Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

honorific-prefix = His Excellency

name = Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

order = President of Brazil
vicepresident = José Alencar
term_start = January 1, 2003
predecessor = Fernando Henrique Cardoso
successor =
birth_date = birth date and age|1945|10|27|df=y
birth_place = Caetés, Pernambuco
death_date =
death_place =
spouse = Marisa Letícia
party = PT
residence = Palácio da Alvorada
profession = Metallurgist

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (pronounced IPA|; born October 27, 1945), known simply as Lulacref|Nickname, is the thirty-fifth and current President of Brazil and a founding member of the country's Workers' Party. He was elected on October 27, 2002, and took office on January 1, 2003. On October 29, 2006, he was re-elected, extending his term as President until January 1, 2011.

Early life

Luiz Inácio da Silva was born on October 27, 1945 in Caetés (then a district of Garanhuns), Pernambuco. He is 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.

On December 1952, when Lula was only seven years old, his mother decided to migrate to São Paulo with her children to reencounter with her husband. After a journey of thirteen days in a "pau-de-arara" (the open cargo area of a truck), they arrived in Guarujá and discovered that Aristides had formed a second family with Valdomira. Aristides' two families lived in the same house for sometime, 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.

Education and work

Lula had little formal education. He did not learn to read until he was ten years old,cite web |url= |title=Lula: Fourth time lucky? |work=BBC News |publisher=BBC |date=2002-10-28 |accessdate=2007-04-27 ] and quit school after the fourth grade in order to work to help his family. His working life began at age 12 as a shoeshiner and street vendor.cite web |url= |title=Biography |publisher=Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil |year=2005 |accessdate=2007-09-02] By age 14 he got his first formal job in a copper processing factory.Fact|date=August 2007

At age 19, he lost the smallest 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 to receive attention.Fact|date=August 2007 This experience increased his interest in participating within Workers' Union.Fact|date=April 2007 Around that time, he became involved in union activities and held several important union posts. Brazil's dictatorship strongly curbed trade unions' activities, and as a reaction Lula's views moved further to the political left.Fact|date=August 2007

In 1969 he married Maria de Lourdes, who died of hepatitis later that year. In 1974 Lula married the widow Marisa, with whom he had three sons (he also adopted Marisa's son from her first marriage). Earlier that year, he had a daughter out of wedlock with Miriam Cordeiro.Fact|date=March 2008

Union career

In 1978 he was elected president of the Steel Workers' Union of São Bernardo do Campo and Diadema, the near-São Paulo cities home to most of Brazil's automobile manufacturing facilities (such as Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and others) and among the most industrialized in the country. In the late 1970s, Lula helped organize major union activities including huge strikes. He was jailed for a month, but was released following protests. For many years he was president of the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), a union federation that is seen as the a union arm for the PT and currently supports Lula's government.

Political career

On 10 February 1980, a group of academics, union leaders, and intellectuals, including Lula, founded the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) or Workers' Party, a left-wing party with progressive ideas created in the midst of the military dictatorship.

In 1982 he added the nickname "Lula" to his legal name.cref|Nickname In 1983 he helped found the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT) union association. In 1984 PT and Lula joined the popular Diretas Já campaign, demanding a direct popular vote for the next Brazilian presidential election. According to the 1967 Brazilian Constitution, Presidents were then elected by both Congress houses in joint-session, plus representatives of all State Legislatures, but this was widely recognized as a mere sham as, since the March 1964 coup d'état, only high-level military personnel (all retired generals) chosen after a closed military caucus had been so "elected". As a direct result of the campaign and after years of popular struggle, the 1989 elections were the first to elect a president by direct popular vote in 29 years.

In 1992 Lula joined the campaign for the impeachment of president Fernando Collor de Mello after a series of scandals involving public funds.


