by Pepe Escobar, Curitiba, Brazil – posted with permission
Former Brazilian leader wishes emerging economies were closer, recalls Obama ‘crashing’ Copenhagen climate meet
In a wide-ranging, two-hour-plus, exclusive interview from a prison room in Curitiba in southern Brazil, former Brazilian president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva re-emerged for the first time, after more than 500 days in jail, and sent a clear message to the world.
Amid the 24/7 media frenzy of scripted sound bites and “fake news”, it’s virtually impossible to find a present or former head of state anywhere, in a conversation with journalists, willing to speak deep from his soul, to comment on all current political developments and relish telling stories about the corridors of power. And all that while still in prison.
The first part of this mini-series focused on the Amazon. Here, we will focus on Brazil’s relationship with BRICS and Beijing. BRICS is the grouping of major emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – that formed in 2006 and then included South Africa in their annual meetings from 2010.
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 to be 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 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 infrastructure. We needed high-speed rail, many things. But in the end that did not happen.”
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 own 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.’”
One can imagine how this went down in Washington.
Obama may have been trying to warn Lula that the US ‘Deep State’ would never allow BRICS to invest in a 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 totally 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, Obama and China
It’s easy to imagine how what has followed went down in Beijing. That explains to a great extent the immense respect Lula enjoys among the Chinese leadership. And it’s also relevant to the current global debate about what’s happening in the Amazon. Let just Lula tell the story in his own, inimitable, Garcia Marquez-tinged way.
“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?’’
“Then something fantastic happened. An agreement was not in sight, I wanted Sarkozy to talk to Ahmadinejad – later I’ll tell you this thing about Iran [he did, later in the interview]. Ahmadinejad did not go to our dinner, so there was no meeting. But then, we were discussing, discussing, and I told Celso [Amorim, Brazil’s Foreign Minister], ‘Look, Celso, there’s a problem, this meeting will end without an agreement, and they are going to blame Brazil, China, India, Russia. We need to find a solution.’ Then I proposed that Celso call the Chinese and set up a parallel meeting. That was between Brazil, China, India and perhaps South Africa. Russia, I think, was not there. And in this meeting, imagine our surprise when Hillary Clinton finds out about it and tries to get inside the meeting. The Chinese didn’t let her. All these Chinese, so nervous behind the door, and then comes Obama. Obama wanted to get in and the Chinese didn’t let him. China was being represented by Jiabao [Wen Jiabao, the prime minister].
“Then we let Obama in, Obama said, ‘I’m gonna sit down beside my friend Lula so I won’t be attacked here.’ So he sat by my side and started to talk about the agreement, and we said there is no agreement. And then there was this Chinese, a negotiator, he was so angry at Obama, he was standing up, speaking in Mandarin, nobody understood anything, we asked for a translation, Jiabao did not allow it, but the impression, by his gesticulation, was that the Chinese was hurling all sorts of names at Obama, he talked aggressively, pointing his finger, and Obama said, ‘He is angry.’ The Brazilian ambassador, who said she understood a little bit of Mandarin – she said he used some pretty heavy words.
“The concrete fact is that in this meeting we amassed a great deal of credibility, because we refused to blame the Chinese. I remember a plenary session where Sarkozy, Obama and myself were scheduled to speak. I was the last speaker. When I arrived at the plenary there was nothing, not a thing written on a piece of paper. I told one of my aides, please go out, prepare a few talking points for me, and when he left the room they called me to speak; they had inverted the schedule. I was very nervous. But that day I made a good speech. It got a standing ovation. I don’t know what kind of nonsense I said [laughs]. Then Obama started speaking. He didn’t have anything to say. So there was this mounting rumor in the plenary: He ended up making a speech that no one noticed. And then with Sarkozy, the same thing.
“What I had spoken about was the role of Brazil in the environmental question. I’ll get someone from the Workers’ Party to find this speech for you. The new trend in Brazil is to try to compare policies between myself and Bolsonaro. You cannot accept his line that NGOs are setting fire to the Amazon. Those burning the Amazon are his voters, businessmen, people with very bad blood, people who want to kill indigenous tribes, people who want to kill the poor.”
The Empire and Global Oligarchs move to crush the people’s attempts to breathe free. It’s a very old story. If we cannot change it, this may be the final story.
Where Lula ‘got it wrong’ was to attempt to reform the irreformable, a capitalist plutocracy in a world ruled by the fascist thugs in Thanatopolis DC. There is NO way to produce a decent and humane society, and one that is not cutting its own throat through ecological devastation in search of profits, when the economy is owned by the international parasite caste, the brainwashing systems are controlled by those same thugs, there is an ‘independent’ Central Bank run by the international financial parasite elite and you have a US Embassy on your soil, from which regime change operations will be run. Lula is not coming back, just as Corbyn will never be UK PM. The Rulers of Mankind will NOT allow it.
It doesn’t matter. Their whole system is going to be burned down, and replaced, over the next 1-2 decades. It won’t be a smooth or bloodless transition, but it is coming.
