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Draft:Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

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Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (1945–), better known as just Lula, is a controversial Brazilian leftist politician and the country's 39th president since January 1, 2023. He is the main figure and one of the founders of the PT, the country's leading leftist party. He served as the 35th President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, a time during which government scandal arose although the nation was blessed by a relatively good economy. He was jailed from 2018 to 2019 for such corruption charges. He was subsequently released after the Supreme Court dismissed the charges, thereby allowing him to regain his political rights. He immediately announced another presidential run. He ran for president in the 2022 election and was elected again, taking office in early 2023.

Early life and career[edit]

Lula was born in 1945 in a small town in the impoverished, semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil, the seventh of eight children of a middle-class family. His family soon migrated to the richer state of São Paulo in southeastern Brazil. In his youth and adulthood, Lula worked in metal factories. On one occasion, he lost his left little finger during an accident in an automobile parts factory.[1] (His missing little finger is one of his two most remarkable characteristics, the other being his lisp.) This prompted his interest in labor rights, so he started to act as a trade unionist, participating in numerous strikes.[2] Lula steadily rose through the ranks.

In an interview in 1979, Lula apparently praised Hitler's willpower:

Hitler, even being wrong, had that which I admire in a man: the initiative of deciding to do something and trying to accomplish it.
—Lula, interviewed by Playboy in 1979. Lula declarou admirar Hitler e Khomeini. Quoted on Folha de S. Paulo on 21 April 1994.

In 1980, a group of academics, intellectuals, and union leaders, including Lula, founded the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores, or Worker's Party), a left-wing party with progressive ideas created after the ban on political parties was suspended by Brazil's military government (1964–1985).

In 1982, he added "Lula" (originally a nickname from Luiz) to his legal name.[3] In 1983, he helped found the Central Única dos TrabalhadoresWikipedia (CUT) union association. In 1984, the PT and Lula joined the popular Diretas JáWikipedia! (Direct [Elections] Now!) campaign, which demanded direct popular vote for the subsequent Brazilian presidential election.

After democracy was restored in Brazil in 1985, Lula ran for president in the first election in 1989,[4] then again in 1994[5] and 1998,[6] becoming the runner-up in each of those elections, but he would only win in his fourth attempt in 2002.[7]

First presidency (2003–2010)[edit]

Lula's first administration was marked by a series of corruption scandals.[8][9] During his first term in 2005, there was the Mensalão, meaning "big monthly payment", a bribe of 30,000 reais (around US$12,000 at the time) paid for each of a number of congressmen to vote for legislation favoring the PT.[10] Nevertheless, since the economy was (seemingly) doing well, most Brazilians seemed to have forgotten about the scandal as Lula was re-elected the following year.

Lula's supporters claim that his government has saved millions of Brazilians from poverty, but this happened despite, and not because of his government.[11] In summary, Lula's economic record is mixed at best.

Global comparison[edit]

Lula's government also underperformed on a global level. During the period, Brazil in relation to the best comparison group:[11]

  • Grew, invested and saved less;
  • Received less foreign direct investment and added less value in the industry;
  • Had more inflation;
  • Lost competitiveness and productivity, made less progress in Research and Development and worsened regulatory quality;
  • Performed worse or the same in almost all major sectors;
  • The income distribution, the fraction of poor, and malnutrition fell in line or slightly less;
  • Schooling progressed less, despite higher expenses;
  • Healthcare walked the line.

The country did better on the job market, where it advanced on the easier side: putting people to work. In short, Brazil has advanced, but it could have advanced much more. In this sense the decade was lost. Lula also failed at reducing inequality in Brazil, which remained on the same astonishing levels during his government.[12][13]

Post-presidency under Dilma's administration[edit]

After concluding his second term, Lula chose a member of his party, Dilma Rousseff,Wikipedia to run for president as his successor. Dilma won the 2010 election with a considerable advantage of 12.10%, taking office in 2011. Unlike the relative prosperity under Lula, Dilma's government was marked by economic crisis and dissatisfaction, not to mention her numerous gaffes and funny statements that became internet memes (much like George W. Bush's ones).