Lula first ran for office in 1982, for the state government of São Paulo. He lost, but helped his party to gain enough votes to remain in existence. In the 1986 elections Lula won a seat in Congress with a medium percentage of the votes. The Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) helped write the country's post-dictatorship constitution, ensuring strong constitutional guarantees for workers' rights, but failing to achieve redistribution of rural agricultural land. Though participating on its development, Lula and his party refused to sign the new constitution when it was finished.Fact|date=August 2007

In 1989, still as a Congressman, Lula ran as the PT presidential candidate. Although he was popular with a wide spectrum of Brazilian society, he was feared as an opponent by business owners and financial interests, and was submitted to a thorough vilification by the media, as well as to election-rigging on a local level (sudden absence of busing facilities in places—mostly poor neighborhoods—where Lula was expected to win, etc.) something which contributed significantly to his loss in the election. The fact that his party was formed as a loose confederacy of trade unionists, grassroots activists, left Catholics, left-center social democrats and small Trotskyist groupings, although dampening overtly ideological issues, also earned him the distrust of better-off Brazilians precisely because of the ability of the PT to represent itself as the first working class mass movement organized on a grassroots basis. Conversely, Vargas' Brazilian Labor Party was mostly a top-heavy organization built around the top brass of the State-led trade-union bureaucracy.

Lula refused to run for re-election as a congressman in 1990, busying himself with expanding the Workers' Party organizations around the country. He continued to run for President in 1994 and 1998. As the political scene in the 1990s came to be under the sway of the real monetary stabilization plan, which ended decades of rampant inflation, Lula lost in 1994 (in the first round) to the official candidate, former Minister of Finance Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who ran for re-election (after a constitutional amendment ended the long-held rule that a president could not have a second term) in 1998, also having a first-round win.

In the following 2002 campaign, Lula forswore both his informal clothing style and his platform plank of conditioning the payment of Brazil's foreign debt to a prior thorough audit. This last point had worried economists, businessmen and banks, who feared that an even a partial Brazilian default along with the already ongoing Argentine default would have a massive ripple effect through the world economy. Lula became President after winning the second round of the 2002 election, held on 27 October, defeating the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira candidate José Serra.

On 1 October 2006 Lula narrowly missed winning another term in the first round of elections. He faced a run-off on 29 October which he won by a substantial margin.cite web |url= |title=Brazil re-elects President Lula |work=BBC News |publisher=BBC |date=2006-10-30 |accessdate=2007-04-27] 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". [cite news |author=Newsroom |title=Brazilian President Vows Not to Seek a Third Term |url= |work=Mercopress via Brazzil Magazine |date=2007-08-27 |accessdate=2008-04-05 ]

Lula's government

Political orientation

From the beginning of his political career to the current days, Lula has changed some of his original ideals and moderated his positions. Instead of deep social changes as proposed in the past, his government chose a reformist line, passing new retirement, tax, labor and judicial laws, and discussing a university reform. Some wings of the Worker's Party disagreed with these changes in focus and have left the party to form dissidences like the Workers' Cause Party, the United Socialist Workers' Party and the Socialism and Freedom Party.

ocial projects


thumb|Lula_with_Bono, who donated a guitar to the Fome Zero programme.]

Lula da Silva put social programs at the top of his agenda during his campaign and since his election. Lula states that one of the main problems in Brazil today is malnutrition. According to FAO, Brazil has 15.6 million malnourished people.Fact|date=October 2008 In order to tackle this issue, the Lula government devised Fome Zero (Zero Hunger). [cite web |url= |title= Lula - Brazil's Lost Leader |accessdate=2008-04-05 |last=Kirksey |first=Emily |date=2006-06-21 |work=Council on Hemispheric Affairs ] This program unifies a series of programs with the goal to end hunger in Brazil; including programs to create cisterns in Brazil's semi-arid region of Sertão, to fight child labour, to strengthen family agriculture, to distribute a minimum amount of money to the poor and many other things. The biggest program of Fome Zero is Bolsa Família, which gives financial aid to families with very low income (below R$60 per person, or R$120 for families with children up to 15). It requires that the families send their children to school and keep their mandatory personal vaccination-booklets duly updated. Fome Zero has a governmental budget and accepts donations from the public and international community.


