Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
|35th President of Brazil|
1 January 2003 – 1 January 2011
|Vice President||José Alencar|
|Preceded by||Fernando Henrique Cardoso|
|Succeeded by||Dilma Rousseff|
|President of the Workers' Party|
10 February 1980 – 24 January 1994
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Rui Falcão|
27 October 1945 |
Caetés, Pernambuco, Brazil
|Political party||Workers' Party|
Maria de Lurdes da Silva (1969–1971; deceased)
Marisa Letícia Rocco Casa (1974–present)
Marcos Cláudio (Adopted)
|Residence||São Bernardo do Campo|
|Education||National Service for Industrial Training|
Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
World Food Prize
Luíz Inácio da Silva (Portuguese: ; born 27 October 1945), known as Lula (Portuguese: ), is a Brazilian politician who served as the President of Brazil from 1 January 2003 to 1 January 2011. He is a founding member of the Workers' Party (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores) and ran for president three times unsuccessfully, first in the 1989 election, then again in 1994 and 1998. Lula achieved victory in the 2002 election, and was inaugurated as president on 1 January 2003. In the 2006 election he was elected for a second term as president, which ended on 1 January 2011. Succeeded by his former Chief of Staff, Dilma Rousseff, he left a enduring mark on Brazilian politics in the form of Lulism.
He is often regarded as one of the most popular politicians in the history of Brazil and, at the time of his mandate, one of the most popular in the world. Social programs like Bolsa Família and Fome Zero are hallmarks of his time in office. Lula played a prominent role in recent international relations developments, including the nuclear program of Iran and global warming, and was described as "a man with audacious ambitions to alter the balance of power among nations." He was featured in Time 's The 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2010, and has been called "the most successful politician of his time."
In October 2011, Lula—who was a smoker for 40 years—was diagnosed with throat cancer and quickly started chemotherapy treatment. Since the cancer was found, he has successfully recovered and has since announced a return to politics.
- Early life 1
- Education and work 2
- Union career 3
Political career 4
- Elections 4.1
- Political orientation 5.1
- Social projects 5.2
- Economy 5.3
- Foreign policy 5.4
- Corruption scandals and controversy 5.5
- Post-presidency 6
- Awards and recognition 7
- Lula in popular culture 8
- See also 9
- References 10
- Further reading 11
- External links 12
Luiz Inácio da Silva was born on 27 October 1945 (but registered with a date of birth of 6 October 1945) in Caetés (then a district of Garanhuns), located 155 miles (250 km) from Recife, capital of Pernambuco, a Brazilian state in the Northeast of Brazil. He was the seventh of eight children of Aristides Inácio da Silva and Eurídice Ferreira de Melo. Two weeks after Lula's birth, his father moved to Santos with Valdomira Ferreira de Góis, a cousin of Eurídice.
In December 1952, when Lula was only 7 years old, his mother decided to move to São Paulo with her children to rejoin her husband. After a journey of thirteen days in a pau-de-arara (open truck bed), they arrived in Guarujá and discovered that Aristides had formed a second family with Valdomira. Aristides' two families lived in the same house for some time, but they didn't get along very well, and four years later, Eurídice moved with her children to a small room in the back area of a bar in the city of São Paulo. After that, Lula rarely saw his father, who became an alcoholic and died in 1978.
Lula was married twice. In 1969, he married Maria de Lourdes, who died of hepatitis in 1971, when she was pregnant with their first son, who also died. Lula and Miriam Cordeiro had a daughter, Lurian, out of wedlock in 1974. In 1974, Lula married Marisa, his current wife and at the time a widow, with whom he had three sons (he has also adopted Marisa's son from her first marriage).
Education and work
Lula had little formal education. He did not learn to read until he was ten years old, and quit school after the second grade in order to work to help his family. His working life began at age 12 as a shoeshiner and street vendor. By age 14 he got his first formal job in a copper processing factory as a lathe operator.
At age 19, he lost the little finger on his left hand in an accident while working as a press operator in an automobile parts factory. After losing his finger he had to run to several hospitals before he received medical attention. This experience increased his interest in participating within the Workers' Union. Around that time, he became involved in union activities and held several important union posts. Due to perceived incompatibility with the Brazilian military government and trade union activities, Lula's views moved further to the political left.
Inspired by his brother Frei Chico, Lula joined the Labour courts found the strikes to be illegal, and Lula was jailed for a month. Due to this, and like other people imprisoned for political activities under the military government, Lula was awarded a lifetime pension after the regime fell.
