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Cablegate: Brazil: Lula Touts Foreign Policy Independence

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RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #2011/01 2922216
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 192216Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0232
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6338
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5056
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 5688
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7045
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 6466
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 7234
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 5265
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 1001
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 002011

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2017
TAGS: PREL BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: LULA TOUTS FOREIGN POLICY INDEPENDENCE
FROM US, EUROPE

Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION PHIL CHICOLA FOR R
EASONS 1.4 B AND D

1. (C) Summary. During a speech on 1 October Brazilian
President Lula touted the independent trajectory of his
foreign policy, and criticized his predecessor's as
intellectually submissive and overly oriented towards the
United States and Europe. Brazilian foreign policy observers
suggest the speech was intended as red meat for his leftist
base meant to mark clear breaks from Western interests at a
time when Lula may be perceived as aligning too closely with
developed countries. While true, these remarks also express
what appears to be Lula's personal philosophy of Brazilian
foreign policy, and make clear that he buys into the
direction that his deputies are taking it. End summary.

----------------------------------
Always Campaigning Within His Base
----------------------------------

2. (U) According to Folha de Sao Paulo, during a speech he
gave on Monday, 1 October, President Lula affirmed that prior
to his arrival in office, Brazilian foreign policy had been
characterized by intellectual subordination and oriented
towards the United States and Europe. According to Lula,
even after gaining independence in 1822, the country
continued to be colonized. This colonial mindset and
intellectual submission, Lula went on, is what motivates
criticisms of his foreign policy, which he claims greatly
increased its focus on Latin America and Africa. In fact,
Lula stressed that relations with South American countries
have never been better. In addition, contrary to previous
administrations, Brazil's relations with Africa are now built
on respect and tenderness. "If we can," Lula proclaimed, "we
will help, because Africans have helped us for 400 years, and
I think it is fair to give back a little."

3. (C) In a conversation with Poloff, Paulo Sotero, of the
Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars,
remarked that by outlining the narrative of a leftist-tilting
foreign policy, whether mythical or otherwise, Lula can
construct a legacy that he can use to remain influential
within his base beyond his presidency, while at the same time
placating a base that did not expect him to be as
economically orthodox as he has been. Recent forceful
statements defending Iran against Western pressure, asserting
sovereignty against foreign interests in the Amazon region,
and the statements made in his most recent speech, Sotero
noted, can be seen through this prism.

4. (C) Sotero also intimated that Lula's comments regarding
the continued colonization of Brazil reflect a genuine
mindset--felt by not just Lula, but by Deputy Foreign
Minister Samuel Pinheiros Guimaraes, and to a lesser extent
Foreign Minister Celso Amorim--that is highly sensitive to
perceived personal slights and defensive about Brazil not
being considered an equal in the world stage.

--------------------
Break from the Past?
--------------------

5. (C) The one aspect where Lula's foreign policy and
rhetoric represents a real break from the past, Sotero noted,
is on Africa. Although there has always been an orientation
towards Africa, Lula,s efforts there (multiple trips,
opening of new embassies, development projects, the
India-Brazil-South Africa Forum) and his rhetoric about
helping the continent, reflect a sensibility that is mirrored
within his base and, according to Sotero, helped get him
elected. Elites in Brazil, Sotero believes, fail to
understand how much of a driving factor this is for Lula.

----------------------
Comment: It's Personal
----------------------

6. (C) Lula's remarks regarding the direction of Brazil's
foreign policy undoubtedly played well with his leftist base.
When taken together with previous statements and actions,
however, they must also be seen as reflecting a personal

BRASILIA 00002011 002 OF 002


philosophy with regard to foreign policy. Lula's pragmatic
side understands the value of maintaining good working
relationships with the major first-world powers, as evidenced
by recent travels to Europe and the United States. At the
same time, his political ideology drives him to seek
opportunities to contrast Brazil with the "colonizers" and
expand South-South relationships. Despite their reputation
as self-styled protectors of Brazilian sovereignty, many
Brazilian diplomats are chafing at the aggressive way in
which Lula's senior deputies (Special Advisor Garcia, Foreign
Minister Amorim, and Deputy FM Guimaraes) are implementing
and giving further definition to Lula's left-leaning
international agenda. But Lula's words and deeds make clear
that he buys into the direction his deputies are taking
Brazil's foreign policy.

SOBEL

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