Lula of Brazil: The Story So Far

Lula of Brazil: The Story So Far

Lula of Brazil: The Story So Far

Lula of Brazil: The Story So Far

Synopsis

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 Brazil connects 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.

Excerpt

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. 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. 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 track some way off the main road from Garanhuns to Caetés, was pointed out to me in September 2005 by two boys on motorcycles, one a distant cousin of Lula’s. Technically, the land is semiarid, but there are pools of water nearby and the soil is fertile.

A few of the farmhouses now have satellite TV dishes. But there is still much unemployment, and there are armed holdups on some of the rural roads at night. Garanhuns, “the city of flowers,” was founded in 1879; its railway station, long closed, has become a cultural center. It is a region of minifundios (smallholdings), not natural territory for the Partido dos Trabalhadores (the PT, the Workers’ Party), and it was not until twentyfive years after the party’s foundation that it managed to elect its first town councilor (vereador).

It is an area that has seen a steady flow of out-migration for more than a half century. In 2005, as president, Lula opened a law school at the state . . .

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