"In January 2003, President Luis Inácio 'Lula' da Silva, of the leftist Workers' Party (PT), began a four-year term as President of Brazil. Despite winning on a leftist platform, President Lula has maintained the orthodox economic policies associated with his predecessor, even surpassing fiscal and monetary targets. Inflation and interest rates have been on a downward trend, Brazil's credit rating has improved, but economic growth remains modest (2.3% in 2005). In 2003, President Lula gained congressional approval of social security and tax reforms and in 2004 a new law to increase private investment in public infrastructure projects. Despite these achievements, legislative progress stalled in 2005, and President Lula has been criticized for failing to develop effective social programs to address Brazil's persistent problems concerning land redistribution, social inequality, and crime."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33456