Brazil's President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Thursday, April 26, he believes in the "existence of a South American spirit but not in Chavism (from Venezuelan president Chavez)". However he admitted it's important to understand Venezuela, "before and after Chavez".
On a state visit to Chile and as one of the main speakers at the World Economic Forum on Latin America meeting in Santiago the Brazilian president underlined that Latin America's main problem "is not Chavez or any other regional leader but extreme poverty, the lack of education, which reflect how backward we are compared to developed nations".
When asked about recent statements from former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos who denied the existence of Chavism but rather a "leader with a fat checkbook from oil revenue", Lula da Silva said it was important "to understand Venezuela before and after Chavez", and to remember that Chavez domestic policies helped him to be re-elected and has "a democratic and civilized relation with Brazil".
"There's nothing wrong with that nor do I believe in the existence of Chavism, I believe in the existence of a South American spirit", he added.
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet said Chile and Brazil "have a century long relation, a friendship without limits,…we're two consolidated democracies, and it all rests in our commitment to freedom, respect for human rights and rule of the law. We share a commitment to address decisively and with resolution the social inequalities, poverty and exclusion which characterize our Latin American community".
Bachelet and Lula da Silva signed nine agreements covering different fields from social security to science and technology, with special emphasis on alternative fuels and bio fuels, where the visitors have a thirty years experience.
Cooperation in biofuels and ethanol covers the exchange of data, experts and the participation of government officials and representatives from the private sector and academia plus undertaking bilateral research and development projects.