Biography of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was President of the Federative Republic of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, and has continued to have a firm personal and political commitment to democracy, reducing poverty, combating hunger and the eradication of misery.
Born on October 27, 1945, in the town of Garanhuns in the state of Pernambuco, in Northeastern Brazil, President Lula has experienced difficulties similar to those of much of the population, bringing his political sensitivity and ability to identity with the people in situations of social vulnerability. Coming from a poor area, lacking in employment opportunities and many material aspects, he, along with his family, migrated to Guaruja in the state of Sao Paulo where there were more job opportunities, when he was seven years old.
He began working at an early age to contribute to the family’s income, young Luiz Inacio was a shoeshine boy, an assistant in a dry cleaning establishment, an office boy and later, he later entered the formal labor force and began working in the metallurgical area at the Marte screw manufacturing plant.
Trained as a lathe operator at Senai (National Industrial Learning Service), he was employed as a metal worker at Villares Industries, in the ABC manufacturing and industrial center of the State, he joined the São Bernardo / Diadema Metalworkers Union.
After holding various positions in the organization, Lula was elected president in 1975 and was reelected in 1978, representing at that time 100,000 workers. Workers Unions in the ABC region were active participating in strikes, actively opposing the Brazilian military regime and continuing the struggle for more rights and better wages for workers in the late 1970s, when Lula was the main trade union leader.
On February 10, 1980, Lula helped found the Workers Party, joining together hundreds of thousands of people involved in the labor movements, the ecclesial base communities of the Catholic Church, leftist groups and intellectuals.
In 1984, Lula was one of the principal leaders, in the “Diretas Já” campaign for the direct popular vote for President. In 1986 he was elected Federal Deputy (Congressman) with the most votes ever reported for the Constituent Assembly.
After three attempts, Lula was elected president for the period 2003 to 2006 and reelected to a second term, from 2007 to 2010. During his eight years in office, 15 million jobs were created. Between 2003 and 2009, 27.9 million people emerged from poverty, while 35.7 million entered the middle class.
Lula ended his second term with a 87% approval rating, making him one of the most popular presidents in the history of Brazil and one of the most respected leaders in the world.
Click here to see the balance of the eight years of the Lula government (in Portuguese only).