America’s mental slavery

Today I would like to talk about the current situation in America. Why having one of the most powerful economies in the world, most of us still live in poverty? I am not going to quote politicians or experts. This article is the reflection of my thoughts and nothing more.

First of all, let me tell some words about myself: I am 55 years old, married, have 3 kids. For the last 8 years I’ve been working in a contractor company for the CIA. Moreover, I participated in several joint projects.

Without going into details of this collaboration, I can state that I’ve understood the main principles and goals of this agency. And the only thing I regret is that I understand it only now. My article is for young people who will defend the United States of America in future.

Generally speaking, the leadership of the CIA is far from patriotism and love for the homeland. This is, rather, a role… or an image which is important for propaganda spreading. In fact, everything they do, they do it for the profit. And money laundering schemes will surely rise beyond any movies.

Nevertheless, sometimes we are shown the truth.

In particular, I was impressed by the Oliver Stone-directed “Snowden” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In my opinion this is pivotal part of the film. U.S. intelligence officer played by Nicolas Cage was told to search terrorists on the internet. In order to search bad guys quickly, he created $3-million software that could do it properly. You may think this is too expensive for software. People in NSA thought the same way so they closed the program. However, later the other guys created “unique equipment” which in fact was an incomplete copy of Nicolas’ actor software. And it was $4 BILLION.

The analogy of this fragment with the reality struck me deeply. Scrolling through the memory of all the projects I was involved, I finally concluded that our leadership is concentrated on money-laundering. And I am sure this happens not only in the CIA, but all Departments and law enforcement agencies. The main purpose of intelligence is to make the military-industrial complex happy.

But in order to start the most powerful military machine in the world, you need to create a precedent. I am sure you will recall a couple examples of when guys in the White House, under dubious pretexts, have been unleashing wars in other countries.

Recently, the U.S. President Donald Trump signed the $716 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law.

Now think about how big this sum is! For comparison, in 2018 Russia spent about $46 billion on its military-industrial complex, and in some aspects, the manufacturability of the Russian electronic warfare technologies is superior to ours. China this year spent $175 billion on defense.

 

How media outlets involved in money-laundering

I guess it is no secret that the mainstream media, such as the New York Times, actively cooperate with special services and are a sort of mouthpiece of national propaganda.

An excellent example of mass propaganda we could watch during the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The media outlets shouted about the nuclear threat from North Korea and the arrogance of its young leader. In turn, the United States and its allies could easily defend the Olympics and prevent provocations from Pyongyang. But that did not happen. Moreover, the level of economic and technological development of the DPRK has lagged behind the United States by several decades. Let’s face it – America needs to escalate the situation.

In case of the “Russian nuclear threat,” things are much more absurd! According to officials, Russia allegedly threatens Europe with nuclear weapons, placing its missile systems on its own (!!!) territory! Do you realize how silly these accusations sound? If we look at the map with the location of the missiles of the United States and Russia, we will see that Moscow does not have a single base with such weapons abroad. What kind of threat are we talking about? Nevertheless, the media have inspired the whole world the threat is real, although in fact, Russia’s actions are a retaliatory measure for America’s deployment of its missiles and numerous military bases along its borders.

As we see, neither in the first nor in the second case there were no real threat.

Our leadership creates precedents and provocations, creates new types of weapons for the taxpayers’ money and, among other things, and has a great profit. But the population continues to believe in patriotism, sending sons and daughters to the alleged “war for freedom”. As a result, we have more than two million young veterans who are absolutely unnecessary to this state and American society itself.

We must understand that with great power comes great responsibility. However, there is still hope that one day, there will be no businessmen in the big chairs, but patriots, whose main objectives will be not filling their wallets, but protecting the weak and developing world peace.

U.N. General Assembly Updates: Israelis and Palestinians to Address Meeting

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are set to address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, a day after President Trump said he hoped to engineer the framework for a peace deal in the coming months.

President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela is also to take the lectern to address the General Assembly.

Earlier this week, Mr. Trump largely overshadowed the other heads of state who gathered for the 73rd assembly, first drawing laughter from a roomful of foreign leaders and then surprising many when he accused China of interfering in the midterm elections.

During his opening remarks at the Security Council on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump accused China of trying to meddle in the United States’ elections, set for November.

“Regrettably, we found that China is attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election, coming up in November, against my administration,” Mr. Trump said. “They do not want me, or us, to win, because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade. And we are winning on trade, we are winning at every level.”

Mr. Trump provided no evidence to back up his assertion, although he was apparently referring to retaliatory tariffs from China in the escalating trade war. Later in the day, during an evening news conference, he said that “we have evidence” of China’s interference.

“I like China and I like President Xi a lot,” Mr. Trump said, but later added, “They’re trying to convince people to go against Trump.”

Much of his speech on Wednesday at the Security Council was devoted to criticizing Iran, a theme that dominated his address to the General Assembly a day earlier.

“The regime is the world’s leading sponsor of terror and fuels conflict across the region and beyond,” Mr. Trump said, before calling the Iran nuclear deal a “horrible, one-sided” agreement.

“They were in big, big trouble,” before the 2015 nuclear accord that led to the lifting of sanctions, he said of Iran. “They needed cash; we gave it to them.”

He said he planned to introduce new economic sanctions on Iran this year, adding that they would be “tougher than ever before.”

Yet Mr. Trump also had positive words for Iran, thanking its leadership and Russia for delaying a planned offensive on Idlib Province in Syria, where government forces are believed to be preparing what would most likely be the final military blow against rebels and their civilian supporters.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, who spoke to the Security Council directly after Mr. Trump, urged unity within the group. He said that relations with Iran must not be limited to a “policy of sanctions” and that long-term strategies must be put in place.

The 15-member Security Council is the most powerful arm of the United Nations, with the ability to impose sanctions and authorize military intervention. — MEGAN SPECIA and TESS FELDER

Mr. Trump confirmed at a news conference that he had rejected a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, and he denounced the country over its approach to trade.

“Frankly, we are thinking about just taxing cars that are coming in from Canada,” Mr. Trump said. “We are very unhappy with the negotiations — with the negotiating style — of Canada.”

He went on to criticize Canada, and specifically called out its negotiators, over the Nafta trade deal — an agreement he called “very bad for the U.S.” — and the recent tariffs put in place on American-made products.

“Canada has treated us very badly, they have treated our farmers in Wisconsin and New York State very badly,” he said. “So Canada has a long way to go, I must be honest with you, we are not getting along with their negotiators at all.”

While he did not rule out the prospect of a new trade deal with Canada, he said it would probably be very different from what the Canadians are seeking. — MEGAN SPECIA

As the world’s oldest leader at age 93, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia has seen a lot of politicians come and go — including himself: He served as prime minister from 1982 to 2003, and returned to power in May.

He has also stood up to his regional powerhouse, diplomatically pushing back on financially onerous Chinese projects in Malaysia.

While visiting New York for the General Assembly this week, he offered some cautionary advice for President Trump: Don’t push too hard, he said in discussing Mr. Trump’s comments about the Chinese government.

“I get the impression he doesn’t know much about Asia,” the Malaysian leader said at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Asked whether he thought a rapidly modernizing China was engaged in a new colonialism, Mr. Mahathir answered indirectly, “When China is poor, it is dangerous,” he said. “When China is rich, it also is dangerous.”

While Mr. Trump has sought to cast China as a villain in his campaign to “make America great again,” Mr. Mahathir suggested that more subtlety was required.

“We have been dealing with China for 2,000 years,” he said. “I think you can make America great in many other ways.” — RICK GLADSTONE

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, apparently emboldened by the less-than-enthusiastic reception for President Trump, said the United States had isolated itself by renouncing the Iranian nuclear agreement and by warning others they a failure to heed restored American sanctions could bring reprisals.

At a news conference near the end of his annual visit to the General Assembly, Mr. Rouhani thanked the many other member states, including close American allies, that have expressed support for the nuclear accord. The United States withdrew from the agreement in May on Mr. Trump’s orders.

Mr. Trump, the Iranian president said, ordered other countries not only to ignore the nuclear accord but also to essentially disregard Security Council Resolution 2231, which put it into effect. Security Council resolutions are supposed to be regarded as having the force of law.

“It is quite strange, asking other members not to adhere to 2231,” Mr. Rouhani told reporters. Asked if Iran felt isolated and surrounded by hostile powers in the Middle East, Mr. Rouhani responded: “We’re not isolated. America is isolated.”

While he acknowledged that United States sanctions had put pressure on his country, Mr. Rouhani said, “Iran has been in much tougher positions.” And even as he thanked European countries for abiding by the nuclear agreement, he would not rule out the possibility that Iran itself might also abandon the accord if it does not get the promised economic benefits. — RICK GLADSTONE

U.N. General Assembly Updates: Trump to Chair Security Council Meeting

A day after President Trump appeared before the United Nations and made clear his disdain for a global approach to problem solving, he returns on Wednesday to wield the gavel at a meeting of the world organization’s most powerful body.

Mr. Trump will lead a Security Council meeting on nonproliferation, as the body’s current president, a rotating position.

On Tuesday, in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, he argued for a rejection of multilateralism and attacked Iran, OPEC, Venezuela and the International Criminal Court. Some world leaders rebutted his anti-globalism message, with the heads of state of Turkey, Iran and France denouncing the major themes of Mr. Trump’s speech.

Some in the audience laughed as Mr. Trump praised the accomplishments of his less than two years in office, saying more had been done than in “almost any administration in the history of our country.”

Mr. Trump, in his second address to the General Assembly, boasted on Tuesday of what he called impressive accomplishments in the United States and around the world.

“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” he said, setting off murmurs of laughter by world leaders in the cavernous hall.

“I did not expect that reaction,” he said.

“The United States is stronger, safer and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago,” Mr. Trump said. “We are standing up for America and the American people. We are also standing up for the world.”

He said that under his administration the United States had started building a wall along the border with Mexico, defeated the Islamic State and eased the crisis with North Korea through dialogue with the leader of the nuclear-armed state.

“The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction, nuclear testing has stopped,” said the president, who met in Singapore earlier this year with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. “I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken though much work remains to be done.”

Mr. Trump then turned his attention to Iran, denouncing the country’s leaders and calling the government there a “corrupt dictatorship” responsible for “death and destruction.” He said his reimposition of nuclear sanctions had severely weakened the Iranian government.

In a list of complaints about globalism, which he portrayed as a threat to American sovereignty, Mr. Trump rejected the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court, echoing recent statements by top aides like John R. Bolton, his national security adviser.

“As far as America is concerned,” Mr. Trump said, the court — which prosecutes war crimes and crimes against humanity — has “no legitimacy and no authority.”

We “reject the ideology of globalism,” he said.

He also spoke of renegotiating “bad and broken trade deals,” and said that “many nations agree that the trade system is in dire need” of change. He said the United States had “racked up $13 billion in trade deficits” in the last two decades.

“But those days are over,” he said. “We will no longer tolerate such abuse.”

Mr. Trump also assailed the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — which includes Saudi Arabia, a strong United States ally — over rising oil prices.

OPEC nations are “ripping off the rest of the world,” he said. “I don’t like it. Nobody should like it.”

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, who has all but ruled out a meeting with Mr. Trump, spoke hours after the American president and offered a diametrically opposite portrait of his country. Iran, he said, is law abiding, respectful and first in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. Rouhani denounced the Trump administration not only for repudiating the nuclear agreement but also for threatening through the use of sanctions to punish any country that seeks to do business with Iran.

“The economic war that the United States has initiated under the rubric of new sanctions not only targets the Iranian people but entails harmful repercussions for people of other countries,” Mr. Rouhani said. He also made clear that he thought Mr. Trump’s offer to talk with Iran’s leaders was disingenuous at best.

“It is ironic that the United States government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks,” Mr. Rouhani said.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, during his time at the podium, defended multilateralism. Without it, Mr. Macron warned, global wars would return. He cautioned that “nationalism always leads to defeat.”

“I do not accept the erosion of multilateralism and don’t accept our history unraveling,” Mr. Macron said. “Our children are watching.”

He also took aim at Mr. Trump’s decision to quit the Paris climate agreement — an ambitious effort to halt climate change.

“The Paris agreement has stayed intact, and that is because we have decided to stay unified in spite of the United States’ decision to withdraw,” Mr. Macron said. “This is power, and this is the way that we overcome the challenges.”

Urging radical action to ensure that the goals of the agreement are met, Mr. Macron told fellow signers to consider steps against countries that rejected it.

“Let’s, for example, stop signing trade agreements with those who don’t comply with the Paris agreement,” he said. “Let’s have our trade agreements take on board our environmental obligations.”

The United States and Syria are the only nations that are not part of the agreement.

What Is the United Nations? Explaining Its Purpose, Power and Problems

Nearly everybody has heard of the United Nations. But how many know what it actually does? Or how it works? Or why, as world leaders gather for the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the institution has struggled to live up to the promise of its founders: making the world a better, more peaceful place?

The United Nations Charter was signed at a conference in San Francisco in June 1945, led by four countries: Britain, China, the Soviet Union and the United States.

When the Charter went into effect on Oct. 24 of that year, a global war had just ended. Much of Africa and Asia was still ruled by colonial powers.

After fierce negotiations, 50 nations agreed to a Charter that begins, “We the peoples of the United Nations.”

Why is that opening line notable? Because today, the United Nations can, to some, seem to serve the narrow national interests of its 193 member countries — especially the most powerful ones — and not ordinary citizens.

These parochial priorities can stand in the way of fulfilling the first two pledges of the Charter: to end “the scourge of war” and to regain “faith in fundamental human rights.”

In 1948, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These include the right to not be enslaved, the right to free expression, and the right to seek from other countries asylum from persecution.

However, many of the rights expressed — to education, to equal pay for equal work, to nationality — remain unrealized.

Each fall, the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly becomes the stage where presidents and prime ministers give speeches that can be soaring or clichéd — or they can deliver long, incoherent tirades, such as the one given by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan strongman, in 2009. In 2017, President Trump threatened acts of aggression against rival nations, vowing to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the United States or its allies.

The event offers plenty of star power, but critics contend that it is little more than a glorified gabfest.

For the rest of the session, the General Assembly is the arena where largely symbolic diplomatic jousts are won and lost. Hundreds of resolutions are introduced annually. While some of them earn a great deal of attention — like one in 1975 that equated Zionism with racism — they are not legally binding. (The Assembly is responsible for making some budgetary decisions.)

In principle, nations small and large, rich and poor, have equal voice in the Assembly, with each country getting one vote. But the genuine power resides elsewhere.

The 15-member Security Council is by far the most powerful arm of the United Nations. It can impose sanctions, as it did against Iran over its nuclear program, and authorize military intervention, as it did against Libya in 2011.

Critics say it is also the most anachronistic part of the organization. Its five permanent members are the victors of World War II: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The other 10 members are elected for two-year terms, with seats set aside for different regions of the world.

Efforts to expand the permanent membership of the Council to include powers that have emerged since 1945 — such as India, Japan and Germany — have been stymied. For every country that vies for a seat, rivals seek to block it.

Any member of the permanent five — or the P5, for short — can veto any measure, and each has regularly used this power to protect either itself or allies. Since 1990, the United States has cast a veto on Council resolutions 18 times, many concerning Israeli-Palestinian relations. Russia has done so 22 times in that period.

The Charter does allow the General Assembly to act if, because of a veto, international peace and security are threatened. But in reality, that is rarely done.

The Security Council’s job is to maintain international peace. Its ability to do so has been severely constrained in recent years, in large part because of bitter divisions between Russia and the West.

The Council has been feckless in the face of major conflicts, particularly those in which permanent members have a stake.

Most recently, its starkest failure has been the handling of the seven-year conflict in Syria, with Russia backing the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and the United States, Britain and France supporting some opposition groups. The Security Council has failed to take decisive action on Syria, despite reports of countless war crimes.

It also failed to halt the fighting in Yemen, despite a disastrous humanitarian situation, including a cholera outbreak, and reports from its own investigators of war crimes on both sides. Last year, the Council was confronted with wide-scale atrocities against the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar, but has done little in response.

North Korea, an ally of China, has also consistently defied the United Nations, ignoring prohibitions against its nuclear program and missile tests. And the global body has had little sway in the seesawing diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang, which has swung from threats of military strikes to the groundbreaking meeting in June between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader.

The Charter is vague in defining the duties of the secretary general, the United Nations’ top official. He or she is expected to show no favoritism to any particular country, but the office is largely dependent on the funding and the good will of the most powerful nations.

The Security Council — notably the P5 — chooses the secretary general, by secret ballot, to serve a maximum of two five-year terms. This process makes it difficult for the role to be independent of the P5’s influence.

The secretary general has no army to deploy, but what the position does enjoy is a bully pulpit. If the officeholder is perceived as being independent, he or she is often the only person in the world who can call warring parties to the peace table.

The current secretary general, António Guterres, a Portuguese politician, took the reins last year. He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

The actions of his predecessor, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, repeatedly displayed the limits of the office’s authority during his 10-year tenure. For example, Mr. Ban was persuaded for two years in a row to keep powerful countries off a list of those whose military forces had killed and maimed children.

Since 1946, nine people have held the position of secretary general. All have been men.

When Mr. Guterres took on the role of secretary general, he inherited a body facing the unenviable task of demonstrating the United Nations’ relevance in a world confronting challenges that were inconceivable 73 years ago.

Here are some of the questions that will determine whether the organization’s influence diminishes or grows:

■ Can the Security Council take action against countries that flout international humanitarian law? And can the P5 countries look beyond their own narrow interests and rivalries to find ways to end the “scourge of war”?

■ Can peacekeeping operations be repaired so that the protection of civilians is ensured?

■ Can the United Nations persuade countries to come up with ways to handle the new reality of mass migration?

■ Can the secretary general persuade countries to keep their promise to curb carbon emissions — and to help those suffering from the consequences of climate change?

■ Can the United Nations get closer to achieving its founding mandate, to make the world a better, more peaceful place?

An earlier version of this article first ran on Sept. 16, 2016.

The United Nations Explained: Its Purpose, Power and Problems

Nearly everybody has heard of the United Nations. But how many know what it actually does? Or how it works? Or why, as world leaders gather for the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the institution has struggled to live up to the promise of its founders: making the world a better, more peaceful place?

The United Nations Charter was signed at a conference in San Francisco in June 1945, led by four countries: Britain, China, the Soviet Union and the United States.

