Tribute to President Fernando Henrique Cardoso ,big fan Nina Simone.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso ; born June 18, 1931 - also known by his initials FHC - was the 34th President of the Federative Republic of Brazil for two terms from January 1, 1995 to January 1, 2003. He is an accomplished sociologist, professor and politician. He was awarded in 2000 with the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.
Cardoso is descended from wealthy Portuguese immigrants. Some of his ancestors were politicians during the Empire of Brazil. He is also of Black African descent, through a Black great-great-grandmother and a Mulatto great-grandmother. Cardoso described himself as "slightly Mulatto" and allegedly said he has "one foot in the kitchen" (a nod to 19th Century Brazilian domestic slavery).
Born in Rio de Janeiro, he has lived in São Paulo most of his life. Cardoso is a widower (he was married to Ruth Vilaça Correia Leite Cardoso until her death June 24, 2008) and has four children. Educated as a sociologist, he was a Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Universidade de São Paulo. He was President of the International Sociological Association (ISA), from 1982 to 1986. He is a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has penned several books. He was also Associate Director of Studies in the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and then visiting professor at the Collège de France and later at the Paris-Nanterre University. He later lectured at United States' universities including Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. He is fluent in four languages: Portuguese, English, French and Spanish.
After his presidency, he was appointed to a five-year term (2003–2008) as professor-at-large at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, where he is now on the board of overseers. Cardoso is a founding member of the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy's Advisory Board. In February 2005, he gave the fourth annual Kissinger Lecture on Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress, Washington DC on "Dependency and Development in Latin America. In 2005, Cardoso was selected by the British magazine Prospect as being one of the world's top one hundred living intellectuals.
FHC is a well-known professor and intellectual. He earned his Bachelor in Social Sciences from Universidade de São Paulo in 1952, his Master in Sociology from Universidade de São Paulo and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Universidade de São Paulo. Cardoso has also received the Livre-Docência prize in 1963, the most important award given to an academic in Brazil, also from USP. In 1968, he received the title of Cathedratic Professor, holding the chair of Political Science at Universidade de São Paulo. In 1986 Cardoso was selected as a Fulbright Program 40th anniversary distinguished fellow and in that capacity was a visiting scholar and lectured at Columbia University on democracy in Brazil.
Cardoso currently gives speeches and classes abroad.
In the beginning of his political life, Fernando Henrique was elected Senator of the state of São Paulo for the former MDB, in 1982. In 1985, he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of São Paulo against former President Jânio Quadros. Ahead in the polls, he let himself be photographed in the mayor's chair before the elections. Some attribute his loss in the election to this episode.
Re-elected for the Senate in 1986 for the PMDB, which substituted MDB after Brazilian re-democratization, he helped a group of parliamentarians of PMDB to abandon the party in order to create the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). Until 1992, Cardoso served as Leader of the PSDB in the Senate. From October 1992 to May 1993, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs under President Itamar Franco (PMDB).
From May 1993 until April 1994, he was Minister of Finance and introduced the Plano Real (Real Plan) to end hyperinflation. Buoyed by the success of the Plano Real, Cardoso decided to run for the Presidency and, backed by President Franco, won in the first round of elections, on October 3, 1994. Four years later, on October 4, 1998, after a Constitutional Amendment that allowed reelection, Cardoso won the Presidency again, with approximately 53% of the vote, while his closest challenger, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), had about 32%.
Cardoso was succeeded in 2003 by Lula da Silva, who was running for President for the fourth time. Lula won in the runoff against the Cardoso-supported candidate José Serra. Lula's election has since been interpreted as a result of Cardoso's growing unpopularity in his second term.
Cardoso, often nicknamed "FHC", was elected with the support of a heterodox alliance of his own Social Democratic Party, the PSDB, and two right-wing parties, the Liberal Front Party (PFL) and the Brazilian Labour Party (PTB). Brazil's largest party, the centrist Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), joined Cardoso's governing coalition after the election, as did the right-wing PPB, the Brazilian Progressive Party, in 1996.
Party loyalty was weak, and deputies and senators belonging to the parties in the coalition did not always vote with the government.
President Cardoso had difficulty, at times, gaining sufficient support for some of his legislative priorities, despite the fact that his coalition parties held an overwhelming majority of congressional seats.
In 2000, Cardoso demanded the disclosure of some classified military files concerning Operation Condor, a network of South American military dictatorships that kidnapped and assassinated political opponents.
A feature of Cardoso's administration was the continuity of the privatization program, launched by his predecessor Fernando Collor de Mello, of several government-owned enterprises such as Acesita, Telebras and Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, thus starting the deepest process of denationalisation in Brazilian history. Economists still contend over its long-term effects; research shows that the companies sold by the government achieved better profitability as a result from their disengagement from the State.
The years 1995-2002 witnessed a rise of the total public debt from 30 to 55.5 percent of GDP. It has been argued that this was due to external factors outside the control of the administration at the time, such as the devalorisation of the Brazilian real and the growth of the share of the debt denominated in US dollars.However, the greatest achievement of Cardoso was his landmark lowering of inflation. The month before the Plano Real started, June 1994, monthly inflation averaged 31.2 percent; it declined to monthly rates of between 1-3% in 1995, for a yearly total of 25.9 percent. It further dropped to 15.6 and 7.2 in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
As a result, major reforms planned by the Executive branch, such as changes in the tax system and in social security, were only partially approved after really long and tiring discussions. On January 8, 1996, he issued the controversial Decree 1775, which created a framework for the clear demarcation of indigenous reservations, which as part of the process opened indigenous territories to counter-claims by adjacent landowners.
Using his previous experience as Minister of Foreign Affairs and his prestige as an internationally famous sociologist, FHC was greatly respected on the world scene, building friendships with such leaders as Bill Clinton and Ernesto Zedillo.
Although he was respected abroad, in Brazil FHC had problems explaining his government priorities to Congress and people in general. Although claiming to be a leftist and supporter of social-democracy, FHC took some decisions in economy that led people to believe he became a neoliberal.
He also experienced personal problems with former ally Itamar Franco, his predecessor that later became Governor of Minas Gerais. FHC was also criticized for transforming the Constitution to his own benefit - creating reelection and allowing him to stay eight years in office. Most people think that his popularity in his first four years was gained with the continuation of Plano Real, but decreased in his last four years after different crisis in politics and in the energy department. He also publicly admitted that he could have done more for public security and for the creation of new jobs.
After stepping down from office, FHC has been giving lectures at Brown University, about Brazilian economic policy, urban development, and deforestation . Also, he dedicates his time to a personal institute created by him in São Paulo, based on the model of bodies created by former Presidents of the United States. He has written two books about his experience as President of Brazil, and has given many interviews. In 2006, he helped the campaign of the PSDB candidate for the Presidency, Geraldo Alckmin, and has said many times that he does not wish to run for office again. In 2007, he became a member of the editorial board of the Latin American policy publication Americas Quarterly, for which he is a regular contributor.
e has also taught as a guest lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris.
After leaving the Brazilian presidency, Cardoso also joined the Club of Madrid.