Brazil’s ex-chief of staff of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and former federal deputy, José Dirceu, is participating in a debate on Latin American and South American integration at the 6th World Social Forum.
Dirceu’s legislative mandate was revoked last year by the Brazilian Congress but he remains affiliated with the Workers’ Party (PT), the ruling party in Brazil,
Dirceu, who was invited by the Values Institute to take part in the event, shared his opinion on this topic with Brazilian journalists prior to the debate.
In his view, the current political setting on the continent offers a unique opportunity for the integration process. "There has never been a circumstance in which South American presidents shared greater affinity," he commented.
The ex-minister deems that this state of affairs is clearly related to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s election in 2002.
Among the current integration projects that Dirceu considers most important are the formation of the Mercosur Parliament and the creation of financial instruments for the construction of infrastructure, such as highways, railroads, and bridges.
Energy integration through projects in the areas of gas, electricity, and petroleum is another item that Dirceu sees as fundamental.
For the ex-minister, the integration process will survive political changes. "It resisted in Europe, and it will resist here. I cannot imagine why the Brazilian business class and multinational corporations would be opposed."
Regarding future projects that are important for integration, Dirceu says that there is need for "audacity" to establish a common currency, and he notes the recently formulated proposal, at a meeting between Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela, for the creation of a South American Defense Council.
The 6th World Social Forum proceeded in Caracas, Venezuela, with debates, conferences, and seminars on democracy, neoliberalism, agrarian reform, environment, and human rights.
Brazil’s Minister of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto, spoke at the conference on agrarian reform.
Rossetto discussed the preparations for the 2nd International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, scheduled to take place March 7-10 in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil.
Other participants in the debate were: the Venezuelan Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Antonio Albarrán; the representative at the Forum of fishermen and fishing industry workers, Pedro Avendaño; the president of the International Center of Rural and Agricultural Studies (CERAI), Vincent Garcês, from Spain; the director of the Nicaraguan Via Campesina ("Peasant’s Way"), Fausto Torrez; the director of the Rural Platform for Land, Oscar Torres, from Chile; and directors of the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers (CONTAG), from Brazil.