When the Charter went into effect on Oct. 24 of that year, a global war had just ended. Much of Africa and Asia was still ruled by colonial powers.

After fierce negotiations, 50 nations agreed to a Charter that begins, “We the peoples of the United Nations.”

Why is that opening line notable? Because today, the United Nations can, to some, seem to serve the narrow national interests of its 193 member countries — especially the most powerful ones — and not ordinary citizens.

These parochial priorities can stand in the way of fulfilling the first two pledges of the Charter: to end “the scourge of war” and to regain “faith in fundamental human rights.”

In 1948, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These include the right to not be enslaved, the right to free expression, and the right to seek from other countries asylum from persecution.

However, many of the rights expressed — to education, to equal pay for equal work, to nationality — remain unrealized.

Each fall, the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly becomes the stage where presidents and prime ministers give speeches that can be soaring or clichéd — or they can deliver long, incoherent tirades, such as the one given by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan strongman, in 2009. In 2017, President Trump threatened acts of aggression against rival nations, vowing to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the United States or its allies.

The event offers plenty of star power, but critics contend that it is little more than a glorified gabfest.

For the rest of the session, the General Assembly is the arena where largely symbolic diplomatic jousts are won and lost. Hundreds of resolutions are introduced annually. While some of them earn a great deal of attention — like one in 1975 that equated Zionism with racism — they are not legally binding. (The Assembly is responsible for making some budgetary decisions.)

In principle, nations small and large, rich and poor, have equal voice in the Assembly, with each country getting one vote. But the genuine power resides elsewhere.

The 15-member Security Council is by far the most powerful arm of the United Nations. It can impose sanctions, as it did against Iran over its nuclear program, and authorize military intervention, as it did against Libya in 2011.

Critics say it is also the most anachronistic part of the organization. Its five permanent members are the victors of World War II: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The other 10 members are elected for two-year terms, with seats set aside for different regions of the world.

Efforts to expand the permanent membership of the Council to include powers that have emerged since 1945 — such as India, Japan and Germany — have been stymied. For every country that vies for a seat, rivals seek to block it.

Any member of the permanent five — or the P5, for short — can veto any measure, and each has regularly used this power to protect either itself or allies. Since 1990, the United States has cast a veto on Council resolutions 18 times, many concerning Israeli-Palestinian relations. Russia has done so 22 times in that period.

The Charter does allow the General Assembly to act if, because of a veto, international peace and security are threatened. But in reality, that is rarely done.

The Security Council’s job is to maintain international peace. Its ability to do so has been severely constrained in recent years, in large part because of bitter divisions between Russia and the West.

The Council has been feckless in the face of major conflicts, particularly those in which permanent members have a stake.

Most recently, its starkest failure has been the handling of the seven-year conflict in Syria, with Russia backing the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and the United States, Britain and France supporting some opposition groups. The Security Council has failed to take decisive action on Syria, despite reports of countless war crimes.

It also failed to halt the fighting in Yemen, despite a disastrous humanitarian situation, including a cholera outbreak, and reports from its own investigators of war crimes on both sides. Last year, the Council was confronted with wide-scale atrocities against the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar, but has done little in response.

North Korea, an ally of China, has also consistently defied the United Nations, ignoring prohibitions against its nuclear program and missile tests. And the global body has had little sway in the seesawing diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang, which has swung from threats of military strikes to the groundbreaking meeting in June between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader.

The Charter is vague in defining the duties of the secretary general, the United Nations’ top official. He or she is expected to show no favoritism to any particular country, but the office is largely dependent on the funding and the good will of the most powerful nations.

The Security Council — notably the P5 — chooses the secretary general, by secret ballot, to serve a maximum of two five-year terms. This process makes it difficult for the role to be independent of the P5’s influence.

The secretary general has no army to deploy, but what the position does enjoy is a bully pulpit. If the officeholder is perceived as being independent, he or she is often the only person in the world who can call warring parties to the peace table.

The current secretary general, António Guterres, a Portuguese politician, took the reins last year. He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

The actions of his predecessor, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, repeatedly displayed the limits of the office’s authority during his 10-year tenure. For example, Mr. Ban was persuaded for two years in a row to keep powerful countries off a list of those whose military forces had killed and maimed children.

Since 1946, nine people have held the position of secretary general. All have been men.

When Mr. Guterres took on the role of secretary general, he inherited a body facing the unenviable task of demonstrating the United Nations’ relevance in a world confronting challenges that were inconceivable 73 years ago.

Here are some of the questions that will determine whether the organization’s influence diminishes or grows:

■ Can the Security Council take action against countries that flout international humanitarian law? And can the P5 countries look beyond their own narrow interests and rivalries to find ways to end the “scourge of war”?

■ Can peacekeeping operations be repaired so that the protection of civilians is ensured?

■ Can the United Nations persuade countries to come up with ways to handle the new reality of mass migration?

■ Can the secretary general persuade countries to keep their promise to curb carbon emissions — and to help those suffering from the consequences of climate change?

■ Can the United Nations get closer to achieving its founding mandate, to make the world a better, more peaceful place?

An earlier version of this article first ran on Sept. 16, 2016.

‘This Noise That Never Stops’: Wind Farms Come to Brazil’s Atlantic Coast

GALINHOS, Brazil — At night, blinking red dots fill the sky, and the sound of whooshing rotating blades is everywhere — constant reminders of the wind’s abundant presence here on Brazil’s Atlantic coast and its harvesting as a natural resource.

At daybreak, towers rising nearly 400 feet peek out high above the canopy of palm trees, like gigantic dandelions.

On this part of the Atlantic coast, the wind blows constantly and in one direction consistently, giving Brazil a steady stream for energy production. The country is now the world’s eighth-largest producer of wind power, according to the Global Wind Energy Council, a trade association, with wind farms operated by Weg, Siemens Gamesa, Wobben Windpower, among other companies.

Still, investors are cautious, as the construction of transmission lines is slow, and poor infrastructure increases the price of imported parts. Now, lawmakers are proposing a tax on wind- and solar-generated power as the government hopes to profit from the moneymaking potential.

A mile from the beach, the view of the turbines reminds the rural area’s residents of both the possibilities and the impact of the industry.

