Lula's Way

How a former shoeshine boy blended social programs with business-friendly policies to turn Brazil into Latin America's powerhouse

Claudio Edinger for TIME

With their endless string of pearl beaches, heavenly climate and sensual bossa nova culture, Brazilians consider themselves uniquely blessed. So when the first of two gigantic oil fields was discovered off the coast near Rio de Janeiro last fall, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva saw it simply as further proof of a celestial bond. "God," Lula gushed, "is Brazilian."

That kind of good fortune, divine or not, has helped Lula, 62, a former steelworkers' union leader and high school dropout, become Brazil's most popular President in a half-century. The oil find could make Brazil one of the world's largest crude...

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