Many[Who?] predicted that Brazil wouldn't be able to pay Lula's heavy expenditures on numerous social programs during his administration, and that the bubble would explode on his successor's hands.[citation needed] This is precisely what happened. As if high unemployment and poor economic performance weren't enough, the end of Dilma's first term was marked by the discovery of a huge corruption scheme related to oil companies called the Petrolão. This was by far the biggest and most harmful scandal, not only in Brazil, but in all of Latin America.[14]

Even though Dilma was re-elected in 2014, she wouldn't be able to complete her presidency. When she decided to appoint Lula as her Chief of Staff in 2016, a huge political crisis erupted in Brazil and many called for her impeachment,Wikipedia whose official reasons were fiscal pedalingWikipedia committed during her government.

Imprisonment, release, and 2022 election[edit]

In July 2017, Lula was convicted on charges of money laundering and passive corruption by federal judge Sergio Moro and sentenced to nine years in prison,[15] a sentence that was then increased to twelve years by an unanimous court decision,[16] and this was for only one of ten lawsuits involving him.[17] Moro ruled that Lula had purportedly money laundered Petrolão earnings via a triplex in the city of Guarujá and a rural property in the city of Atibaia.

After an unsuccessful appeal, Lula was arrested in April 2018[18] and would spend 580 days in jail.[19][20][21] Lula attempted to run in the 2018 Brazilian presidential election but was disqualified under Brazil's Ficha Limpa ("clean records") law.[22] In November 2019, the Supreme Federal Court ruled that incarcerations with pending appeals were unlawful and Lula was released from prison as a result.[23]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

Lula made controversial statements during the COVID-19 pandemic. As reported by Carta Capital, a strongly left-wing and pro-Lula website, he stated the following in 2020:

Nature thankfully created such monster called coronavirus so people can realize that only the State is capable of solving the situation.
—Lula, interviewed by leftist news network Carta Capital. 'Ainda bem' que 'monstro' do coronavírus veio para demonstrar necessidade do Estado, diz Lula. G1. 19 May 2020.

Nullification of accusations[edit]

In March 2021, Supreme Federal Court Justice Edson Fachin ruled that all of Lula's convictions must be nullified because he was tried by a court that did not have proper jurisdiction over his case.[24] Fachin's ruling, which was confirmed by other Supreme Court Justices in April 2021, restored Lula's political rights.[25] The Supreme Federal Court ruled later in March 2021 that judge Moro, who oversaw his corruption trial, was biased.[26] All of the cases Moro had brought against Lula were annulled by 24 June 2021. Following the court ruling, Lula was legally allowed to run for president again in the 2022 elections. This however, was not a full acquittal, as the charges can still be pressed against him by another court.


In the elections, Lula narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in the runoff.[27]

Second presidency (2023–present)[edit]

Lula's second presidency has been a breath of fresh air for the international community as well as for many Brazilians, if only because he's not Bolsonaro. He has taken vastly different approaches to issues such as crime, environmentalism, economics, and international relations from his predecessor, and frankly from himself, as he has proven (particularly on indigenous rights and climate change) to be far more leftwing than even his first presidency. However, Lula's second presidency hasn't been without its controversies.

Nonsense about video games[edit]

In 2023 Lula delivered a speech where he spuriously accused video games of "teaching kids to kill", ignorantly labelling the medium as violent and "non-educational" and opining that none of them talk about love,[28] never mind the fact that there has been a subgenre of educational and/or edutainment games even as far back as the early days of electronic games such as Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego among others.[29] He also ignores the fact that similarly violent and sexually explicit works from other forms of media such as films, music and telenovelas exist in the country, notably the award-winning police drama Elite SquadWikipedia (Portuguese: Tropa de Elite),[note 1] yet he apparently glossed over it because a relatively-recent medium popular with the youths is an easy scapegoat.