At Morros dos Martins beach, about 80 miles northwest of Natal, Damiao Henrique, 70, plugged electric cables to a pump so he could water his bean plants. A fisherman and farmer, he was removed from his old strip of land and sent a few yards closer to the shore to allow space for a wind farm.

“But I am O.K.,” he said. “As compensation, I received energy from the company, and now I can water my beans more easily.”

Other local residents said the promised benefits had not appeared.

“The mayor said there would be schools,” said Maria Venus, 47, who owns a grocery store in Morros dos Martins. “They opened a music school for the community, gave us some guitars and after a year all was put on hold.”

And then there is the noise.

“Oh yes,” she added, “they also left this noise that never stops.”

Northeast from Galinhos, between São Bento do Norte and Pedra Grande, contractors for Copel, the Parana State energy company, are building the enormous Cutia wind farm. When finished, its 149 turbine towers will be the company’s most significant project in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

In Galinhos on a recent visit, youths advertised the city’s anniversary ball, cruising the streets in transformed beach buggies, loudspeakers in their trunks to call residents to the celebrations.

At the door of a crumbling old school where he was once a squatter, Jose Neto, 70, a fisherman, lit a handmade cigarette as he watched the merriment.

“I know little about taxes, but if it is used for our city, then it’s a good thing,” he said of the proposed windmill tax. “You know, we are so humble that any puff we can get is a big help.”

At the celebrations themselves, local politicians mingled with residents of nearby villages. Giant speakers pumped out music for dancers on a scaffolding stage. Waiters carried plastic tables above their heads, offering them to anyone buying 12 bottles of beer. Families bought barbecue sticks from street carts.

Edton Barbosa, 56, a retired Petrobras oil exploration technician from Minas Gerais State, looked on. He said it was good that politicians were thinking about charging for the wind. “It will help develop this place,” he said, “as oil royalties have done for other areas lately.”

But the state must “create value around this strategic commodity,” he added, “or we are doomed to be energy exporters and have all this poverty around the wealth.”

Puerto Rico Nervously Prepares for Hurricane Season: ‘What if Another One Comes?’

LAS PIEDRAS, P.R. — Next week, nearly eight months after Hurricane Maria tore across Puerto Rico and ravaged its frail power grid, the Army Corps of Engineers, which was charged with restoring the island’s electricity, will hand off its mission and depart. Thousands of Puerto Ricans will still be in the dark.

Two weeks later, a new hurricane season will begin. And Puerto Ricans, who are struggling to recover from Maria, fear they will not be ready.

“What if another one comes? We’re very worried,” Migdalia Díaz, 64, said from her home in Las Piedras, a town of about 38,000 in eastern Puerto Rico where about a quarter of residents are still without power.

A blue tarp covers her leaky roof. Ms. Díaz lives with her son, Kevin Cabrera, 22, who has Down syndrome and is sensitive to the heat. She has been relying on two generators, a solar-powered battery charger and a hot plate. Once the Corps of Engineers leaves, restoring power will be up to the local power agency, and many residents are skeptical.

“Emotionally, we are not well. I’ve spent the seven months since the hurricane taking sleeping pills,” Ms. Díaz said. “We look like we’re from that show ‘The Walking Dead.’”

The crucial question is whether Puerto Rico’s power grid can withstand even a minor storm. The answer is probably not: A fallen tree recently knocked out power to the San Juan metropolitan area. A week later, an excavator got too close to a high-voltage line, and the entire island was plunged into darkness.

The local utility, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, is “not ready for a new hurricane season,” Representative Jenniffer González-Colón, the commonwealth’s nonvoting member of Congress, told a local radio station.

Officials insist they are better positioned to respond to a hurricane — if nothing else, because the memory of Maria is still fresh.

“We do learn,” said Mike Byrne, who oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s relief work in Puerto Rico. “We take our lumps, and we learn from them.”

There is reason for skepticism: Local emergency managers are still meeting with key members of the private sector, like fuel distributors, to hash out hurricane plans. The worst of the Atlantic hurricane season does not usually hit the Caribbean until August and September; officials insist they will finish their preparations by then.

For the first time, Puerto Rican residents will be asked to be prepared to fend for themselves for 10 days after a storm, up from three. Even that might not be enough, officials acknowledge; meals are still being delivered to residents of remote mountain towns.

Puerto Rico does have more emergency supplies on hand than it did before Maria, which hit just two weeks after Hurricane Irma. Though Irma only brushed Puerto Rico, it ripped through the United States Virgin Islands — prompting FEMA officials to send the bulk of the hurricane relief supplies in the agency’s Puerto Rico warehouse to the island’s stricken neighbors.

“So when Maria hit Puerto Rico, tarps and plastic sheeting, we had none,” said Reinaldo Colón, supervisor of FEMA’s distribution center for the Caribbean, a large warehouse on the outskirts of San Juan. Forty-eight generators had been shipped to St. Thomas, leaving 25 available.

Now, the warehouse, rehabbed after taking on water during Maria, is brimming with boxes encased in plastic. Shelves are stocked with 100,000 tarps, according to FEMA, more than the 13,000 available at the start of the 2017 hurricane season. There are 3.6 million meals ready to eat, compared to 500,000 last year; 5.4 million liters of water compared to 800,000; nearly twice as many blankets — 10,000, compared to 6,000 — and 130 high-capacity generators.

FEMA has also rented four warehouses on the island and plans to keep 67 recovery centers open throughout hurricane season. More than 2,800 FEMA employees remain in Puerto Rico, ready to help if another disaster strikes.

“Because the infrastructure is so fragile, we’re being overly cautious,” Mr. Byrne said.

For the first time, Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency has also secured its own regional warehouses, the agency’s interim commissioner, Carlos Acevedo, said.

Later this month, the federal and local agencies plan a series of exercises to test their emergency response plans. One exercise will simulate a mass-casualty catastrophe at hospitals. After Maria, major health centers did not have working generators or fuel to power them.

Federal and local officials say all hospitals now have adequate generators and, in some cases, solar power and energy storage batteries to kick in during a power loss. The 800 high-capacity generators that FEMA distributed after Maria, many of which went to hospitals, will remain during hurricane season, said Alejandro De La Campa, director of FEMA’s Caribbean area division.

