Led by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, the Latin American block arrived at the G20 summit in Cannes, France, with a consensus spearheaded by the strong political standing of Brazil in global affairs and with criticisms to the way in which the European Union and the US are managing their respective crises.
Brazil will also play a ‘hinge’ role between the interests of Latin America and BRICS to which it also belongs (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and which attracts over half the global foreign direct investment, according to recent data from the UN.
Latin America which will be represented with Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, reached a consensus on common positions to defend at G20 during a meeting last October 18 in Montevideo.
In the Uruguayan capital it was agreed to request a greater say in global economic decisions including a seat at G20 for Aladi (Latin American Integration Association) to reinforce the region’s presence that is resisting global turbulences and keeps growing at enviable rates.
At the same time recalling that the current crisis is the ‘responsibility’ of developed countries and not of emerging economies.
Overall the BRICS group coincides with Latin America in so far that they are also calling for a reform of multilateral organizations and a greater voice for the emerging economies.
“The concentration of power in multilateral institutions which today represent mainly the developed countries is obsolete and reflects a global order that no longer exists”, said Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff during a recent tour of African nations.
Mexico that will be holding the rotating presidency of G20 in 2012 believes the coming Cannes summit should come up with concrete actions to ensure stability and growth because it is important “to act with urgency and in a coordinated way to restore confidence and stabilize markets”.
“The G20 agenda should be inclusive and give priority to issues that affect developing countries and Latin America more specifically”, said Roberto Marino, the Mexican delegate at G20.
Latin America and emerging economies, with different, emphasis, are in favour of taxing international financial transactions and adopting concrete measures to end with speculation in markets and the so called tax havens.
China is expected to reiterate its concern with the lack of clear solutions to the debt crises in the US and EU, and will do so from a privileged situation as a leading economic power and locomotive of global economic activity.
BRICS members in spite of the rhetoric have shown to be inclined to help the EU and the US but through the IMF, contributing with new funds, but Washington and Germany are not convinced.
Emerging economies support a Brazilian initiative to expose the European banking system to “resistance tests” and greater cuts for private creditors of Greece.
Brazil also proposed establishing effective ‘fire walls’ to protect Italy and Spain, to avoid the expansion and contagion of the crisis and demands “quick political decisions” to create jobs, promote domestic markets and global trade, with no space for ‘protectionist measures’.
However it is precisely in this point where the major differences between rhetoric and practical implementation occur since in most emerging economies some kind of protectionist measures have been introduced to defend domestic markets.
In effect Brazil, Argentina, China and India currently have, at different levels, various trade disputes because of barriers imposed and have threatened to take the cases before the World Trade Organization.
Furthermore Argentina has demanded Brazil, given its condition of regional power, should increase imports from South American countries so as to protect the region from the forecasted recession in Europe.
Meanwhile, former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, one of the most popular figures in Brazil, asked Brazilians to back the president and vowed in a video posted on YouTube to beat his recently diagnosed throat cancer.
The two-minute personal message was published the same day Lula was released from the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he underwent his first round of chemotherapy.
Doctors surgically inserted a port that allows the transfer of medicine straight to the former president’s vein. Lula then underwent his first chemotherapy session, which went “without incident,” according to the hospital. Doctors have said that they found a tumor located in Lula’s larynx.
“I believe I will win this battle. This is not the first time and won’t be the last battle I will face. With your solidarity, it’s going to be much more peaceful, much easier” Lula da Silva said in the video, speaking in a raspy voice. He thanked the Brazilian people for their outpouring of support.
“There is no space for pessimism or to feel sorry. If the day does not go well, with a lot of guts we will make it better tomorrow” he said.
Lula known for the social programs he implemented at the same time that Brazil’s economy soared was Brazil’s most popular president in recent history: he left office with a record 87% support.
Holding hands with his wife Lula called on Brazilians to trust his successor, Dilma Rousseff – a cancer survivor herself – and help her rule the country.
“The advance of Brazil is inexorable…it’s enough to do what must be done, we must trust and support our president…”
The 66 year old leader said he was sure he would recover the full use of his voice and finished telling Brazilians, “until the next open assembly”.
The head of the medical team Carlos Katz said he authorized Lula to practice some light exercises and an “almost” normal life. He is expected back in hospital in three weeks for the second of three rounds of chemotherapy.
According to oncologist Paulo Hoff the Brazilian leader has a cancer of medium aggressiveness with high chances of recovery with no need for surgery since the tumor has not reached the lymph nodes.
Hoff said that the effectiveness of the treatment will be assessed in approximately forty days, following the second session of chemotherapy.
Shortly after the treatment President Rousseff visited Lula da Silva at hospital and described him with an exceptional humor and convinced he will recover.
“He is marvelous; he’s with an exceptional high spirit and with his typical good humor. He has an exceptional capacity to overcome challenges. He is a true warrior, he’ll come out stronger, happy as always and will continue to contribute to the country he loves so much”, said the Brazilian president who underwent cancer treatment at the same hospital.
Lula served two terms as Brazil’s president and left office last January. He handpicked Ms Rousseff to succeed him.