José Alencar Gomes da Silva (Muriaé, 17 de outubro de 1931 — São Paulo, 29 de março de 2011) foi um empresário e político brasileiro.
Constituiu sua primeira empresa aos 18 anos, uma loja chamada a Queimadeira. Em 1967 fundou a Companhia de Tecidos Norte de Minas (Coteminas), empresa do ramo têxtil que teve grande êxito.
Foi senador pelo estado de Minas Gerais de 1999 a 2002. Elegeu-se vice-presidente da República do Brasil na chapa do candidato do PT, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, em 2003, conseguindo a reeleição em 2006, assegurando, portanto, a permanência no cargo até o final de 2010.
Desde 1997 apresentou vários problemas de saúde. A sua determinação na luta contra o pior deles, um câncer, tornou-o inspiração. Veio a falecer três meses após deixar a Vice-Presidência.
Em julho de 2012, foi eleito um dos "100 maiores brasileiros de todos os tempos" em concurso realizado pelo SBT com a BBC de Londres.
José Alencar Gomes da Silva (17 October 1931 – 29 March 2011), also known as José Alencar, the Strong, was a Brazilian businessman and politician, and the Vice President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. In business since a young age, Alencar was a self-made multimillionaire, as the chief executive of Coteminas, after working as travelling salesman and in failed food wholesale start-ups. He turned his family's small clothes factory and retail store into a leading textile manufacturer in his country, producing goods for traditional brands in its portfolio, such as Artex, Santista and Calfat, and vying for dominance of the global market after a merger with South Carolina-based Springs Industries. In the 1990s, Alencar groomed his son to succeed him at the company, and opted to enter politics in his home state, Minas Gerais.
Alencar had a business-oriented political platform, advocating market liberalization and deregulation of production. His expensive political campaigns received hefty funds from Coteminas. After a failed run in 1994 for governor of Minas Gerais, he won the election for the Senate of Brazil, representing his home state, in 1998. In 2002, Alencar was invited by the left-wing Worker's Party to run for Vice President, on the same ticket as Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The alliance between the leftist union leader and Alencar, an experienced entrepreneur, proved successful. They won the presidential elections in 2002 and were re-elected in 2006. Over the years, Lula da Silva and Alencar developed a close and affectionate friendship. Diagnosed with cancer of the stomach and kidney in 1997, Alencar succumbed to the disease in 2011.
Alencar came to be revered among journalists and politicians for his spirited posture and friendly demeanor. He overcame his lack of formal education, arguing vehemently in favor of less taxes, especially indirect taxation over consumers, and a simpler tax system; lower interest rates and greater oversight of the banking industry; and social welfare and assistance programs. As Vice President, Alencar sometimes spoke out against his own government's orthodox policies, causing embarrassment for fellow administration members. His unwavering determination to live in the face of terminal cancer also marked public perception, during and after his time in office.
Alencar died in March 2011, in the city of São Paulo, after 13 years battling recurrent malignant tumors. His death was met with expressions of grief and respect by members of different institutions and across the political spectrum – former President Lula said he knew "few men with José Alencar's goodness and spirit" and President Rousseff said it was an "honor" to have served alongside him. Brazil held a state funeral for José Alencar, and Vice President Michel Temer decreed seven days of official mourning. Alencar is remembered as an honest and independent politician who favored social welfare and economic freedom.
February 21, 2011