From Rio de Janeiro

After ten years of countless hours of interviews with Lula, other people, and research, the well-known Brazilian journalist Fernando Morais published the first of two volumes of his biography of Lula.

Since he left the Presidency of the Republic – with 87% support – Lula dreamed of this book. A work that reproduced, as faithfully as possible, his government experience.

Several times that I spoke with him at the Lula Institute, he showed me the many materials he had in store for the book. A dream that he began to realize with Fernando Morais as soon as he left the government. The book – among the almost 100 pages of illustrations – reproduces a photo from 2011 with Lula dejected by the treatment of throat cancer that afflicted him, recording an interview for the book.

What kind of biography is this? Hegel said that there are biographies that are private, individual, particular stories. Others are cosmic biographies, when the subject’s trajectory is at the center of great events, when it reflects the spirit of time.

This is the case of the biography of Lula, whose career is intertwined with the history of Brazil, in the most important periods of the country. First, as a migrant from the northeast of the country, born in the most suffered region of Brazil, a victim of the capitalist development model, which favored the Center-South, to the detriment of other regions, especially the northeast.

A victim of the great droughts of the 1950s, he emigrated to the south, with his mother and seven siblings, on a 13-day trip in a pau-de-arara, eating brown sugar (rapadura) and flour, wearing the same clothes. He, who went to fetch water every morning with the bucket on his head, who ate bread for the first time only at the age of seven, came to the south, along with millions of people from the northeast, in search of better luck in São Paulo.

Lula was part of a new generation of the Brazilian working class that would build the wealth of Saint Paul. There Lula was a shoeshine, a clothes delivery man at the dry cleaners, an office cadet, until he was able to take the technical course as a mechanical turner. “That course was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said.

The book dedicates a detailed analysis of the period in which Lula went, in a short time, from a factory to being a union leader and leader of the new unionism. An essential period in the life of Lula and in the history of Brazil, because it encompasses the period of military dictatorship and democratic transition. In it, Lula begins to occupy a prominent place in Brazilian political life, as he moves from individual consciousness to union consciousness and from there to politics, actively participating in the founding of the PT and the CUT, in addition to supporting the emergence of the MST.

The book does not follow a chronological sequence. The first chapter deals with Lula’s arrest decree, reconstructing the whole climate that we live in the Metalworkers Union, anticipating the decision to resist or surrender to the police. Dramatic moments, in Lula’s conversations and in the maturation of his decision, after having already ruled out exile, he had already crossed the Uruguayan border in the South Caravan, so that we could eat meat from the other side of the border and never fall. tempted to ask for asylum. He also ruled out the possibility of resisting and going underground. He was very bothered by the hypothesis of the headlines announcing that Lula had fled the country or was a fugitive.

Lula chose, contrary to the opinion of the vast majority of the mass present in the Union, to come forward and prove that he was innocent. Although his arrest was not delayed for a few days, as he expected, but for 581 days, his option turned out to be the correct one. After having witnessed the painful scenes of his political presentation, we were all able, after accompanying him on the vigil, to see him leave and return to the same union and resume the speech that had been cut short when he announced that he would go to present himself to the police.

The first volume of the book concludes with Lula’s full entry into political life, with his frustrating candidacy for the São Paulo government and with his consecration of the election as the most voted deputy in Brazil.

Fernando Morais announces that the second volume will tell the backroom of Lula’s three defeats in the presidential elections, the experiences of the two presidential terms, the Dilma government and the crisis that Brazil has been going through since 2013. It is difficult for all of this to fit into one single volume, even more so that Lula’s political life continues, with his probable return to the presidency of Brazil.

Because it is a biography that, in addition to being cosmic, is an open process, coinciding with the history of Brazil. Of what can be called Luiz Inácio Lula do Brasil.

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