Replaced by what? Do you really think that the ruling elites will allow their wealth and power to be taken away? They will exterminate humanity, or 99% of it, first.
The so called elites you refer to are not united, in fact, are each other’s throats, many of which are 3rd generation incompetent degenerates and are, more often than not, hated by their own children.
They will not destroy 99% of humanity because they neither possess the means, competence, unity or willpower: this theme is a discredited internet conspiracy theory.
And yes their fake wealth which is floating on a massive debt bubble (that can’t be paid back) will implode/shrink (but not disappear) for most of them. The majority of these so called elites will be ruthlessly cut down by stronger elements amongst their own “elite” groups.
And just how will these new ‘stronger elements’ among the elites ‘keep the rabble in line’ as the economic system implodes and the global ecosystems crumble?
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.”
I believe, roughly the answer to what they got wrong is pretty easy:
“Then we let Obama in, Obama said, ‘I’m gonna sit down beside my friend Lula so I won’t be attacked here.’
The typical leftist self-delusion, to divide the world into enemies and friends, e.g. Trump an enemy, Obama a friend. Feeling morally superior, feeding moral superiority, and creating an oligarchy themselves.
You obviously haven’t understood the context
People like Lula need a long road of practical and psychological understanding on how anglo political-deception works. Usually would be leaders in third world countries get deceived easily by the overwelming Hollywood made personalities of western politicians.
They easily succumb to their dressing, friendly smiles and talking.
That’s how they end up like Lula.
The ‘Left’ by pathopsychological definition, is superior to the Right, morally, intellectually and spiritually. Of course, if, as does the Right, you believe that greed is good and insatiable, that other people are competition, or enemies, and to be exploited, that might makes Right, and that you are a superior specimen to others, then you are capable of any Orwellian inversion of reality.
Mulga: as always your analysis is acute. I more than half wonder if you have not already anticipated the points I will raise. Or rather, you have already said them, but too compactly, and I am driven to parse out some of the message.
This is a dialectical war, a war of words. What a catastrophe to allow the world rulers to seize the heights — in this case the overwhelming advantage of defining the terms. You have lost before you begin to fight, when you, at least in context, accept their pronouncement that your beliefs are evil and that you stand for destruction of what is good.
You, Mulga, have correctly stated their message to the world, which projects onto others (mainly us) all their own evils, which they will never call by their right names. To the extent that we hold righteous principles, let us cling to them resolutely, and concede nothing — and most especially the words — to the destroyers.
It’s more than dialectical, Ed, because the dialectic is a means to and end, the synthesis. The rule of the global overlords is more properly, I believe, seen as Manichean, a war between Good and Evil. The worst of the global overlords are and have always been, pure Evil, most particularly in their hatred of Life on Earth.
I had to look up ‘pathopsychological’! lol
While I agree with your statement the term may be slightly misused here. The word seems to refer more to abnormal psychological processes, which would make Right-ism a mass pathopsychological manifestation not a process by which a sane person could come to the conclusion that Left-ism is superior.
Maybe I’m wrong, but for general audiences the armchair editor in me would suggest starting simply:
“The ‘Left’ is superior to the ‘Right’…”
As St. George Carlin said: “Simple, direct language…tells the story.”
Otherwise, thanks much for this Quote of the Day!
‘Left’ and ‘Right’ mean nothing, really. It refers back, I believe, to late 18th century France and the seating arrangements for delegates to the Estates General.
As for today, from my invariable experience, those who declare themselves of ‘the Right’, in this country and from what I can see in the world, are those I would describe as ‘psychopaths’. The degree of psychopathy varies, of course, and people change through life. By psychopath I mean that they display numerous traits, principally indifference to or hatred of others including Life on Earth in general, greed, usually insatiable, egotism often verging on or outright narcissism, racism and xenophobia, cruelty and sadism, extreme stubbornness and inability to change and develop etc.
Those who display the opposite character features ie human sympathy, solidarity and compassion even with those of greatly different societies, respect and love of Life on Earth, a sharing and non-materialistic nature, hatred of and aversion to violence etc, I call ‘Left’ even though many of this type probably would not accept such a label. In other words if a person seems to me ethically and spiritually good, yet still calls themselves a ‘Rightist’ I respect their choice, but find it inappropriate. But, as I said, those on the Right here and elsewhere only declare themselves ‘good’ through stupidity, ignorance and mendacity. ‘Conservatives’, ‘traditionalists’ and other such labels do not mean ‘Rightist’, necessarily, in my mind, but most of those so self-described usually are not my cup of tea.
The worst category here, these days, are the ‘religious’ Rightists. Catholics who support the paedophile Pell even to today, because he is a sub-fascist, a pet of the great Polish patron saint of priestly paedophiles, Wojtyla, a climate change denialist and abuser of all ‘Leftists’ (this made him a real favourite of the Murdoch cancer). Protestant fundamentalists like our Pentecostal PM Morrison, so unlike Jesus in their bigotry, greed, sadism and arrogance as to almost defy belief. Zionazi Jews, Chabad lunatics and even a smattering of Hindutva fascist supporters of Modi. And many of our Islamic schools are financed by the Sordid Barbarians and are hot-beds of Wahhabist indoctrination, hence the number of vicious thugs recruited to Daash in Syria and Iraq.