In April, Lula connected recent school shootings in Brazil to "mentally deficient" people who "have a screw loose". Brazilian TV presenter Marcos MionWikipedia, who has an autistic son, was outraged by that statement, describing it as ableist.[30]

Statements about Russia's invasion of Ukraine[edit]

Regarding the Russian invasion and occupation of Ukraine, Lula said in February 2023 that people were stimulating hate against Vladimir Putin and stated that the European Union "didn't have to encourage the confrontation."[31] This declaration was controversial, with Ukraine seeing it as a "Russian attempt to distort the truth".[32] According to Lula, NATO and the EU were the cause of the war, with the former "claiming for itself the right to install military bases in the vicinity of another country", in addition to criticizing European leaders for "encouraging war instead of focusing on closed-door negotiations" and having "failed to do enough to negotiate with Russia in the run-up to its invasion". He also blamed the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy of being "as responsible as Putin for the war".[33][34] More recently, in April, Lula suggested that Ukraine should "give up Crimea" in exchange for peace and Russia's withdrawal from Ukrainian territory it occupied after February 2022, saying Zelenskyy "can not want everything".[35]

Environmental record[edit]

While he's certainly no Bolsonaro, his environmental record hasn't been without its fair share of criticisms. For starters, Lula saw the deforestation rate of the Amazon plummet to all-time lows (after initially peaking in 2006) while in office.[citation needed] However, he also approved of the controversial Belo Monte DamWikipedia, which when opened, contributed to a steady uptick in deforestation rates in the mid-2010s.[citation needed] This led to protests from environmentalists and indigenous groups at the time, and even resignations from his own government.[36][37] Lula acknowledges this, and has pledged to be more environmentally conscious in his third term.[38] He has even floated forming a rainforest alliance with the Congo and Indonesia (Borneo).[39] However, he has also voiced his support for repaving the controversial BR-319Wikipedia highway, which environmentalists fear would speed up deforestation.[40] Indeed, Brazil did see a reduction of 34% in deforestation in the first half of 2023, when he took over again.[41]

One particularly concerning policy of his current government is his attempt to legalize oil exploration on the mouth of the Amazon River, the largest river by discharge volume of water in the world (as well as world's second longest).[42] The episode also showed again his lack of belief in the democratic process: when a regulatory body denied the license for the exploration,[43] he tried to circumvent it by weakening its authority with support from Bolsonaro allies in Congress, of all people.[44]

External links[edit]


  1. Despite criticism towards its graphic portrayal of violence, including but not limited to acts of torture such as "necklacing"Wikipedia (known in local vernacular as "micro-ondas" or "microwaving") where a victim is forcibly shoved into a stack of tyres, doused in gasoline and then set on fire, Elite Squad for one was adored by Brazilian audiences as it resonated well with the judiciary's inability to deliver swift justice hence why the populace is willing to embrace vigilantism and police brutality so as long as they get (short-term) gains from crime-fighting at all costs.


