Brazil slates rich countries in ’spicy’ G20 taster (Lead)

March 27th, 2009 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, March 27 (IANS) Britain and other wealthy nations have been roundly condemned by Brazil in a foretaste of what are expected to be heated discussions at a gathering of world leaders in London next week in the backdrop of the global financial crisis.

British Premier Gordon Brown, who was in Brazil on the last leg of a whirlwind world tour to drum up support for an action plan at the April 2 Group of 20 (G20) summit, was told by the Brazilian President to expect a “spicy” summit.

Brown toured Europe, the US and Brazil lobbying for a new $100 billion scheme to underwrite credit to boost trade, but was instead subject to an outspoken tirade by President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva.

Lula, a former trade unionist, said the financial crisis was not caused by a “black person” or “poor person” and called on Western nations to pay the costs of solving the crisis.

“This was a crisis fostered and boosted by the irrational behaviour of people that are white and blue eyed,” he said.

“Before the crisis it looked like they knew everything about economics. And now they have demonstrated they don’t know anything about economics.”

“These were people who appeared to be gods of wisdom,” he added.

“Brazil for a long time has been highly responsible in terms of regulating our financial system,” he told a press conference appearing alongside Brown.

“The part of humanity that is responsible should pay for the crisis.”

In remarks that were more likely to resonate with other emerging economies, Lula also urged the West not to limit immigration during the recession and make “victims” of the poor.

“The great majority of the poor are still not getting their share of the development that was caused by globalisation. They are the first victims. I follow the press and I see that prejudice is a factor against immigrants in the most developed countries.”

“Here in Brazil, on the contrary, we have made the decision to permanently regulate thousands of Bolivians who were undocumented. We can’t put on their shoulder the responsibility for the crisis caused by very few people.”

In common with Czech acting Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, he also attacked US and British plans to bail out banks by buying or insuring their so-called toxic assets, saying: “I believe we cannot spend the money we still have left to buy toxic assets.”

Topolanek, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, this week described the bailout plan as “the way to hell”.

Although the British prime minister’s office described Lula’s remarks as targeted for “domestic consumption”, analysts say they reflect a degree of anger among emerging economies at the origins of the crisis and some of the steps being taken to deal with it.

India, for instance, expects wealthy countries to roll back protectionist steps, such as curbs on immigration, that have begun to affect its services sector.

Alongside, China, India and Brazil have also demanded greater voting rights at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and say the change must come well before 2011.

“This meeting in London has to be a bit spicy because there has got to be a political debate,” said Lula, adding: “I want a London consensus.”

British Business Minister Peter Mandelson, who is accompanying Brown, said the main challenge for the G20 summit is “confidence, confidence and confidence”.

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