Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Luis Inacio da Silva (Brasil)

Luiz Inácio da Silva was born on October 27, 1945 near Garahuns, in the state of Pernambuco. In his youth he was trained to work with metal. In 1964, the year of the military coup in Brazil he worked in several different factories. He worked in Villares Industries, one of the most important metal works in the so-called „ABC-Region“ of the industrial heart of Sao Paulo. He came into contact with the workers’ movement there. In 1969 Lula looked for a position on the board of the metal workers’ trade union of Sao Bernardo do Campo und Diadema, and became their president in 1975. In 1980 Lula founded the workers’ party along with other trade union members, intellectuals, politicians, and representatives of the socialist movement. In the same year the metal workers started a strike, which led to national intervention, and the arrest of Lula and other union leaders. Luis Inacio da Silva contributed significantly to the seventy year long political opening“ of the military dictatorship. He demanded more political freedoms, more rights for labor unions, and better living conditions. The eventual relaxation of oppression, and the lifting of the two-party system led to a rising labor union movement, and the critical inspection of the military regime. These developments led to the arrest and imprisonment of Lula due to his propagation of subversion. He was declared innocent in 1982 in a civil court. As a politician and unionist in the 1980s he was among the fearless advocates of democratic principles and labor union rights. He became a symbol for the fight for democracy due his unfaltering beliefs, and unwavering commitment to the principles of the movement in Brazil. In 2002 Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected President of Brazil and served as such two mandates until January 2012.
Luis Inacio da Silva played a key role in the "political opening" of the military dictatorship that began in the 1970s and constantly demanded more political freedoms, more trade union rights and better living conditions. The easing of repression and the elimination of the imposed two-party system led to the emergence of a trade union movement that eluded the military regime's control. In order to prevent this development, “Lula” is arrested for propagating the overthrow; however, he was acquitted in a civil trial in 1982. As a politician and leading trade unionist, he was an unabashed champion of democratic principles and trade union freedoms in the 1980s. Out of this unshakable faith, he becomes a symbol of the struggle for democracy in Brazil. In 2002 Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected President of the Republic of Brazil.