After Saying that Freud Explains Lula Now Wants Inquiry on Brazil’s Blackout

Power line in Brazil A consummate politician, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, contradicting two of his own ministers who the previous day had declared the massive blackout that left 18 states of Brazil in the dark for several hours earlier this week, as a matter solved and over, asked this Friday, November 13, for a full investigation of what happened.

He says that he wants to know if something more than bad weather is behind the power failure: "I told Aneel and  ONS that we need to have an investigation process covering the whole trajectory. And we have instruments for that, so that we can discover exactly what happened," he stated. "If the system is as robust as we believe it is, why then did we have this disaster?", the president asked.

Aneel is the National Agency of Electric Energy, a Brazilian regulatory organ for electricity and ONS stands for Operador Nacional de Sistema Elétrico (Electric System's National Operator), the organ responsible to coordinate and control power generation and transmission throughout the National Interlinked System.

For the Brazilian leader, this investigation is very important and its results should be presented to the public. He apparently found out that Brazilians weren't buying the explanations of his closest aides and the president himself.that all had been an act of God.

"What I want is that when we get the final result after a very precise investigation the public opinion be made aware that what happened was that, that and that," he stressed.

And then added: "I have noticed some people talking about the blackout with the same pleasure they talked blaming the government when the Tam's airplane had the accident in Congonhas. They said that the government would have to carry  200 dead on its back. Then they said it was Infraero's fault. Until the truth started  surfacing and people concluded that it was human error, that it might have been a technical problem."

While some federal organs like the Ministry of Mines and Energy have blamed the blackout on meteorological phenomena, Lula now says that he'd rather wait for some concrete information before finding a culprit. "I've seen so many things," he told reporters. "I'm always careful."

Talking off the cuff about the same matter the previous day, during a speech to launch his plan to control Amazon deforestation, the Lula had said, "We do not control bad weather. I have told you many times: Freud said that the are some things humankind cannot control. One of them is bad weather.

"We don't know the wind size, the rain size. You know that, when it comes, all that we planned disappears. So, this climate issue is delicate, because the world is round. If the world were square or rectangular and we knew that our territory is 14 thousand kilometers of distance from the most polluting centers we would root for the problem to stay over there. But the world turns and we also go down there where is polluted. The responsibility is shared by all".

Lula called Brazil's electrical system robust, but added that this doesn't eliminate the possibility of failure: "Nothing in this world can be so structured that it can anticipate something caused by bad weather or  human error."

São Paulo governor, José Serra, who lost the presidency to Lula seven years ago, raised the tone of his criticism on the way the federal government is dealing with the blackout's aftermath. He had special words for chief of staff Dilma Rousseff – Serra and she are supposed to be the main rivals in the next year's presidential election – and Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobão. Both had said on Thursday that the matter had been addressed and there was nothing else for the government to say or do.

Serra commented that a problem like this is not solved by decree: "Obviously the case is not closed. The problem unfortunately cannot be closed by decree. It would be great though to issue a decree and make the problem go away. On the contrary, the problem continues and the lack of explanation only heightens anxiety."

He also criticized the explanation given by Rousseff and Lobão for what happened. Both blamed bad weather for the disaster.

"To begin with," stated the governor, "nobody knows for sure what happened. If it really were windstorm and lightning this explanation indicates a very serious situation because a windstorm or lightning will be enough to paralyze all Itaipu's turbines and the supply of energy to 18 states."

He then compared Lula's administration position to what happened during the Vietnam War in the United States: "The government's explanation for the blackout reminded me of the story of an American senator on  Vietnam who didn't know how to get out from that situation. He said: let's declare victory and the troops should leave Vietnam."

Vermont Senator George Aiken is supposed to have said "Let's declare victory and go home" to American president Lyndon Johnson in 1966. But many argue that the American congressman never said that or at least not exactly that.

The governor went on to say that there is not enough federal investment in the energy sector. "It's obvious there's not enough investment and maintenance quality is lacking, if not, this wouldn't have occurred."

And he touched on the subject of the 2001 blackout when Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from the same party as his, the PSDB, was president: "They say that the same occurred at the end of the 1990s. More then 10 years have passed though, enough time for things to be fixed."


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