January 17, 2003
BRAZIL: LULA STARTS OFF WITH SOCIAL, FISCAL,
DIPLOMATIC BALANCING ACT
**Most onlookers give Brazil's newly inaugurated
President Lula da Silva a strong vote of confidence, but recognize he is taking
office under a daunting burden of high expectations.
** Latin American media regard Lula as the
vanguard of the region's "democratic left" and are entrusting him to
advance regional interests and stand up to the U.S. on FTAA negotiations.
** European papers anticipate trouble for a
president who "promised all things to everyone."
** Brazilian writers hail the "group of
friends" Venezuela initiative as a Brazilian "diplomatic
victory," though some worry his perceived "pro-Chavez" stance
will strain U.S.-Brazil relations.
Latin writers are counting on Lula but diverge
on his economics and trade policies. Most
were optimistic that President Lula will exert "a positive influence"
and make the democratic left a "valid option" in a region where military
rule and populism were the "main alternatives to the market
economy." In a typical outpouring
of Lula enthusiasm, Quito's center-left influential Hoy exclaimed how
"South America needs a voice to defend its interests...amidst the calls
for free trade!" A Bolivian paper
applauded his "social crusade."
Critics in Argentina, Mexico and Chile downplayed the Lula
"hype," while taking contradictory views of his economic
policies. Mexico's independent Reforma,
argued that if Lula wants "to rescue" the region's most populous
nation from poverty, "he will have to use the same pragmatic economic
policies he repudiated during his years of militancy in the traditional
left." A Buenos Aires paper,
meanwhile, blustered that Lula already had "all the familiar symptoms"
of turning "neoliberal."
Euros apprehensive about Lula's success, since winning a
'contradictory mandate.' A number cautioned
that in "midst of all the cheering," the question of how Brazil, in a
period of weak growth, was to "reconcile the states' responsibility for
social services with budgetary discipline" had been overlooked. Most anticipated he would have a difficult
time balancing the need for economic reform with his electoral promises on
social programs, especially with his party lacking a majority in Congress. London's independent Economist
concluded that in order for Lula to "wage war on hunger and
unemployment" without upsetting Brazil's "fragile finances," he
must "use his mandate and Brazil's plight to push through unpopular
'Group of friends' scores Lula's first
'diplomatic victory,' tests U.S.-Brazil relations. At first, most leading Brazilian dailies
criticized Lula's proposed "Friends of Venezuela Group," claiming
that it risked "crossing the fine line between legitimate assistance and
interference" in Venezuela's internal affairs. Only a few dubbed it a
"courageous move." Independent
Jornal da Tarde's quipped "that the idea would be good if
Venezuela, not its president, Hugo Chavez, were treated as a friend." Conservative papers such as center-right O
Estado de Sao Paulo feared it could "prematurely end the
honeymoon" between Brazil and the U.S.
Once writers saw the initiative as "overcoming resistance from the
USG," however, they praised the Lula administration for "succeeding
in its first important diplomatic initiative in Latin America."
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This analysis is based on 56 reports from 16
countries, Dec. 31-Jan. 17. Editorial
excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
"The Six Friends"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo editorialized
(1/17): "The formation of the Friends of Venezuela group is good news for
helping to mediate the political crisis between President Hugo Chavez and his
opposition. The initiative represents a Brazilian diplomatic victory.... It is
premature to say that the international initiative will succeed. But the group
has a balanced composition that will tend to facilitate dialogue. It is
important that President Lula da Silva and Brazil's Foreign Ministry adopt an
impartial posture as a norm from now on. To exercise a mediation role, the GOB
must gain the confidence of those who oppose Chavez.... Evidently, the same
behavior is expected from the U.S. and the other members of the group.... The
Lula administration wants a more dynamic role for Brazilian diplomacy in South
America. It is correct policy. But Brasilia must be careful not to cross the
line separating a more active foreign policy from undue interference in other
nations' internal matters."
"Brazil Forms Group, But Chavez Resists
Business-oriented Valor Economico Quito
correspondent Sergio Leo reported (1/16): The Lula administration succeeded in
its first important diplomatic initiative in Latin America: at Brazil's
request, a 'Friends of Venezuela' group of nations was created yesterday to
facilitate OAS-coordinated negotiations between the Chavez administration and
the opposition.... The GOB's move successfully overcame resistance from the
USG, which opposed the participation of nations outside the continent."
"Venezuela Is A Test For Brazil-U.S.
Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo
Washington correspondent Paulo Sotero asserted (1/15): "Although they seem
to have come to terms [on the Venezuelan issue], Brazil and the U.S. have
diverged on the meaning and utility of the [Friends of Venezuela] group of
nations.... The Bush administration's attempt to take credit for the Brazilian
proposal has not convinced neighboring nations. All of Ecuador's media is
giving Lula credit for the search for a solution in Venezuela."
"Necessary Caution For The 'Friends Of
Business-oriented Valor Economico
editorialized (1/15): "Since U.S.
policy in Latin America has been determined by persons such as Otto Reich and
Roger Noriega, who see the Cuban question as the main issue in U.S. relations
with the region, Chavez is considered another Castro who must be removed from
power as quickly as possible.... The
Bush administration doubtless believes that President Lula da Silva is closer
to Chavez than former president Cardoso was, and it may try to impede excessive
expansion of the GOB's influence in the region.... It is important that the
Venezuelan crisis is resolved in a democratic and peaceful fashion and that
relations among the American nations do not deteriorate."
The lead editorial in center-right O Estado
de Sao Paulo observed (1/14): "Beginning with Lula's inauguration, the
[GOB's] foreign policy has been dictated by a so-called 'national project,'
which Lula's party apparently places above the national interest....
Disagreement on the Venezuelan crisis may prematurely end the honeymoon between
Brazil and the U.S. that began with President Bush's invitation for Lula to
visit him in Washington. This is not the only thing at stake. The Lula administration
has assumed a clear pro-Chavez posture, a gross mistake for any party willing
to serve in a mediating role. The lack of impartiality, especially with the
adoption of measures that may be confused with interference in internal
matters, disqualifies the mediator."
"U.S. Said Intervening In Brazilian Action
Paulo Sotero commented in center-right O
Estado de Sao Paulo (1/11): "The Bush administration has intervened in
the coordination efforts of the past few days for formation of a group of
nation friends of Venezuela, requested of...President Lula da Silva by Hugo
Chavez even before Lula took office....
