Lula to “Gringos”: Spare Us Your Advice

Manaus, Brazil – At the summit of Amazonian countries, which took place in Manaus, Brazil, on Thursday, Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva announced that he was not open to receiving advice about the preservation of the environment from “gringos,” and stated that Brazil has plans to increase development in the Amazon region.

“Let no gringo come here and tell us that we should let a resident of the Amazon die of hunger” in order to preserve the rainforest, Lula da Silva said in Manaus, the capital city of the state of Amazonas, in the north of the country.

“We want to preserve the environment, but [the industrialized countries] are going to have to pay for it,” Lula da Silva said.

At the summit on climate change that will take place in Copenhagen in December, the Brazilian leader plans on putting forth a series of programs, drafted by the Amazonian countries that gathered in Manaus, which propose that industrialized nations finance environmentally sustainable development projects in the Amazon.

At the same meeting in Manaus, Lula da Silva inaugurated the Urucu-Coari-Manaus gas pipeline, constructed by the semi-public Brazilian energy company Petrobras.

Lula said that this pipeline would generate “more development, more money, more consumption and more jobs” in the state of Amazonas.

The leader has expressed on numerous occasions that the Brazilian Amazon – spanning more than 4,000,000 square kilometers – should be looked at as more than just a reserve of biodiversity and water, and that it is necessary to consider the living and employment conditions of the more than 22 million people who live there.

Construction of the new pipeline has been criticized by several environmental organizations.

Lula da Silva maintains that the pipeline will give rise to an “electric revolution,” and generate “clean energy” that can be used to fuel both factories and vehicles.

Translation: Ryan Croken.

Ryan Croken is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicago. His essays and book reviews have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Z Magazine and ReligionDispatches.org. He can be reached at ryan.croken@gmail.com.