Talking to an audience of workers and members of one of Brazil’s biggest labor unions, the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), in a May Day speech, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva discussed foreign affairs, pointing out that the main focus of his administration has been South America.
Lula declared that in the past that was not the case. Brazil’s neighbors were not given the necessary importance they deserved, he said.
“We were colonized, so we always looked outward, toward Europe and the United States, we did not see South America because it was always in the background, behind us.”
Lula said that a foreign policy aimed at Brazil’s neighbors resulted in the construction of more equal relations and more advantages for South American countries. Today the relations between the nations of South America are very different from the relations each of those nations had with the United States, said Lula.
“How can you compare a commercial relationship with a superpower like the United States and a commercial relationship with a country like Bolivia?” asked Lula.
The president went to say that proof of the success of the change in focus was that today Brazil’s trade with South America was on the same level as trade with the US and Europe – in size, volume and dollars.
According to Lula, the increased importance in international affairs is a sign that Brazil has stronger sovereignty. The recognition of the country’s importance by the international media shows that Brazil can make the right decisions for its future.
“We have learned to walk with our heads held high,” declared Lula. “Brazil knows where it wants to go and how it wants to get there.”
Lula went on to say that the October general elections will not mean any change in government policy. “I will not let the elections sink the country,” said the president as he promised to maintain control of inflation and public spending.
Lula said that over the last seven years of his administration, the country had progressed in social and economic terms, becoming “an example of financial control.” The improvements, he said, were due to decisions and policies implemented by his government.
In closing. Lula declared that the next administration had an obligation to do more and do it better.