The gesture showed Washington's discomfort with the first diplomatic
initiative of Lula's government and the concern with assuming paternity of the
idea. In its place, the United States
wants Brazil to take part in a new group of countries comprised of the United
States, Mexico Chile and possibly Spain, besides representatives of UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan. The
mission is to support a new attempt by Cesar Gaviria, Secretary General of the
OAS to produce an understanding between Chavez and his opponents that would
enable a negotiated solution to the crisis.
The efforts made by Gaviria to that end...have been fruitless, and the
confrontation between the Chavistas and the anti-Chavistas has merely gotten
worse.... Washington's concern over the
Brazilian role led Foreign Relations Minister Amorim to call U.S. Secretary of
State Colin Powell..to 'reassure him' tabout the Brazilian initiative and
reaffirm that his goal, since the beginning, has been to support a negotiated
solution to the political crisis...by reinforcing the mediation work being done
by Gaviria.... Behind the controversy,
there also exists a latent distrust by the administration of the orientation of
the new Brazilian government's diplomacy.
That is fed by a calculation according to which, having decided to
confirm and expand the economic model against which he campaigned, Lula will
supposedly try to please his party's left wing with foreign policy
"Limits of Help"
The lead editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo opined
(1/10): "President Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva is running the risk of crossing the fine line between legitimate
assistance and interference in Venezuela's delicate political situation. All depends on the extent of his renewed
plans to go on helping that nation. Hugo
Chavez--as well as Fidel Castro--received special treatment at Lula's
inauguration in Brasilia.... It would be
nonsense for the GOB to respond positively to Chavez's requests. It would be valid in this case to speak about
heavy-handed interference by the GOB in Venezuelan internal political
affairs.... Recent facts have reinforced
the impression that Lula is more a friend of Chavez than of Venezuela. Brazil's Foreign Ministry should do more to
put itself in the middle with regard to the conflicting parties. Without gaining the confidence of Hugo Chavez's
opposition, Brazil will not have the legitimacy to participate in mediating the
conflict, and will run the risk of being eventually associated with a president
whose prospects of remaining in power are not good at all."
"The Friend Is Venezuela, Not Chavez"
Independent Jornal da Tarde editorialized (1/10): "Lula's idea of creating a 'group of
friends' to help the OAS with mediating a solution to the Venezuelan crisis
would be good if Venezuela, not its president, Hugo Chavez, were treated as a
friend. So far, the Brazilian initiatives
in the Venezuelan crisis have not been informed by an institutional view, but
by the mutual friendship between Lula and Chavez.... Assertions that the Lula administration does
not interfere too much in Venezuela's sovereign affairs are not accurate."
"Lula's Cabinet, Room For Stumbling"
Catia Seabra commented in Rio de Janeiro's
conservative O Globo (Internet
Version) (1/8): "Still trudging through the swamp of transition to power,
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's cabinet is making a tough discovery about the
difference between discourse and practical reality. From Science Minister
Roberto Amaral's bombshell to Lula's Northeast travel plans, the PT's [Workers
Party] first week in government was one of run-ins and backtracks. The first
big slip happened as early as inauguration day itself. In an interview, Finance
Ministry Executive Secretary Bernard Appy announced the decision to seek a
renegotiation of the agreement with the IMF.
According to the model being conceptualized, social investments would be
discounted from primary surplus calculations. Two hours later, treasury
minister Marcelo Neto denied, or better, corrected the information.
"The most recent bombshell to come out of
the Esplanada [Cabinet offices] was detonated by Science and Technology Minister
Roberto Amaral. Still recovering from early stages of pneumonia, the science
and technology minister defended nuclear bomb research. Disclaimers came out
yesterday.... In a cabinet so large and
not yet running smoothly, the PT has proven that there is fertile ground for
"Lula Helps Venezuela"
Political columnist Fernando Rodrigues commented
in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (1/8): "It is impossible to say what
the final result of the new Brazilian president's cordial relationship with
Hugo Chavez will be.... According to Lula's international affairs advisor,
Marco Aurelio Garcia, 'the president will support an OAS-sponsored negotiation
so that no party involved in the Venezuelan conflict is humiliated.... The
region has no interest in the conflict becoming an institutional crisis.' This
is the reason for the assistance. It is
a courageous move by a recently inaugurated government. The benefit or the harm
to Brazil will be clear in the near future."
"Lula, Chavez And Fidel"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political
columnist Eliane Cantanhede opined (1/5): "The Lula administration's
foreign policy did not begin with the president's visit to the White House [in
December]. It began at Lula's inauguration with two singular moves: George W.
Bush sent Zoellick [to whom Lula had contemptuously referred as a 'deputy of a
deputy of a deputy' secretary], and Lula opened his first working day with a
meeting with Chavez and closed it with a dinner with Fidel Castro.... One need
not be a genius to note that the U.S. rejoiced in Lula's inauguration [by
sending Zoellick] and that Lula is giving unequivocal signs that his main
interlocutors will be dictator Fidel and President Chavez, who divided
Venezuela and is about to fall. Both leftists. The three leaders have in common
their boldness in attempting to pursue an alternative model to the
single-minded Washington Consensus. The
differences, however, are profound. Contrary to what is believed, Chavez's
policies are consistent and viable.... In regards to Fidel, the Cuban regime
lacks modernity, staff, and perspective, among other fundamental factors. What
Lula is trying to do is to identify himself with the image of the two most
celebrated leftist leaders attending the inauguration. But Lula wants to leap
40 years ahead of the current Fidel as well as to cleanse Chavez's policies of
Chavez's own political errors.... Is this kind of magic really possible? How can Lula accommodate Bush and the 'deputy
of a deputy of a deputy' within this context?
And most important: if anything goes wrong, will opponents revive that
'axis of evil' myth?"
