On June 5 local time, Lula’s team, the former president of Brazil and the next presidential candidate, released the doctor’s diagnosis and news on their social media account, saying that Lula and his wife had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Lula, 76, was president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. Last month, he officially announced that he would participate in the presidential election in October.
He founded the labor party, fought against the military government, and was elected to the house of Representatives. After three defeats, he won two general elections. After leaving the presidency, he was accused of being in prison for 580 days. However, in the end, the judgment involving corruption was overturned, and he regained his freedom and the right to vote. He once again stood in the spotlight of the Brazilian political arena.
On july13,2017, Lula attended the press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I wonder if Lula, who has experienced a lot of vicissitudes, once again stood in front of the huge Brazilian flag background and received the cheers and support of thousands of supporters in the audience, whether he remembered the rural house in Pernambuco that had no electricity or running water 70 years ago, the “Caravan” that bumped away from his hometown, the fragrant cars and BMWs that roared past the shoeshine boys in the streets of Sao Paulo, and the finger that had been lost in the metal factory, The wife who died when she was eight months pregnant
But before taking part in his sixth general election, he calmly told all Brazilians: “there is no resentment, just remember that this is part of history.”
A detailed account of Lula’s life, countless hardships, ups and downs, love and hatred, can tell us how Lula was tempered, what his original intention was, and why he said he was confident to rebuild Brazil
Author Bian zhuodan, researcher of outlook think tank in Brasilia
Editor Pu Haiyan outlook think tank
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Two marriages: a meeting, a smile, a friend in need
On May 7, former President Lula, who had been away from the front line of politics for many years, received cheers and support from his supporters in Sao Paulo and officially announced that he would participate in the Brazilian presidential election in October with the support of a coalition composed of Labor Party, socialist party and other political parties.
On the same day, his running mate, former governor of Sao Paulo state and socialist alkmin, failed to appear at the rally because of COVID-19. However, the veteran Brazilian politician, who is very popular in the business world, is also adept at video lectures. He also creatively talked about Lula’s original meaning of “squid” and his nickname “Bergamot melon”, saying that “squid and bergamot melon are a dish that complement each other”. Lula responded on the spot, “squid and bergamot melon will become the most popular fashion dishes in 2022.”
The online and offline echoes, singing and laughing make people feel that the two partners are old friends for many years, but in fact, they have been “competitors” for many years before – in the 2006 general election, Lula, the left-wing leader running for re-election, met arkmin, who represents the center right force, in the second round of the general election, and finally won.
In the eyes of Brazilian media and political observers, Lula and alkmin, former opponents, can meet and laugh away their enmity and enmity, and realize political marriage and alliance to participate in the election, which can be described as killing two birds with one stone – it can not only show Lula’s tolerance and flexibility of giving up past grievances and seeking common ground while reserving differences, but also show the economic governance ability and policy tendency of the campaign team to “reassure entrepreneurs”.
On May 18, St. Paul welcomed another happy event – Lula and sociologist Rosangela tied the knot. At the wedding, the groom put his life event in the context of Brazil’s National Development: “I chose to marry again because I believe that Brazil can be repaired. A 76 year old man who can fall in love and get married will only want to make the country develop for the better.”
Lula had been married twice before. The first wife, Maria, was an expatriate who moved to Sao Paulo and lived in the same poor community as the Lula family. In 1969, the beautiful textile worker married Lula, a metal worker. Although their family was poor, Maria always kept their house clean and tidy. However, unfortunately, it came to this small family only two years later – in 1971, Maria, who was eight months pregnant, died of illness, and the child could not be saved. This sudden tragedy almost defeated the young Lula and became the eternal pain in the heart of this clandestine and iron man.
