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Silva, Luiz Inácio Lula da (b. 1945)

Michael F. McCullough

Subject Social History » Labor History
Sociology » Social Movements

Place South America » Brazil

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics bibliography, labor movements, party politics, revolution, strikes

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01358.x


Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, was elected president of Brazil in 2002 and reelected in 2006. Lula rose to national prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s while leading a series of labor union strikes in defiance of the country's military dictatorship. After co-founding the leftist Workers' Party in 1980, he helped build the party into a national political force during the transition from military rule. As president, Lula has tended to pursue policies more typical of the centrist government that preceded him than of the leftist movement that launched his political career. Long before Lula became involved in labor union and political struggles, he was enmeshed in a struggle for survival familiar to impoverished Brazilians. Hunger and thirst were common issues in the household into which he was born on October 27, 1945 in the harsh semi-desert sertão of northeastern Brazil. In 1952, Lula, his mother, and eight siblings lived out an oftrepeated drama of the region. A drought forced them to travel 13 days in the back of a crowded open-air truck notoriously known as a pau-de-arara (parrot's perch) in search of a better life in the more developed south. Soon after settling in the port city of Santos, São Paulo, Lula, 8 years old, had to help his family by selling peanuts and tapioca at the city's main boat terminal. After moving with his family to the city ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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