"Brazil Tells The U.S. It Fears Effects Of
Wars In Iraq And Venezuela"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political
columnist Clovis Rossi said (1/6): "GOB officials told U.S. interlocutors
that they fear two simultaneous wars (a U.S. attack on Iraq and a civil war in
Venezuela) might cause a hike in oil prices as well as jeopardize any
possibility of economic recovery in Brazil this year.... The mention of two
wars was the way the new GOB chose to show that it disagrees with the U.S.
posture in the Venezuelan crisis. Since advancing the elections would violate
the constitution, the GOB (both the current and the previous one) refuses to
accept them.... For Brazil, a political and negotiated solution in Venezuela is
not only a matter of defending principles such as the effectiveness of
democratic institutions, but also of defending vital economic interests. According to GOB officials, a call for
elections in Venezuela now will not resolve anything if it is not accompanied
by a political accord between the government and the opposition that
establishes respect for the rules of the [democratic] game. Otherwise, the
loser will move toward insurgency and civil war. Lula himself advised Chavez to
negotiate with the opposition. The Brazilian president reiterated his support
for Venezuela's legitimate government, but said it was important to negotiate a
way out of the crisis."
"The Lula Administration's Projects For
Business-oriented Valor Economico
editorialized (1/3): "Lula delineated a clear turning point in relations
between Brazil and the world by indicating [he would pursue] a nationalistic
foreign policy. He put negotiations with the EU, the U.S. and the WTO on the
same level, but reiterated as his priority the strengthening of ties with
Mercosul and with other South American nations. Like former President Cardoso,
he condemned protectionist barriers raised by developed nations against
developing countries' exports. He made a profession of faith in multilateralism
and urged a 'democratization of international relations without any kind of
hegemony' in a clear reference to the U.S, from which he expects a 'mature
partnership based on reciprocal interest and mutual respect.' Moreover, in an
indirect reference to the U.S.'s increasingly bellicose posture toward Iraq,
Lula reiterated that peaceful negotiations are the best way to face crises such
as that in the Middle East."
An editorial in liberal, English-language Buenos
Aires Herald read (1/16) "Presidents Duhalde and Lula may have
'relaunched' Mercosur on Tuesday but where is the trade bloc heading? Lula and
Duhalde spoke earnestly enough about a compact agenda.... But Lula's initial
enthusiasm does not have much company in the bloc. Paraguay... and Argentina
are both due to hold elections in 100 days on April 27, after which their
governments will soon change, while Uruguay's coalition has already crumbled.
How much can a Lula-Duhalde coalition be expected to achieve, however close?
Tuesday's cozy huddle failed its main test, which was to start moving -
otherwise it is meaningless to speak of 'relaunching' Mercosur. The trade bloc
needs conflict resolution mechanisms at least as badly as a regional parliament
and, as it happens, various conflicts have arisen or revived in recent days to
provide readymade raw material. Both of Brazil's main recent moves into
Argentina...the Petrobras acquisition of Perez Companc and Brahma's merger with
Quilmes brewery - have been sharply questioned as affecting strategic industry
or monopolistic... There are also Argentine complaints against chicken dumping
here and what is perceived as the aggressive Brazilian use of non-tariff
barriers against other food products, notably fruit. On the other side, Duhalde
had to veto a sugar tariff bill hostile to Brazil. Yet all these conflicts were
ignored or sidestepped on Tuesday."
"Relaunch, A Devalued Term"
Commenting on the Lula-Duhalde meeting, Luis
Esnal, Brasilia-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion noted
(1/15): "While the successive Mercosur relaunchings became a routine
activity of Mercosur administrations..., yesterday's 'relaunching' had
different elements. It is perhaps the
launching of a closer relationship between Brazil and Argentina... If this
'relaunching' will have the same future the previous ones had..., time will
tell... It will also be necessary to see if, after some years of just a few
advances, and due to the global crisis of the two main countries of Mercosur,
now the Argentine presidential election campaign will again postpone the
progress of the (bilateral) relationship until a new ship captain appears
bringing new impetus for the relationship.... Regional poverty, which became
the central issue of yesterday's meeting, is urgent. But the governments have a limited room for
maneuvering, restricted by minimal proposals which do not even allow for
assistance, much less growth. The
objectives appear to be renewed with a Brazil energized by Lula's victory, but
the people, which in the end is what makes Mercosur, are still waiting for
"Duhalde And Lula Will Relaunch Mercosur"
Martin Rodriguez Yebra, on special assignment in
Brasilia for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (1/14): "Both the Brazilian
and the Argentine governments think that hunger will be the core of the
'political and social relaunching' of Mercosur, the reason of the summit
between both presidents. Just a few times such a short visit does promise such
important consequences like Duhalde's visit to Brasilia.... The Duhalde
administration believes that a more defined alliance with Brazil will let
Argentina strengthen a 'productive model' and reinforce its position vis-à-vis
multilateral lending agencies.... Both presidents are expected to find a common
position regarding diverse international conflicts, like the likely U.S.
intervention in Iraq and the Venezuelan political crisis... Argentina is
willing to put an end to tariff distortions concerning so much to Brazil. Also,
the possibility to boost a trade bloc negotiation vis-à-vis the US, known as
'four plus one,' will be discussed. The conclusions of the summit between the
two presidents will be the basis for the next meeting of Mercosur presidents in
Asuncion, when Mercosur will be formally relaunched."
"According To The U.S., Lula Will Be A Focus Of Power"
Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent
for daily-of-record La Nacion noted (1/10): "The U.S. finds a new
focus of power in Latin America in Lula's first steps, although it understands
it is still too early to conclude that the expectations of regional leadership
could be maintained as time goes by.... According to a diplomatic source, the
Republican administration treats the leftist Brazilian government very softly and
it even maintains low profile and avoids controversy with a country with which
it wants to have close ties and not break bridges... The U.S.' less active role
in Latin America, due to its focus on the war on terrorism..., has left free
room in the region for Lula... A Washington
Post editorial points out that if the Bush administration does nothing in
relation to the Venezuelan crisis, 'perhaps Mr. Da Silva can assume a role of
leadership.' The influential newspaper also adds that the panorama of the region,
with crisis-stricken countries like Venezuela and Colombia, and weakened
countries like Argentina, leads to believe that Lula could assume the role of
leader of the hemisphere."
"Profile Of Brazilian foreign policy"
An editorial in leading Clarin read
(1/11): "Through different statements, the new Brazilian government has
demonstrated its purpose to provide its foreign policy with a high and
distinctive profile. In some cases, those statements imply giving impetus to
multilateral diplomacy, integration processes and a search for regional and
international leadership. In some other cases, those statements, like the one
made by the minister of Science and Technology, Roberto Amaral, on Brazil's
nuclear development, could be counterproductive and distort the relationships
among countries.... Amaral's comments...are inopportune. Further more in an
international context sensitive to the use of this knowledge for the possession
of weapons of mass destruction.... Conversely, the proposal for a regional initiative
to help solve national crises, like Colombia's or Venezuela's, is a good
example of complementing national interests and international processes calling
for a more dynamic multilateral action."
