Former Brazilian leader wishes emerging economies were closer; recalls Obama’s crashing Copenhagen climate meeting, writes Pepe Escobar.
After a 5-month wait to interview former President of Brazil Luiz Lula, Pepe Escobar was granted his interview. Lula is serving a 12-year prison sentence for taking bribes.
Lula talked to journalists Mauro Lopes, Paulo Moreira Leite, and Pepe Escobar, representing in all three cases the website Brasil247 and in my case Asia Times. A rough cut, with only one camera focusing on Lula, was released this past Thursday, the day of the interview. A full, edited version, with English subtitles, targeting global public opinion, should be released by the end of the week.
Below is the full video of Escobar’s interview for ConsortumNews.com:
After the two-hour interview with Lula, Escobar wrote the following —
“My first question to Lula was about BRICS and the current geopolitical chessboard, with the US facing a Russia-China strategic partnership. As president, from 2003 to 2010, Lula was instrumental in formatting and expanding the influence of BRICS – in sharp contrast with Brazil’s current President, Jair Bolsonaro, who appears convinced that China is a threat. Lula stressed that Brazil should have been getting closer to China in a mirror process of what occurred between Russia and China: “When there was a BRICS summit here in Ceará state in Brazil, I told comrade Dilma [Rousseff, the former president] that we should organize a pact-like the Russia-China pact. A huge pact was giving the Chinese part of what they wanted, which was Brazil’s capacity to produce food and energy and also the capacity to have access to technological knowledge. Brazil needed a lot of infrastructures. We needed high-speed rail, many things. But in the end that did not happen.”
When questioned what his top priorities were Lula replied —
“Lula defined his top priorities as he supported the creation of BRICS: economic autonomy, and uniting a group of nations capable of helping what the Washington consensus describes as LDCs – least developed countries. He emphasized: “BRICS was not created to be an instrument of defense, but to be an instrument of attack. So we could create our currency to become independent from the US dollar in our trade relations; to create a development bank, which we did – but it is still too timid – to create something strong capable of helping the development of the poorest parts of the world.”
Lula made an explicit reference to the United States’ fears about a new currency: “This was the logic behind BRICS, to do something different and not copy anybody. The US was very much afraid when I discussed a new currency and Obama called me, telling me, ‘Are you trying to create a new currency, a new euro?’ I said, ‘No, I’m just trying to get rid of the US dollar. I’m just trying not to be dependent.’”
Former President of Brazil also said —
Obama may have been trying to warn Lula that the US ‘Deep State’ would never allow BRICS to invest in currency or basket of currencies to bypass the US dollar. Later on, Vladimir Putin and Erdogan would warn President Dilma – before she was impeached – that Brazil would be mercilessly targeted. In the end, the leadership of the Workers’ Party was caught unprepared by a conjunction of sophisticated hybrid-war techniques. One of the largest economies in the world was taken over by hardcore neoliberals, practically without any struggle. Lula confirmed it in the interview, saying: “We should look at where we got it wrong.”
Lula also hit a note of personal disappointment. He expected much more from BRICS. “I imagined a more aggressive BRICS, more proactive, and more creative. ‘The Soviet empire has already fallen; let’s create a democratic empire.’ I think we made some advances, but we advanced slowly. BRICS should be much stronger by now.”
Lula was personally disappointed. He expected much more from BRICS and said; “I imagined a more aggressive BRICS, more proactive and more creative. ‘The Soviet empire has already fallen; let’s create a democratic empire.’ I think we made some advances, but we advanced slowly. BRICS should be much stronger by now.”
That explains to a great extent the immense respect Lula enjoys among the Chinese leadership.
Escobar also quoted Lula —
“One thing that the Chinese must remember, a lot of people were angry in Brazil when I recognized China as a market economy. Many of my friends were against it. But I said, ‘No, I want the Chinese at the negotiating table, not outside. Is there any discord? Put them inside the WTO, let’s legalize everything.’ I know that [Chinese President] Hu Jintao was much pleased. ”
Another thing we did with China was at the COP-15 [Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change] in Copenhagen in 2009. Let me tell you something: I arrived at COP-15 and there was a list of people requesting audiences with me – Angela Markel, Sarkozy, Gordon Brown; Obama had already called twice – and I didn’t know why I was important. What did they all want? They all wanted us to agree, at COP-15, that China was the prime polluting evil on earth. Sarkozy came to talk to me with a cinematographic assembly line, there were 30 cameras, a real show: Lula accusing China. Then I had a series of meetings and I told them all, ‘Look, I know China is polluting. But who is going to pay for the historical pollution you perpetrated before China polluted? Where is the history commission to analyze English industrialization?’’
The imprisoned ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva embraced China’s agenda. Lula was used as a “tool” to implement plans with BRICS leaders and Chinese officials.
It is uncertain the implications of the one-sided friendship Lula felt he had with China. However, this partnership was an unlikely proposition that had no true impact on the Brazillian economy or infrastructure projects.
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