President Lula da Silva visits Brazilian base in Antarctica
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected this Friday in Punta Arenas, extreme south of Chile, before his flight on Saturday to his country's Antarctic base Comandante Ferraz, reports the local press.
According to Brazil's consulate office in Punta Arenas President Lula da Silva has on several occasions planned to travel to Antarctica but other pressing business has postponed his trip. However on this occasion the Brazilian president will be coming to visit the base which Brazil mounted in the Antarctic Peninsula in 1984. The delegation coming with President Lula da Silva includes the ministers of Defence, Science and Technology and the Commander of the Brazilian Navy. They will be joined in Punta Arenas by Ambassador before Chile Mario Vilalva. On Friday evening a reception has been scheduled for local authorities in the Cabo de Hornos hotel and early Saturday the party leaves, weather permitting, for the airstrip of Chile's Presidente Eduardo Frei base and from there by land or helicopter to Comandante Ferraz. President Lula da Silva will be shown around the base by the head of a team of Brazilian scientists who are working on several research projects on meteorology, continental and marine geology, oceanography, biology, astrophysics, geomagnetism and nuclear geophysics. At mid day he's scheduled to have lunch on board the Antarctic support vessel Ary Rongel. Late afternoon the delegation should be back in Punta Arenas and early Sunday will begin the return flight to Brasilia. Lula da Silva is the second Brazilian president to visit Comandante Ferraz, the first was Fernando Collor de Mello who spent three days in Antarctica back in 1991.