Cristovam Buarque

Cristovam Ricardo Cavalcanti Buarque (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɾisˈtɔvɐ̃w̃ buˈaʁki] or [kɾiʃˈtɔvɐ̃w̃ ˈbwahki]; born February 20, 1944 in Recife) is a Brazilian university professor and member of Cidadania. He was a senator for the Federal District from 2003 to 2019.[1]

Cristovam Buarque
Foto oficial de Cristovam Buarque.jpg
Senator for the Federal District
In office
February 1, 2003 – February 1, 2019
10th Governor of the Federal District
In office
January 1, 1995 – January 1, 1999
Vice GovernorArlete Sampaio
Preceded byJoaquim Roriz
Succeeded byJoaquim Roriz
Minister of Education
In office
January 1, 2003 – January 27, 2004
PresidentLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Preceded byPaulo Renato Souza
Succeeded byTarso Genro
Personal details
Cristovam Ricardo Cavalcanti Buarque

(1944-02-20) 20 February 1944 (age 76)
Recife, PE, Brazil
Political partyCIDADANIA (2016–present)
PDT (2005–2016)
PT (1990–2005)
Alma materFederal University of Pernambuco (UFPE)
Pantheon-Sorbonne University


Buarque graduated in mechanical engineering from the Federal University of Pernambuco in 1966.[1] At that time he engaged in student politics becoming a militant of the Ação Popular, a group of the Leftist Progressive Church. After the 1964 coup, he was persecuted and exiled to France, where he earned a PhD in economics from the Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Paris, in 1973. He worked at Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Ecuador, Honduras, and the United States from 1973–79. He was the first elected rector, by direct vote, of the University of Brasilia in the wake of the military regime; governor of the Federal District; Minister of Education; and current senator, who was elected by a landslide vote. He worked as a consultant for several national and international bodies under the United Nations (UN) and presided over the University for Peace Council and participated in the Food Presidential Commission, which was formerly directed by late sociologist Herbert "Betinho" de Souza.

Buarque is a member of Institute of Education of UNESCO and of the Council of the United Nations University. He created the NGO Mission Child, which sponsors an income transfer program for thousands of families and is funded by private enterprises. He was awarded the Jabuti prize of Literature in 1995. He is a staunch defender of the “revolution… through education”, a line of thought touted by Brazilian intellectuals like Anísio Teixeira, Darcy Ribeiro, and Paulo Freire.

Buarque proposes an alternative class analysis of modern capitalist societies. According to him, in modern capitalism, the increasing substitution of human labor for automated machines tends to make employed workers a privileged caste, while a new layer of “excluded” people – those who have no jobs, insurance, or health care – is formed, whose members are the real victims of social inequality. As this new underclass does not have the ability to effectively counter its exploitation by capitalism, Buarque's thought constantly tends towards some kind of substitutionism, in which political action by wide masses is replaced by government or institutional action on their behalf.

Federal District Governor (1995–98)Edit

His term as Governor of the Federal District was marked by strong tensions with the Workers’ Party (PT), particularly with its unionist base, as he strove continuously not only to maintain his independence from party directives but also to influence intra-party political struggle through State power. He managed to persuade the party to support his policies in return for demobilizing most of the PT activists.

The project Bolsa Escola, implemented in the Federal District during his term, started in Brazil and other countries. Albeit a 58% approval rate in a research made by the Datafolha institute, Buarque lost to Joaquim Roriz (PMDB) by a small margin of votes. Buarque attributed his defeat to his opponent's promise to grant a large wage increase for the public servants of the Federal District. The promise was not fulfilled by Roriz.[2]

Entering PDTEdit

In 2005, after the allegations of corruption involving the Worker's Party (PT), he left the party. He said:[3]

I did not leave PT, it was PT that left me. This is the great crime of the PT. The party is composed of honest, but accommodated people. Only some petistas are corrupt.

— Cristovam in 2005

After considering staying in the Senate independently, he decided to enter the Democratic Labour Party (PDT) in 1989, with which he had longstanding connections. His proposal to transform education into a national priority is a continuation of the ideas of Darcy Ribeiro.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Senador Cristovam Buarque - Senado Federal". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  2. ^ "Entrevista com Cristóvão Buarque", Jornal Nacional, Última Edição, Globo.
  3. ^ Eleições, Terra, 2006, archived from the original on 2007-08-11.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Paulo Renato Souza
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Tarso Genro
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ciro Gomes
Democratic Labour Party nominee for President of Brazil
Succeeded by
Ciro Gomes