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ELIEZER BATISTA (BRAZILIAN MINING – VALE AND GOVERNMENT LEADER)
Eliezer Batista was born Eliezer Batista da Silva in 1924 in Nova Era, a town in the mining state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. His parents, Jose and Maria, were emigrants from Portugal and his father, a saddle maker, built up a substantial business in Minas Gerais. In due course Jose went into agriculture and ranching in the region and was able to comfortably support his two sons and four daughters.
Batista was educated first in Nova Era and then went to secondary school in Ouro Preto and St Joao del Rei, respectively to the south and west of Belo Horizonte. He was a bright but difficult pupil and his academic excellence was treated suspiciously by his monastic teachers who were largely Dutch. His interest was engineering and it was to study this that he took himself off to the cosmopolitan Federal University of Parana in Curitiba in the south of Brazil, graduating in 1948. Batista was a rebel in those days and after university he travelled extensively, helped by a natural bent for languages.