Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil, will not be participating this week at Bolivia’s Evo Morales taking office ceremony and will be represented by his foreign affairs advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia, according to Valor Econômico, a financial publication from São Paulo.
“Lula could change his mind, but in principle he will not be going to the ceremony; he believes he’s already helped the Bolivian president re-election by openly supporting him and he’s willing to go back to La Paz when there are treaties to be signed”, according to Valor quoting “reliable” sources close to Planalto, the presidential office,
Garcia has several meetings planed with top officials from the Morales administration to consider and assess such sensitive issues as the drugs trade and arms smuggling.
Brazil’s Defense and Justice Ministries are particularly concerned with the increase of drugs coming into the country since President Morales expelled the US Drugs Enforcement Agency, DEA, from Bolivia.
Another pending issue is the signing of several agreements between La Paz and Brasília for their enactment at the end of this year and beginning of 2011, which is after President Lula has left office.
Brazil is also waiting for the final draft of the hydrocarbons bill before it confirms investment plans in the area. Bolivia’s main export is natural gas and Brazil the country’s main client. But both countries have clashed over the nationalization policies of president Morales that touched much of the assets and investments made by Petrobras in Bolivia.
The Brazilian company Braskem has plans to invest over US$ 2 billion in Bolivia in the coming five years. Braskem with its 18 plants in Brazil produces 11 million tons annually of thermoplastic resins and basic petrochemicals.
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