Commenting on the international economic crisis during a trip to Rio, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that sometimes he feels like a lonely soul being an optimist when the whole world seems to be blue and depressed.
"Now and then I feel like a Don Quixote. Sometimes I feel alone attempting to preach optimism," said Lula to an audience of intellectuals and artists gathered for the launching of the Audiovisual Fund.
Lula compared the market to a teenager who boasts of having become independent only to rush back to their parents home when he gets his first belly ache.
"When the market had the belly ache, which was an unbearable diarrhea, who they called to save it? The State that they decried for 20 years. That's why the market needs oversight and regulation," affirmed Lula.
The president then went on with an analogy that brought some malaise to the audience when Lula used quite an off-color language:
"Imagine if one of you were a doctor and had to see a sick patient. What would you tell him. Look, comrade, you have a problem, but medicine has already advanced a lot, science has already advanced a lot, we're going to give you some medicine, you are going to get well again? Or you would say: F–k you? Would you say that to a patient of yours? You wouldn't," he observed, getting a few embarrassed laughs in return.
According to the president, the country has no reason to despair: "The analysts on duty keep saying that we need to cut expenditures, but you can't do this in a country where everything still has to be done. The bigger the crisis, the bigger should be the investment."
He believes Brazil can easily overcome the crisis though: "We have a financial system capable of giving lessons and we are not involved with subprime loans." He reminded his audience that Brazil has US$ 207 billion in reserves and a public debt of 26% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), "while in Italy this rate is 106% and in the USA, almost 70%".
"Brazil diversified its exports. We made the decision that we would not depend on a single block in the world. The trouble is that the world has a GDP of US$ 65 trillion, while the financial market's GDP had US$ 650 trillion. This difference disappeared. Is it possible that all this money that disappeared is in the Cayman Islands? If it were the case, the island would have already been sunk. My neurons cannot understand," he observed.
The president made fun of those he called the colonized section of the elite, who, according to him, was impressed with American president-elect Barack Obama announcement that he will create millions of jobs in the US.
"A portion of the elite is still colonized. When Obama said that, many people commented: "What a fantastic thing." But I would like to remind you that this year alone Brazil has already generated 2.149 million jobs," Lula stated.
The Brazilian president said that he believes that the current crisis is worse than the 1929 Depression, which is considered as the most serious crisis capitalism ever had. Whatever the case, Lula reasons, Brazil cannot lose courage.
"We cannot cower in times of crisis," observed the Brazilian leader. "The worse the crisis is the more we are going to invest because this creates jobs and generates income. We cannot allow that the economy's Ferris wheel stop going around."
Lula has been recommending to governors and mayors that they keep on investing.
"No president would sign the release of funds for this audiovisual project in a crisis period, but I am doing exactly the opposite. I am recommending to state governors and mayors that they do not stop investing not even a cent," he added.