"Neoliberal Terror Strikes"
James Neilson, columnist of liberal,
English-language Buenos Aires Herald judged (1/9): "And what about
Lula, the new leader of the antineoliberal war cabinet? Like Duhalde almost
exactly a year before, he got his presidential term under way by declaring war
on neoliberalism, saying that the model Cardoso had built was already outdated
and that in any case it had only produced stagnation, unemployment and hunger.
To make his feelings even clearer, Lula had some kind words for Cuba's Fidel
Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez... Does the Brazilian really mean what he
says? Or is he just another cunning cult member throwing dust into the eyes of
the brave men and women who are desperately striving to defend the human race
against the neoliberal threat? Alas, there are plenty of reasons for suspecting
that Lula, like Menem, Cardoso, de la Rua and, it seems, Duhalde is either a
neoliberal already or that he will very soon be transformed into one. The
familiar symptoms are there for all to see. He has started to go on about the
need to control public spending and prevent inflation from blasting off. He
uses typically neoliberal words like 'sustainable' and responsible'...simple
codes for policies designed to make rich people even richer and poor people a
great deal poorer. Just how long he will
be able to get away with his double game is an open question."
"Brazilian Markets' Euphoria Triggered By
Luis Esnal, Sao Paulo-based correspondent for
daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (1/7): "Optimism is the new
catchword in Brazil. Six days after Lula's inauguration ceremony, the real gets
revalued, the country-risk falls, the stock exchange index increases and
financial markets celebrate the assumption of the new government... Yesterday,
two pieces of news hit the headlines, unthinkable of a Workers' Party
government: one, that the government wants a larger fiscal adjustment, and the
other announcing the revolutionary purpose of cutting down labor benefits for
Brazilian workers. The economic establishment is euphoric and disregards some
news like the suspension of road works or the postponement to purchase Air
Force airplanes... There are few domestic economic issues to be defined in the
next months. Among them, what real power the new government will have in
Congress to implement the reforms required by the country and how much the
country's interest rate can be cut down in order to impulse economy. Among the international issues, the conflicts
in Venezuela and Iraq are issues of concern, because Brazil still depends on
imported oil. But Brazil has the IMF as
its ally. Brazil has a 24 billion-dollar loan available in Washington and has a
Central Bank president...who is more tuned with Washington demands than with
the old 'fora IMF' demands from the Workers Party. Amid optimism, the profile of the new
government is starting to be clearer: while Lula and his social ministers will
be the face of the government in front of society, the economic officers will
be guarding Lula, calculators in hand, advising to what extent his promises can
"Lula's First Footsteps"
Michael Soltys, executive editor of liberal,
English-language Buenos Aires Herald mused (1/7): "Much has been
written over the past week over what Lula's new administration...might mean for
Argentina but the most important points have been largely overlooked. The hype
has largely been centered around Lula's pledge to make Mercosur his priority
when his very first moves included one decision indicating otherwise -
suspending road-building projects worth 1.38 billion dollars in favor of his
'zero hunger' plan when such infrastructural developments are an essential part
of boosting Mercosur.... Instead Lula would do Argentina much better service if
he succeeds in making the left a valid option for the region with military rule
and populism the main alternatives to the market economy until now.... More
concretely, Lula will enable the left to play a transcendental role if he can
overcome the region's fatal dualism between solvency and growth. Both should be
partners instead of mutually exclusive but the notion of 'industrial policies'
of crony state contracts and protectionism have placed growth and solvency at
odds with each other."
"A Tight-Rope Walker's Talent"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of
leading Clarin stressed (1/4): "For how long will Lula be able to
walk on a tight rope upon which everyone seems to see him since he took
power?... To Lula, the balance seems an
endless task. He has just conceded the fearful right wing almost all the
economic team, and, above all, the promise of the new minister of Finances,
Antonio Palocci, of not abandoning restrictive monetary policies. But it will
be next month, when the IMF reviews the implementation of the most recent
financial aid package...and decides to make new demands, that the question on
whether his concession was enough will be responded. If, as some predict, the
IMF will impose one more point of fiscal saving on Brazil, how feasible will be
the social policies imagined by Lula?"
"The Right To A Left"
An editorial in liberal, English-language
Buenos Aires Herald read (1/3): "The only fair attitude towards
Brazil's new President Lula is to reflect the spirit of change and hope which
permeated his inauguration on New Year's Day.... The danger of default and the
continued yearning for social justice will undoubtedly be the main challenges
facing Lula. In order to confront these
challenges, he has picked an economic team which very much leaves his options
open..., thus covering most political ideologies and economic sectors. As for
social justice, Lula is very explicit in promising 'zero hunger' for the 54
million Brazilians who lack food but far less clear as to the implications of
this aim for, among other things, land reform... If Lula described his
inauguration on Wednesday as 'the result of history, not an election,' the
region's first need is for him to change that history. Thus far the main
alternatives to democratic rule and the market economy in Latin America have
been military dictatorship and populism - if Lula can create a realistic
democratic alternative from the left, he will have done everybody a huge favor,
including all democratic friends of the market economy. Those stressing Lula's humble
origins and trade union background forget that he is also a symbol of social
and regional mobility - his advent in power thus need not mean either mob rule
for the poor or involuntary continuity but genuine and positive change."
"The Dispute Over Regional Leadership"
Business-financial El Cronista's opinion
piece by Agustin Romero, professor of Argentine Foreign Policy at the
University of Buenos Aires, asserted (1/3): "The focus of the Brazilian
foreign policy regarding the American continent rests on three pillars: the
relationship with Mercosur, with the U.S. and the countries of the region.
Regarding Mercosur, Lula has emphasized on many occasions that Mercosur will be
a priority of his government. The new administration considers Mercosur as a
long-term strategic project. However, Brazil has always wanted national
autonomy.... Thus, we'll have to see how both projects are entwined. Re the
U.S., Lula believes Mercosur is the last defensive barrier against the FTAA....
Lula will seek to strengthen and privilege Mercosur vis-à-vis the FTAA...
Nevertheless, in order to have Mercosur increase its negotiating ability....