I stand by my definition, although there is tremendous variety on both psychological wings. The psychopaths, ie the Right, have run this country economically through Friedmanite neo-liberal capitalist Market Absolutism (a Life-hating cult)since 1983, politically as both Labor and the LNP have marched ever further Right, in the MSM, dominated by Murdoch and his hate-machines and culturally, for nearly forty years, and this country is more and more cruel, greedy, sadistic, ignorant, narcissistic and self-destructive than could have been imagined in the 70s. We are in deep, deep, ordure.
In a most amusing article Pepe outs Lula as a great storyteller. And as a amateur statesman.
the nonchalant way Lula is talking gives the impression that instead of vying for a comeback, he is going to pen several volumes of memoirs.
I remember reading some time ago of some creature of the northern ruling class boasting that Lula was one of the people they had “control” over because they had some hidden dirt on him. Does anyone here have any solid information about that?
Pepe, I can’t wait for more. Great stuff and so rare.
My deepest regards.
Exacto, queremos más!
Suerte y gracias.
Just an fyi that Greenwald interviewed Lula in prison on 22 May 2019:
(ie, this is not the first)
“Those burning the Amazon are his voters, businessmen, people with very bad blood, people who want to kill indigenous tribes, people who want to kill the poor.”
Maybe. But there’s another plausible version:
The fires are caused by HERMES 900 LASER drones from Elbit Systems in Rothschildia and the ziosatellite Ofeq 11. They are a pressure mechanism to force Brazil to grant the lands to the usual ziocorporations. I guess that the death of nature and people produced by the fires is merely another offering to the evil entities that those zios adore.
Thanl you Pepe. I always thought President Lula was a down to Earth guy, and a straight shooter.
Some corrections of misfacts in this article:
Brazil is one of the largest economies in the world:
it is not, it is weak underdeveloped state with enormous potential wealth consistently
mismanaged or deliberately kept poor by its neo- feudal “5-family” oligarchs élite
(Pepe claimed he would name those 5 families, we’re still waiting.)
Brazil is an economic, military, technological and industrial pipsqueak.
Brazil has suddenly been takes over by a neoliberal elite:
Again, not true: Brazil has always been ruled by a feudal elite that flogs the propaganda of private control always equals efficiency, and all the other self serving half truths that go with that. Crony capitalism is rule in corrupt Brazil.
The Left is a real movement:
The Looney Left of the West is just a facade of the Anglo and EU establishment: it is a fake ideology that has found huge number of useful idiots (amongst marxists in the West, amongst progressives and amongst social liberals & saboteur NGO funded liberals in the Global South) that unknowingly regurgitate its disinformation in their pathetic attempt to sound intelligent and relevant. Poor Lula fell for this subterfuge by thinking that the slick salesman Obama was his ideological buddy.
Here end the corrections.
It’s sad that Lula made such huge errors in judgment (see below) because Brazil did better under him than any other leader before him. Unfortunately, his naivety and placing ideology over reality did him in.
Lula’s list of errors in judgment:
-Thinking there actually is a real “progressive” movement in the West
-Believing that Obama was actually a leader when, like most presidents, he was an employee.
-Believing Obama (period).
-Appointing/imposing Dilma Rouseff on the Brazilian people out of personal loyalty and simply because she was a woman (ideology): it doesn’t matter how qualified rouseff was in technical terms of balancing the budget and as a techncratic manager, a individual with a personality of a cardboard box cannot maintain power in democracy (only in autocratic states like China can such introverts become the national leader). Rouseffs political ineptitude decimated Lula’s legacy.
-Openly working to replace the US currency when Brazil is both weak militarily and economically is naive beyond belief – what planet is he from that he did not understand that this was suicide? If powerful countries like Russia, India and China were circumspect on this topic (at the time) why would Lula attempt something so stupid? Did he not see what happened to Iraq? Did he not see how the EU was saddled with toxic US debt which helped scupper the euro?
It’s really sad because you get the impression that he’s a decent man.
Lula made only one major error in judgement.
And it is an error which we are all carefully trained to make.
There was no team Lula, no pool of Lulas, not even one, new Lula, to grasp the reins when he relinquished them. No successor.
We are _taught_ carefully, and repeatedly, to follow the Hero, the Messiah, the Exceptional, the President, the Once and Future King. We are _taught_ never to prepare successors. Often, there are no successors, because we are _taught_ that the Saviour is extraordinary, thrown up by by random chance, or good fortune, or god. We are taught to hope and pray that a worthy leader will appear in time for us to follow. But never to search out and prepare worthy successors.
But they don’t hope. They don’t pray. They always have stables of puppets, identified, suborned, controlled, propaganda scripted, prepared to drop into whatever slot opens.
Sometimes, we are lucky.
Always, they are prepared.