Monday, April 20, 2009

Lula and the summit

At the end of the summit, Lula made some wide ranging comments and really emphasized the need for the region to deal with its own problems without pointing fingers. In part, this is due to the fact that Brazil is often viewed as a threat:

"I know how many Latin America countries see Brazil. I know how Lugo (the (president of Paraguay Fernando Lugo), Evo (Morales, Bolivia's president) see us. Brazil is big, so people are always thinking that Brazil is to be blamed for something that happens to them."

He continued:

"We need to respect ourselves so that the big ones respect us too. We don't have to be begging for favors. We need to start taking care of our own noses. We need to stop talking and end this habit of seeing ourselves as small, poor, and that we need someone to rescue us. We might even ask for a loan, but we are the ones who have to deal with our own problems."

Hugo Chávez and Daniel Ortega got all the media attention (and I wonder where the "we need to stop talking" comment is aimed) but there is no doubt that close relations with Brazil is a major priority for Obama. These types of statements will facilitate that relationship even more.


Kelby,  7:48 AM  

While I like what Lula said, its slightly ironic for one who proclaims the blonde hair-blue eyed bankers as the harbingers of crisis.

Personally, I think the post alludes to Brazil's emerging role as the US go-to. His "responsibility" remarks remind me of paternalistic comments from the US telling its Latin American countries to "shape up" and "quit complaining". Its a little too easy for him to say these things and then blame all of Brazil's problems on outside factors.

Greg Weeks 4:11 PM  

Very good point. Really, that contrast is just another reason why Lula is such an interesting politician.

Justin Delacour 8:25 PM  

I don't think Greg's interpretation actually follows from Lula's statement.

To say, "We need to start taking care of our own noses" is as much a repudiation of outside powers as it is of regional scape-goaters. I agree with the basic thrust of the point. The primary focus should not be on the horrors of the IMF or the World Bank --horrors that are still quite real, by the way-- but rather on what sorts of alternative models of development the region can forge for itself.

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