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A public man

Former representative Plínio de Arruda Sampaio influenced the government plan that paved the way for the creation of FAPESP

Arruda Sampaio campaigning for the São Paulo government in 1990: political career between Christian democracy and socialism

PAULO VITALE / AEArruda Sampaio campaigning for the São Paulo government in 1990: political career between Christian democracy and socialismPAULO VITALE / AE

Former representative Plínio Soares de Arruda Sampaio died of cancer at age 83 and was buried July 9, 2014 exactly 55 years after then-Governor Carvalho Pinto (1910-1987) submitted Law 5.444 to the São Paulo State Legislative Assembly. The law reinforced his Government Action Plan (Plano de Ação do Governo, or PAGE) and his vision of the state. The plan consisted of various proposals, one of which was to establish a foundation to administer budget resources to be used for “technical and scientific research,” and Arruda Sampaio’s influence was considerable. PAGE became law on November 17, 1959, and 11 months later, on October 18, 1960, Carvalho Pinto signed Law 5.918 that created FAPESP.

Arruda Sampaio, public prosecutor who graduated from the University of São Paulo (USP) School of Law, former president of Catholic University Youth, served as deputy chief in the Executive Office of Carvalho Pinto. He was appointed coordinator of the team of technicians and specialists in charge of preparing the set of documents to establish PAGE. He was also Secretary of Legal Affairs in the state government. Between 1961 and 1962, he worked for the São Paulo city government under Francisco Prestes Maia (1896-1965).

As a member of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), Arruda Sampaio was elected federal deputy in 1962 and was the rapporteur for the agriculture reform project that incorporated the basic reforms of the João Goulart administration. After the 1964 coup, he was stripped of his political rights for 10 years by Executive Order No. 1. He left Brazil for exile in Chile for six years at the invitation of then-president Eduardo Frei of Chile, a Christian Democrat, and he worked for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He moved to Washington in 1970 to work on a program of the FAO and the Inter-American Development Bank. In the United States, he earned a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University. He returned to Brazil in 1976, joined the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), taught at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, founded the Center for the Study of Contemporary Culture and participated in the redemocratization campaign.

He resigned from the MDB in 1978 and helped found the Workers’ Party (PT). He was elected federal deputy of the Constituent Assembly in 1986 with 63,900 votes. In the Constituent Assembly he was a member of the Drafting Committee, the Systematization Committee and the State Organizing Committee. He also chaired the Municipalities and Regions Subcommittee. He was a member of the nonpartisan block that served as liaison with the Catholic Church as a member of the CNBB [National Conference of Brazilian Bishops] Monitoring Committee in the Constituent Assembly.

In 1990 he was the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate for the state government but was defeated by Luiz Antonio Fleury Filho of the PMDB. He resigned from the PT in 2005 and helped found the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL). In 2010 he was the PSOL candidate for president of Brazil. He received 886,800 votes and placed fourth in the election won by Dilma Rousseff. He was married to Marietta Ribeiro de Azevedo and had six children; one of them, Plínio de Arruda Sampaio Junior, is a professor at the Economics Institute of the University of Campinas (Unicamp).