  1. Fourth time lucky?. BBC. 27 April 2007.
  2. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - Encyclopaedia Britannica
  3. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. New York Times. August 2012.
  4. Brazil. Presidential Election 1989. Electoral Geography 2.0
  5. Brazil. Presidential Election 1994. Electoral Geography 2.0
  6. Brazil. Presidential Election 1998. Electoral Geography 2.0
  7. Brazil. Presidential Election 2002. Electoral Geography 2.0
  8. Scandal taints Brazil's working-class hero Lula. Yahoo! 4 March 2006.
  9. Brazil's Lula pledges economic growth in 2nd term. Reuters. 21 January 2007.
  10. BBC. "Q&A: Brazil's 'big monthly' corruption trial".  21 November 2012. Retrieved on 10 March 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 Carrasco, Vinicius; Mello, João M. P. de; Duarte, Isabela (2017-01-31). "A Década Desperdiçada: 2003 – 2012". Revista de Economia e Administração 13 (4). doiWikipedia:10.11132/rea.2014.961. ISSN 1984-5308. 
  12. "Brazil". 
  13. Medeiros, Marcelo; Souza, Pedro; Castro, Fabio Avila de (2014-09-09) (in Portuguese). A Estabilidade Da Desigualdade De Renda No Brasil, 2006 a 2012: Estimativa Com Dados Do Imposto De Renda E Pesquisas Domiciliares (The Stability in the Income Inequality in Brazil, 2006-2012: An Estimate with Tax and Survey Data). Rochester, NY. 
  14. The biggest corruption scandal in Latin America’s history by Vox. YouTube.
  15. Moro condena Lula a 9 anos e meio de prisão no caso do triplex. O Globo.
  16. Em decisão unânime, tribunal condena Lula em segunda instância e aumenta pena de 9 para 12 anos. G1. 24 January 2018.
  17. Lula é réu em oito ações penais, incluindo o caso do triplex em Guarujá. Folha. 6 June 2019
  18. Lula se entrega à Polícia Federal. DW. 7 April 2018.
  19. Sergio Lima, Mario; Adghirni, Samy (5 April 2018). "Brazilian Judge Orders Arrest of Former President Lula". (Bloomberg). 
  20. Lopes, Marina (5 April 2018). "Lula verdict plunges Brazil into political chaos ahead of presidential election". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. 
  21. "Brazil's former president Lula walks free from prison after supreme court ruling". 8 November 2019. 
  22. Lopes, Marina (31 August 2018). "Brazil's jailed former president Lula barred from running again by electoral court". The Washington Post. 
  23. "Brazil's former president Lula walks free from prison after supreme court ruling". The Guardian. 8 November 2019. 
  24. "Fachin anula condenações de Lula relacionadas à Lava Jato; ex-presidente volta a ser elegível" (in Portuguese). 8 March 2021. 
  25. "Lula: Brazil's ex-president cleared by Supreme Court". Reuters. 8 March 2021. 
  26. "Lula judge was biased, Brazil supreme court rules, paving way to challenge Bolsonaro". The Guardian. Associated Press. 24 March 2021. 
  27. Nicas, Jack (2022-10-30). "Brazil ejects Bolsonaro and brings back the former leftist leader Lula.". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  28. Lu-Hai Liang (April 18, 2023). "Brazil's President Says Video Games Are "Teaching Kids To Kill"" TheGamer. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  29. Edwards, Benj (August 19, 2015). "The 17 best educational games of the 70s, 80s and 90s". PC World. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  30. Marcos Mion critica fala de Lula sobre pessoas com deficiência... - Veja mais em "Marcos Mion criticizes Lula's statement about disabled people". UOL. 22 April 2023
  31. "Lula Talks to TIME About Ukraine, Bolsonaro, and Brazil's Fragile Democracy". Time. 4 May 2022. 
  32. Iglesias, Simone (23 February 2023). "Brazil's Lula Intensifies Diplomatic Push for Peace in Ukraine". Time. 
  33. "Brazil's Lula says Zelenskiy 'as responsible as Putin' for Ukraine war". Reuters. 4 May 2022. 
  34. "Biden-Lula meeting: War in Ukraine high on the agenda". 
  35. "'The world needs tranquillity': Ukraine urged to give up Crimea by Brazil's Lula". Euronews. 
  36. "Environment minister steps down in Brazil". Associated Press via NBC Universal. 14 May 2008. 
  37. Phillips, Tom (19 August 2009). "Brazil's former environment minister leaves ruling party over 'destruction of natural resources'". The Guardian. 
  38. Maisonnave, Fabiano (29 December 2022). "Amazon rainforest defender Marina Silva named Brazil’s new environment minister". PBS NewsHour. "Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced Thursday that... the new administration will prioritize cracking down on illegal deforestation in the forest even if it means running afoul of powerful agribusiness interests." 
  39. Paraguassu, Lisandra (31 August 2022). "EXCLUSIVE Lula pushes Brazil-Indonesia-Congo rainforest alliance if elected". Thomson Reuters. 
  40. Otis, John (30 October 2022). "A Brazilian road project cuts through the Amazon, paving the way to vast deforestation". National Public Radio (NPR). 
  41. Pulice, Carolina; Spring, Jake; Spring, Jake (2023-07-07). "Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon drops 34% in first half 2023" (in en). Reuters. 
  42. Malleret, Constance (2023-05-23). "Amazon oil drilling deepens rift within Lula's coalition". 
  43. "Ibama Denies Petrobras' Request to Drill for Oil at The Mouth of the Amazon" (in en-US). 2023-05-18. 
  44. Reuters (2023-05-24). "Sob protesto de Marina, aliados do governo no Congresso articulam esvaziar poderes do Ministério do Meio Ambiente" (in Portuguese).