The Palace of Lions, which commands São Luis, the colonial era capital of Brazil’s north-eastern Maranhão state, from a bluff overlooking the sea, has seen many invaders come and go in its 400-year-old history. But none quite like its latest conqueror, state governor Flávio Dino.
The Communist Party of Brazil politician vanquished in elections last year one of Latin America’s longest running political dynasties, the Sarney family. With its members occupying some of Brazil and the state’s most powerful political positions over five decades, the family had become a seemingly immovable part of Brazil’s traditional oligarchy.
But now, 10 months into his four-year term, Mr Dino is facing an arguably bigger challenge — how to fulfil his election promise to lift the fortunes of Brazil’s second-poorest state even as the country suffers its worst recession since the 1930s.