In his three-day visit to London, Brazil’s Lula criticized the US and
the way business is done at the
UN, pledged support for Africa
and asked for a new world pact for peace. He also repeated
fight corruption, poverty and unemployment in
Brazil, through his Zero Hunger and First Job programs.
Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in London for the Progressive Governance conferencea summit
meeting of leftwing leaderscondemned UN inaction over the Middle Eastern conflict, as Tony Blair prepared to meet Israeli
premier Ariel Sharon.
Speaking at the London School of Economics, not far from Downing Street, the leader, known simply as Lula, said:
"It’s fundamental to reform the practices of the UN. The Security Council must take majority decisions and these decisions
must be respected. "If it was like this the conflict in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians would have been
resolved long ago."
On Sunday Lula met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who supported Brazilian calls for a permanent place on
the Security Council. In his speech Lula also pledged support for Africa, on the eve of his official visit to the continent.
"In the past Brazil virtually forgot Africa," the president told a 1,000-strong audience. "[But] Brazil has historic,
moral and cultural responsibilities to Africa We have obligations to Africans."
The Workers’ Party (PT) president spoke of his desire to transform the debate on global poverty and human rights.
"We must form a new pact for peace," he said.
Abandoning his script, Lula drew comparisons between politics and marriage to widespread laughter. "I would
like international politics to be like [my wife] Marisa and I. We met each other, married five months later and we’re still
doing business 30 years on," he joked.
Lula focused too on domestic issues, repeating election pledges to fight corruption, poverty and unemployment,
through his Zero Hunger and First Job programs. "My primary aim is to solve our problem," he said, stabbing both fists into the air.
The president promised to defend overseas scholarships, and urged Brazilians studying in England to engage with
the development of their "dear country". He also called for closer ties between Latin American countries. "Our priority is
South America We in Latin America constantly speak of integration but it has never been more than words," he said.
Lula also reserved some words of praise for the United States: "If there is one thing I admire about the United States
it is that the first thing they think about is themselves, the second thing is themselves and the third thing is themselves.
And then if there is time they think about themselves again," he said.
The Progressive Governance summit was organized by
‘New Labour’ architect Peter Mandelson. Lula’s speech,
which closed a three day visit, was hosted by Anthony Giddens, the man credited with creating the
‘third way’ model of
politics. Introducing the South American leader, Giddens said Lula was "a man who could change not just Brazil, but the whole world."
Tom Phillips is a British student journalist who lived in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, between 2000 and 2001. He is
Features Editor of the Leeds Student newspaper and writes for a variety of publications on politics and current affairs, as
well as various aspects of the cultura
brasileira. Tom will be based in Rio de Janeiro starting August 2003. He can be
reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org and his articles can also be found at: