The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, sent a message to his American colleague, Barack Obama: South America "does not need US bases" in Colombia to combat narcotics trade. Lula then suggested that Obama look after US drug addicts.
"Dear friend Obama, we don't need US bases in Colombia to combat narcotics trade in South America. We can look after combating narcotics trade inside our borders and you must look after your drugs' consumers. That way we'll have a better world," said the Brazilian leader in direct reference to the Colombia/US accord for the use of Colombian military bases by US forces.
President Lula was addressing the national congress of the PCdoB (Brazilian Communist Party), an ally of his administration.
The Brazilian president has been critical of the Colombia/US treaty from the beginning and said the task of fighting narcotics trade in South America belonged to UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), which includes a South American Defense Council and in a near future in "this framework we are going to organize a council to combat the narcotics trade."
However he was also quick to point out that Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, must not act with a hegemonic spirit in South American affairs.
"Brazil must not behave as if it had hegemony over the region. It must be the main symbol and guarantee of unity inside UNASUR, the eldest member, the member that has the capacity to work for unity, to build bridges, to establish dialogue."
With this purpose in mind he said that one of the main integrating instruments for the region is the Bank of the South, set to finance infrastructure projects in the region, "that is our World Bank."
Lula mentioned as an example of a positive alliance for the region the cooperation policies with Venezuela and underlined the need for Brazil to reduce its trade surplus with several countries of the region to help "with a better balance."
"Venezuela has a trade deficit of five billion dollars with us because it has nothing to sell us and that is why we are helping them to create production lines in food and other light industries. We're opening a joint refinery so they can sell us oil," pointed out Lula.
"The role of Brazil, given its size, is to favor integration and fairness" in the region promoting joint development policies.