Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Brazil's Lula

Brazil's Lula: The Most Popular Politician on Earth - Newsweek: grew up so poor, he didn't find out what bread was until he was 7 ..... made the 1,900-mile journey from the country's northeastern dustbowl for a life in the slums of São Paulo ..... dropped out of school in the fifth grade, shined shoes on the street, and went to work in a factory at 14, losing a finger to a lathe ...... rose through the rank and file to become an internationally respected union leader ..... practically shut down the continent's industrial powerhouse 
2501ChavezMarcelloImage via Wikipediain the name of the steelworkers. ..... blunt, bearded ..... approval rating above 70 percent. .... "That's my man right there," Obama greeted him at the G20 summit in London in April. "The most popular politician on earth." ...... Brazil has withstood the global crisis better than almost any other nation: not a single bank went under, inflation is low, and the economy is growing ...... outpacing Russia and joining India and China ..... has repeatedly pumped up the minimum wage (up 67 percent since 2003 ...... long hours of practice have refined his shop-floor grammar and vocabulary ..... nothing vexes Lula more than being trapped in his office ..... 'I need to get out and travel, and meet people.' His connection is with the little guy. ...... likes nothing more than to ditch protocol, go off script, and (to the despair of his security detail) wade into an adoring crowd. ...... Starting in 1989, he ran for president three times, surging in early polls only to hit a wall on voting day. By the late '90s he was on the verge of quitting politics. Instead, he did something bolder: he remade himself. He stopped his fist-waving harangues, climbed into a suit, and hired a speech coach and a marketing wizard. ......... a "Letter to the Brazilian People," pledging to honor contracts, pay down the country's debts, abide by the International Monetary Fund's requirements, and generally play by the rules of the market. ....
Brasília – Presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silv...Image via Wikipedia... To convince lenders Brazil was serious, Lula increased the "primary budget surplus"—the money the government puts aside every year to pay debt and interest—and boosted lending rates to a scorching 26 percent a year, throttling growth in order to kill inflation. He also kept government wages and pensions under control. "The unions and many people in the party hated it ........ was like a piece of blotting paper. ..... putting pragmatism ahead of ideology and, for the most part, fiscal restraint over the quick fix. .....With a web of hydroelectric stations and half its fleet of cars running on clean-burning sugar-cane ethanol, the country has long been the benchmark in renewable energy. ..... , exporting more beef, soybeans, and frozen chickens than any other nation ..... his aggressive diplomacy has rallied poorer nations to demand free trade and a new deal in the international economy. .......... his ability to sell unpalatable reforms to a largely poor population that looked to him as something of a savior ..... He gave the central bank a free hand to control inflation ....... He blamed the subprime market mess on "white-skinned, blue-eyed" bankers and ridiculed the champions of deregulation and the "minimal" state. "In the '80s and '90s it was fashionable to deride the state," he says. "But in the blink of the eye, the [free] market nearly bankrupted the world. And who did they go to for a bailout? The state." ...... He even defends the ham-fisted rule of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez. "Give me one example of how Venezuela is not a democracy!" ...... Then he turned the tables: why not hold the next G7 meeting in Brazil, he challenged. "After all, in 20 years maybe only three of you will still be around." Not everyone was amused.
Lula reminds me of my own Laloo. Laloo was also a self described "man of the people." It is India's misfortune that Laloo is no longer Railway Minister. Rahul Gandhi felt Laloo had prime ministerial ambitions, and so Rahul cut him to size in Laloo's home state of Bihar.

Lula's populist impulses tempered with a pragmatic approach to his job as president were a great mix.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
BBC News - How President Lula changed Brazil:
Lula's Brazil: glitzy, rich, dynamic | World news | The Observer:

Indian Railways

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