Tension Rises: Brazil and Bolivia Take Off the Gloves

    President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is already in Vienna, Austria, to take part in the 4th Latin American-Caribbean-European Union (EU) Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government. This is the first visit to Austria by a Brazilian head of State.

    During the two-day meeting, which gets underway Friday, May 12, dozens of representatives from the two regions will discuss ways to intensify cooperation in the areas of international trade, democracy and human rights, infrastructure, migration, higher education, culture, and science and technology.

    Other topics are also expected to come up, such as the progress of negotiations on agricultural issues in the context of the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round, the war on terrorism, drugs and organized crime, growth and employment policies, and international cooperation to mitigate the effects of poverty and social inequality around the globe.

    President Lula had no official engagements scheduled for Thursday when he arrived in Vienna. Upon arriving in the Austrian capital, he went directly to the hotel where rooms have been reserved for the presidential entourage.

    Celso Amorim, Brazil’s Foreign Relation Minister, suggested that Bolivian President Evo Morales and Lula might have a meeting this Friday, May 12, after harsh words from Morales against Brazil (‘just talk no help’) and Petrobras (‘acting illegally in Bolivia’).

    If the meeting doesn’t happen the Brazilian government intends to ask for an explanation for Morales behavior and an indication about the intentions of La Paz.

    "We need to know the terrain we are walking on," said Amorim, adding that the Bolivian president’s declarations were completely unexpected and very different from what has been agreed between the two countries. He also revealed that the Brazilian government was indignant at Morales’s declarations.

    Morales not only accused Petrobras of "illegal activities" in Bolivia, but also informed that his government has no intention of paying compensations to the Brazilian oil company.

    The Bolivian President went as far as criticizing the purchase by Brazil of the state of Acre, which used to be Bolivian territory. According to Morales, Brazil paid the land with a horse.

    Commenting on that, Amorim said, "Acre’s problem was solved 100 years ago. And it was solved by the patron of our diplomacy, Baron of Rio Branco."

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    • Guest

      Bolivia\’s New President \”despacio porf
      President Morales has every opportunity to move Bolivia into a stronger geopolitical role while building a plan to move citizens out of poverity. Nationalizing their energy production might not be the way to go. There’s a lot of things for Morales to consider before continuing to nationalize industrial sectors: market implications, impact of isolation from international future investments for infrastructure and materials, does Bolivia have the know how/experience to manage directly their raw material and energy resources own their own?, access to markets? , will there be protection of private property, etc.

      I personally congratulate Morales, one of the 1st w/ith indigious-indian heritage, to become Bolivia’s president. I for one am proud of the elections. Yet, I’d recommend not moving too fast on major economic changes without understand the true economic implications to the Bolivians. Yes, Bolivian’s may not like what the outside multi-national corporations and local wealthy citizens have done but too radical moves could plunge Bolivians backwards.

      Personally, I praise Bolivia’s mini-marron revolution but they still must have some “blanco personas” involved to move the economy to the next level. Bolivia needs Brazil and Chile as partners. Border disputes could cause an unbelieveable discourse (even though Morales migh be right about the wrongs that occurred against Bolivia well over a century ago).

      Focus on a solid Economy, Education, and Health care then all the other things will come together.

      Creo todos en manana.
      Roberto- Chicago
      acommonthought@aol.com

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