Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s former president, currently undergoing treatment for throat cancer, returned Tuesday to Brazilian capital Brasília and the political stage after three months of absence, for the inauguration ceremony of two new ministers from the cabinet of President Dilma Rousseff.
The Brazilian leader who still has shaven beard and head was cheered by the Rousseff cabinet during the swearing in of Aloizio Mercadante as Education minister and Marco Antonio Raupp in Science, Technology and Innovation.
“It’s a great honor that this precise moment is the first time that our dear president Lula is back,” at the Planalto Palace, seat of the Executive, underlined President Rousseff who on January 2011 succeeded the popular leader.
The former president, 66, is undergoing chemotherapy sessions to eliminate a tumor he was diagnosed last October. Oncologists are optimistic about his chances of recovery.
Since the start of the treatment in the Sírio Libanês hospital, in São Paulo, Lula has limited his public appearances and this is the first time he was seen in an official ceremony next to President Rousseff.
“We must acknowledge publicly that the strategy to democratize access to education was an initiative of the gentleman”, said Rousseff in reference to Lula.
The two ministers are the first reshuffle of Rousseff’s cabinet following a first year that saw six cabinet ministers step down allegedly for involvement in corruption practices.
Mercadante left Science and Technology to take over Education and replace Fernando Haddad who was also a cabinet minister with Lula and left the ministry to run for mayor of Brazil’s financial and industrial hub, the city of São Paulo.
The presence of Lula at the cabinet ceremony clearly signals, according to the Brazilian press, that the former president will be fully involved in the October municipal elections as he had promised.