On january1,2007, Brazilian President Lula and his wife Marissa (right), who won re-election in the general election, paid tribute to the people in the capital Brasilia. Figure Xinhua News Agency
Lula met his second wife Marissa in 1973, married the following year and had three sons. When the labor party was founded in February, 1980, it was Marissa who cut and sewed the first labor party flag. When Lula was imprisoned for organizing a strike, Marissa led the women to launch a protest. In the 2002 general election, Marissa, who had brought up her children, devoted herself to Lula’s campaign. From 2003 to 2010, Marissa was the first lady of Brazil. In 2016, Marissa became the defendant of two charges in the anti-corruption investigation “car washing operation”, and died of illness the next year.
2017 was another low point in Lula’s life. He not only lost his second wife, but also was convicted of bribery in the “car washing operation”. But it was also in the same year that Lula met Rosangela again, a sociologist who participated in a vigil in support of Lula when Lula was imprisoned at the federal police station in Curitiba, Parana.
Talking about their love story, Lula said, “when you lose your wife, you think, well, my life is meaningless. But suddenly, this person appeared, making you feel like you want to live again. I fell in love, as if I were 20 years old, as if I were my first girlfriend.”
Brazilian media reported that Lula and Rosangela had known each other for a long time, but the seeds of love germinated during the 580 days Lula was imprisoned. During that time, Rosangela not only often visited Lula, but also prepared meals for him, and wrote letters almost every day. Lula has been living with Rosangela since she got out of prison. Lula said, “I successfully found a girlfriend in prison, and she is still willing to marry me. It takes a lot of courage for her.”
With regard to his wife who has political opinions, enthusiasm for participation, and sometimes even a little radical views, Lula told the media, “I don’t like talking about her. She can speak for herself.” As for the significance of this love to the election, Lula’s evaluation is: “if I can, I hope to only talk about love in the election.”
The road to success: half suffering, half persistence
Obviously, Lula, who wants to reshape Brazil through the general election, cannot only talk about love in the coming period, because he also has to convey his views on governance, national economy and people’s livelihood to hundreds of millions of people. These views are shaped by the vicissitudes of the old man’s experiences, hardships, ups and downs, thinking and exploration in the past decades.
In 1945, Lula was born in the semi-arid rural area of Pernambuco State in the northeast of Brazil. He is the seventh child of a poor family. His full name is Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula’s parents are farmers without formal education. Their living conditions are poor. They have no electricity or running water. They can’t even afford shoes.
In the 1950s, the wave of developmentalism rose in Brazil. S ã o Paulo in the southeast has become the most industrialized region in the country, attracting a number of world-famous manufacturing companies to set up factories here, and also attracting a large number of immigrants from the northeast to look for job opportunities. In this wave of “flying to the Southeast”, Lula, 5, also followed her mother and left her hometown in a simple “Caravan” to Santos, Sao Paulo, to join her father who had worked there.
In Santos, the Lula family lived in a hut until “one day it collapsed.”. Here, Lula and his brother began selling oranges, cassava and peanuts on the street, while some of his sisters engaged in domestic service.
However, such days did not last. A few years later, her parents separated, and Lula moved to Sao Paulo with her mother. In the largest city in the southern hemisphere, Lula became a shoeshine child, worked in dry cleaners, and later found a job in a metal factory.
In 1963, Lula lost her left little finger due to work-related injury. According to the travel magazine, Lula received a compensation of 350000 Cruzeiro, which was “enough to buy furniture and a piece of land for her mother”.
Although life is not easy, in the eyes of young Lula, Sao Paulo, a huge city, is still charming and full of possibilities. Here, Lula participated in the trade union meeting under the persuasion of her brother, felt the hardships of the working class, learned various expressions of advocating rights, and became a young and experienced negotiator. Later, Lula was invited to serve as an alternate seat on the trade union committee, starting her career as a trade union leader and becoming a “spokesman for the poor”.
