Brazil's Lula Becomes President, Realizes
Cheered by tens of thousands of jubilant supporters,
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva became Brazil's first working-class
president on Wednesday,
realizing the "dreams of generations and generations"
Promising to "recover the dignity of the Brazilian people,"
the former metalworker received the presidential sash
after taking the oath of office as the capital, Brasilia,
exploded into a huge street party of music and dance.
"I am not the result of one election, I am the result
of a history," the 57-year-old socialist told crowds
outside the presidential palace of Latin America's largest
country. "I am realizing the dreams of generations and
generations before me who tried and failed."
As Lula rode in a convertible Rolls Royce to Congress to
take the oath, hundreds of people ran down the massive lawns
in front of the modernist building, thronging around the car
to see Brazil's first elected leftist leader. Many
jumped into the moat-like lakes in front of Congress, splashing
"Since 1500 an exploiting elite has governed Brazil,"
said Jason Ferreira, 37, one of the thousands who traveled
to Brasilia from across this continent-sized country for the
inauguration party. "The people have dreamed of
Pledging to fight one of the worst income distribution gaps
in the world and to end famine, Lula won a record 52 million
votes in October elections -- his fourth bid for the presidency
in this country of 170 million.
Security officials said about 70,000 people turned up for
the inauguration, which Lula's Workers' Party turned into
a "people's party" as Samba drummers and Amazon
dance groups performed on the vast esplanade in front of Congress.
Occasional rain showers didn't dampen the party spirit.
Lula became only the second leader in 40 years to receive
the sash from another elected president in Brazil, which is
no stranger to political instability. After handing over the
sash, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso flew to Paris
for a rest.