Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that, for the government’s social programs to work, everyone must be conscious and confident that what is being done is the best course and that, when mistakes are made, it is necessary to correct them.
“We are responsive enough to understand errors when they are discovered and to adjust the trajectory,” Lula told his audience, yesterday, at the Planalto Palace for the fifth meeting of the Food Security Council (Consea).
During the Consea meeting, Lula was awarded the “International Alliance against Hunger” gold medal by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The President admitted that it is impossible to exert total control over his government’s social programs.
“Every once in a while people say that the registry of the Family Grant program fails to do this or fails to do that. Come on, even an important supermarket like the Pão de Açúcar (“Sugarloaf”) assumes a one percent loss due to theft, so you can imagine that in a program with 5 million cards, deviations can certainly occur,” the President pointed out.
Referring to the report aired on the Globo Network’s variety show, Fantástico exposing problems in the Family Grant, the President admitted that the facts presented help the government identify the mistakes.
“The moment we perceive that there is someone in our midst who is committing errors, who is pursuing the wrong policy, we must punish that individual,” Lula said.
The President once again defended the joint effort between the federal and municipal governments to extend the government’s social policies to those who need them.
“The municipal governments by themselves are unable to handle a program of this magnitude. And we cannot do without the social control the government must have over public policies.”
President Lula also observed that as long as his government does not have perfect men and women to fill its posts, a little bit of scrutiny on the part of society constitutes a reasonable dose to reduce the patient’s fever.
“We have an obligation, and we shall fulfill it. This year we want to reach 6.5 million families by December 1. Next year we want to reach 8.7 million families, and, God willing, in 2006 we shall complete the total we have on record, that is, 11 million families,” the President said.
Lula and the World Social Forum
Commenting on the World Social Forum, which is scheduled to return to Porto Alegre at the beginning of next year, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that the event must focus on a few central issues or face the possibility of becoming “an ideological fairgrounds.”
“In my opinion, the forum should concentrate on one or two targets for the year. Otherwise it could become a fairgrounds for ideologies where each person comes, buys what he wants, sells what he wants and everybody then goes home without any commitment to the future.
“The forum should be a place where people decide on what needs to be done and how to get the government, political parties and congressmen on board,” said Lula.
Program for Human Rights
Yesterday, Brazil’s National Secretary of Human Rights, Nilmário Miranda, launched the National Program for Protection of Defenders of Human Rights. Next year the program will have a budget of US$ 418 (1.2 million reais).
The new program’s coordinator, Darcy Frigo, explained that the objective is to guarantee protection for people who receive threats.
“This is more than political, it is a social question that we are dealing with,” she declared.