“That’s unheard-of,” he said. “In some cases, like hospitals, they are backup to the backup.”

Another exercise, in mid-June, will simulate a full-scale disaster: Federal and local teams will practice setting up an emergency operations center at the San Juan convention center. Crews will load supplies from the FEMA warehouse onto trucks and deliver them to municipalities.

Typically, at the end of dry runs, the supplies return to the warehouse. This time, FEMA will leave some commodities with local mayors, to provide a modicum of early support, Mr. Byrne said.

By the end of May, Puerto Rico plans to equip all hospitals, urgent care centers, fire stations and police stations with radio systems, Mr. Acevedo said. By June or July, all municipalities should have satellite phones. A communications blackout after Maria delayed aid because officials did not know the extent of the devastation.

About 15 percent of private telecommunications providers continue to operate on generators, said Sandra Torres, president of Puerto Rico’s telecommunications regulator. But, she added, more fiber-optic cable has been installed underground since Maria — including, for the first time, near Puerto Rico’s hard-hit central mountain town of Utuado — and providers have invested in more generators to keep cellphone towers running.

Storm debris is still being hauled away from 26 municipalities, but should be completed by mid-June, FEMA officials said. Local officials are also receiving training to better handle emergencies.

Still, the governor acknowledged that saving money to pay for a catastrophe remains a challenge for his strapped government, whose bankrupt finances have been overseen by a federal control board since 2016.

“The limitation we had with Maria is we had no cash to burn,” said the governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló.

Emergency managers and business leaders also are concerned about the logistics of getting aid into Puerto Rico. Maria created a bottleneck at the Port of San Juan, which slowed everything from food to electrical poles.

“What am I most worried about?” Mr. Byrne said. “A ship sinks in the channel in San Juan, and we can’t bring anything.”

Manuel Reyes Alfonso, executive vice president of MIDA, the island’s food industry association, said wholesale and retail businesses continued to experience delays in receiving cargo. “We are not where we’d like to be, or where we should be,” he said.

He worries about a trucker shortage and about slow fuel delivery for generators. Puerto Rico had fuel after Maria, but no easy way to get it to people, leading to endless lines at gas stations and a black market for diesel sales. FEMA had to bring in a fuel barge for its operations.

Food could also be scarce again, Mr. Reyes said, because Puerto Rico continues to impose a tax on inventories. Eliminating the tax could increase food stores to an average of 37 days from 26, according to a survey that the food association conducted of its members in February. A legislative effort to do away with the tax has stalled, Mr. Reyes said, in part because lawmakers have yet to figure out how to make up for the lost revenue.

Rodrigo Masses, president of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, said he had advised businesses to double their fuel storage capacity, keep their generators in shape and designate an emergency contact off the island to relay information in the event cellphone service fails again.

“We’re still not out of the crisis. If we’re hit by another hurricane like this one, we’re going to lose power again. We’re going to lose connectivity again,” he warned. “But the private sector is going to be much better prepared.”

Once the Corps of Engineers departs, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as Prepa, will be tasked with completing unfinished repairs to the power grid. At a hearing this week of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in Washington, lawmakers sounded skeptical that Prepa, which has come under fierce scrutiny over its early response to the storm, is up to the job. Representative González-Colón has asked FEMA to extend the Corps’ stay.

“We sure want to know that you really are ready,” Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told Prepa’s new chief, Walter Higgins, at the hearing.

“We feel that we are ready,” Mr. Higgins said. But, he added, “I don’t doubt that we will have some growing pains.”

In Las Piedras, which sits on the hills south of El Yunque National Forest, people who have electricity say it goes out often. “If a little bit of wind blows through, we will lose power,” said Roberto Rosado, 53, who still has metal shutters on his sliding doors. “We just lost power now. This is an everyday occurrence.”

Mayor Miguel López, who is known as Micky, recently blocked two of the three power crews from leaving his town. “There was no other option,” said Mr. López, whose unorthodox strategy succeeded in keeping the linemen at work.

His director of emergency management, Xavier Muñoz, said the one upside of Maria was that it had scared residents into taking hurricane plans seriously.

“Shelters are going to get full,” he predicted. “I have 220 cots right now, and I think that’s not going to be enough.”

On Social Media’s Fringes, Growing Extremism Targets Women

The recent mass killing in Toronto by a suspect who once called for an “Incel Rebellion” has drawn attention to an online community of men who lament being “involuntarily celibate” and dream of a social order granting them access to the women of their choice.

The group may seem like a bizarre but tiny fringe, its views the expression of long-held resentments among a handful of lonely men. And it is.

But incels are the latest manifestation of a much larger movement hidden just beneath the surface of polite society across the West. They are just one part of a set of ideologies, now growing in size and influence, that speak to broader resentments among men in Western societies, experts say.

Two of modern society’s most disruptive forces — anger among many men over social changes they see as a threat, and the rise of social media upending how ideas spread and communities form — are colliding. The result is that movements like the incels are becoming at once more accessible and more extreme.

Although attacks like the one in Toronto that killed 10 people are rare, the hate being spread online is leading increasingly to threats and calls for violence. More often than not, the threats target women.

For white men across the Western world, special rights and privileges once came as a birthright. Even those who lacked wealth or power were assured a status above women and minorities.

Though they still enjoy preferential status in virtually every realm, from the boardroom to the courthouse, social forces like the Me Too movement are challenging that status. To some, any steps toward equality, however modest, feel like a threat.

“There’s just this sense that ‘we used to be in charge, and now we’re not the only ones in charge, so we’ve been attacked,’” said Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland social scientist who studies group identity and politics.

“If you have a sense that you’re owed, that your deserved status is being threatened, then you start to fight for it,” Ms. Mason said.

Often that takes the form of lashing out at members of whatever social group dared to challenge the established hierarchy.

“You’d think that young men would be treated nicely by society because we are the builders and protectors of civilization,” wrote a user named connorWM1996 on r/MGTOW, a Reddit message board for men trying to escape what they see as oppression by female-dominated society. “But no of course not. We are treated like idiots who aren’t good for anything.”

Some of these men may go in search of more extreme ideologies that make sense of their feelings of anger and loss, and seem to provide a solution. Others merely stumble into them.

