BRAZIL’S LULA GETS INTENSE RE: U.S.-BRAZIL RELATIONS IN AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL CALL

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
09BRASILIA953 31 July 2009 Secreto / No para extranjeros Embassy Brasilia

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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000953

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR D, P, AND WHA; NSC FOR GENERAL JONES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2019
TAGS: PREL, MASS, BR, US
SUBJECT: BRAZIL’S LULA GETS INTENSE RE: U.S.-BRAZIL
RELATIONS IN AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL CALL

Classified By: Ambassador Clifford Sobel. Reasons: 1.4 (B and D).

1. (S/NF) In a July 27 farewell call on Brazilian President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, bookended by warm personal
discussions with Barbara and me, Lula reflected at length and
with great intensity on Brazil’s role in the region and its
implications for U.S.-Brazil relations. He believes the
United States still has significant problems with its image
and relationship in the hemisphere, but that President Obama
might be able to overcome these problems. Just back from a
MERCOSUL Summit in Paraguay, Lula mused that, even though
there are problems in the region—he mentioned Bolivia’s Evo
Morales, in particular—it is a "peaceful region," and
"Brazil is a peaceful country." Although government
bureaucracy often makes relations difficult, he said, he has
ensured that Brazil maintains a strong preference for
accommodating its neighbors; the recent agreement with
Paraguay on selling Itaipu electricity is an example of this.
(Comment: We understand that presidential foreign policy
advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia overruled objections to the deal
by the Ministry of External Relations, a dynamic we have
often seen at play with regard to regional relations. End
Comment.)

2. (S/NF) Lula told me that his vision is for Brazil to be
the fifth largest economy within a decade. France’s
President Sarkozy understands this, he said, and has offered
to build their fighter in Brazil. He contrasted this
attitude with that of the United States, which refused to
allow Brazil to sell Super Tucanos to Venezuela, opening the
door to outside—Russian and Chinese—influence there.
Brazil needs the tools to deal with its neighbors, Lula said.
If Bolivia wants Super Tucanos, Lula needs to be able to
sell them. Brazil can’t afford the type of embarrassment
caused by not being able to sell Super Tucanos to Venezuela.
Lula said he understood the importance of the FX-2 fighter
sale to the United States, and if the meetings between NSA
General Jones and his counterparts in Brazil go well, Lula
will look to re-engage President Obama on the matter.
However, he offered no assurances regarding the sale.

3. (S/NF) Lula said that, although he and President Bush had
an excellent relationship, Bush "could never bring the State
Department along in the relationship" and this continues to
be a problem even now between our bureaucracies. Stressing
that much had already been accomplished to strengthen our
bilateral relationship, he focused on the need to build
trust, saying he hopes that the United States will continue
to work with Brazil and will become an even better friend and
ally of Brazil.

4. (S/NF) Comment: This farewell call provided singular
insight into the complexity and tension in Lula,s thinking
on foreign relations. Warm, personable, and engaging at the
beginning and end of the meeting, he carried on an intense,
almost harsh monologue in the middle. Unusually, he insisted
that only his own interpreter, Barbara, and I participate,
and I believe the fact that he granted the meeting*not
standard for departing ambassadors*reflects the importance
he attaches to the relationship with the United States,
particularly at this moment. At the same time, his focus on
leaders*Morales, Sarkozy, Obama*and his negative view of
bureaucracy provided a clear demonstration of the importance
Lula attaches to personal relationships in the conduct of
foreign policy.

5. (SBU) Comment, continued: With our meeting coming on the
heels of a difficult MERCOSUL summit—a contact present at
the gathering characterized it as a &dialogue of the deaf,8
signaling MERCOSUL had reached its limit as an integration
mechanism—the tension was palpable, as a clearly troubled
Lula reflected on his role as a guarantor of stability in
South America, his desire to have a closer relationship with
President Obama and the new U.S. Administration, and his
ultimate goal of having Brazil recognized as a major world
power.

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