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 currency maxi-devaluation on the real, and a rise in Brazil's risk factor by more than 2000 base points.cite web |url= |title=Brazil hit by debt downgrade |work=BBC News |publisher=BBC |date=2002-06-21 |accessdate=2007-08-09]

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.cite web |url= |title=Henrique de Campos Meirelles |publisher=Banco Central do Brazil |accessdate=2007-08-09] 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 with the ideals of the previous government, [cite news |first=Sandra |last=Balbi |title=Economistas Alertam para Desindustrialização |url= |work=Folha de S. Paulo |date=2005-12-18 |accessdate=2008-04-05 |language=Portuguese ] 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.cite web|url= |title=Brazil to pay off IMF debts early |work=BBC News |publisher=BBC |date=2005-12-14 |accessdate=2007-04-27] By following the macroeconomic agenda of the previous government, [cite news |first=Angela |last=Pimenta |title=Lula segue política econômica de FHC, diz diretor do FMI |url= |work=BBC Brasil |publisher=BBC |location=New York City, New York |date=2006-06-27 |accessdate=2008-04-05 |language=Portuguese ] 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.Fact|date=August 2007

The Brazilian economy was generally not affected by the mensalão scandal.Fact|date=August 2007 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 Ph.D. 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, which satisfy banking interests.Fact|date=August 2007

Not long after the start of his second term, Lula, alongside his cabinet, announced the Growth Acceleration Program ("Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento"), a vast series of measures created with the intention of solving many of the problems that prevent the Brazilian economy from growing at higher rates. The measures include investment in the creation and recuperation of roads and railways, simplification and reduction of taxation, and modernization on the country's energy production to avoid further shortages among others. The money to be spent in this Program is considered to be around R$500 billion (more than 250 billion dollars) in four years. Part of the measures still depend on approval by the congress, some of them have already generated negative reactions from organizations that consider them unfair and governors of some states that claim the share allocated to their regions to be insufficient.Fact|date=August 2007 Although a longtime critic of privatization policies, Lula and his government created public-private partnership concessions for seven federal roadways and privatized two banks (Banco do Maranhão and Banco do Ceará). [cite news |first=Isabel |last=Clemente |coauthors=Leal, Andréa; Neves, Maria Laura |title=Enfim, Lula privatizou... |url=,,EDG79551-6009,00.html |work=Época |publisher=Rede Globo |accessdate=2008-04-05 |language=Portuguese ]

After decades as the largest emerging market debtor, Brazil became a net foreign creditor for the first time in January 2008 [cite news |first=Guillermo |last=Parra-Bernal |coauthors=Pimentel, Lester |title=Brazil Became Net Creditor for First Time in January |url= | |publisher=Bloomberg |accessdate=2008-01-06 ] . By mid-2008, both Fitch ratings and S&P had elevated the classification of Brazilian debt from speculative to investment grade, which will probably stimulate a new wave of foreign investment in the country's stocks and bonds.

Foreign policy

According to "The Economist" of 2 March 2006, Lula has a pragmatic foreign policy, seeing himself as a negotiator, not an ideologue. As a result, he has befriended both Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and U.S. President George W. Bush. Leading a large and competitive agricultural state, Lula generally opposes and criticizes farm subsidies, and this position has been seen as one of the reasons for the walkout of developing nations and subsequent collapse of the Cancún World Trade Organization talks in 2003 over G8 agricultural subsidies.cite journal |last=Padgett |first=Tim |date=2004-04-26 |title=Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva |journal=Time |url= |accessdate=2008-03-26 ] Brazil assumed an important role in international politics Fact|date=November 2007 and 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.cite news |author=Lapper, Richard; Wheatley, Jonathan; Silva, Luiz Inácio Lula da |title=Interview transcript: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva |url= |work=Financial Times |location=Brasília, Brazil |date=2006-07-11 |accessdate=2008-04-05 ]