“Plenty of people feel like they don’t have status and don’t revolt about it,” Ms. Mason said. “But the people who do revolt are people who feel that they are they are owed status, and they’re not being given the status that traditional society should give them.”

The incel movement tells its adherents that society’s rules are engineered to unfairly deprive them of sex. That worldview lets them see themselves as both victims, made lonely by a vast conspiracy, and as superior, for their unique understanding of the truth.

Extremism has always existed, but until recently its spread was limited. To begin with, there was the basic challenge to any collective action: how to find and gather like-minded people dispersed across great distances. Beyond that, there was the social stigma against any ideas perceived as outside the mainstream.

Social media has lowered both of those barriers.

Now, men looking for a way to explain — and justify — their anger need only a few clicks to encounter entire communities built up around promises to restore male power and control. In the past, those might have been relegated to a few bars or living rooms, but now they exist in darker corners of some of the most popular social networking sites.

Even though these men may never meet in person, they can still derive a powerful identity. Men who previously felt disconnected and lost may now feel a sense of belonging and importance.

“These online communities serve a very important function in that respect,” said Michael Kimmel, a sociologist who runs the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University. “People encourage you to feel more, and deeper. And then value what you say that’s more and deeper.”

Social media has played a powerful role for genuinely marginalized communities, helping them come together and make themselves heard. The Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements, for instance, pushed their way onto the national agenda in part by using social media. But where those movements seek to dismantle systems of discrimination, the growing online communities of angry white men are fighting against change.

The alt-right, right-wing populism, men’s rights groups and a renewed white supremacist movement have capitalized on many white men’s feeling of loss in recent years. The groups vary in how they diagnose society’s ills and whom they blame, but they provide a sense of meaning and place for their followers.

And as different extremist groups connect online, they draw on one another’s membership bases, tactics and worldviews, allowing membership in one group to become a gateway to other extremist ideologies as well.

Today, for example, posts on Incel.me, an incel forum, debate joining forces with the alt-right and argue that Jews are to blame for incels’ oppression. On one thread, users fantasized that if they were dictators, they would not only create harems and enslave women, but also “gas the Jews.”

By dividing the world into us-versus-them and describing vast injustice at the hands of the supposedly powerful, these groups, experts say, can prime adherents for violence.

Control over women has long been a way for men to show their status, Mr. Kimmel said. That has made ideologies which promise to safeguard men’s power over women particularly appealing to some.

Incels are just one especially extreme subgroup of the “manosphere,” an online nebula of ideologies that also includes men’s rights groups and so-called pickup artists. In those communities, adherents can find one of the most powerful antidotes to the feeling of being left behind by society: a sense of belonging to something powerful.

One group, r/TheRedPill, which has over a quarter million subscribers on Reddit, offers a worldview that partially overlaps with that of the incels. It promises its followers that if they follow its rules for living, many of which involve manipulating or pressuring women into sex, they will become high-status “alpha” males. (Its name refers to the movie “The Matrix,” in which swallowing a red pill lets the protagonist see his world’s false nature.)

“Whether we’re talking about the men’s rights groups or the incel movement or the red pill,” Mr. Kimmel said, “aggrieved entitlement underlies a lot of men’s anger.”

But when extremist groups portray women as the “them” to men’s “us,” that can become a way to justify violence by framing it as defensive rather than aggressive, Mr. Kimmel said. He summed up the mind set: “She’s making me feel ‘less than.’ So rape is the way I get even with her. Violence is the way I get even with her. She has the power, I’m taking it back.”

On Incel.me, users laud Elliot Rodger, a self-identified incel who killed six people and wounded more than a dozen others near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014, for what they see as retaliation against women like those they feel rejected by.

One user wrote that he wished Mr. Rodger had claimed more victims: “If I were him, I wouldn’t have let a door stop me from performing my supreme justice on these disturbing creatures.”

Those men may just be venting anger, without any intent to engage in real-world violence. But researchers have found that people tend to evaluate ideas positively if they are expressed by a trusted group or leader. And so over time, the online echo chamber can legitimize radical ideas, including calls for violence.

Eight of the 10 people killed in Toronto when a driver ran down pedestrians were women. The attack was rare for its death toll. Other forms of gendered violence, including rape and domestic abuse, are far more common. When women are portrayed as an oppressive enemy, it becomes easier for their attackers to try to legitimize their actions to themselves, Mr. Kimmel said.

“I will never condemn violence,” a user named universallyabhorred wrote in a post praising the recent Toronto attack. “With enough suffering, they can no longer ignore and ridicule us, they will fear us instead.”

Anti-Corruption Crusader in Brazil Says He Won’t Run for President

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The man many Brazilians thought would shake up October’s presidential election, Joaquim Barbosa, Brazil’s first black Supreme Court justice, announced on Tuesday that he would not run, upending the already unpredictable race.

Mr. Barbosa, 63, had joined the Brazilian Socialist Party in April, raising the prospect of a presidential bid. Even without declaring his candidacy, he was the choice of 10 percent of the respondents in a nationwide poll, thanks to his image as an anti-corruption crusader at a time when all of the major parties and many top politicians have been tainted by a wide-ranging bribery scandal.

But on Tuesday, in a message on Twitter, he said: “It’s decided. After many weeks of reflection, I have finally reached a conclusion. I do not intend to be a candidate for the president of the Republic. Decision strictly personal.”

“It changes the entire scenario,” said Monica de Bolle, a Brazil expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Polarization wins the day.”

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who last month began serving a 12-year prison sentence after a corruption conviction, is leading in the polls, but he is likely to be barred from running. Next in line is Jair Bolsonaro, a congressman and ultraconservative former army captain who was recently charged with inciting racism.

According pollsters, Mr. Barbosa might have been able to unite voters on the left and the right because of his socially progressive agenda and his high-profile battle against corrupt politicians from Mr. da Silva’s Workers’ Party during his years on the Supreme Court.

Mr. Barbosa, the eldest of eight children, worked as a janitor in a courtroom before going on to become the only black student in his law school class at the University of Brasília. In 2003, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, where he oversaw the trial of politicians implicated in a vote-buying scheme. When he retired in 2014 he was approached by a number of political parties.