Lula will have to change his strictly political vision of Mercosur for an
economic-commercial one. Finally, what is behind the FTAA and Mercosur projects
and discussions is the competition between the U.S. and Brazil for the
leadership in Latin America and Brazil's search for bigger autonomy...
Regarding neighboring countries, Lula's bigger challenge will be Colombia. The
U.S. is expected to pressure Brazil very much to involve it in the Colombian
crisis. Washington wants Brazil to share the information from Sivan (Amazon
Surveillance System) with Colombia, to limit its criticism of U.S. actions in
Colombia and to moderate its view of the principle of non-intervention in the
domestic affairs of countries."
"Lula Announces To Congress That He Will
Carry Out A 'Peaceful Agricultural Reform'"
Eleonora Gosman, on special assignment in
Brasilia for leading Clarin wrote (1/2): "As never before, the new
Brazilian president has devoted a considerable amount of time to explain what
his foreign policy will be.... He will bet on 'a stable and united South
America.' And he thinks that a revitalized and consolidated Mercosur should be
the basis for this purpose... He promised an 'open and substantial' dialogue
with Latin America. Regarding the Brazilian relationship with the US, he only
mentioned he wants to 'live together in mature harmony'... In relation to
China, India and Russia, (Lula) wants closer ties and an association for
international affairs.... He said he also wants closer ties with the EU. He only made a slight mention of the FTAA. He
pointed out he will fight to obtain fairer rules that will benefit the
country.' Brazil will fight protectionism and trade barriers'.... Lula insisted
on the need for changing the world power balance and promote, along with other
developing countries, the necessary instruments to obtain an effective
multipolarity. He also said he favors the 'peaceful resolution' of
international conflicts... In obvious reference to the episodes in Venezuela,
he said his government would defend the democratic clauses promoting respect
for constitutions and legality... Lula linked two of the main points of his
program: the agricultural reform and the fight against hunger. According to
him, both things are united. If there is land distribution and technological
and loan support for the farmers' families, it will be possible to create more
sources of food for the poor."
"Towards A Closer Relationship With
Luis Esnal, Sao Paulo-based correspondent for
daily-of-record La Nacion judged (1/2): "Lula's presidential
inauguration represents for Argentina the deepening of its relationship with
Brazil, perhaps on a level never before reached since the origin of Mercosur,
ten years ago. While the Cardoso administration was favorable to Mercosur and
Argentina, Lula went beyond: in addition to choosing Argentina as the first
destination of his official visits, he ratified in his yesterday's address to
the Brazilian Congress the commitments undertaken during his election campaign,
when he emphasized the importance of South America in the new Brazilian foreign
policy... With these words, and his recent assistance to Venezuela with oil
amid the opposition's strike, Lula confirmed that Brazil would from now on have
a more active participation in the reality of neighboring countries in search
for the role of leader of the region... The concrete benefits Argentina can
obtain from this new stage are, for example: the Brazilian support in its
dealings with multilateral lending agencies; a smoother negotiation over trade
disagreements, with a better Brazilian treatment in the event some Argentine
production sector is being damaged; and, lastly, the joint exploration of new
markets to export from a 'Mercosur base.' Lula's emphasis on Brazil's intent to
fight subsidies gives a sign that he is not planning to use subsidies, much
less in his relationship with neighboring countries, like Argentina."
"Lula Takes Over Under The Promise Of
Putting An End To Hunger"
Eleonora Gosman, on special assignment to Brasilia
for leading Clarin commented (12/31): "Lula will take over having
promised something elementary but indispensable: putting an end to hunger in
Brazil, which affects 54 million people, one-third of the Brazilian
population.... Lula will be the political leader who will break the surprising
parallelism of public life between Brazil and Argentina that was typical of the
20th century. For Argentina, Lula's taking power is a change capturing more
attention for what Brazil implies... (according to former foreign minister Di
Tella, 'it is like having a China next to you'). But also because the current
and next Argentine president will have to negotiate for a long time with new
political leaders, and he will have to understand their thought and language. There
are two elements one needs to know, which were precisely defined by a Brazilian
banker: 'Lula is a big negotiator. He has no enemies and likes to brag about
that. But when time comes to decide, he ends up doing what he wants.'"
"Workers To Power"
Luis Bruckhstein, columnist of left-of-center Pagina
12 opined (12/31): "Beyond the result of this stage, it will be hard
to cloud the deep change implied by a left-wing worker taking over as the
president of the largest and wealthiest country in Latin America. For decades,
the prevailing new liberal culture has only admitted for this continent the
laboratory politics, the one of left- or right-wing experts from Harvard or
Chicago... The incredible mass movement and counter-culture promoted by the
Workers' Party in Brazil was able to defeat those new liberal paradigms. It was
not a mass phenomenon like the one of the Argentine center-to-left wing... but
an overwhelming process involving workers' unions, groups of peasants, students
and professionals, middle class and bourgeois sectors... that were able to take
a worker to the presidency... It will be a landmark that will leave its
footprint on Latin America."
"Lula Will Take Over The Presidency
Tomorrow Amid Popular Fest"
Luis Esnal, Sao Paulo-based correspondent for
daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (12/31): "A fundamental stage will
start tomorrow in Brazil when Lula takes over as president, the first worker to
assume the presidency in the history of the country.... Lula's presidential
ceremony is also a historic step for the Brazilian democracy, because no democratically
elected Brazilian president has been able to transfer his presidential band to
a successor since 1961.... The almost unanimous optimism raised by Lula's
assumption contrasts with the difficult challenges to be faced by the new
government. To start with, Lula will not be able to immediately fulfill his
promise to increase minimum wages because the economic situation of the country
does not allow him to do so. He will not be able to reduce the Brazilian
interest rate either...because if he did he could unleash inflation. To avoid
the return of inflation, the government will have to maintain policies
restricting growth, without which it will not be easy for Lula to fulfill all
the promises he made for every sector.... Both world leftists and rightists are
rejoiced with Lula's victory: leftists, because one of its historical leaders
will assume power in one of the largest nations of the world. Rightists will be
rejoiced because the new government has ratified the economic policy of
Cardoso, by calling the former world president of a US bank to lead the
Brazilian Central Bank, among other measures."
