Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is a Brazilian politician who served as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2011.

Profile Summary on Luiz Inácio da Silva

Name Luiz Inácio da Silva
Age October 27, 1945,
Place of Birth Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Occupation Politician, Actor and Writer
Wives Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva and Maria de Lourdes Da Silva
Children Fábio Luís da Silva, Sandro Luís da Silva, Luís Cláudio da Silva, Lurian Cordeiro, and Marcos Cláudio da Silva
Net Worth $65 Billion
The President Who Once Shined Shoes Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva
The President Who Once Shined Shoes Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva

Early Years of Luiz Inácio da Silva

Born in Pernambuco state to sharecropping parents, Luiz Inácio da Silva (“Lula” was a nickname that he later added to his legal name) worked as a shoe-shine boy, street vendor, and factory worker to help supplement the family income. During the recession that followed the military coup of 1964 in Brazil, he found employment with the Villares Metalworks in São Bernardo do Campo, an industrial suburb of São Paulo. At Villares he joined the Metalworkers’ Union, and in 1972 he left the factory to work for the union full-time, heading its legal section until 1975 when he was elected union president. That post brought him national attention as he launched a movement for wage increases in opposition to the military regime’s economic policy. The campaign was highlighted by a series of strikes from 1978 to 1980 and culminated in Lula’s arrest and indictment for violations of the National Security Law. Although he was convicted and sentenced to a prison term of three and a half years, the Military Supreme Court released him the following year.

Lula was a nickname that he legally incorporated into his full name after political followers began to use the nickname. He was the seventh of eight children in a very poor family that moved around looking for work and often separated. His father, Aristedes, worked for several years at the port of Santos on the Atlantic coast, and Lula did not meet him for the first time until he was five. In 1952 the family moved to Guarujá, on the coast of the state of São Paulo, traveling for 13 days in the back of a truck. Contributing to the family income by shining shoes and selling peanuts on the streets, Lula had a spotty education and did not learn to read until he was 10.

A year after that, Lula’s parents divorced, and he moved with his mother to the metropolis of São Paulo. By 12 he had a job at a dry-cleaning shop, and by 14 he was working in a warehouse. He did factory work throughout his teens, losing the little finger of his left hand in an industrial accident. He later moved to the Marte Screw Factory and was able to enrol in a three-year government metalworking course that qualified him for the skilled jobs of mechanic and lathe operator. With Brazil under the military dictatorship of General Humberto Castelo Branco, Lula joined the Metalworkers’ Union but had little interest in politics.

A founding member of the Workers’ Party (Portuguese: Partido dos Trabalhadores), Lula first ran for political office as his party’s candidate for governor of the state of São Paulo in 1982, finishing fourth. He later led national efforts in favour of direct elections for president, organizing mass demonstrations in state capitals in 1983 and 1984. Buoyed by popularity and charisma, Lula was elected to the national Chamber of Deputies in 1986 as a federal deputy from São Paulo. Lula was the Workers’ Party’s presidential candidate in 1989, but he lost to Fernando Collor de Mello. Lula continued as his party’s presidential candidate in the elections of 1994 and 1998, both times finishing second to Fernando Henrique Cardoso. In the 2002 presidential election he adopted a more pragmatic platform; although he remained committed to encouraging grassroots participation in the political process, he also courted business leaders and promised to work with the International Monetary Fund to meet fiscal targets. Lula decisively defeated José Serra, the government-backed candidate, by winning 61.5 percent of the vote.

Presidential Controversies of Luiz Inácio da Silva

After taking office in January 2003, Lula sought to improve the economy, enact social reforms, and end government corruption. In 2006, as the end of his first term approached, the economy was growing, and Brazil’s poverty rate had fallen significantly. However, many Brazilians felt that Lula had not done enough to improve the quality of public education or to reduce crime. Moreover, Lula’s vow to fight government corruption had come into question in 2005, when members of his party were accused of bribery and illegal campaign financing. The president was not implicated, but the scandal hurt his popularity. In the first round of the 2006 presidential election, Lula failed to capture enough votes to win outright. Nevertheless, in the second round he easily defeated his opponent, Geraldo Alckmin of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party.

Both the Brazilian economy and Lula’s popularity continued to grow during his second term, and new oil discoveries in the Santos basin held great promise for the country’s future, which looked even brighter when Rio de Janeiro was chosen to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Constitutionally barred from running for a third consecutive term, Lula handpicked his chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, as his successor. Promising to extend Lula’s policies, Rousseff, who had been the point person for the administration’s landmark Growth Acceleration Program, advanced from the first round of elections to a runoff against Serra, whom she defeated convincingly to be elected Brazil’s first woman president.

In early February 2019 Lula was convicted in another corruption case. This time he was sentenced to an additional 12 years and 11 months in prison for having accepted bribes from construction companies in the form of a $235,000 renovation of a country home. Lula again refuted the charges, but the presiding judge found Lula’s claim that he was not the formal owner of the house unconvincing.

Lula’s incarceration had brought an ongoing vigil outside the prison that became the focal point not only of “Free Lula” efforts but also of leftist activism in general. In November 2019 Lula was released from prison following a decision by the Supreme Court that overturned the Court’s earlier ruling requiring the incarceration of convicted individuals whose first appeal had been denied. The ruling meant that Lula and others would be able to continue engaging in Brazil’s extensive appeals process as free individuals.

The prospect of Lula challenging Bolsonaro for the presidency in 2022 became a possibility in March 2021, when a Supreme Court judge ruled that the former president should never have been tried for corruption in Curitiba and dismissed the charges against him. Although that ruling, grounded in a technicality, remained subject to appeal to the full Supreme Court, and three other cases against Lula were still being conducted in Brasília, the March decision by Justice Edson Fachin meant that, for the time being, Lula was once again eligible to run for public office. In July 2022 he became the Workers’ Party’s official candidate in the 2022 presidential election.

In an even more dramatic development, on September 20, Sérgio Moro, the judge overseeing the investigation, formally ordered Lula, his wife, and six others to stand trial. Lula, who was charged with having accepted bribes worth about $1.1 million and has been called the mastermind of the scandal, once again protested his innocence, claiming that the charges were intended to prevent him from running for president in 2018.

President Lula’s Wife Illness and his Court Trial

In January 2017 Lula’s wife suffered a stroke. She died in early February. In May 2017 the trial involving the seaside luxury apartment (dubbed Brazil’s “trial of the century”) began with Lula making a five-hour deposition before Judge Moro. In July Lula was convicted of corruption and money laundering. He received a sentence of nearly 10 years in prison.

In March 2021 a Supreme Court judge ruled that Lula should never have been tried for corruption in Curitiba and dismissed the charges against him. Although that ruling remained subject to appeal to the full Supreme Court, and three other cases against Lula were still being conducted in Brasília, the decision meant that Lula was once again eligible to run for public office. In July 2022, he became the Workers’ Party’s official candidate in the 2022 presidential election.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Net Worth

His net worth is an estimate of $65 Billion as he earns $10 Billions annually.



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