This year’s presidential election will be the first since another corruption investigation, known as Lava Jato, or Car Wash, engulfed the country’s major political parties and landed Mr. da Silva in jail, convicted of receiving a luxury apartment as a bribe. Polls show that corruption is Brazilians’ No. 1 concern heading into elections.

Mr. Barbosa’s decision not to run is likely to fuel the already deep divisions in Brazilian politics, but it will also open up space for candidates trying to seize the middle ground, in particular Marina Silva, a former environment minister who left the Workers’ Party to create her own political movement.

“Marina Silva’s profile is very similar — they even talked about forming a ticket together, although it never happened,” said Kennedy Alencar, a political columnist for CBN Radio, referring to Ms. Silva and Mr. Barbosa. “They are both considered honest outsiders with a social commitment.”

Ms. Silva is the daughter of a rubber tapper and one of the few black Brazilians, along with Mr. Barbosa, to climb to the top of the country’s power structure. She has run unsuccessfully in two previous presidential elections, but this time her lack of ties to a major political party is an asset.

Anger at the political establishment has lifted the prospects of outsiders like Mr. Barbosa and Mr. Bolsonaro, who was long regarded as a fringe legislator, but who has gathered momentum with his promises to stamp out corruption, make it easier to own guns and give the police a freer hand to fight crime.

But there is another factor that could have a huge impact on what is becoming the most unpredictable election since the military dictatorship ended in the 1980s: Mr. da Silva.

After two terms, Mr. da Silva left office with an approval rating of 87 percent and even now, sitting behind bars, 30 percent of Brazilians say they would vote for him. His party insists that Mr. da Silva will be its candidate, but his candidacy is likely to be barred by the Supreme Electoral Court later this year. If he chooses to anoint a successor, his decision could tilt the race in his candidate’s favor, especially with Mr. Barbosa out of the race.

Political analysts say Ciro Gomes, the candidate of the leftist Democratic Workers Party, could eventually form an alliance with Mr. da Silva’s Workers’ Party, but so far he is trailing in the polls.

Juliete Araujo, a 24-year-old house cleaner from the impoverished northeast, said it was hard to trust politicians other than Mr. da Silva, who is widely known as Lula.

“Lula is the only one who has ever cared about us,” Ms. Araujo said. “Maybe I would have voted for Joaquim Barbosa, but now if Lula isn’t in the elections, I’ll just cast a blank ballot.”

Anti-Corruption Crusader in Brazil Says He Won’t Run for President

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The man many Brazilians thought would shake up October’s presidential election, Joaquim Barbosa, Brazil’s first black Supreme Court justice, announced on Tuesday that he would not run, upending the already unpredictable race.

Mr. Barbosa, 63, had joined the Brazilian Socialist Party in April, raising the prospect of a presidential bid. Even without declaring his candidacy, he was the choice of 10 percent of the respondents in a nationwide poll, thanks to his image as an anti-corruption crusader at a time when all of the major parties and many top politicians have been tainted by a wide-ranging bribery scandal.

But on Tuesday, in a message on Twitter, he said: “It’s decided. After many weeks of reflection, I have finally reached a conclusion. I do not intend to be a candidate for the president of the Republic. Decision strictly personal.”

“It changes the entire scenario,” said Monica de Bolle, a Brazil expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Polarization wins the day.”

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who last month began serving a 12-year prison sentence after a corruption conviction, is leading in the polls, but he is likely to be barred from running. Next in line is Jair Bolsonaro, a congressman and ultraconservative former army captain who was recently charged with inciting racism.

According pollsters, Mr. Barbosa might have been able to unite voters on the left and the right because of his socially progressive agenda and his high-profile battle against corrupt politicians from Mr. da Silva’s Workers’ Party during his years on the Supreme Court.

Mr. Barbosa, the eldest of eight children, worked as a janitor in a courtroom before going on to become the only black student in his law school class at the University of Brasília. In 2003, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, where he oversaw the trial of politicians implicated in a vote-buying scheme. When he retired in 2014 he was approached by a number of political parties.

This year’s presidential election will be the first since another corruption investigation, known as Lava Jato, or Car Wash, engulfed the country’s major political parties and landed Mr. da Silva in jail, convicted of receiving a luxury apartment as a bribe. Polls show that corruption is Brazilians’ No. 1 concern heading into elections.

Mr. Barbosa’s decision not to run is likely to fuel the already deep divisions in Brazilian politics, but it will also open up space for candidates trying to seize the middle ground, in particular Marina Silva, a former environment minister who left the Workers’ Party to create her own political movement.

“Marina Silva’s profile is very similar — they even talked about forming a ticket together, although it never happened,” said Kennedy Alencar, a political columnist for CBN Radio, referring to Ms. Silva and Mr. Barbosa. “They are both considered honest outsiders with a social commitment.”

Ms. Silva is the daughter of a rubber tapper and one of the few black Brazilians, along with Mr. Barbosa, to climb to the top of the country’s power structure. She has run unsuccessfully in two previous presidential elections, but this time her lack of ties to a major political party is an asset.

Anger at the political establishment has lifted the prospects of outsiders like Mr. Barbosa and Mr. Bolsonaro, who was long regarded as a fringe legislator, but who has gathered momentum with his promises to stamp out corruption, make it easier to own guns and give the police a freer hand to fight crime.

But there is another factor that could have a huge impact on what is becoming the most unpredictable election since the military dictatorship ended in the 1980s: Mr. da Silva.

After two terms, Mr. da Silva left office with an approval rating of 87 percent and even now, sitting behind bars, 30 percent of Brazilians say they would vote for him. His party insists that Mr. da Silva will be its candidate, but his candidacy is likely to be barred by the Supreme Electoral Court later this year. If he chooses to anoint a successor, his decision could tilt the race in his candidate’s favor, especially with Mr. Barbosa out of the race.

Political analysts say Ciro Gomes, the candidate of the leftist Democratic Workers Party, could eventually form an alliance with Mr. da Silva’s Workers’ Party, but so far he is trailing in the polls.

Juliete Araujo, a 24-year-old house cleaner from the impoverished northeast, said it was hard to trust politicians other than Mr. da Silva, who is widely known as Lula.

“Lula is the only one who has ever cared about us,” Ms. Araujo said. “Maybe I would have voted for Joaquim Barbosa, but now if Lula isn’t in the elections, I’ll just cast a blank ballot.”