During his first inauguration as president of Brazil, speaking before the National Congress in Brasilia, on January 1, 2003, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva famously declared, “If by the end of my term all Brazilians have the chance to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I will have achieved my life's mission.” It was the first promise he made after winning the election in October 2002, and one he would often repeat. In his long-awaited biography of Lula, John D. French mentions how “three meals a day” became one of the government's mottos in his first term. This, he argues, was “tactical brilliance,” as it provided his economic platform with a concrete image. Although, as the books shows, Lula's political success usually relied on his ability to trade in the realm of the tangible rather than in airy abstractions or rigid theories, pressure from the right during the 2002 campaign had...
More Than Three Meals per Day
ADRIÁN LERNER PATRÓN is the Princeton Mellon Fellow in Urbanism and the Environment at Princeton University. He obtained his PhD in history from Yale University in 2020 with a dissertation about the urbanization of Amazonia in Brazil and Peru, and his BA and Licenciatura from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He has published on the history of public health, gender, politics, and development in modern Latin America.
Adrián Lerner Patrón; More Than Three Meals per Day. Labor 1 September 2021; 18 (3): 37–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-9061409
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