Lula weeps in last speech as Brazil president

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva burst into tears in his last speech in office.

As he addressed a crowd late Tuesday in his native state, Pernambuco, where he was born into poverty 65 years ago, Lula cried at least three times. He will step down on Saturday as his handpicked and popularly elected successor, Dilma Rousseff, is inaugurated.

First, he shed tears when he recalled how he rose from a poor child in the rural town of Caetes, near the city of Garanhuns, in Pernambuco, to the presidency of the world’s eighth-largest economy.

Tears flowed again when a local poet expressed Pernambuco’s gratitude to “the best-loved president of the Brazilian land”.

Finally, Lula cried when he recalled his win in the 2002 presidential election, after three consecutive defeats in 1989, 1994 and 1998: “I lost because a portion of the poor people had no confidence in me”.

“I remember that in 1989, in Casa Amarela (a poor neighbourhood in Recife), a woman came out of an old little house and told me, ‘I won’t vote for you because you will take away everything I have,’” Lula said.

“I went back home and told Marisa (his wife) that I was scared, because the people I wanted to help were afraid of me. And Marisa told me, ‘Try again, because it will work out some day.’ And it worked out in 2002.”

Lula thanked God for his experiences.

“I am grateful to God. Had it not been for God’s finger, it would not be normal for a poor man from Caetes, who fled hunger, to become president. Whoever does not believe in God should believe,” he said.

Lula vowed that his successor, Rousseff, will do even more to lead Brazil.

“She will do much more. I am leaving the presidency, but don’t you believe you will be rid of me, because I will be on the streets of this country to help solve Brazil’s problems,” he said.

Filed under: Politics

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