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Montevideo, July 18th 2024 - 02:46 UTC



Lula warns against “archaic and isolationist nationalism”

Monday, July 8th 2024 - 21:11 UTC
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Lula avoided mentioning Milei by name Lula avoided mentioning Milei by name

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Sillva seized his speech Monday during the 64th Southern Common Market's Summit in Asunción to underline his Argentine colleague Javier Milei's absence without mentioning him explicitly.

The seasoned PT leader hinted these attitudes stemmed from “archaic and isolationist nationalism” and questioned past “ultraliberal experiences” in the region where “false democrats try to undermine democratic institutions.”

By sending Foreign Minister Diana Mondino instead, Milei became the first Argentine president to skip such a gathering since 2001, when Fernando de la Rúa canceled his trip to Montevideo due to the social and economic unrest, eventually resulting in his resignation.

“In the globalized world, it makes no sense to resort to archaic and isolationist nationalism. Nor is there any justification for rescuing ultra-liberal experiences that have only aggravated inequalities in our region,” Lula stressed while admitting that Mercosur was “resilient and has survived” adversities in the past. However, he warned that he would not tolerate any form of “extremism.” In his view, “diversity of opinions, without extremism and intolerance, is welcome.”

For Lula, currently in his third presidential term, Monday was his 19th Mercosur Summit. But “we have never faced so many challenges, both regionally and globally,” he explained.

“In recent years, we have allowed conflicts and disputes, often unrelated to the region, to take precedence over our vocation for peace and cooperation. We have once again become a balkanized and divided region, looking outwards rather than inwards,” the Brazilian leader went on.

“In a context of heightened geostrategic competition, the question is whether our countries want to integrate into the world together or separately. I see no contradiction between participating in the global economy and cooperating with neighbors. My commitment to Mercosur as a platform for Brazil's international integration and development remains unwavering. Our bloc is an ambitious project that has borne much fruit since its launch,” Lula insisted.

“We need to think big, as our predecessors dared to do in this capital 33 years ago. Mercosur will be what we want it to be. It's not up to us to shrink it with simplistic proposals that weaken it institutionally. Our efforts to update it must point in another direction,” he added.

Lula also underlined that “good economists know that the free market is not a panacea for humanity. Anyone who knows the history of Latin America recognizes the value of the state as a planner and inducer of development.”

Regarding Bolivia's accession to the bloc, Lula pointed out that it had “enormous strategic value” particularly “in the context of the energy transition.”

“We are rich in mineral resources and have abundant sources of clean and cheap energy. We have everything it takes to become an important link in the chain of semiconductors, batteries, and solar panels,” Lula went on. “We can form an alliance of producers of critical minerals so that the benefits of processing these resources stay in our countries.”

Lula concurred with hosting President Santiago Peña that member countries should resolve their differences “within the bloc and not outside it.”

The Brazilian president also recalled the June 26 failed coup d'état in La Paz and urged the regional alliance to be vigilant for other attempts.

Categories: Politics, Brazil, Mercosur.

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