69% Positive: Brazilian President Rides Popularity Wave

Brazil president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, celebrated "Brazil's newly acquired investment grade condition, which is a magnet for foreign investment by saying: "Brazil is a serious country, with serious policies, which looks after its finances seriously, and that is why we now have achieved the international trust, which Brazil was after for a long time."

Lula, however, cautioned that the credit rating can be considered "optimum" but it can also attract a greater influx of US dollars, which is not necessarily positive.

"Many dollars can pour into Brazil, and since the American dollar is devalued against the real, this can be bad for the economy," said the presidenet during the opening of a development office in the Northeast of the country, from where he originally migrated as a child to São Paulo.

"I must confess that when I left Garanhuns (in the Pernambuco state) in 1952 I never imagined that the day would come when Brazilians would have to be concerned because of the massive influx of US dollars to Brazil".

Given the boom-bust performance of the Brazilian economy in the last few decades and the total discredit of the credit rating agencies particularly in anticipating the US mortgage crisis, Lula also made some ironic comments.

He revealed that a few days ago during a cabinet session he joked about which was the credit rating agency that was looking at the performance of the US economy and risk, "because in spite of the current crisis, the IMF and other agencies did not anticipate, predict or warn us about what was happening."

The investment grade rating comes at a moment when Lula da Silva is riding on a wave of satisfaction among most Brazilians.

According to an Instituto Census public opinion survey, 69.3% of respondents approve the performance of Lula da Silva (compare this to the 71% disaproval rate for US president, George Bush), up 2.5 points from the previous poll from February.

Lula won the presidential election October 2002 with 61% of the vote and in October 2006 was reelected with 60.8%.

Although his Workers Party, (PT) in 2006 was affected by a series of corruption scandals the former union leader continued to lead a strong economy with conservative fiscal policies begun during his first mandate. He has also been praised for his poverty-reduction initiatives.

But some of his former Socialist political allies are not at all satisfied with his U turn and conservative, free market, private initiative approach to economics.

They admit he has been described as the "father of the poor" because of his programs to alleviate indigence, but they also call him the "mother of the banks", since the financial system has never been so profitable in Brazil's recent history.



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