Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva stated on Tuesday that the meeting of 11 South American presidents at the Itamaraty Palace was not a group of friends, but of presidents seeking regional coordination, reported Agência Brasil.
Lula's words came in response to statements by Chile's Gabriel Boric Font and Uruguay's Luis Lacalle Pou on the fact that the Brazilian president has sweetened human rights violations and the weakening of democracy in Venezuela.
The fact that there are two presidents who did not agree, I do not know in which newspaper they read it. I said that a meeting of Lula's friends was not convened here. A meeting of presidents was convened to build a body of countries, Lula said.
During Monday's bilateral meeting between Lula and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the Brazilian leader said that the Caribbean country must disseminate its narrative on the political and economic situation to counteract the negative narratives made by opponents in the international scenario.
I was surprised when it was said that what is happening in Venezuela is a narrative. You already know what we think about Venezuela and the Venezuelan government, said Uruguayan President Lacalle Pou during a speech at the summit. In the same vein, the Chilean president, Gabriel Boric, said: I respectfully express that I have a discrepancy with what President Lula said, in the sense that the human rights situation in Venezuela was a narrative construction, it is not a narrative construction, it is a reality, it is serious and I had the opportunity to see, I saw the horror of Venezuelans. This issue requires a firm position.
Asked about the discrepancies during a press conference after the summit, Lula highlighted the plurality of the meeting. The fact that the citizen has the right to speak badly and to disagree, that is all that interests me, he replied.
Maduro is part of this continent of ours. There was a lot of respect for Maduro's participation. Nobody has to agree with anybody. That's how we do it, Lula added.
He also spoke in defense of respect for the sovereignty of countries and criticized what he described as different weights given to regimes considered authoritarian. I always defended the idea that each country is sovereign to decide [its] political model, internal things. The same demand that the world makes of Venezuela, it does not make of Saudi Arabia. It is very strange. I want Venezuela to be respected. I want that for Brazil and for the whole world, Lula continued.
Earlier in his speech, Lula defended the resumption of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur). Created in 2008, during Lula's second term, and in the midst of the rise of center-left governments, the group came to bring together all the countries of the region, but disintegrated over time, following changes of government in several countries, and now brings together only seven: Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and Peru, plus Argentina and Brazil, which recently rejoined.
The resumption of Unasur, however, does not have the consensus of the region's leaders. We have to stop this trend: the creation of organizations. Let us base ourselves on facts, said Uruguay's Lacalle Pou in a speech at the summit. When it was our turn to take office, we withdrew from Unasur. Then we were invited to Prosur [a bloc created in 2019 as a counterpoint to Unasur], and we said no. Because, if not, we end up being ideological clubs that only have life and continuity as long as we march with our ideologies, he added.
At the end of Tuesday's meeting, the 11 presidents present, plus the representative of the Peruvian government, issued a letter in which they reaffirmed common values and agreed to deepen discussions on the creation or reestablishment of a cooperation mechanism involving all the countries of the region. According to Lula, the group of foreign ministers should present a proposal in about four months.
Today's meeting is an example that either we decide to unite to fight in defense of our interests, or we continue to be puppets in the hands of the big economies, emphasized Lula, while defending once again the resumption of a group of countries in the region.
(Source: Agencia Brasil)