On 10 February 1980, a group of academics, intellectuals, and union leaders, including Lula, founded the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) or Workers' Party, a left-wing party with progressive ideas created in the midst of Brazil's military government.
In 1982 he added the nickname Lula to his legal name. In 1983 he helped found the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT) union association. In 1984 PT and Lula joined the popular Diretas Já! (Direct [Elections] Now!) campaign, demanding a direct popular vote for the next Brazilian presidential election. According to the 1967 constitution, Presidents were at that time elected by both Houses of Congress in joint session, with representatives of all State Legislatures; this was widely recognised as a mere sham as, since the March 1964 coup d'état, each "elected" President had been a retired general chosen in a closed military caucus. Lula and the PT supported the public demand for a change in the electoral system. But the campaign was defeated by a vote in Congress that rejected an amendment calling direct elections for next year, and, in 1985, a civilian president, Tancredo Neves, was elected by the same indirect procedure, with Lula's support. Only four years later, as a direct result of Diretas Já! and after years of popular struggle, the 1989 elections were the first to elect a president by direct popular vote in 29 years.
Lula first ran for office in 1982, for the state government of São Paulo and lost. In the 1986 elections Lula won a seat in Congress with the most votes nationwide. The Workers' Party helped write the country's post-military government Constitution, ensuring strong constitutional guarantees for workers' rights, but failed to achieve a proposed push for agrarian reform in the Constitutional text. Under Lula's leadership, the PT took a stance against the Constitution in the 1988 Constituent Assembly, grudgingly agreeing to sign the convened draft at a later stage.
In 1989, still as a Congressman, Lula ran as the PT candidate in the first democratic elections for president since 1960. Lula and Leonel Brizola, two popular left-wing candidates, were expected to vie for first place. Lula was viewed as the more left-leaning of the two, advocating immediate land reform and a default on the external debt. However, a minor candidate, Fernando Collor de Mello, former governor of Alagoas, quickly amassed support among the nation's élite with a more business-friendly agenda. Collor became popular taking emphatic anti-corruption positions; he eventually beat Lula in the second round of the 1989 elections. In 1992, Collor resigned, under threat of impeachment for his alleged embezzlement of public money.
Lula refused to run for re-election as a Congressman in 1990, busying himself with expanding the Workers' Party organizations around the country. As the political scene in the 1990s came under the sway of the Brazilian real monetary stabilization plan, which ended decades of rampant inflation, former Minister of Finance Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB)) defeated Lula in 1994 and again, by an even wider margin, in 1998.
Before winning the presidency in 2002, Lula had been a strident Che Guevara T-shirts. In the 2002 campaign, Lula foreswore both his informal clothing style and his platform plank of linking the payment of Brazil's foreign debt to a prior thorough audit. This last point had worried economists, businessmen and banks, who feared that even a partial Brazilian default along with the existing Argentine default would have a massive ripple effect through the world economy. Embracing political consultant Duda Mendonça's advice to pursue a more media-friendly image, Lula became president after winning the second round of the 2002 election, held on 27 October, defeating the PSDB candidate José Serra.
Lula served 2 terms as president and left office on 1 January 2011. During his farewell speech he said he felt an additional burden to prove that he could handle the presidency despite his humble beginnings. "If I failed, it would be the workers' class which would be failing; it would be this country's poor who would be proving they did not have what it takes to rule."
Since the beginning of his political career to the present, Lula has changed some of his original ideas and moderated his positions. Instead of the drastic social changes he proposed in the past, his government chose a reformist line, passing new retirement, tax, labour and judicial legislation, and discussing university reform.
Very few actual reforms have been implemented so far. Some wings of the Worker's Party have disagreed with the increasing moderation in focus since the late eighties and have left the party to form dissident wings such as the Workers' Cause Party, the United Socialist Workers' Party and, already during Lula's presidency, the Socialism and Liberty Party. Alliances with conservative, right wing politicians, like former presidents José Sarney and Fernando Collor, have been a cause of disappointment for some. On 1 October 2006, Lula narrowly missed winning another term in the first round of elections. He faced a run-off on 29 October and won by a substantial margin.
In an interview published 26 August 2007, he said that he had no intention to seek a constitutional change so that he could run for a third consecutive term; he also said that he wanted "to reach the end of [his] term in a strong position in order to influence the succession."
Lula put social programs at the top of his agenda during the campaign and since being elected. Lula's leading program since very early on has been a campaign to eradicate hunger, following the lead of projects already put into practice by the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, but expanded within the new Fome Zero ("Zero Hunger"). This program brings together a series of programs with the goal to end hunger in Brazil: the creation of water cisterns in Brazil's semi-arid region of Sertão, plus actions to counter teenage pregnancy, to strengthen family agriculture, to distribute a minimum amount of cash to the poor, and many other measures.
