of the clearest examples yet of how the former president has tried to court allies in the powerhouse agribusiness sector while promising more environmentally friendly policies. read more

New polls show Lula ahead in runup to Brazil's election

SAO PAULO - Two new polls show former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a healthy lead over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil's October presidential election.

A Genial/Quaest poll shows Lula taking 45% of the votes, while Bolsonaro takes 33%. In the previous Aug. 3 poll, Lula had 44% and Bolsonaro had 32%. The poll's margin of error is 2 percentage points.

The PoderData poll, also released today, gives Lula 44% voter preference and Bolsonaro 37%. In the previous one, Lula had 43% and Bolsonaro 35%. Both polls also showed Lula winning a potential second round runoff.

Lula, Bolsonaro officially enter campaign season as they court voters

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO - President Bolsonaro and front-running challenger Lula have formally launched their campaigns for Brazil's most polarized elections in decades in October.

The race pits a nationalist populist with an agenda backed by Christian conservatives against a former union leader and two-term president of the country (2003-2010) who was jailed for corruption until his convictions were annulled. read more

Costa Rica eyes raising $2.7 bln via sale of state financial assets

SAN JOSE - Costa Rica's President Rodrigo Chaves has said he plans to present a bill to sell state-owned banks Banco de Costa Rica and Banco Internacional de Costa Rica, as well as 49% of the state-owned INS insurance company to reduce public debt.

If approved, the sale of the banks is expected to raise $1.8 billion, equivalent to some 2.8% of Costa Rica's gross domestic product, while the stake in the insurance company should fetch around $890 million, Chaves said in a speech marking his first 100 days in office. read more

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Compiled by Steven Grattan; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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