In 1971, after the death of his wife Maria, Lula, who had experienced great grief, paid more attention to social injustice and inequality, devoted herself to the workers’ movement with all her strength, and then founded the labor party, starting her magnificent political career: in 1975, Lula became the chairman of the gold trade Union in Sao Paulo; Since 1978, he has organized a mass strike movement to protest against the dictatorship of the military government; In february1980, Lula participated in the establishment of the Labor Party and was elected as its chairman, which soon became the largest opposition party in Brazil; In the process of ending the rule of the military government, the trade union movement led by Lula made great contributions
In 1985, the Brazilian military government “returned the government to the people”, and Lula, who had been tested by the struggle, began to emerge in the Brazilian political arena. However, in 1990, 1994 and 1998, Lula’s impact on the presidential throne of the plateau palace failed.
When summing up the experience and lessons, some workers led by Lula realized that overly radical policies might scare away voters, so they decided to use pragmatism and moderate methods to deal with class contradictions, show a conciliatory attitude, change the radical pursuit of thorough social change at the beginning of the founding of the party, and declared that they would become a party “for all”.
In fact, since the establishment of the labor party, Lula and his team have made a series of adaptive adjustments from the inside to the outside according to the changes of the environment and the needs of the election. The finely trimmed beard and suits have become Lula’s brand-new image. The “refreshing Labor Party” has surprised many Brazilians and won more recognition and acceptance.
The victory often lies in the effort of persistence. In 2002, in the first Brazilian general election after the new century, Lula, who was firm, strong, inclusive and gentle, won a complete victory. The proportion of valid votes reached as high as 61%
The first president who was born as a worker in Brazilian history has also become the president who won the most votes in Brazilian history.
Lula, who finally realized her dream after all kinds of hardships, burst into tears: “how many times have I been discriminated against for not having a diploma? Today I got my First Diploma – the diploma of the president of the Republic.”
Ups and downs of life: the glory of the president and the tragedy of the prison
On January 1st, 2003, Lula was sworn in at a grand ceremony held at the Brazilian parliament building. This national leader, who came from a poor family, experienced hardships and was well aware of the hardships of the people, criticized the current shortcomings and was committed to reform. He made no secret of the major social problems faced by Brazil, such as economic stagnation, increased unemployment, starvation of the poor, and deterioration of public security. He attributed these problems to the old development model and proposed that Brazil must boldly reform and respond to the strong voice of the whole society.
On july13,2006, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the mascot appearance ceremony and the countdown ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games were held. Lula looked at the mascot in her hand. Figure Xinhua News Agency
Lula’s inaugural speech and policy agenda aroused strong repercussions and universal support in Brazilian society. Therefore, the formulation and implementation of a series of reform measures of the government created a good public opinion atmosphere and carried out effective social mobilization.
Lula, who rose from the bottom of the society, knew the importance of employment for the common people, and made drastic economic reforms after taking office
Economic reform, promote the establishment of a development model with social development as the core. At the same time, Lula, who repeatedly criticized the neoliberal economic model during the general election, has “gently put down” this topic after taking office, implemented a realistic economic line, retained many practices of the previous right-wing government to encourage competition, and dispelled the concerns of some entrepreneurs, conservative elites and some middle classes.
Brazil’s economic growth has increased significantly under the combined efforts of lowering interest rates, changing the tax system, increasing exports, promoting investment and building infrastructure. During Lula’s administration, Brazil’s economy grew at an average annual rate of 4.3%, and the largest economy in Latin America returned to the top ten in the world economy.
In march2005, Lula announced that the Brazilian government decided to stop renewing the loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which began during the previous Cardoso government. Brazilian finance minister paloch said that the biggest factor that prompted the Brazilian government to make this decision was the healthy development of the Brazilian economy – Brazil’s trade surplus totaled $35billion in the previous year. Lula said that the Brazilian economy has been able to “walk on its own legs”.
In order to achieve the goal of socialism in Brazil, the Labor Party attaches great importance to social reform and social equality measures. During his reign, Lula implemented livelihood programs such as “zero hunger” and “family subsidies”, which successfully reduced the number of poor people in Brazil by more than half. At the same time, the government has made great efforts to solve social problems such as employment, education, health, housing, social security and the gap between the rich and the poor. The size of the middle class has been expanding.