"Brazil Prepares Lula Fest"
Andrew Graham-Yooll, columnist of liberal,
English-language Buenos Aires Herald wrote (12/31): "The feast of
installation in office, which will gather an attendance from all over Brazil,
will be on a par with the pope's visit and the celebration of the victory of
the late Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna.... From everywhere, for the foreseeable
future, there is nothing but goodwill and wishes for Lula's success. Well, from
almost everywhere, as out of Miami came a leaflet printed by a so-called
'Unidad Cubana,' which describes Lula as part of the 'real axis of evil,' which
spans Cuba, Haiti, half of Colombia, and Venezuela, and now Brazil... Lula held
his first 'Cabinet meeting' on December 27... By then Lula had already ordered
a tanker carrying 525,000 barrels of fuel to Venezuela, a gesture similar to
that of the old saying of sending 'coals to Newcastle'...as such a shipment is
merely symbolic. However, the symbol was clear enough. Even if the shipment is
a token gesture, it was seen as Lula's message that he will take a high profile
in regional affairs."
Sergio Sarmiento judged in independent Reforma
(1/3): "The Latin American Left
seems to have bet all its emotional capital on the Brazilian presidency of Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva. The curious thing
is that they never did the same with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was
always viewed as a populist caudillo...nor did they do this with Chilean
President Ricardo Lagos, who is the most successful leftist president in all of
Latin American history. If Lula listens
to his most radical colleagues, and adopts policies similar to the ones he
advocated in his prior presidential campaigns, we could witness a moratorium on
Brazil’s debt obligations. This would
confirm the enthusiasm of the left toward the new president and would cause a
temporary 'bonus' in the nation...however, this measure would also halt the flow
of private investment and would generate a worse crisis over the next few
years. On the other hand, if Lula
decides to uphold Brazil’s debt obligations, his administration will not have
enough funds for greater public investment to stimulate the growth that Brazil
needs, and after a certain period of time, the same groups that are currently
filled with enthusiasm will begin to view him as a politician who betrayed his
principles. The policies that Lula will
administer are still a mystery…but if he really wants to rescue the most
populous nation in Latin America from poverty, he will have to use the same
pragmatic economic policies he repudiated during his years of militancy in the
"Brazil: The Possible Dream"
An editorial in far-left Jornada held
(1/3): "The new Brazilian
president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, began his administration yesterday with
signs of hope in domestic and regional politics. To begin with, the government’s combination
of strength and sensibility, massive popular support for the new
administration, and approval from financial and business circles augers the
possibility of a profound social transformation in a nation that is marked by
deep social inequities and a world environment in which there seemed to be no
other choice than resignation in the face of injustice. None of the progressive and popular
presidents that took power by democratic means in recent history in Latin
America—Jacobo Arbenz, Salvador Allende, Jaime Roldos, and Hugo Chavez—enjoyed
such a plural, articulate, and broad consensus as the one built by the Labor
Party and its historic leader, Lula. In
regard to regional politics, its is possible that Lula’s inauguration will
breath new life into the search for alternative proposals to neoliberalism in
order to solve the huge social debt that the majority of Latin American
governments have incurred, due to corruption, ineptitude, submissiveness, or a
combination of all of these flaws."
"Lula And His Party"
Adolfo Sanchez Rebolledo mused in far-left Jornada
(1/2): "In many ways, the success
of the new Brazilian administration happily headed by Lula will depend upon
support by his party, the Workers’ Party (PT) that led him to victory. It is true that the social force supporting
Lula and the PT does not make up a homogenous subject, or a single class, but
neither is it an inorganic multitude under the mandate of one leader. In this regard, Lula is not a caudillo like
Chavez, nor is he a victorious guerrilla like Fidel Castro in 1959; rather, he
is the head of a popular, leftist, and new democratic party. Beside the obvious lessons of perseverance
and vision, Lula’s triumph provides useful lessons for those who wish to take
advantage of them. The first and most
elementary lessons is that a leftist party cannot win a democratic election if
it is not capable of winning support form the broadest sectors.... For some, this shift of the PT 'to the right'
comes close to treason, but the evidence is overwhelming; thanks to his
center-left positions, Lula won more than 50 million votes (61.3 percent). Maintaining the internal unity of the PT will
not be easy, but achieving this will be one of the conditions to govern by
putting general interests first. The
cards are on the table and history is just beginning."
BOLIVIA: "The Era Of Lula da Silva"
Left-leaning La Prensa carried an
editorial stating (1/3): "The inauguration of Lula da Silva in
Brazil...seems to mark a new era in the region, provided he accomplishes what
he outlined in his inaugural speech.... He championed a stable and prosperous
continent, united in democracy and social justice.... He claimed that the
current economic system is not producing development but rather stagnation,
unemployment and hunger, and that he would only allow his country's
participation in the Free Trade Area of the Americas if Washington ends what he
called its scandalous protectionism and subsidies and moves instead to more
just and adequate rules of exchange....
Given Brazil's importance in this part of the world and the influence of
its economy over the rest of South America, it is evident that over the next
four years a new reality in international relations could develop."
"Lula's Promise: Eradication of
An editorial in conservative La Paz El Diario
judged (1/3): "We think that his objective is a paramount one that should
be pursued, not only in Brazil but in all the continent.... The beginning of
this new regime in our neighboring country is a praiseworthy one, considering
that the wellbeing of that country will reflect on the rest of its
neighbors.... There is a popular saying
that if Brazil gets a cold, Bolivia gets pneumonia. This could work in the opposite direction if
Lula manages to achieve the well being of his fellow citizens.... Let us hope
that the example of this social crusade will be followed by the rest of the
nations in this part of the world, and that Brazil achieves the projections of
"The New and Permanent Brazil"
Conservative afternoon La Segunda ran an
editorial asserting (1/2): "Brazil is a nation with strong institutions,
with powerful and autonomous federated states, a stable armed forces...and a
consistent foreign policy.... The new
president's decisions will be determined, for better or worse, by several of
these elements. His efforts to
strengthen Mercosur seem legitimate, as does his desire to define an
alternative to the power of the United States and to fight excessive
agricultural subsidies and trade protectionism.... Brazil must be realistic and avoid...the
temptation to follow its own path... (It
must) solve its current challenges and perform its (leadership) role in the
"Lula Takes The Reins"
Government-owned but editorially independent La
Nacion commented in an editorial (1/2): "Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's
speeches are to a great degree realistic about the tasks that await him and of
the problems he will face in accomplishing them. But the speeches are also optimistic, because
they reflect the hope the people of Brazil have in him, because they have felt
the international sympathy that the victory of the center-leftist coalition has
generated.... If it resolves its debt
problems and creates an appropriate environment for investment, Brazil is a
nation with an enormous growth potential. The first stage will be crucial,
because it will determine the chances for the new administration to generate
confidence domestically and abroad....
