Brazil’s Lula Praises Obama and Asks Latin America to Be More Self-Reliant

President Obama shakes Brazil's chancellor hands Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said, at the end of the Summit of the Americas this past weekend that the meeting brought "surprising results" and that he was leaving Trinidad and Tobago feeling that he had accomplished something.

"This is what gives me reason for optimism, the thought that a new dynamic can be created," he stated. Let's be honest: everyone was expecting that Chávez and Obama would attack each other. And what happened? Exactly the opposite. And we ended up with Chávez saying that he wants to be friends with the United States."

"We had disagreements, but the fact is that there was no war," he added.

For Brazil's Foreign minister, Celso Amorim, this "new phase" is only possible because Latin America "has also changed".

"This is not only because of Obama. This is due to the changes in Latin America as well. Unasur's creation (Coalition of South American Nations) is an example of invigoration," said the chancellor.

A common comment during the summit was that Obama "knew how to listen." The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, said that the American leader showed "interest" in listening to what the other chiefs of state had do say.

"I think that president Obama immersed himself in Latin America this summit", said Lula.

The Brazilian president minimized the criticisms made by Venezuela and Bolivia to the G20, the group of the world's most powerful countries including emerging ones like China, India and Brazil.

"It was harder when everyone was forced to say the same thing.  It was more complicated when you didn't have a chance to get together and tell what you were thinking," added the Brazilian leader.

Borrowing from Obama, who on Friday had said that is common for poorer countries to blame the richer nation for their problems, Lula continued:

"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."

Lula said that he has no interest in making Brazil a Latin American leader. "The word leadership is not something that simple. No country makes another a proxy to talk on its behalf. Whoever wants to be leader of a group, of a continent, he is going to lose face."

The Brazilian leader also insisted that Brazil and its Latin American neighbors need to be more independent from the rich countries and to learn to better respect themselves.

"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." 

He mentioned Colombia's example who relies on the US to fight its narcotraffic problem.

For Lula, Brazil has acquired a new international stature: "Brazil went up one or two more steps in multilateralism. I like to respect everybody and other people would better respect us."

Lula also noted Cuba's absence from the encounter. He believes that this is the last summit that this happened adding that Brazil's role is not to be a middleman between Havana and Washington. "The Cuban people are not asking for anyone to represent them.(…)  There's no explanation for their absence."

Lula also thinks that now is the time for Venezuela and the US to improve their relationship. The Brazilian president emphasized that he had talked to Chávez recently to advise him to get closer to Obama.

"Chávez," he told him, "I think it's time for you to take the first step and go talk to president Obama. If your disagreement was with Bush and not with the Unites States, this is the time." For Lula, in Trinidad and Tobago, the Venezuelan president was a different person.

During the Americas Summit, Chávez and Obama shook hands at least twice. Chávez even offered Obama a book in Spanish, Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina, with special dedication. Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano's work, Open Veins of Latin America. Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, a classic book from the Left.

Lula also revealed that he had tried to arrange a meeting between Bush and Chávez, but he gave up because the Venezuelan president was convinced that Bush had ordered the 2002 coup to overthrow him.

The Brazilian leader noted that he was leaving Port of Spain extremely gratified by all that was accomplished, in special the fact that the US and the other countries of the continent established a new way to "overcome disagreements and debate them with maturity."


  • Show Comments (5)

  • Alberto Vázquez

    Cuba. The key
    Obama knows that Cuba is the key of an understanding between The United States and Latin America. It is the key that can join both political current axes.
    I recommend

  • Reggiephd

    Swimming against the tide!!!
    😀 😀 😀 😀 Good luck with that KPS. That’s what Brazilians blatantly call “dor de Cotovelo”. Paraguay, and Uruguai Welthier, your comments are not only ludicrous, but heavy with bigotry. I got a laugh from them though thanks.

  • ch.c.

    Same with Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, the USA, Europe, China or Asia, Russia, Middle East, India, Africa or just name it !

    Everyone can even check from many sources available what the Brazilian Economic Model is made of : IMPORT SUBSTITUTION !!!!!!!