In terms of diplomacy, the Lula government pursues a “pragmatic and balanced” strategy, gives priority to developing and consolidating relations with Mercosur countries and South American countries, continues to develop mature cooperative relations with the United States, the European Union and Japan on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit, and also places special emphasis on strengthening friendly cooperation and economic and trade relations with China, India and other developing countries. During Lula’s administration, Brazil vigorously promoted the establishment of the BRICs mechanism and played an important role in this process.
The improvement and development of international relations have enabled Brazil to move further onto the world stage. During the ruling period of the labor party, Brazil successfully won the right to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, and occupied unlimited scenery for a time.
The efforts of Lula and his labor party government have been widely recognized and supported by Brazilian society. When he left office in 2010, Lula’s public support rate exceeded 80%. The brilliant achievements made during his reign made Lula the “best president in history” in the eyes of some Brazilians.
Under the “Lula effect”, the Labor Party won the general election again in 2010, and Rousseff, Lula’s “successor”, was elected president. In june2011, the Rousseff government even launched the goal of “no poverty in Brazil”, proposing to eliminate extreme poverty families and make Brazil a “middle-class country”.
However, as the monetary authorities of the United States, Europe and Japan competed to implement stimulating monetary policies after the international financial crisis, the global exchange rate devaluation “beat the drums and spread flowers”. In this “competitive devaluation” and the decline in global demand, Brazil’s economic development has encountered internal and external pressures, with rising inflation, sluggish production and declining growth.
The wind rises at the end of the green duckweed. In 2014, when the next general election is coming, an anti-corruption storm called “car washing operation” is emerging and gradually spreading, and then sweeping Brazil. In August 2016, Rousseff was impeached and removed from office because of “illegal acts in government finance”.
On march4,2016, Lula was taken away by the police for compulsory interrogation; In october2016, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court announced that it approved the procuratorial organ to conduct a formal investigation into the corruption case of Petrobras involving 66 political and business figures including Lula; In july2017, Lula was convicted of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 9 years and 6 months’ imprisonment; In january2018, the Brazilian Federal District Court in the second instance upheld the charges set in the first instance and increased the sentence to 12 years and 1 month; In April of the same year, Lula was imprisoned.
However, the labor party still listed Lula as its presidential candidate for the 2018 general election
People. On September 1, the Brazilian high electoral court ruled by vote that Lula’s candidacy was rejected.
Until november2019, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court passed a resolution that it was unconstitutional to be imprisoned after being convicted in the second instance because the suspect had another chance to appeal, and Lula was temporarily released.
Lula’s return: strengths and weaknesses
In the 2018 general election in which Lula failed to run, the Labor Party candidate ADA lost the second round to the far right candidate bosonaro.
At the beginning of taking office in 2019, bosonaro said that he would lead Brazil out of economic difficulties. However, in that year, the economic growth dropped by 0.4% year-on-year. In 2020, the COVID-19 broke out. Bosonaro insisted that COVID-19 was just a “small cold”, and there was no need to take strict epidemic prevention measures, believing that it would damage the economy. Unfortunately, Brazil has quickly become one of the “epicentres” of the world epidemic. So far, there have been more than 30million cases of infection and more than 660000 deaths, ranking third and second in the world.
On April 15, 2021, supporters of former Brazilian President Lula held a photo of Lula in front of the Supreme Court of Brasilia, the capital.
Under the influence of the epidemic, Brazil’s economic growth rate continued to plummet to -4.1% in 2020. In 2021, due to the gradual spread of vaccination, the epidemic situation was alleviated, and the Brazilian economy achieved 4.6% growth on a low base. Under the dual background of the epidemic and economic downturn, Brazil’s inflation, employment, public security and other issues have become more prominent, which has a huge impact on the lives and survival of the middle and lower classes.
