Once again this Saturday, August 1st, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil, reiterated he has no plans for a third mandate and anticipated he would reject a proposal from members of his own Workers Party for a constitutional amendment that would allow him to run again for president in 2010.
"It never crossed my mind. Furthermore I told members of my party to stop thinking of a third period for Lula because two are more than enough," said Lula da Silva in an interview with a radio station from Belo Horizonte.
The Brazilian president has one of the highest sustained support ratings in recent history, currently at a "relatively low 69%" given his record.
The transcription of the interview rejecting any attempts for a third consecutive mandate was broadcasted nationally. "Two is enough, three is imperial." he said, among other things.
Lula also called "idiots" and "ignorant" those who openly oppose his social financial aid plan for the needy, known as "Bolsa Família" (Family Allowance) which is extensive to millions of Brazilian families.
"There are still people so idiotic and so ignorant that continue to say that social aid plans are for lazy people because those who benefit don't want to work," he underlined.
According to a measure published in the country's federal register, the Diário Oficial, the basic benefit offered to low-income families under the program will increase to 68 Brazilian reais (US$ 36) monthly from 62 reais (US$ 33) currently. This represents a 10% increase effective next September.
Brazil's Bolsa Família program as of June served a total of 11.4 million beneficiaries throughout the country with incomes below 140 reais (US$ 75) per month.
The 10% increase, which is expected to cost the Treasury an additional US$ 200 million, was criticized by the opposition and daily Folha de S. Paulo, describing the decision as "electoral" since presidential elections are scheduled for October 2010.
"I'm not going to feel offended anymore with these attacks and comments, that "Bolsa Família" are handouts, demagoguery and so many other things. These people believe and have always believed that people live in precarious conditions, in a favela (shanty town) because they want and because they don't like to work or study: ignorant nonsense."
"The ignorant in Brazil don't know that the country is divided between those who had a chance and those who didn't," emphasized the Brazilian president, who is of extremely humble origin.
Statistics from the Institute of Applied Economic Research show that Lula da Silva's social programs helped lift 16.5 million Brazilians out of poverty between 2003 and 2007.
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