Brazil's largest assistance program, however, is Bolsa Família ("Family Allowance"), which is an expansion based upon the previous Bolsa Escola ("School Allowance"), which was conditional on school attendance, first introduced in the city of Campinas by then-mayor José Roberto Magalhães Teixeira. Not long thereafter, other municipalities and states adopted similar programs. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso later federalized the program in 2001. In 2003, Lula formed Bolsa Família by combining Bolsa Escola with additional allowances for food and kitchen gas. This was preceded by the creation of a new ministry – the Ministry of Social Development and Eradication of Hunger. This merger reduced administrative costs and bureaucratic complexity for both the families involved and the administration of the program.
Fome Zero has a government budget and accepts donations from the private sector and international organizations. The Bolsa Família program has been praised internationally for its achievements, despite internal criticism accusing it of having turned into an electoral weapon.
Along with projects such as Fome Zero and Bolsa Família, the Lula administration flagship program is the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC). The PAC has a total budget of $646 billion reais (US$353 billion) by 2010, and was the Lula administration's main investment program. It is intended to strengthen Brazil's infrastructure, and consequently to stimulate the private sector and create more jobs. The social and urban infrastructure sector was scheduled to receive $84.2 billion reais (US$46 billion).
As Lula gained strength in the run-up to the 2002 elections, the fear of drastic measures, and comparisons with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, increased internal market speculation. This led to some market hysteria, contributing to a drop in the value of the real, and a downgrade of Brazil's credit rating.
In the beginning of his first term, Lula's chosen Minister of Finance was Antonio Palocci, a physician and former Trotskyist activist who had recanted his far left views while serving as the mayor of the sugarcane processing industry center of Ribeirão Preto, in the state of São Paulo. Lula also chose Henrique Meirelles of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, a prominent market-oriented economist, as head of the Brazilian Central Bank. As a former CEO of the BankBoston he was well-known to the market. Meirelles was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2002 as a member of the opposing PSDB, but resigned as deputy to become Governor of the Central Bank.
Silva and his cabinet followed in part the lead of the previous government, by renewing all agreements with the International Monetary Fund, which were signed by the time Argentina defaulted on its own deals in 2001. His government achieved a satisfactory primary budget surplus in the first two years, as required by the IMF agreement, exceeding the target for the third year. In late 2005, the government paid off its debt to the IMF in full, two years ahead of schedule. Three years after the election, Lula had slowly but firmly gained the market's confidence, and sovereign risk indexes fell to around 250 points. The government's choice of inflation targeting kept the economy stable, and was complimented during the 2005 World Economic Forum in Davos.
The Brazilian economy was generally not affected by the mensalão scandal. In early 2006, however, Palocci had to resign as finance minister due to his involvement in an abuse of power scandal. Lula then appointed Guido Mantega, a member of the PT and an economist by profession, as finance minister. Mantega, a former Marxist who had written a PhD thesis (in Sociology) on the history of economic ideas in Brazil from a left-wing viewpoint, is presently known for his criticism of high interest rates, something he claims satisfy banking interests. So far, however, Brazil's interest rates remain among the highest in the world. Mantega has been supportive of a higher employment by the state.
Not long after the start of his second term, Lula, alongside his cabinet, announced the new Growth Acceleration Program (the Programa de Aceleração de Crescimento, or PAC, in Portuguese), an investment program to solve many of the problems that prevent the Brazilian economy from expanding more rapidly. The measures include investment in the creation and repair of roads and railways, simplification and reduction of taxation, and modernization on the country's energy production to avoid further shortages. The money promised to be spent in this Program is considered to be around R$ 500 billion (more than 250 billion dollars) over four years. Part of the measures still depend on approval by Congress. Prior to taking office, Lula had been a critic of privatization policies. In his government, however, his administration has created public-private partnership concessions for seven federal roadways.
After decades as the largest foreign debtor among emerging economies, Brazil became a net creditor for the first time in January 2008. By mid-2008, both Fitch ratings and S&P had elevated the classification of Brazilian debt from speculative to investment grade. Banks have had record profit in Lula's government.