At the same time, the struggle between high-level state organs of power has become one of the focuses of Brazilian public opinion in recent years. Since taking office, bosonaro has constantly criticized the electronic vote counting system used in the general election, resulting in disputes and confrontation with the Federal Supreme Court and the high electoral court, which advocate maintaining the authority of the system. Recently, bosonaro proposed to let the military supervise the final vote counting on election day, which once again caused an uproar.
Years and months do not live, seasons flow. In recent years, under the influence of changes in the global and Latin American political environment, and driven by urgent needs such as domestic economic recovery and people’s livelihood improvement, the direction of public opinion, social environment and political landscape in Brazil have also quietly changed.
In march2021, the chief justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court, fachin, ruled that all previous judgments obtained by Lula on suspicion of corruption were “invalid”. In April of the same year, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court voted to uphold the decision of fachin. This means that Lula is “free” and can participate in the 2022 presidential election. In January, 2022, judge Alves of the 12th Federal Criminal Court of Brasilia announced that the guaruia apartment case involving Lula was closed. An important obstacle to Lula’s participation in the general election has been removed.
Regarding the upcoming general election, Lula believed that it was an important opportunity to change the fate of Brazil and many Brazilians. “Brazil needs to return to a normal country” and “I am sure we will achieve the greatest peaceful revolution in history”.
In this general election, Lula’s strengths and weaknesses are basically clear:
First, a large number of Brazilian people and public opinion expressed support for Lula, the “son of Brazil”, who once again stormed the throne of the plateau palace. Many people hoped that he could lead the revitalization of the largest country in Latin America.
On May 7, Lula delivered a passionate speech to more than 4000 on-site supporters, pointing out that actions should be taken to protect people’s rights to food, clothing, health, education and employment, safeguard democracy, and oppose the “totalitarian threat”, which fully expounded his political program and responded to the demands of the support groups.
Second, the Brazilian media generally believe that Lula’s achievements during his eight years in power at the beginning of the century have accumulated extensive social support for him, “Lula’s return” has become the dream of many middle and lower class people for many years.
Third, Lula’s election manifesto has won recognition from all walks of life.
In the stage of preparing for the election, Lula publicly stated that he would work to narrow the social gap between the rich and the poor, ease inflation, properly respond to the epidemic, develop the economy, promote employment, establish broad alliances, and unite “deeply divided” countries. These election promises can be said to be timely and enlightening.
Fourth, Lula chose alkmin, a senior political figure widely welcomed by the Brazilian business community, as his election partner, which can help the left-wing camp narrow the distance with business, religious figures, agricultural enterprises and voters in the southeast, and show the economic governance ability of his team. This is also highly appreciated by Brazilian public opinion.
Fifth, Lula is considered to have obvious advantages in diplomacy and international affairs.
Lula elaborated on his diplomatic philosophy and international policies, and said that he would promote the strengthening of cooperation mechanisms in Latin America, deepen cooperation with BRICs countries, and promote the establishment of a new model of global governance. In fact, Brazil, which is currently highly dependent on the outward oriented economy, particularly needs a good and stable external environment.
Zhouzhiwei, researcher of the Latin American Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and executive director of the Brazilian research center, pointed out that compared with bosonaro, Lula is well versed in diplomacy. “At the international level, Lula is still the most influential politician in Brazil.”.
But for Lula,
There are also many uncertainties, obstacles and challenges in this election.
First, they are at a disadvantage in terms of administrative resources.
In contrast, bosonaro, his opponent, can not only win the attention and support of voters through the government’s introduction of various policies, including measures to benefit the people, in the election year, but also, as a head of state, when other candidates are restricted by election rules and can not carry out relevant publicity, he can ensure high media exposure through normal performance of his duties, which helps to maintain popularity and popularity.
Second, there is still a big gap between Lula and bosonaro in the Internet campaign.
