|Minister of Communications of Brazil|
January 2003 – March 2005
August 27, 1950|
São Paulo, Brazil
|Died||September 13, 2013
São Paulo, Brazil
|Political party||Workers' Party (Brazil)|
Luiz Gushiken (August 5, 1950 – September 13, 2013) was a Brazilian union leader and politician. He was formerly the head of the social communication office of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's administration, a position which carried a ministerial rank. He is a first-generation Japanese-Brazilian, with Ryukyuan parents from Okinawa.
In his youth he was a supporter of O Trabalho, a party linked to the French Organisation Communiste Internationaliste (OCI). He broke with this international current to work closely with Lula in the PT. He worked at Banespa bank and was associated with unions. He was elected a federal deputy in the Congress three times, from 1987 to 1998, and was the coordinator of the presidential campaigns for Lula in 1989 and 1998.
Luiz Gushiken was born in the small town of Osvaldo Cruz (in Presidente Prudente) and was the first-born son of seven children of the photographer and violinist Shoei and Setsu Gushiken, Japanese immigrants from Okinawa. While he was still a young man, he moved to the city of São Paulo. He lived in the Brás suburb of the city and began to work as a bank clerk at the São Paulo State Bank (Banespa), where he stayed until 1999.
Political career and involvement
He began his political life as a union leader and participated intensely in the strikes of the 1980s during the military dictatorship. He presided over the Sao Paulo Banker's Union from 1984 to 1986. He was arrested four times by the military regime's Department for Political and Social Order (Departamento de Ordem Polítca e Social or DOPS). He was also one of the founders of the Brazilian Workers' Party (PT) and the Unified Worker's Centre (CUT), in addition to being one of its leaders (he was the Workers' party's National President from 1988 to 1990).
He was a member (deputado federal) of the Câmara dos Deputados do Brasil for three consecutive parliamentary terms (including in the Brazilian Constituent Assembly (1988)) from 1987 until 1999, and presidential campaign coordinator for Lula in 1989 and 1998. He was also the head of the Secretaria de Comunicação Social (SeCom), part of the Presidency of Brazil.
In 2005, Gushiken was accused - and defended himself - in ongoing lawsuits at the Court of Accounts of the Union (Tribunal de Contas da União, TCU) and at the Supreme Federal Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF). He left SeCom and lost the rank of minister, assuming the position as Chief of the Center for Strategic Affairs (Núcleo de Assuntos Estratégicos, NAE). He permanently left the government in 2006, shortly after Lula's reelection.
As a union leader, he defended pension funds against the losses caused by the agreement with Daniel Dantas' Opportunity Asset Management (Banco Opportunity). Gushiken distinguished himself in his defense of PREVI (Caixa de Previdência dos Funcionários do Banco do Brasil, the pension fund for workers of Banco do Brasil) during the privatizations promoted by the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, when the fund was used to incorporate consortiums of foreign corporations in auctions of the iron and steel, electric and telephone service sectors.
He was the target of relentless media campaigns, suffering frequent accusations - none of which were ever proven - related to the use of SeCom funds. Out of office, his house came under malicious attacks and came to be wrongly included in the AP 470 (the Mensalão Scandal criminal lawsuit) by the attorney General Antonio Fernando de Souza - who would come to win a Brasil Telecom mega contract, controlled by Daniel Dantas and which entered into the creation of Oi-Telemar.
Mensalão Scandal and Acquittal
Gushiken was accused of being part of a cash-for-votes scandal, known as the Mensalão Scandal, after which he was demoted and left the government soon thereafter. Later he was acquitted from all accusations in the AP 470 criminal lawsuit, in a verdict from the Supreme Federal Court decided in 2012, due to lack of evidence from his role in the scandal. Ex-Minister of the Supreme Federal Court José Dirceu later commented that Gushiken's indictment was "one of the great injustices of the [Mensalão scandal]" and "with no regard for the presumption of innocence". Notwithstanding, the press was no less brutal in its remorseless campaign against all of those who were indicted in the scandal, with no formal apology being made for the rash and misguided conclusions of reporters.
Gushiken died on September 13, 2013, at the age of 63 whilst admitted to Hospital Sírio-Libanês in critical condition, due to gastric cancer from which he suffered since 2002. During treatment of his illness, Gushiken spent most of his time in his Indaiatuba country house (or chácara), in upstate São Paulo.He would only leave his country retreat every two weeks to receive chemotherapy treatment.
A former Buddhist, Rosicrucian and Umbandist, he also adhered to Cabala and Zen-Buddhist beliefs, even maintaining close contact with the Bahá'í Faith throughout his life (of which members of his family have been followers for many years). Prior to his death, he formally declared himself a Bahá'í, and his body was buried in a Bahá'í funeral at Redentor Cemetery in São Paulo on September 14, 2013.
- Son of conservative Japanese a star in Brazil's new leftist administration December 24, 2002, LENILSON FERREIRA, Japan Times
- Sitting in the Shadow of Sarney and Magalhães, 25 November 2005, Brazil Political Comment
- Luiz Gushiken - Nem a distância impediu que a pacata Osvaldo Cruz, cidade de 20 mil habitantes a 570 quilômetros de São Paulo, ecoasse o golpe militar de 1964. Por Luiz Cláudio Cunha. ISTOÉ, 15 de dezembro de 2004.
- Ex-deputado petista Luiz Gushiken morre aos 63 anos vítima de câncer. Ele passou os últimos dias de vida no Hospital Sírio-Libanês, em São Paulo, se despedindo dos amigos mais íntimos. O Globo, 13 de setembro de 2013.
- Luiz Gushiken, fundador do PT, morre aos 63 anos em São Paulo. Renato Biazzi and Alberto Gaspar. G1, 13 de setembro de 2013.
- Morre Luiz Gushiken aos 63 anos. O ex-ministro da Comunicação Social do governo Lula e fundador do PT lutava contra um câncer. Estadão, 13 de setembro de 2013.
- Gushiken conduziu a despedida com a dignidade com que tocou a vida. Por Paulo Salvador. Rede Brasil Atual, 13 de setembro de 2013.
- Morre o ex-ministro do governo Lula, o petista Luiz Gushiken. UOL, 13 de setembro de 2013.
- Áudio: Gushiken teve papel importante no processo de moderação do discurso do PT. Político trabalhou nas campanhas de Lula e se tornou um dos membros mais moderados do partido. Comentário de Kennedy Alencar. CBN, 13 de setembro de 2013.
- Morre o ex-mininstro e ex-deputado Luiz Gushiken, 13 September 2013
- Câmara dos Deputados. "Histórico Político". Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- Ex-braço direito de Lula, Gushiken pede demissão do governo. G1, 13 de novembro de 2006.
- http://veja.abril.com.br/infograficos/rede-escandalos/perfil/luiz-gushiken.shtml, Page visited on 18/10/2012
- name=UOL Morre ministro do governo Lula, o petista Luiz Gushiken 13 September 2013
- Acusação a Gushiken é das 'maiores injustiças' do mensalão, diz Dirceu
- Ex-ministro Luiz Gushiken morre aos 63 anos em São Paulo Mônica Bergamo. Folha de S. Paulo, 13 September 2013.
- Corpo do Ex-Ministro Luiz Gushiken é velado em São Paulo