During the Lula administration, Brazilian foreign trade has increased dramatically, changing from deficits to several surpluses since 2003. In 2004 the surplus reached $29 billion due to a substantial increase in global demand for commodities (especially from China).Fact|date=November 2007 Brazil has also sent troops and leads a peace-keeping mission in Haiti to show its resolve as a global player and to help its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.Fact|date=November 2007

Lula also gained increasing stature in the hemisphere buoyed by economic growth in his country and diminishing standing of the U.S.. In 2008, he was said to have become a "point man for healing regional crises," which was somewhat proven with the escalation of tensions between Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Some have said that since his re-election to a second term he has begun "to compete vigorously to counter Chavez's aspirations as a regional leader." Former Finance Minister, and current advisor, Delfim Netto, said: "Lula is the ultimate pragmatist." [,0,1861646.story]

Awards and recognition

* Brazilian Order of the Military Merit, Brazilian Order of the Naval Merit and Brazilian Order of the Aeronautical Merit, Grand-Cordon. As Grand Master of these military Orders, he automatically wears the decorations, all of them "ad vitam";
* Order of the Southern Cross, Grand-Collar. As Grand Master of this national Order, he automatically wears the decorations "ad vitam";
* Brazilian National Order of Merit, Grand-Cross. As Grand Master, he automatically wears the decoration, "ad vitam";
* Brazilian National Order of Science Merit, Grand-Cross;
* Norwegian Order of Royal Merit, Grand-Cross;
* Order of Amilcar Cabral (Cape Verde), Grand-Cross;
* Military Order of Tower and Sword ("Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada") (Portugal), Grand-Gross;
* Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle ("Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca"), Collar. Awarded by the Government of Mexico, 7 August 2007cite web |url= |title=President Calderón at Dinner Hosted in Honor of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his wife, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva |last=Walle |first=Suzanne Stephens |publisher=Sistema Internet de la Presidencia |date=2007-08-06 |accessdate=2007-09-13] ;
* Guest of honour at India's Republic Day Celebrations, 26 January 2004 [cite news |title=India shows off on republic day |url= |work=BBC News |publisher=BBC |date=2004-01-26 |accessdate=2008-04-05 ]
* Prince of Asturias Awards (Spain, 2003) - International Cooperation. []


*cnote|Nickname|Luiz Inácio da Silva was Lula's full birth name, which he used from 1945 to 1982, but he has been known as "Lula" (which also means squid) since childhood; the nickname itself is a hypocoristic for "Luiz" with consonantal reduplication. Consequently, "Lula" became the name by which Silva was known throughout his career as a metallurgical worker, and as he emerged in the national scene as a union leader, and for all his political life. In 1982, in order to run for governorship of the state of São Paulo, Lula changed his legal name, adding the nickname "Lula" by which he was nationally known. Under Brazilian electoral laws at the time, one could only use one's legal name to run for public office. Currently, Brazilian newspapers refer to him either (more formally) using his full name "Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva" or (informally or on second reference) only his moniker "Lula".


Further reading

* Silva, Luiz Inácio da; Castro, Cassiana Rosa de; Machado, Sueli de Fátima; Santos, Alveci Oliveira de Orato; Ferreira, Luiz Tarcísio Teixeira; Teixeira, Paulo; Suplicy, Marta; Dutra, Olívio (2003). "The programme for land tenure legalization on public land in São Paulo, Brazil." "Environment and Urbanization" 15 (2): 191–200.
* Bourne, R (2008). "Lula of Brazil : The story so far". Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24663-8

External links

* [ Speech by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva before the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development]

NAME=Silva, Luiz Inácio Lula da
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=da Silva, Luiz (common incorrect referent); Lula (nickname)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=President of Brazil
DATE OF BIRTH=October 27, 1945
PLACE OF BIRTH=Caetés, Pernambuco, Brazil

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