Brazil can exert a positive influence in the region if it applies
policies that are a synthesis between economic growth and equity."
"Lula da Silva's Example"
Leading financial Estrategia
editorialized (12/30): "Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will take office as
Brazil's president on January 1... With
the same force with which he has promised to end hunger in some sectors of his
country, Lula has been candid and assertive in bringing the expectations of his
fellow citizens to levels that are compatible with Brazil's international
financial obligations... Lula will take
office with a vote of confidence from foreign markets...but it is obvious that
he will also try to apply fiscal and social security reforms and will try to
maintain minimum wages while controlling inflation. All these elements are essential if he is to
succeed in refinancing Brazil's foreign debt, which will give him a greater
margin to answer to his country's social demands."
"Travel With Lula And Discover Brazil"
An op-ed by writer Daniel Samper in top national
El Tiempo (12/31): "New Lula
government brings up a lot of hope....
We are hoping Lula will lead the road to socialism with liberty in
Brazil.... We Colombians may once and
for all hope to be attracted by Lula and clear the barriers which separate us
from such a fascinating country.... Lula may be the bridge for to overcome
misunderstanding and a dangerous mutual disinterest."
ECUADOR: "Lula da Silva In Power In
A front-page editorial in Quito's center-left
influential Hoy (1/4): "Luis Inacio Lula da Silva's presence in
Brazil's Presidential palace changes the array of forces in the region since he
represents the most powerful and organized leftist party in South America, the
Workers' Party, and Silva himself embodies the politics of those who are so-called
"globo-phobic" in the largest economy on the continent after the
U.S.... In his first statement as
president, he criticized Washington's agricultural subsidies, subsidies that
put agricultural exports from Latin America at a disadvantage....this is
nonsense since...globalization offers South America a key role in the
production of basic commodities.... The
hard question is -- should Lula lead a movement aimed at reshaping the economy
of Latin America?"
"Lula And South America"
An "Analysis" column in Quito's
center-left influential Hoy pointed out (1/3): "The new Brazilian President, Inacio da
Silva, has committed his country to a new role in international affairs, aimed
at defending the interests of South American countries. Lula announced that Brazil would fight to
achieve fairer relations in international trade and better conditions for the
creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.... How refreshing to hear these statements from
the new Brazilian President! How much South America needs a voice to defend its
interests in the region amidst the calls for free trade! Latin America, with few exceptions, has the
impression it is being pushed indiscriminately to open its markets, while the
same approach is not being applied to the North.... Lula's position does
nothing more than express, quite clearly, the vision we all share of the
process of open markets and world trade in Latin America.... What Latin America needs is to recover some
of the sovereignty it has lost in
managing its economy.... The new
Brazilian President's position on the FTAA coincides with that of the recently
named Minister of Foreign Affairs for the new Ecuadorian government. Pacari has stated that joining the FTAA under
the conditions set forth by the U.S. would be suicide. Ecuador does not oppose the FTAA, but like
Brazil, it wants to redefine the conditions of its participation.... Free trade is necessary and convenient, but
it must be part of a regional approach that protects national interests, that
does not threaten local productivity and that allows businessmen from every
country to compete under equal conditions, taking into consideration, of
course, the status of developing countries."
"Lula, The Hemisphere is Waiting"
An editorial in Quito's leading centrist El
Comercio (1/2): "Brazil, for Latin America, has always represented
hope, uncertainty, and a dilemma....
Against a backdrop of fanfare and high expectations, President Jose
Inacio Lula Da Silva was sworn as President of the largest country in Latin
America. He knows first-hand the
hardships faced by his country and the hemisphere--populism, repression, and
corruption. He understands, as few do,
the present condition of his people --misery, despair, and hopelessness. Like
the former caudillos of his country, he must assume leadership of this large
and troubled nation that is Brazil."
"Lula's Case and Its Repercussions"
An opinion column by Jorge Ribadeneira Araujo in
leading centrist El Comercio held (1/2):
"It seems that Lula assumes the presidency of the Latin American
giant at a good time, but, as it always happens with every country in Latin
America, at a difficult time. The
reality is that the citizen who most represents of the Brazilian left is now in
power and his country today goes about its business normally, but with a sense
of expectation. 'The world changed,
Brazil changed, Lula changed,' said this poor Brazilian who was once a worker,
a union leader, a perennial candidate, today is the President of a power with a
great future, but that is full of contrasts... Lula is no longer the
enemy. At first sight he is a
respectable, mature individual without prejudice, with whom it is possible to
disagree and even to argue with rationally, for example on issues such as FTAA
and U.S. subsidies and protectionism."
GUATEMALA: "Lula da Silva And His Historic
Leading, moderate morning Prensa Libre
said in its main editorial (1/2): "In Brazil and abroad the new regime is
viewed as the result of a popular reaction to neo-liberalism in Latin
America... Lula da Silva has the
possibility of becoming the president who, without abandoning his popular
roots, gives meaning and form to a new way of governing, adapted to the reality
and needs of today's world. That is the
challenge for Brazil, if not for all Latin America."
"Lula To Power: Cut In Costs"
Conservative El Panama America ran inside
editorial stating (1/3):
"Brasilia's inauguration speech was moderate and had no typical
carioca exaggerated myth. Lula spoke
about a gradual development ... and after meeting with Fidel Castro and Hugo
Chavez, Lula was rather moderate, being careful not to show himself as part of
a group of problem countries.... Time will show Lula's administration
encounters with the social responsibilities obtained by those that voted for
PERU: "Markets Optimism vis-a-vis
Reliable business daily Gestion headlined its
(1/10): "The markets have a sort of honeymoon with Lula's
government.... Such an optimistic
reaction might have been caused...by the naming of his minister of Economy and
of the chairman of the Central Bank.
However, some people point out that ... there remains much to do so
Brazil doesn't confront problems later on.... Lula's Administration should
continue structural reforms and keep making fiscal adjustments, which might be
contrary to (Lula's) electoral promises that have created high expectations
among (Brazilian) people and in leftist members of his cabinet."
"Lula To The Right?"
