News Release

Brazil — Beyond the Election


Senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, Cobble was recently in Brazil. He said Monday afternoon: “On his fourth run for president, Lula da Silva, the former leader of the San Bernardo Metal Workers Union, has won a huge victory. Brazil is the eighth-largest economy in the world and it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of Brazilians have voted against the expansion of corporate domination over their lives. Lula’s victory also means that the Free Trade Agreement for the Americas now faces major new obstacles. The opponents of unfettered corporate trade, both in Latin America and inside the U.S. — including environmental groups and the AFL-CIO — may now have an important new political force in the hemisphere to rally around…. The Brazilians have a much better voting system than the U.S. does, not to mention a superior counting system.”
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Project director with the International Forum on Globalization, which has just released an in-depth report on alternatives to the current rules and institutions of economic globalization, Juhasz said Monday afternoon: “Lula has called the FTAA the ‘annexation of Latin America by the United States.’ The tens of thousands of people gathering in Quito, Ecuador to protest the FTAA [at the Ministerial meeting this week] share his opinion, as do millions more like them around the world…. Lula’s win shines a spotlight on alternative models to corporate globalization in use throughout the world and the proposals for change put forward by peoples’ movements and civil society groups.”
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Weisbrot is an economist and co-author of “Paying the Bills in Brazil: Does the IMF’s Math Add Up?” Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, he said Monday afternoon: “The election of Lula da Silva by the largest margin in Brazilian history is a mandate for change, and will impact all of Latin America. The region is approaching the end of a 20-year, failed economic experiment: over the last two decades, income per person has hardly grown at all, and it is projected to shrink this year. Brazil used to have one of the fastest-growing economies in the world (from 1960-1980, income per person grew by 141 percent). Lula has pledged to lower interest rates (short term rates are now at 21 percent, among the highest in the world), restore economic growth, and help Brazil’s tens of millions of poor people. Major obstacle: an IMF agreement that tries to commit the new government to maintaining many of the failed policies of the past.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167