Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, born on October 27, 1945, commonly referred to simply as “Lula”, is a Brazilian politician. He was elected President of Brazil in 2002, and re-elected in 2006. He is a liberal politician who often adopts centrist positions. He has been a very effective president, avoiding scandals and allowing Brazilian industry to prosper while taking steps towards combating Brazil’s legendary poverty.
Lula was born in October, 1945 to poor parents in the town of Caetes, Pernambuco, but soon moved to a coastal city in São Paulo province. There was little time or money for young Lula to get an education, and he was working in the streets as a shoeshine boy and street vendor before he was in his teens. He was a hard worker and soon found full-time work in Sao Paulo’s booming automotive industry.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, there was a lot of work in the industrial factories of Sao Paulo, but little in the way of worker’s rights. Lula became very involved in the movement to unionize the workers, and due to his natural leadership he rose quickly in the ranks of the union leadership. In the 1970’s he led several strikes, and was jailed for a while. In 1978 he was elected head of a steel-workers union. He became convinced that the true path to fair treatment for workers was not through unions and strikes, but through political power.
In 1980, Lula became one of the founding members of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (“Party of the Workers,” known in Brazil by its initials PT). Lula was its first president. Brazil was at the time under a right-wing military dictatorship and organizing unions and political parties could have been very dangerous for Lula and his companions. The Party was not formally recognized by the Brazilian Electoral court until 1982. The PT was very popular with the working class and its growing political clout helped restore democracy to Brazil in the late 1980’s.
LULA’S EARLY POLITICAL CAREER
Lula first ran for office in 1982, for a seat in the São Paulo Province legislature, but lost. In 1986 he was elected to Congress, and by the time a new constitution was needed in the late 1980’s, the PT was powerful enough to demand a seat at the table to influence its provisions. Although the PT helped create the constitution, they refused to ratify the final result, as they felt it did not do enough to ensure workers’ rights. Lula ran for president in 1989, 1994 and 1998. He lost all three elections, although many believe that he only lost due to election fraud.
Lula continued to run for president and finally won in 2002. Although many feared that Lula would immediately implement radical socialistic reforms and perhaps even default on some of Brazil’s debt, he has proven to be a progressive moderate, preferring slow but steady social change. He quickly identified some very real and serious problems in his country and attacked them directly and effectively. One example is his campaign against malnutrition. Under this program, the poorest Brazilian families get food aid, but only if their children stay in school. He has also efficiently managed the Brazilian economy, managing steady growth without making any drastic reforms, while still paying off foreign debts and funding badly-needed social programs.
Internationally, he has not become the ranting demagogue that many feared, instead perfecting the role of respected statesman. He has become a very important figure in Latin American politics, as he has taken great pains to be friendly with other nations. Lula’s Brazil is a leader in Latin American diplomacy: for example, Lula has sent a peacekeeping, humanitarian mission to Haiti on his own initiative.
He is a very forward-thinking leader, and under his administration Brazil has become a leader in the worldwide search for biofuels and clean energy. In December of 2008, Newsweek magazine named him the 18th most influential person in the world.
Lula will leave office in 2011 and has already announced that he will not seek to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term as many other South American politicians have done.
Checkout the ASCII Art of Lula da Silva in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.