Global network of Brazil recently reported that bosonaro has 46million fans, significantly ahead of 13million fans of Lula, on the four major social media, including twitter, Facebook, instagram and Youtube. On tiktok, by the end of April, the number of visitors to bosonaro was 13 times that of Lula.
Third, the communication team of Lula camp is relatively inexperienced.
At some moments, the prudence of the candidate in making public remarks was ignored, so that Lula made an embarrassing “mistake” in her statement recently. For example, Lula recently accused bosonaro of only knowing “hatred” and “only like the police and don’t care about the people”, which caused an uproar and forced him to apologize to the police on labor day.
In this regard, some of Lula’s allies believe that the timing of some speeches is “inappropriate”, which may arouse the disgust of some middle right voters who need to fight for in the general election. Recently, Lula camp has reorganized the campaign marketing department responsible for communication.
Fourth, the corruption scandal that occurred in the late ruling period of the labor party still has a certain impact on Brazilian society, and it is easy to become a soft spot for competitors to attack. In this regard, the labor party needs to be cautious in the election process.
Reshaping Brazil: you need to use your brain, but also your heart
When he left the presidency in 2011, Lula “did not intend to become a presidential candidate again”. What made Lula choose to stand in the spotlight again 11 years later? The answer is clear: reinvent Brazil.
When asked how to view the 580 day imprisonment, Lula once said that although he was persecuted by politics and justice, “don’t expect to see dissatisfaction, resentment or desire for revenge in me”, because “if you feel hatred in your heart, if all you want is revenge, you can’t be a good president”, “You have to think about the future, and the past is over – I will build a new Brazil.”.
Lula is confident in her ability to reshape Brazil. He said, “I am proud to prove that a metal worker without a university degree is more capable of managing this country than the Brazilian elite”, “because the art of governance is with your heart, not just your head”.
In Lula’s eyes, the new Brazil is a democratic and United Brazil. In Lula’s view, at present, Brazilian Democracy is threatened and social cracks are serious. He hopes to unite “democratic people from different backgrounds, political tracks, social strata and religious beliefs” to “fight against the totalitarian threat, hatred, violence, discrimination and exclusion in our country”.
In this new Brazil, the government should be the “spokesman of the poor”, which is also Lula’s original intention. Talking about the changes in Brazilian social policies in recent years, Lula said that all the policies I formulated to benefit the poor, including the social inclusion policy, were “destroyed and dismantled”. This is also an important reason why he decided to “come back”.
Lula said in an exclusive interview with Time magazine, “only when the poor actively participate in the economy, when the poor participate in the budget, when the poor work and when the poor have food, can our problems be solved. Only when you have a government that specifically serves the poor, can this be possible.”
In terms of economic development, the new Brazil should not only restore its former glory, but also create new brilliance. “People expect me to be president of Brazil again because people have good memories of my time as president.” “I’m sure I can solve Brazil’s problems,” Lula said In view of the fact that Latin American countries’ economic development depends on the US dollar and their economic stability is vulnerable to fluctuations in US dollar interest rates, Lula put forward the idea of creating the Latin American currency “South dollar”.
In terms of diplomacy, Lula said, “Brazil is so big that it cannot be reduced to such a sad position of exclusion in the world.” His goal is to reshape Brazil’s great power status and international influence, so that Brazil can once again become a protagonist on the world stage. Lula pointed out the need to establish new global governance, rebuild the United Nations and involve more countries and people. “If we do this, we can begin to improve the world.” With regard to the Russia Ukraine conflict that has attracted worldwide attention, Lula said that war is not a solution. We must sit at the negotiating table, look at each other and talk.
For anyone, winning the election, reshaping Brazil and improving the world is a huge challenge. But the old man, who is good at understanding the philosophy of life from life, expressed his determination in this way: “the first time I ate bread was when I was 7 years old. Many times, my mother had nothing to put on the stove for us, but I never saw her despair. She always said, tomorrow is enough for us, and tomorrow will be better. This has been rooted in my consciousness, in my blood – there are no problems you can’t overcome.”