Brazilian President Lula da Silva receives the Russian foreign minister in a coy and uncritical manner. In doing so, he sides with the aggressor.
First he was in Brazil, now Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is traveling to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. Lavrov thus puts Brazil’s President Lula da Silva exactly where his right-wing domestic opponents always wanted to put him in the election campaign: in a row with Latin American dictators.
And Lula, of the four the only democratically elected head of government and also president of the largest and economically strongest country, is willing to do it. Lula did not say a word about urging his Russian guest to withdraw his troops from Ukraine immediately – instead the 77-year-old criticized the US and Europe for fueling the war by supplying arms to the Ukrainian defenders.
This has hardly anything to do with Brazil’s long-proclaimed “equidistance” between the US-led West on the one hand and China/Russia on the other. It’s no wonder that after the talks, Lavrov thanked him for the Brazilian understanding.
China and Russia have a great interest in shaping the rather loose economic alliance of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) into a political alliance – solidly anti-Western, with the barely unexpressed claim to global leadership south.
No solidarity with Ukraine
Out of purely national interests, it is understandable that Lula does not want to contradict this: China is the country’s strongest trading partner; the experiences of the past few years with the EU and the US give little reason to want to change that, and Brazil’s role in this alliance is greater and more important than it could ever be in a Western alliance.
Morally and politically, however, Lula’s positioning for a leftist is a declaration of bankruptcy. Anti-imperialist solidarity with an invaded country? puff cake. Lula claims he doesn’t want to be part of a new Cold War under any circumstances. But his pandering lack of criticism towards his Russian guest makes him exactly that. Lula’s talk of a “peace club” for Ukraine that he wants to found cannot hide the fact that he has in fact sided with the aggressor. Putin will be happy.
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