This is an extraordinary event in Brazil’s recent history, which has raised a great deal of interest at home and abroad. Given his unique personal and political biography, Lula has suddenly become a source of curiosity all over the world. From being well known only to a small circle of left wing groups and social activists outside Brazil, he has now become an emblematic ﬁgure for those seeking new sources of ideas and inspiration in a world tired of conventional politics.
The British media, in particular the ﬁnancial press, have been very poor in analysing Lula, emphasising his apparent populism and Latin American style, which could disrupt the pattern of reforms initiated by outgoing President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and the country’s relative economic stability. This characterisation is way off the mark, oversimplifying both his personal trajectory and the politics of his Partido dos Trabalhadores, or Workers party.