Here’s a look at the life of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president-elect of Brazil.
Date of birth: October 27, 1945
Place of birth: Garanhuns, Pernambuco, Brazil
Father: Aristedes Inacio da Silva, agricultural worker
Mother: Euridice Ferreira de Mello, dressmaker
Marriages: Rosangela Silva (May 18, 2022-present); Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva (1974-2017, her death); Maria de Lourdes Lula da Silva (1969-1971, her death)
Children: with Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva: Luis Claudio, Sandro, Fabio and Marcos (from his first marriage and adopted by Lula da Silva); with Miriam Cordeiro: Lurian
He has the nickname Lula, which he formally added to his name in 1982.
Lula da Silva’s father was against education and believed that supporting the family was more important, so Lula da Silva did not learn to read until he was 10 years old.
He dropped out of school completely after the fifth grade to work full-time.
He has nine fingers, having lost the little finger on his left hand in an accident at work.
His first wife died of hepatitis in the eighth month of pregnancy along with the child.
Dissatisfied with the lack of political representation of the working class in Brazil, he decided to get involved in politics.
Lula da Silva is a founding member of the Partido dos Trabalhadores, the Workers’ Party.
He believes that global institutions such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization favor rich nations and should be revamped to address the needs of developing countries, where most of the world’s population lives.
He was a longtime friend of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and visited him in September 2003. Castro supported all of his presidential bids.
1966 – He becomes a metal worker and is active in the metal workers’ union.
1975 – Elected president of the metals union.
March 10, 1980 – Help found the Workers’ Party.
April 19-May 19, 1980 – As one of the leaders of a metallurgical union strike, he was arrested after the police confronted the workers. It is held for 31 days.
November 1982 – He comes fourth in the race for governor for the state of São Paulo.
1983 – Help found the Central Única dos Trabalhadores, a national trade union confederation.
1986 – Elected to the Brazilian Congress.
1989, 1994 and 1998 – He is the candidate of the Workers’ Party for the presidency; every time comes second.
October 27, 2002 – He is elected president in a second round with 61.3% of the votes.
January 1, 2003 – Inaugurated as President of Brazil.
October 29, 2006 – He wins a second four-year term with 61% of the vote.
September 30, 2008 – He reacts to the fall of the world and American markets: “We cannot become victims of the casino erected by the American economy.”
October 2009 – He is credited with helping Rio de Janeiro win its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, the first Olympics to be held in South America.
January 1, 2010 – A film dramatization of the life of Lula da Silva, “Lula, Son of Brazil”, is released in Brazil.
April 2010 – He is voted number one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
January 1, 2011 – He leaves office with a 90% approval rating.
October 29, 2011 – He is diagnosed with throat cancer.
February 17, 2012 – It is announced that Lula da Silva’s cancer is in complete remission.
March 16, 2016 – He accepts an offer to become chief of staff to his successor and protégé, Dilma Rousseff. The appointment gives him some legal immunity in a corruption investigation and fuels political tensions in the divided country. Lula da Silva was sworn in as chief of staff on March 17.
March 18, 2016 – A judge at Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court issues an injunction preventing Lula da Silva from becoming Rousseff’s chief of staff.
September 14, 2016 – According to state news agency Agencia Brasil, Brazilian prosecutors are bringing corruption charges against Lula da Silva and his wife Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva. The charges stem from the Operation Car Wash money laundering investigation. Lula da Silva sends out a series of tweets after the charges are announced, calling them “fiction”. In a statement, his lawyers say that the case has political motivations and accuse the prosecution of drawing hasty conclusions.
September 20, 2016 – A Brazilian judge has ruled that there is enough evidence for Lula da Silva, his wife and six others to be tried on corruption charges.
February 3, 2017 – Lula da Silva’s wife dies.
July 12, 2017 – He is found guilty of corruption and money laundering charges stemming from bribes and benefits he received from state oil company Petrobras. Brazilian federal judge Sergio Moro sentences Lula da Silva to nine and a half years in prison. He remains free pending his appeal.
September 5, 2017 – Corruption charges are filed against Lula da Silva, his successor Rousseff and six members of the Workers’ Party. They are accused of running a criminal organization to divert funds from the state oil company Petrobras. The charges are related to the car wash operation. Lula da Silva, Rousseff and the Workers’ Party deny the allegations.
January 24, 2018 – A Brazilian appeals court unanimously upheld his corruption conviction, casting doubt on his plans to run again in the upcoming presidential election. The three appeal judges also added two and a half years to his sentence and jailed him for 12 years and one month. Lula da Silva remains free pending further appeals.
April 7, 2018 – After defying a one-day surrender order at a union building, he turned himself in to federal authorities to begin serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.
August 15, 2018 – He announces that he has submitted the necessary documentation to register as a candidate for the Workers’ Party in the upcoming presidential elections.
September 1, 2018 – Brazil’s highest electoral court bars Lula da Silva from running for re-election because of his corruption conviction.
February 6, 2019 – In another corruption case, he was sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in prison for accepting bribes in the form of renovations to his country house.
April 23, 2019 – Brazil’s Supreme Court of Justice reduced Lula da Silva’s prison sentence from 12 years and one month to eight years and 10 months, for one of his two corruption convictions.
August 7, 2019 – Brazil’s Supreme Court overturns a lower court’s order that moved Lula da Silva from a cell at federal police headquarters in the city of Curitiba, where his supporters have gathered, to a prison in São Paulo.
September 30, 2019 – Lula da Silva published a letter via Twitter rejecting prosecutors’ request to move him from prison to house arrest. In his quest for exoneration, he says he will not trade his dignity for his freedom.
November 7, 2019 – Brazil’s Supreme Court rules that the accused can remain free until they have exhausted all appeals. The ruling reverses an earlier ruling that had helped put dozens of politicians and powerful business leaders behind bars.
November 8, 2019 – He leaves prison after a year and a half behind bars.
September 1, 2020 – A federal court in Brazil dismisses a corruption case against Lula da Silva for lack of sufficient evidence. He was accused of exerting pressure in favor of the construction company Odebrecht.
March 8, 2021 – A Brazilian court rejects Lula da Silva’s corruption convictions, allowing him to run in the 2022 presidential election.
May 7, 2022 – He formally announces his pre-candidacy for the presidency in the October 2022 elections.
October 2, 2022 – In the presidential elections, Da Silva ends up with 48.4% against the 43.2% of the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Either candidate needed to get over 50% to be elected in the first round, so the two will face off in a runoff on October 30.
October 30, 2022 – Da Silva wins a tight second round against Bolsonaro to be elected president of Brazil. His victory represents a return of the left to power in Brazil and concludes a triumphant personal comeback for da Silva. This will be his third term as president.