Lula Scolds ‘Cartel of Powerful’ for Blocking Brazil’s Progress

Sugarcane plantation in Brazil Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said that Brazil's booming ethanol business won't hurt the Amazon rain forest, dismissing worldwide criticism that the alternate fuel could cause deforestation in the Amazon region.

Responding to concerns raised during his European visit last week, Lula said it is unjustified to think that increased production of sugar cane for ethanol could prompt more jungle clearing.

He said that Amazon weather conditions aren't favorable for the sugar cane used to produce ethanol and suggested unnamed enemies are trying to prevent Brazil from advancing economically by taking advantage of rising demand for biofuels.

"The Portuguese discovered a long time ago that the Amazon isn't a place to plant cane," said Lula adding that "The cartel of the world's powerful is trying to prevent Brazil from developing, trying to prevent Brazil from being transformed into a great nation."

While there are few sugarcane-ethanol plantations in the Amazon, environmentalists have voiced concerns that a global ethanol boom could accelerate rain forest destruction if trees are cleared to make room for crops.

Some soy plantations in central Brazil are being transformed to sugarcane ethanol operations and environmentalists say that could lead soy farmers to move into the Amazon for their crop, which is also in high demand worldwide, particularly in China.

Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez have irked Brazilians by arguing that ethanol production would cause hunger by shifting food crops to energy use, an allegation Lula denies. But they have not focused on environmental complaints.

Brazilian ethanol makers produced 17 billion liters last year, and exported 3.4 billion liters. Billions of dollars are pouring into the nation to increase production.

Brazil is the world's No. 1 sugar producer and exporter, and the leading exporter of ethanol made from sugarcane. It also is the world's second-largest ethanol producer, trailing the United States, and is ramping up production of soybean-based bio-diesel.

Eight of every 10 new cars in Brazil are "flex-fuel" models that can run on ethanol, gasoline or any combination of the two. Ethanol is about half the price of gasoline in Brazil.

The Brazilian president also criticized US and European tariffs on Brazilian ethanol, suggesting the United States and Europe won't be able to wean themselves from dependency on oil unless the trade barriers are lifted.

"It's funny because they charge taxes on our ethanol, they charge on our biodiesel, but they don't charge for oil," Lula said.

The bulk of the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness is in the Amazon, which covers nearly 60% of Brazil, or about 4.1 million square kilometers.

About 20% of the rain forest has already been cut down and while the rate of destruction has slowed in recent years, environmentalists say it remains alarmingly high.



  • Show Comments (7)

  • Paulo Cunha

    [quote]Paulo, this site is from the USA, wake up and smell the coffee man!

    Who allowed this site to function here in Brasil? This site should be moved to China,immediately.

    Thank you Mr. Conceicao for agreeing with me.We dont need Americans nor Europeans. We need to sell our all our minerals to China for very low prices.

    [quote]The only game in town for ethanol today is the U.S. market. [/quote]

    I dont think so. We already fucked up a free lunch.

  • conceicao

    Paulo, your point about the Chinese is my point. Europe has been red-lining Brasil for centuries. The game changed when you picked up the paper and read that Brasil is exporting $ billions in iron ore and
    soy beans to the Chinese. The only game in town for ethanol today is the U.S. market. The U.S. and Brasil can make a simple deal. The U.S. jumps to the head of the pack along with Brasil in
    alternative fuel use and Brasil gets richer quicker. If you doubt the economic benefits of unilateral free trade with the U.S., consider the case of the Southern U.S. states who wanted less to do with the rest of the U.S. than you ever could and have thrived economically nonetheless despite a traditionally unequal trading relationship with the rest of the country.

  • doggydaddy

    Paulo, this site is from the USA, wake up and smell the coffee man!

  • Paulo Cunha

    [quote]I believe that Brasil should opt for unilateral free trade with the U.S., but don’t really don’t see the
    connection to the ethanol tariff which harms everyone in the U.S. – especially over the long term – except a narrow special interest group. Europe can go to hell for all I care.

    Who might be you?. If you are a foreigner, get off the blog. We dont want to have anything to with U.S. We prefer to deal with the Chinese. After all we learnt from good ole Henry.


  • conceicao

    Notions of “spreading the wealth” through the dead hand of government is always part of the problem instead of the solution. The higher a country’s genie coefficient – or whatever they call it – the
    better if you want my opinion. I could also care less about the tariffs on Brasilian industrial imports. I believe that Brasil should opt for unilateral free trade with the U.S., but don’t really don’t see the
    connection to the ethanol tariff which harms everyone in the U.S. – especially over the long term – except a narrow special interest group. Europe can go to hell for all I care.

  • ch.c.

    Lula said that Amazon weather conditions aren’t favorable for the sugar cane !!!!!!
    Another Lula public lie !!!!!

    Are Mato Grosso and other Amazon states not in full boom….planting new sugar cane fields ???????

    What a junkie, liar and cheater….this Lula !!!!!

    And to Conceicao : ” artificial political barriers to the kind of real world progress “

    Ohhhh yesssssss…then why Brazil put far more trade barriers for Industrial goods and financial services ??????
    Example : Why are foreign cara/trucks/tractors manufacturers OBLIGED to set up local production in Brazil to avoid 100 % import taxes ??????
    Using the same reciprocal strategy…..Brazilian companies should invest their own money—lets say in Europe or the USA—-to produce ethanol or whatever products,

    I just remind you that even in Brazil the Industrial and Financial Services sectors are far far far larger than the Agro Industries !!!!

    Reality…is that Brazil always wants rights without the same reciprocal obligations.
    I just remind you that 50 % of your tade surplus comes from the EU and the USA alone and we represent around 30 % of your total exports, why in fact Brazil represents less than 1 % of Europeans and Americans exports.

    You cant ask for everything and provide nothing in return !
    Simple as that.

    As to your poors, just look at ayour own stats. Brazil has one of the World Worst Income Inequality. This is not due to foreigners…by definition,
    but due to your very wealthy minority and large numbers of poors.

    Spread your own wealth first to YOUR overall population, just as average countries do (not even the best ranked), and your poverty rate will….PLUMMET !!!!!!

  • conceicao

    The best thing that the developed countries can do to limit environmental damage from the build-out of the Brasilian economy is to eliminate the ethanol tariffs now. The more profit built into
    the system on the production end, the less stress on the environment will be built into the system of producing and getting the fuel to its end markets. Everyone has to deal with the fact that the
    Amazon in a transportation corridor for getting production out of Mato Grosso and the new lands being brought under cultivation. Brasil can handle the situation itself easily if the country is just
    accorded her just profits under a rational international trade regime. Environmentalism is increasily the last refuge of scoundrels when it comes to maintaining artificial political barriers to the kind ofreal
    world progress that can actually lift the chronically under-privileged out of centuries of grinding poverty. This is the kind of stuff Lula knows in his DNA.

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