Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Fast Facts

CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil.


Birth date: October 27, 1945

Birth place: Garanhuns, Pernambuco, Brazil

Father: Aristedes Inacio da Silva, agriculture worker

Mother: Euridice Ferreira de Mello, seamstress

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 her first marriage and adopted by Lula da Silva); with Miriam Cordeiro: Lurian

Other Facts

He goes by the nickname Lula, which he formally added to his name in 1982.

Lula da Silva’s father was against education and believed supporting the family was more important, so Lula da Silva didn’t learn to read until age 10.

He left school completely after the fifth grade to work full-time.

He has nine fingers, having lost the little finger on his left hand in a work accident.

His first wife died of hepatitis in her eighth month of pregnancy along with the child.

Unhappy 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 Partido dos Trabalhadores, the Workers’ Party.

Believes that global institutions such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization favor rich nations and must be revamped to address the needs of developing nations, 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 backed all of his presidential runs.


1966 - Becomes a metalworker and is active in the metalworkers union.

1975 - Elected president of the metalworkers union.

March 10, 1980 - Helps found the Workers’ Party.

April 19-May 19, 1980 - As one of the leaders of a metalworkers union strike, is arrested after police confront workers. He is held for 31 days.

November 1982 - Comes in fourth in the gubernatorial race for the state of Sao Paulo.

1983 - Helps found the Central Única dos Trabalhadores, a national trade union confederation.

1986 - Elected to the Brazilian congress.

1989, 1994 and 1998 - Is the Workers’ Party candidate for president; he comes in second each time.

October 27, 2002 - Is elected president in a runoff election with 61.3% of the vote.