Serious tabloid Correo editorialized
(1/2): “It seems that the brand new president of Brazil, Lula, will be one more
proof of how it is necessary to reach power through the left in order to govern
with the right in Latin America... From
his nominations and announcements, he is perceived as a man conscious that the
road of development passes through the free market and the promotion of private
investment... Though it is certainly
too early to assure that the conversion of Lula (from left to right) is a
definite fact, some clues indicate that at least the tough reality of power
seemed to have tamed exaggerated ideological aspirations."
BRITAIN: "Lula's Burden Of Hope"
The independent weekly Economist observed
(1/4-1/10): "'Hope and 'history'
are two words Brazilians often use in talking of their new president, Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva.... The hope is that Lula...will restore Brazil's economic
fortunes in a way that lifts up the poorest in a notoriously unequal
society.... Lula promised to wage war on
hunger and unemployment without upsetting Brazil's fragile finances. Now, after a smooth handover of power...he
must start to live up to this heavy burden of expectations.... Everything argues for tough monetary and
fiscal policies--except Lula's campaign promises and the hopes of Brazilians
for a return to rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. But the president's best chance of success
lies in using his mandate and the gravity of Brazil's plight to push through
unpopular reforms.... A test of
confidence will come in February when the IMF will review its $30 billion
loan to Brazil..... The new government seems likely to adopt a
pragmatic stance on trade policy despite the PT's traditional support for
protectionism.... [The] approach to the
talks on the Free Trade Area of the Americas is likely to be assertive but not
hostile.... Brazil's prospects turn on
whether Lula can turn these pragmatic intentions into policy achievements. He will face...not just a Congress in which
he lacks a majority, but pressures form friend and foes alike.... The government will have to haggle for every
victory in a Congress with an insatiable hunger for pork. Brazilian presidents normally enjoy a
six-month honeymoon. Lula will hope that
his sweeping electoral mandate will buy a longer indulgence from voters and PT
radicals alike. He will try to ensure this by using the word
"social" as every opportunity....
If the social offensive is to have substance, it may come from Fome Zero
(zero hunger), a planned partnership of government, firms, charities and
pressure groups to imporve the welfare of the poor."
Right-of-center Le Figaro editorialized (12/31): “A former admirer of Castro, Lula has chosen
to devote his first visit abroad to President Bush, rather than following on
the populist footsteps of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.”
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau commented (1/3): “Lula will have hard time fulfilling everyone’s
expectations. Washington, stubbornly
clinging to economic liberalism as the magic bullet, is pleased to see the old
left-winger turning into a free trader.
Poor Brazilians, on the other hand, cling to Lula’s lips as soon as he
promises ‘breakfast, lunch, and dinner.’
One question has not been asked in the midst of all the cheering: How to reconcile the state’s necessary
responsibility for social services with budgetary discipline and the lowering
of debts?... It is important for the
international community to realize that a debt-ridden state cannot be a just
state. This should be reason enough to
think more carefully about debt cancellation.
And the economically strong should abandon their practice of demanding
free trade from the weak, while protecting their own products with help of
subsidies and tariffs.”
Guenther Bannas opined in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(1/2): “President Lula...might soon find
himself in a difficult position. Even if
he displayed superhuman political skill and had a broad and stable majority in
parliament (which he does not), Lula would not be able to avoid disappointments
and their repercussions. After all, the
Brazilian people have given him a contradictory mandate. They want a market economy, but also more
social security and a fairer distribution of wealth. In addition, Lula has promised all things to
everyone. It is doubtful whether a disciplined
financial policy, a must for foreign creditors, can be reconciled with improved
social security and higher wages.”
ITALY: "An Uphill Road For Lula's
Alessandro Merli reports asserted in leading
business Il Sole 24 Ore (1/2): "The main difficulty the new
president has to deal with is how to conciliate a policy, which, as he
acknowledged himself, has to be of austerity in the presence of weak growth,
with the promises he made in his campaign, even though Lula is trying to get
some funds to increase social spending and to fight against poverty, which is
the real focus of his electoral manifesto. Indeed, some of the reforms the
country urgently needs, as the tax reform, and the reform of the pension
system, go against the interests of some important groups of Lula's supporters,
as the public employees, who now represent the majority in the Worker's
Party.... Moreover, Lula does not have the majority in Congress, and this is a
very serious problem for him, especially if he wants to make Constitutional
changes, where a 60 per cent majority is needed.... But, at least for the first
weeks, he will be able to count on an unprecedented people's support, thanks to
the 62 per cent of votes he received in the October elections. The success of
his four year mandate and the possibility for Brazil to really get out of the
present crisis will depend on how he plays this card."
RUSSIA: "Lula Is The Leader Of Brazil"
Commenting on the official change of authority
in Brazil,Nikolai Komin, analyst of Parlamentskaya Gazeta, the
mouthpiece of the RF Federal Assembly judged (1/5): "Thorny is the path
which the new president is to take. The people have forgiven him the expensive
suits and luxury cars but will the people continue to forgive him empty wallets
and stomachs?... Will Lula's dream come
true? It is not to cause a collapse of the economy but also to feed the hungry
and assure for Brazil a worthy place in today's world? One would like to wish
"A Left-Winger At The Head Of Brazil"
Sergei Bazavluk wrote in the centrist Trud
(1/5): "Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, who comes from a poor family, has
confidently won the presidential election last October. Over the past 40 years
he is the first Brazilian leader considered to hold left views. Lula is promising
his people to cope with the economic difficulties but, perfectly aware of the
seriousness of the situation, he says his people should not expect swift
change.... As his first step, the new
president decided to give up buying for the Brazilian air force a number of
fighter planes worth about 700 dollars. He said that in a country where
one-third of the population live below the poverty line and 15 percent are
undernourished, the money will be used to meet social needs."
"Why Being There For Lula Counted For South Africa"
Group political editor John Battersby wrote in liberal Sunday
Independent (1/5): "Meeting a
longstanding engagement, Mbeki spent the first day of 2003 attending
the...inauguration of Luis 'Lula' da Silva as president of Brazil.... Both countries...are leading nations of the
developing world that have failed to benefit from the advantages of
globalization.... Both leaders...face
the major challenge of how to effect costly social reforms with very little
money. Both have to tackle the problem
of land distribution to alleviate inherited inequalities.... Both leaders with a common leftist
background, have committed themselves to integrate their countries in the
global economy.... Both have also
committed themselves to the fight against poverty."