Brazil Leading Counter Revolution Against U.S. Economic Policies


"Frustrated by Bush's intransigence, Mexico has turned south for solace--in particular toward that other Latin American giant, Brazil. Now governed by Luis Ignacio de Silva, "Lula," a socialist ex-steel worker whose election had Washington contemplating a coup, Brazil has been in the vanguard of the South's newly revived resolve to stand up to commercial domination by the North...

"Lula lashed out at runaway U.S. unilateralism...

"Despite the fact that "leftist" regimes now rule the roost in Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela, a decades-old war is stalemated in Colombia, and incipient revolution brews in Bolivia, Washington doesn't seem to get it.." (Ross, John. "Mexico Tilts South." Texas Observer, 10/24/03, 12-20).


"The bearded political leader they call Lula... Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the new left-wing president of Brazil, envisions a united South America that gains economic strength by drawing closer together in trade and bargaining collectively, much as the European Union does. He wants to create a global coalition speaking for the not-rich countries... he wants to push the IMF, the World Bank and the United Nations to become more democratic...

"..his aggressive diplomacy looks like the most promising initiative to reform globalization in many decades. One sure indication that Lula must be taken seriously is that the U.S. government has mounted its own nasty, hardball diplomacy to isolate him...

"He has persuaded South Africa and India to join Brazil in a new triangular dialogue that will focus on technological alliances and social issues like world hunger, and also serve as a unifying opposition voice inside the World Trade Organization... Lula is courting China to become the next big partner...

"What Lula has in mind is literally changing globalization as we know it--the version led from Washington. A muscular coalition of developing countries could block the draconian investment rules that multinational corporations and bankers keep pushing for the WTO and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)... Lula's vision.. is anathema to Washington (also Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo)...

"Cancun was the flashpoint where Lula's ambitions collided head-on with American power... The talks collapsed, an emblematic victory for Lula in demonstrating that unity mean power...

"The United States began immediately to deliver economic threats and reprisals against the Latin nations that had stood with Lula at Cancun... island nations of the Caribbean... Costa Rica... Peru and Colombia.. resigned from Lula's group... Within a few weeks, Lula's G-22 coalition had shrunk to the G-12...

"Vicki Gass of the Washington Office on Latin America [says] "I don't see Brazil backing down. It's just not in their interest. They have seen what happened to Mexico under NAFTA."

"The threats and warnings from Washington officials are perhaps better understood as an attempt to conceal their own failure...

"..only 12 percent [in Latin America] give Bush a positive rating (only 8 percent in Mexico and 2 percent in Brazil). Lula, by contrast, is the most popular political leader in Latin America...

"George Bush's go-it-alone foreign policy unwittingly encouraged the emerging realignment of interests... many nations, rich and poor, now have an interest in creating a political counter-balance to U.S. power...

"The most significant new actor is China... and India, has no desire to be governed in its development by WTO rules devised by American and European multinational corporations...

"Another, more fundamental reason for political confrontation is that the reigning dogma of globalization has failed, visibly and catastrophically, for developing countries (and less obviously for some wealthy nations, too)...

"For developing countries, the boom-bust experience taught a searing lesson: The center cannot be trusted to run things or to provide sound economic advice... Events are making clear that the WTO cannot enforce its own commandments, nor can it reform itself.." (Greider, William, and Kenneth Rapoza. "Lula Raises the Stakes." The Nation, Dec. 1, 2003, 11-17).


Colby Glass, MLIS