Lula's second mandate was a much more confident; Lula was then not only the undisputed master of popular affection, as the first president to bring a modest well being to so many of his people, but also in complete control of his own administration. His two leading ministers were gone. Palocci was no longer required to calm the nerves of overseas investors. Dirceu, a virtuoso of cold political calculation and intrigue, he had never liked and somewhat feared. Their joint elimination freed him for sole command in Brasilia. When, midway through his second term its test came, he handled it with aplomb. The crash of Wall Street in 2008 might be a tsunami in the US and Europe, he declared that in Brazil it would be no more than a little 'ripple' ("uma marolinha"). The phrase was seized on by the Brazilian press as proof of reckless economic ignorance and irresponsibility. Lula proved that the big media (PiG) was wrong. The president boasted that the tsunami of the global financial crisis and indeed only register barely a ripple in Brazil. In 2008, Brazil enjoyed the economic good health to fight the global financial crisis with large stimulus packages lasting, at least, until 2014.
The Lula Administration's economic policies also helped to significantly raise living standards, with the percentage of Brazilians belonging to the consumerist middle class rising from 37% to 50% of the population.
"Under Lula, Brazil became the world's eighth-largest economy, more than 20 million people rose out of acute poverty and Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics, the first time the Games will be held in South America."— The Washington Post, October 2010
Leading a large and competitive agricultural state, Lula generally opposes and criticizes farm G8 agricultural subsidies. Brazil is becoming influential in dialogue between South America and developed countries, especially the United States. It played an important role in negotiations in internal conflicts of Venezuela and Colombia, and concentrated efforts on strengthening Mercosur. During the Lula administration, Brazilian foreign trade increased dramatically, changing from deficits to several surpluses since 2003. In 2004 the surplus reached US$29 billion due to a substantial increase in global demand for commodities. Brazil has also provided UN peace-keeping troops and leads a peace-keeping mission in Haiti.
First Brazilian Republic
Second Brazilian Republic
Party political offices
New political party
President of the Workers' Party
New political party
Workers' Party nominee for President of Brazil
1989, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Fernando Henrique Cardoso
President of Brazil
Lula in popular culture
In 2012 he received the Freedom medal
On 14 October 2011, President Lula received the 2011 World Food Prize, along with John Kufuor, for his personal commitment and visionary leadership while serving as the president of Brazil, and for creating and implementing government policies to alleviate hunger and poverty in his country.
In 2010, Time magazine named Lula one of the most influential leaders of the world.
On 29 January 2010, President Lula was awarded as a Global Statesman by the World Economic Forum, held in Davos, Switzerland, but could not attend the ceremony due to problems of high blood pressure.
On 3 August 2009 he received the O.P. Dwivedi Public Service Award by the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA), an award established to honor a distinguished international scholar or practitioner for significant contributions to public administration and public policy in the world.
On 7 July 2009, he received UNESCO's Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. On 5 November 2009, President Lula was awarded the Chatham House Prize, awarded to the statesperson who is deemed by Chatham House members to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.
On 20 December 2008, he was named the 18th most important person in the world by Newsweek magazine, and was the only Latin American person featured in a list of 50 most influential World leaders.
US president Barack Obama greeted him at the G20 summit in London (April 2009) saying: "That's my man right there...love this guy...The most popular politician on earth."
He also received the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in 2003 and was the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebration in 2004. He was also given the Jawaharlal Nehru Award in 2006 and the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development in 2010. He was rated the most popular Brazilian president of all time with an 80.5% approval rate in his last months as the president.
Since Lula began his term as president, he has attained numerous medals, such as the Brazilian Order of Merit, the Brazilian Orders of Military, Naval and Aeronautical Merit, the Brazilian Order of Scientific Merit, the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle and the Norwegian Order of Royal Merit; the First Class of the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (Ukraine, 2003), the Order of Liberty (Ukraine, 2009) and the Danish Order of the Elephant (2007).
Awards and recognition
In April 2015 the Public Ministry of Brazil opened an investigation for influence peddling against the ex-president Lula. The allegations are that between 2011 and 2014 he lobbied for Odebrecht company to gain public procurements in foreign countries while also getting BNDES to finance those projects. Countries where this allegedly took place include Ghana, Angola, Cuba, and Dominican Republic. In June 2015 Odebrecht's president was arrested under the accusation that his company paid 230 million dollars in bribes for politicians.
On 29 October 2011, Lula was announced by the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital of São Paulo to have contracted throat cancer by way of a malignant tumor in his larynx. He elected to undergo chemotherapy to counteract the tumor, and on 16 November, pictures were released by his press office of his wife shaving his beard and hair, leaving him bald but retaining his moustache. It was the first time that Lula was seen without his beard since leaving office. He was treated with radiation therapy sessions, until the cancer was in complete remission. There are no longer any visible tumors, but he would still be checked periodically. Lula announced his recovery on March 2012, and his return to politics to continue working for Brazilians. Dilma Rousseff, the current president of Brazil, praised the news. Contrary to rumors, Lula declared in early 2013 that he will no longer be a presidential candidate, supporting his successor again, Dilma Rousseff.
