Trump doesn’t care about Latin America, Lula tells Correa

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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva says US President, Donald Trump “doesn’t care about Latin America in the least” and added that “Bush and Condoleezza Rice pursued a much more democratic policy towards Brazil than Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.” In his view, Obama could give magnificent speeches, but never actually delivered.

Lula made those remarks during a TV show hosted by former Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, reports MercoPress.

Lula da Silva, 72, who served as Brazil’s president from 2003 until 2011 is one of the most popular politicians in the country’s history, and is now eyeing another presidential term. Polls suggest this could be a possibility, unless his ambitions are quashed by a pending court decision, which will either uphold or dismiss a nine-year sentence for corruption.

Analysts agreed the dialogue between the two progressive politicians highlighted the historical and political difficulties that have affected Latin America – particularly in its relationship with the United States – and its need to continue the fight to maintain social dignity in the face of any attempt of subjugation.

Commenting on the role that Washington continues to play in Latin American politics, Lula referred to US President Donald Trump as a leader who appears to have not the slightest interest in the region.

“It’s becoming more and more clear each day that the US doesn’t want Latin America to be strong and independent, much less does it want such a big country as Brazil to influence the decisions made by Latin America,” Lula said. “Frankly, North Americans were never truly interested in cooperating with Latin America.”

“Before, Brazil was looking at the US and the EU with its back towards South American countries and Africa. I decided to change that,” Lula said, noting that Brazilian elites have never come to terms with his choice. The emerging role of Brazil in the world has raised flags in Washington. These reflections are consistent with the geopolitical vision of Lula da Silva. “The Brazilian elite is not accustomed to democracy; more than that, I think the Latin American elite does not want democracy.”

Lula explained that Trump was not to be mistaken when he said, “My main concern is the US and the American people.” Lula also accused Brazilian elites of having common interests with their American counterparts, since they both pursue those interests at the expense of democratic freedoms in Brazil and the well-being of its South American neighbours.

“It may seem surprising to you, but Bush and Condoleezza Rice pursued a much more democratic policy towards Brazil than Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton,” Lula said, noting that Obama may have been a “charismatic” leader, but his impressive public-speaking skills were not backed up by real actions, such as the failure to close the US base in Guanatanamo Bay, Cuba.

Speaking on RT’s Spanish-language show Conversation with Correa about why it might be better for his country to disentangle itself from the US, Lula said that a potent and prosperous Brazil, which is also an active player in the world arena, is not in Washington’s interests.

“Brazil has become part of BRICS, one of the biggest players in the world, and the United States was not used to seeing Latin America independent. We acted independently when we refused to join the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), when we created UNASUR and CELAC, when we formed the Council of South American Defense, and especially when we discovered pre-salt oil,” Lula said. He added that the current political chaos in Brazil is a result of collusion between local elites and the US, which doesn’t want a strong new independent player in Latin America and beyond.

“The Brazilian elite has never accepted the fact that I have opted in favor of South America,” the PT leader commented. “Brazil was a country that had its back turned to South America (and) looked directly at the United States and the European Union; I decided to change that,” he explained.

He underlined that his Workers’ Party’s (PT) draft oil bill has been met with fierce opposition, which he linked to the political crisis. The bill would have introduced additional royalties to be paid by international companies drilling the Brazilian shelf, with the idea that most of the money would be spent on education, science and healthcare.

Asked about the corruption charges against him, he labeled them as “false,” as he added that “there is a conspiracy in Brazil between the media, the judiciary, the prosecution service and police. “But he admitted that “me and Dilma [Rouseff], we both made some mistakes, our party made mistakes.” Lula said.

“We let ourselves get carried away by the euphoria, by the things we were able to do, and that is why we did not take so much care in organising the country.” In this regard, he regrets having missed an opportunity to “consolidate the bloc of the South.” (MercoPress)


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