portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

economic justice | imperialism & war

"Hunger Cannot Wait": Lula's speech at G8 meet

Lula demands 'Social Equality', and a tax on arms shipments.
"Hunger Cannot Wait": Lula's speech at G8 meet

June 2, 2003 Lula to Wealthy Nations: "Hunger Cannot Wait"
Narco News Translates Brazilian President Lula da Silva's Speech from the
G-8 Summit in Evian

By Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Translated by Narco News June 2, 2003

Publisher's Note: As the first salvo leading up to his June 20th
meeting, in Washington, with U.S. President George W. Bush, Brazilian
President Lula da Silva gave a speech on Sunday to the leaders of the
"G-8" countries - the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany,
Japan, Canada, Italy and Russia - that called for an international tax
on weapons sales, among other bold solutions, to end hunger on earth
and create the conditions necessary worldwide to solve "especially,
narco-trafficking and terrorism."

Narco News translates this historic speech today to English and
Spanish as a guest editorial.

**** ******************* My first words are in appreciation for the
initiative by President Jacques Chirac. The dialogue between the
richest countries in the world with the developing countries is more
necessary today than ever. We must work together. The solution for our
problems necessarily includes respect for our differences. I come from
a country that today is mobilized by an extraordinary
ethical-political energy to confront not only our internal problems
but also to establish new and more constructive international

The poverty and misery that attacks millions of men and women in
Brazil, in Latin America, in Africa, and in Asia, obligates us to
construct a new alliance against social exclusion. I am convinced that
there will not be economic development without social sustainability
and that, without both, we will live in a world that is less secure
each day. It is in the space of social inequality that resentments,
criminality, and, especially, narco-trafficking and terrorism,

I would like to speak with you in a simple and direct manner: I
come to propose collective and responsible actions of solidarity, in
favor of surpassing the inhuman conditions in which a large part of
the global population live. Hunger cannot wait. It is urgently
necessary to confront it with emergency and structural measures. If we
all accept our responsibilities, we will create a more equal
environment of opportunity for all.

The world economy is showing worrisome signs of recession. Social
problems like unemployment, including in the wealthy countries, are
getting worse. I am sure that one of the goals of this meeting of the
G-8 is to seek paths so that the economy grows again. We need a new
equation that permits the return to growth and that includes the
developing countries. The incorporation of the developing countries
into the global economy requires access without discrimination to the
markets of the wealthy countries. We have made an enormous sacrifice
to become competitive. But how do we compete freely in the middle of a
war of subsidies and other mechanisms of protectionism that causes, in
reality, commercial exclusion?

We're not here to lament or to simply join the chorus of
recriminations. We know our responsibilities. We are doing our part,
executing balanced economic policies, combating and defeating
corruption, bettering institutions for the good function of our
economies. We have demonstrated the political will to combat social
inequality and poverty. We are doing this in Brazil with democracy and
pluralism, without fundamentalism, with care and firmness. We are
organizing our finances and recovering the stability to grow in a
sustained manner. But we know that organizing and giving stability to
our economy and work is necessary, but it is not enough. We need to
forge a new paradigm of development that combines financial stability
with economic growth and social justice. Today we want to grow with
sustainable financing, distributing income, and strengthening

There is no theory, however sophisticated it may be, that can
succeed by being indifferent to misery and exclusion. Looking at
modern history, above all at those periods that survived serious
economic and social crises, I see that development must begin with
profound social reforms. These reforms will bring millions of men and
women into production, consumption, and citizenship and will create a
new and prolonged economic dynamism. That's what happened in the
United States beginning in the 1930s. That's what happened after World
War II in Europe.

Brazil and many developing countries, over the past decade, have
made the effort demanded of us to join in the dominant economic
strategies. But there have not been important advances in the combat
against social exclusion. To the contrary, the fundamentalism that
ruled did not comply with its promised economic stability.
Unemployment, hunger, and misery increased. Our systems of production
did not conquer spaces in world commerce in a manner that corresponds
to our sacrifices. The lack of economic and social democracy threatens
every part of democracy.

We don't want the rich countries to look upon us with pity. We
need structural solutions that must begin together with changes in the
global economy. We hope for coherence from our wealthier partners. I
look with concern upon the resistance by the World Trade Organization
to remove billionaire subsidies, principally to agriculture. Priority
matters - like providing access to medicines - are put off to another

Such attitudes are not constructive and increase skepticism in
relation to the good intentions and wisdom of the more prosperous. We
have to define responsibilities, and this also implies new tasks for
the developing countries. Those who have the better capacity can and
must execute more generous policies of solidarity in favor of the most
needy nations. And this is what Brazil is doing on the regional level.
My government wants to strengthen the Mercosur alliance and promote a
Latin American Union. As President Kirchner, of Argentina, said, these
are strategic and political projects, aimed at bettering the
conditions of life. Brazil is ready to deepen its partnerships with
the countries of South America and to open more space in our markets
for their exports. New financial mechanisms are helping this regional

I know that here you are going to discuss NEPAD. Doing our part,
regarding Africa, where I will visit in August, we are going to widen
our cooperation especially in the areas of health, education,
professional training, and infrastructure. The countries of Latin
America and the Caribbean, who belong to the Rio Group, in the recent
Cuzco Summit, sent President Vicente Fox of Mexico and me here as
their spokesmen in Evian. There, we discussed innovative financing
mechanisms to combat poverty and invest in infrastructure.

I recommend to my colleagues present here a careful reading of
these proposals. Hunger is at an intolerable level. We know that there
are plain conditions to surpass this epidemic. My proposal - made in
Porto Alegre and in Davos - is that a world fund be created capable of
giving food to whoever is hungry and, at the same time, creating
conditions to end the structural causes of hunger. And this is what we
have begun to do in Brazil. There are various ways to generate
resources for a fund of this nature. I give you two examples. The
first is taxation of the international arms trade - which would bring
advantages from economic and ethical points of view. Another
possibility is to create mechanisms to stimulate that the rich
countries reinvest into this fund a percentage of the interest
payments made by debtor countries. Some developing countries have
presented proposals to confront this problem. They are valid
initiatives that deserve to be considered.

Kind Colleagues, multilateralism represents, on the level of
international relations, an advance comparable to democracy in
national terms. The obligation of every nation committed to the
progress of civilization must be valued independently of its economic
size and its political and military strength. We have to maintain
dialogue, widening it on firm bases, and not just from time to time.
This applies to G-8 and to the Security Council of the United Nations.

Brazil's hope is that the G-8 countries will become true allies in
the combat against hunger and social exclusion and that international
cooperation for development will be assumed again as an indispensable
condition for security and peace. My life and political trajectory
cause me to believe that just causes become victorious when there is
will, dialogue, and negotiation. In order for this this unprecedented
meeting in Evian to attend to the legitimate anxieties of our peoples
- in the South and in the North - we must demonstrate, above all,
determination to combat social inequality.

Thank you very much.