Magic Is Gone: Lula Unhappy with Obama on Honduras, Copenhagen, Doha

Lula with Obama Global warming, Honduras elections, Doha round of negotiations, these three items are just the beginning of a laundry list of matters the Brazilian government is not happy with in the Barack Obama administration. The magic is gone.

This in the wake of a Sunday letter sent by the American president to his Brazilian colleague and the warm reception granted Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday.

Obama's letter, according to American officials, didn't criticize Lula but asked him to encourage the Iranian leader to work in a nuclear compromise for Iran. The message also touched on negotiations of the World Trade Organization and the coming presidential elections in Honduras.

In response to the American leader's approach, the Brazilian president's  special advisor for international affairs, Marco Aurélio Garcia, stated this Tuesday that Brazil is disappointed with the Barack Obama administration.

Garcia charged the US with taking a mistaken position regarding the Honduras situation and of "delivering practically nothing" in the Copenhagen's Climate Conference. And he added that Obama has virtually rejected the Doha's round negotiations.

"President Lula still has great expectations, we have a good relationship with the United States government. But, the real truth is that as of yet this has a strong taste of disappointment. Something we would like to see reverted," said the presidential adviser.

Garcia sees too much timidity on the part of Washington regarding the Climate Conference. Brazil has already committed itself to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 38% and would like the United States, the world's biggest polluter, to present some serious depolluting goals. The US, however, hasn't been forthcoming.

"We see with concern some symptoms and some positions taken by the United States." commented Lula's advisor. "The Doha Round remains at a standstill and Obama himself in the letter he sent president Lula this Sunday doesn't see much possibility that this will develop. In the Honduras situation, this US position is in clear disagreement with the South American countries".

As for the Copenhagen conference Garcia criticized the United States for its lack of initiative and for not presenting clear commitments on climate issues. 

Manuel Zelaya, the ousted president of Honduras, has been housed for more than two months now at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. While Brazil and the United States seemed to be on the same page on the sneaked back into his country, this has changed in the last few weeks.

The presidential advisor stressed that Brazil will not change its policy on Honduras and will not recognize the president that is chosen in November 29 elections if Zelaya is not returned to his post. However, the US now believes that the elections should be valid whatever the situation of the deposed leader.

"Brazil's position is the same position of the immense majority of the South American countries. It's the position that the OAS (Organization of American States) adopted and the position that the UNASUR (Union of the South American Nations) adopted. We think it's unfortunate that people would want to clean a coup d'état with an election process being held in a country that has lived virtually under state of siege these last months," he pointed out.

"The election is not going to happen in a peaceful environment, because an important part of the population will not participate in the election. And this election suffered a suspension of a few months due to a regime of exception and it does not solve the problem, it creates more problems. We are not going to be part of this," he reiterated.

Garcia told reporters the United States should have been more forceful. "We think that this is a mistaken posture, the US could have used at a certain time stronger pressures that they use in other circumstances so that the coup authors and (de-facto president) Micheletti were taken backstage."

"We also believe this is not good from the point of view of the United States-Latin America dialogue. All that favorable climate that was created with president Obama's election and that was strengthened with the Trinidad and Tobago's summit, starts to crumble a little. Why recognize a coup government, which abused of extremely illegal and violent instruments and broke the balance that existed in that country?"

Garcia did also mention that the Brazilian government is aware of Obama's problems with his domestic agenda but still feels frustrated by the American president's inaction.

So he says, Brazil will keep its hopes up among other things because Brasí­lia has more reasons now to have friendly relations with the US than during the George W. Bush administration.

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