Friday, March 09, 2007

Brazil: Lula Tells Bush to End Trade Hypocrisy and Respect Chavez

Bush is getting an earful from his Brazilian host, President Lula da Silva. Used to standing side by side with compliant servants, Bush was noticeable unhappy with some of the comments Lula had the nerve to utter in public. Consider the following, from an AP report

(regarding trade and ethanol)
Bush and his host, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, made no secret of the friction between them in the global talks.

Silva said Brazil wants the United States to reduce it subsidies to American farmers, while Washington wants Brazil to open its markets to U.S. companies for industrial products and services.
The Brazilian president had (also) hoped to persuade Bush to repeal or scale back the 54-cent per gallon U.S. tariff on sugar-based Brazilian ethanol.

"Brazil hopes the ethanol market will be benefited by free trade, free of protectionisms," Silva said at a joint news conference that followed their meetings.

Bush was unmoved.

"It's not going to happen," he tersely told his questioner from the Brazilian media. "The law doesn't end until 2009."

On Venezuela, the real mission of this trip, the respnse from Lula must have been even harder to hear. With reports that Bush is obsessed about Chavez and wants to see acceptable (market friendly) left-wing Latin leaders like Lula take him on, Lula made clear he is having none of it.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called upon his US counterpart George W Bush on Friday in Sao Paulo to cooperate in Latin America's social development while respecting the 'political decisions of each state.'

Without directly mentioning Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Lula said relations between Brazil and the US will be stronger insofar as they 'respect each other, each respects the sovereign political decisions of each state and they can build projects that may help third countries to get out of poverty.'

The meeting took place amidst street protests against Bush that brought demonstrators within 20 metres of the US delegation - a surge that police and military had to hustle to keep at bay.
In a speech following a meeting with Bush, Lula stressed the US president arrived in South America at 'an exceptional time' for the region, with past dictatorships 'a painful memory.'

'All governments result from free elections with broad popular participation, all are committed to programmes to put an end to social injustice,' the leftist Lula said.

The Brazilian president further defended the integration of South American countries, and stressed that that process 'is taking place among independent nations.'

Several analysts interpreted Lula's comments as an answer to Bush's alleged wish to enlist Brazil's help to stem Chavez's growing political influence in Latin America.

Bush did not mention Chavez in his speech, and even ignored a question about the Venezuelan president in a press conference.



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