About the Scandals during his tenure ex Pres. Lula da Silva would claim on public Brazilian TV that he did not know anything about the scandals. He also said in public Brazilian TV that people who did not agree in paying a tax for each check issued and/or financial transaction were people who illegally failed to pay their income tax.
Wanted Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on 18 March 2007 by Brazilian and French police officers. Later, Brazilian Minister of Justice Tarso Genro granted him the status of political refugee, in a controversial decision which was much criticized in Italy, whereas divided Brazilian and international press opinion. On 5 February 2009, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in support of Italy and held a minute of silence in memory to Battisti's victims. On 18 November 2009, the Brazilian Supreme Court considered the refugee status illegal and allowed extradition, but also stated that the Brazilian constitution gives the president personal powers to deny the extradition if he chooses to, effectively putting the final decision in the hands of Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Despite that decision, Lula decided to deny extradition of the Italian far-left terrorist Cesare Battisti. On 31 December 2010, Lula's last effective day as president, the decision not to allow extradition was officially announced. Battisti was released on 9 June 2011 from prison after the Brazilian Constitutional Court denied Italy's request to extradite him. Italy plans to appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
In March 2009, before an appearance at the G-20 summit meeting in London, Lula caused an uproar when he declared that the economic crisis was caused by "the irrational behavior of blonde people with blue eyes, who before seemed to know everything, and now have shown they don't know anything."
His administration has been heavily criticized for relying on local political barons, like José Sarney, Jader Barbalho, Renan Calheiros and Fernando Collor, to ensure a majority in Congress. He lost some important votes there, though, for example when the Senate barred the financial tax from being reinstated. Another frequent reproach relates to his ambiguous treatment of the left wing in the Workers' Party. Analysts fear that he occasionally gives in to their wishes for tighter government control of the media and increased state intervention: in 2004, he pushed for the creation of a "Federal Council of Journalists" (CFJ) and a "National Cinema Agency" (Ancinav), the latter of which would overhaul funding for electronic communications. Both proposals ultimately failed amid concerns that they would lead to excessive state intervention over free speech. Fernando Cardoso, Lula's predecessor as the president of Brazil, has accused Lula of denying any positive achievements allegedly made by the Cardoso administration.
Lula's administration was plagued by corruption scandals, most notably the mensalão and sanguessugas scandals, in his first term. Although the independent office of the Brazilian Attorney-General presented charges against 40 politicians and officials involved in the Mensalão affair, several charges have been presented against Lula himself. Top officials involved, such as Roberto Jefferson, José Dirceu, Luiz Gushiken and Humberto Costa denied he was aware of any wrongdoing; his only crime would be omission, since it was attested by one of his own party members, Alindo Chinaglia, that Lula had been warned of its existence. Having lost numerous government aides in the face of political turmoil, Lula has come largely unscathed in the eyes of the public, with overwhelming approval rates.
Corruption scandals and controversy
The condemnation of Iranian Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani for the crime of adultery, and who was originally to be executed by stoning led to calls for Lula da Silva's intervention on her behalf. On the issue, Lula commented that "I need to respect the laws of a [foreign] country. If my friendship with the president of Iran and the respect that I have for him is worth something, if this woman has become a nuisance, we will receive her in Brazil." The Iranian government, however, declined the offer. Lula da Silva's actions and comments sparked controversy. Mina Ahadi, an Iranian Communist politician, welcomed Lula da Silva's offer of asylum for Ashtiani, but also reiterated a call for an end to stoning altogether and requesting a cessation of recognition and support for the Iranian government. Jackson Diehl, Deputy editorial page Editor of The Washington Post, called Lula da Silva the "best friend of tyrants in the democratic world" and criticised his actions. Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, viewed Lula da Silva's intervention in a more positive light, calling it a "powerful message to the Islamic Republic."
He travelled to more than 80 countries during his presidency. A goal of Lula's foreign policy was for the country to gain a seat as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. In this he has so far been unsuccessful. And Lula was considered to have pulled off a major coup with Turkey in regards to getting Iran to send its uranium abroad in contravention of western calls.
Lula also gained increasing stature in the Southern hemisphere buoyed by economic growth in his country. In 2008, he was said to have become a "point man for healing regional crises," as in the escalation of tensions between Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Former Finance Minister, and current advisor, Delfim Netto, said: "Lula is the ultimate pragmatist."