Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Lula of Brazil

Lula of Brazil: The Story So Far

Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Pages: 304
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Lula of Brazil
    Book Description:

    Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's dramatic life story has captured the imagination of millions, and his progressive politics have brought hope and excitement to Brazil-and the world. This compelling work is the first major English-language biography of the metalworker who became president of Latin America's largest and most powerful country. In a clearly written, vividly detailed narrative, Richard Bourne describes Lula's childhood hardships in an impoverished family, his days as a revered trade unionist, and the strike movement that brought down Brazil's military dictatorship. The book chronicles Lula's campaigns for the presidency, his first term in office beginning in 2002, a major corruption scandal, and his reelection in 2006. Throughout,Lula of Brazilconnects this charismatic leader's life to larger issues, such as the difficulty of maintaining a progressive policy in an era of globalization. Brazil's contemporary history, parallels with other developing countries and other world leaders, the conservatism of Brazilian society, and other themes provide a rich backdrop for assessing the struggles, achievements, and failures of this major figure on both the Brazilian and the world stage.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93252-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. 1-23)

    Lula was born on 27 October 1945 in the neighborhood of Garanhuns, a small town about 150 miles inland from Recife, the state capital of Pernambuco.¹ It was a Saturday. His father had left a month before to find work in São Paulo, and his mother, Dona Lindu, was already bringing up six children. Lula, Luiz Inácio da Silva, was the seventh.² They were living in a small house, and she was scraping together a living by growing maize and manioc, potatoes, beans, and fruit.

    The house where Lula was born no longer exists. But its site, up a dirt...

    (pp. 24-48)

    Both Lula and his mother cried when the newlyweds departed for their honeymoon. Lula and Lourdes seem to have been very happy together. Lula had been her first boyfriend. With a loan from the Villares firm’s social fund, they were able to get their own two-room house in Vila das Mercês, close to Dona Lindu. Lourdes, who was working at a firm in Ipiranga, kept their home spotless. Lula’s sister Maria and her husband, who was then out of work, stayed with them. But tragedy was about to strike the young couple.

    Lourdes became pregnant. In her seventh month, in...

    (pp. 49-75)

    In all the hubbub at the end of the 1970s, with an amnesty, major strikes, and a sense that the military dictatorship was in its final throes, a different note was sounded. Lula and a group of other more progressive union leaders were calling for a distinctive workers’ party—the Partido dos Trabalhadores, the PT. This was a contentious idea and, for many in opposition circles, divisive.

    It was divisive because it overtly introduced class-based politics to Brazil. This put off many in the middle class and many traditional politicians and liberal professionals who had been struggling against the military...

    (pp. 76-101)

    Lula had come surprisingly close to winning the 1989 election, but it was Fernando Collor de Mello who took office in March 1990. He was the first directly elected president of the new democracy, but he was an oddity. In spite of an advertising blitz, he was less well known and with a shorter track record than many of the candidates he defeated. He was a conservative who had run on an antigovernment platform.

    Because his party was tiny, he was totally dependent on makeshift alliances in Congress. Many of his confidants, notably Paulo César de Cavalcanti de Farias, his...

    (pp. 102-126)

    Lula’s election victory brought euphoria to all those who had backed him from the beginning. When the second round of voting confirmed his victory, the wealthy center of São Paulo, the Avenida Paulista, erupted in the red flags of the PT. When he accepted the presidential sash from Cardoso in early 2003, there was a carnival in Brasília; the poor, workers, students, and members of the social movements crowded the area around Congress—the Praça dos Tres Poderes—in a show of unity and celebration.

    It was not the man who had had secret meetings of reassurance with businessmen, or...

    (pp. 127-152)

    Lula’s personal experience as a hungry child informed his government’s most attractive campaign promise in the 2002 presidential campaign. It would establish a program called Fome Zero—Zero Hunger—that would abolish starvation. In a country with many millions of poor people, this had the same attraction as the “Mandela Sandwich” in South Africa—the guarantee from the postapartheid democracy that every child should have at least one square meal a day. No matter that critics, later in his term of office, argued that Brazil suffered greater health problems from obesity than malnutrition, this was a defining program for his...

    (pp. 153-175)

    Many regarded the foreign policy of Lula’s government as the aspect that most truly reflected the original ideals of the party he founded, the PT, while its economic policy was the biggest betrayal. Although neither the foreign nor the economic policies were entirely consistent, each represented attempts by the president and his associates to find fresh paths for Brazil through the maze of globalization, pursuing the national interest as they saw it.

    In opposition, the PT had, over many years, formulated an international policy that focused on defense of national sovereignty, the solidarity of developing nations, the values of the...

  12. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 176-195)

    Brazilian history is replete with stories of corruption, both large and small. The country is geographically immense, and for a long time communications were poor. Policing, even when honest in intention, has proved difficult. Family and local obligations have often been valued more highly than obedience to the law or scrupulous probity. Brazil is a federation in which spending powers are distributed among central government, states, and municipalities, and alliances are essential in politics. Apork barrel approach among politicians can degenerate rather easily into the frank abuse of public money.

    The PT, in the gradual return to democracy in the...

  14. 9 THE ELECTIONS OF 2006
    (pp. 196-208)

    Lula’s last big rally, on the eve of the first round of the presidential election on 1 October 2006, was a vintage occasion. He spoke to a crowd of more than three thousand people, the majority waving PT flags, at a big open space called the Area Verde in São Bernardo, his hometown where he himself voted. For an observer, buying a can of beer and watching with the excited crowd, it was a reminder that Lula and the PT were still a force to be reckoned with. Both had been seriously battered over the previous four years; both would...

    (pp. 209-232)

    When Lula was reelected for a second term, on 29 October 2006, around four thousand of his supporters partied that evening on the Avenida Paulista in São Paulo. But the turnout was tiny compared with the celebration four years earlier, when one hundred thousand people came out into the street, filling the long commercial thoroughfare. Looking at it through British eyes, one could not help but compare this diminished enthusiasm with the gradual loss of excitement at the successive election victories won by Tony Blair and his “new” Labour Party. Is this the inevitable fate of a government of the...

  16. NOTES
    (pp. 233-254)
    (pp. 255-258)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 259-285)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 286-286)