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May 2003

Lula: "We Should Stop Blaming Others"

Lack of money is not an excuse, says Brazilian President Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva, appealing to lawmakers to approve reforms
that are expected to jumpstart the Brazilian economy. Lula thinks it's
time Brazil stop blaming the rest of the world for its own problems and
take matters in its own hands to deal with hunger and unemployment.

Francesco Neves

When the G-7 leaders meet June 1st, in Evian, France, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be there at the invitation of the French government. His intention is to present to the world's most industrialized countries a global project in the mold of his own Zero Hunger program being implemented in Brazil. The President, however, didn't give details of the plan. Lula made the announcement in Uberaba, state of Minas Gerais, at the opening ceremony of the 69th International Expo of Zebu Cattle.

While criticizing the protectionist policy of foreign countries, Lula stressed that it is time Brazil takes responsibility for solving its own problems like hunger and lack of jobs. According to him, it's natural that the globalized world couldn't care less if there is a starving kid in Brazil or if Brazilians don't have a place where to work. "This is our own problem," he said. "We have to face it and find solutions for it." Brazil cannot continue acting "as if we were a small nation, a Third World country."

And he continued: "We cannot blame others for our historical incompetence. We need to know concretely which are the problems and to decide to solve them, because the solutions are in our hands, inside Brazil, and I cannot turn away from that."

Lula also talked about the role Brazil should have in a globalized world: "Brazil can and will walk about proudly and it will fight in the World Trade Organization so that the commercial relationship is indeed equalitarian between Brazil and the European Union and Brazil and the United States. If we work correctly, our meat will occupy spaces in the world and it will never lose again, because it is a privilege of a nation as Brazil to offer to the modern world a meat coming from a healthy cattle without crazy cows."

Da Silva appealed to the Brazilian Congressmen so that they abandon partisanship for the good of the nation. "We have to work quickly to approve the reforms. Once in your life forget personal matters and think about the 175 million Brazilians who are hoping that something will be done besides crying and saying that there is no money."

The President promised that he will not make a mistake. "I don't want, I cannot and will not make a mistake. I have four years and I want to dedicate every minute to prove that Brazil just needs a chance and we have to give that chance to entrepreneurs, producers, workers." For Lula, the economic benefits from improving poor people's diets can be huge: "I've been imagining the day when Brazilians can buy the food at the grocer that we've produced, how the economy of this country will grow."

In Brazil, Lula's Zero Hunger hasn't been living to the expectations it created though and the opposition has criticized it for its poor implementation.

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