    But despite their apparent export prowess and their navel caressing, their total exports is barely at US$ 1000.-…..PER CAPITA !
    Around HALF of the per capita exports of Thailand….which dont caress their navel as frenetically as Brazilians do daily or several times a day.
    Better yet, two third of the Brazilian exports are basic commodities with little or no added value.
    Such as iron ore, steel, grains, orange juice, coffee, sugar and so forth.
    Even worse than that, their last third in exports with some value added is mostly made from foreign firms…IN BRAZIL !!!!!!!!
    Such as makers of cars, trucks, tractors, harvesters.

    And then they also lie constantly, such as for their sugarcane ethanol being profitable at US$ 35.- oil equivalent…and then have these companies LOSING money in 2008 despite the yearly oil price average was US$ 100.- !
    This reminded me similar lies in their teak farms investments, and ostriches farms….so profitable.
    Nearly all gone BANKRUPT these teak or ostriches farm

    Furthermore even within the Mercosur Members (4 countries) they are the third POOREST on a GDP actual and GDP PPP…PER CAPITA !
    Argentina and Uruguay are wealthier than Brazilians ! And this despite the constant Brazilian cheatings.
    But reading Robbing Hook and his various gangs, of course Brazil is doing BETTER than not only Argentina and Uruguay, but as Lula stated more than once recently that Brazil is the country with the greatest growth future on earth, forgetting China, Russia and India….not only having had a much greater economic growth rate since Lula startzed his reign, still have a greater growth rate today, and still have a greater future growth rate…..THAN BRAZIL !
    Somewhat funny that the weakest of BRIC member states IT IS THE WORLD BEST !!!!!
    But coming from the pretentious Brazilians thinking and mentality…this is NORMAL.

    As I stated more than once, Brazil better scratch their head and stop caressing their navel…FOR THEIR FUTURE !

    The other 3 RIC members are already growing their own agriculture industries at a much faster pace than Brazil.

    What is Brazil going to sell to these 3 countries in 10-20 years ??????

    Cars, tractors, trucks, buses ? DOUBTFUL ! Each of them already have also foreign AUTOMOTIVE makers LIKE BRAZIL, but ALSO their own local companies. NOT BRAZIL…BY 2009 !
    Each of these 3 countries have relatively large LOCAL drug makers. NOT BRAZIL…BY 2009 !
    Each of these 3 countries can build nuclear reactors. NOT BRAZIL…BY 2009 !
    Same for space technology.
    Russia has the know how and technology for nuclear or non nuclear submarines. NOT BRAZIL…BY 2009 !

    And I could continue on and on and on !

    Lets face it again, Brazil apparent performance prowess is made from the Disinformation and Propaganda dept, at the planalto Palacio, occupying the full floor… to Robbing Hook office !

    Does Brazil has a future ? Of course yesss.
    Similar and only slightly better than Africa…..providing cheap basic commodities with noooo or little value added.
    Everything else more valuable will be produced by Asian countries with the know how, expertise, R&D from developed nations.
    Even PCs, mobile phones, DVDs, flat panels TV, cameras, many chips are already built there IN ASIA….AND NOT IN BRAZIL OR SOUTH AMERICA…OR THE MIDDLE EAST !!!!!


    😮 😮 😮

  • kps

    After nearly spending one year in Paraguay I have seen this first hand. Brazil wants to receive but never wants to give.

  • ch.c.

    ” Brazil is big, so people are always thinking that Brazil is to be blamed for something that happens to them.”
    “Lula said that he has no interest in making Brazil a Latin American leader”


    It is Robbing Hook criticzing time and again the other countries. Sure when things are rosier then everythiong is due do Robbing Hook policies and decisions. When things are more difficult, it is never due to Robbing Hook !

    Better yet Brazil never wants to pay aa fair market price for whatever they buy, and always expects a better than market price on things they export !

    Brazil is against developed nations agriculture subsidies, but subsidies nearly ALL its industriessssssss , including agriculture, and even coffee that developed nations DONT PRODUCE AT ALL !

    Brazil expects other nations, mostly developed countries, to lower their trade barriers for Brazil exports. And on the other hand
    Robbing Hook finds normal to increase its trade barriers against many foreign imported goods.

    Cheaters always cheat, liars always lie, hiders always hide….until proven otherwise !
    And Brazil is a perfect example !

    😮 😮 😮 😮 😮 😮

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