Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Brazil hates to say goodbye to outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - latimes.com

Brazil hates to say goodbye to outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - latimes.com

When former shoeshine boy Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected Brazil's president eight years ago, some feared he would lead the country to ruin.

Now, having steered a booming economy through the global crisis and outdueled the U.S. to host the 2016 Olympic Games, the onetime union organizer is preparing to leave office praised by world leaders as disparate as President Obama and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

To say Brazilians are happy with him is an understatement: He enjoys an 80% approval rating. Nothing so demonstrates Lula's popularity as the likelihood that his handpicked candidate, former chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, will be elected Brazil's next president despite never having held elective office or giving many clues as to her policy initiatives — other than to continue Lula's. If elected, she will be Brazil's first female president.

But in addition to being good, Lula was lucky.

Despite Lula's successes, whoever follows him will have plenty of work to do.

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