Winter to AP: Lula's Speech Projected Him ''As a Leader of the Global South''

By David Biller

"He touched on big issues...and appealed to the conscience of the rich world to help solve them," said AS/COA's Vice President of Policy regarding Lula.

“Brazil is back.” That has been Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s refrain for the better part of the last year, with the president deploying the snappy slogan to cast Brazil — and himself — as a leader of the Global South no longer content to abide the world’s outdated workings.

Last year, Lula thwarted the reelection bid of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, who showed little interest in geopolitics or diplomacy during his four years in office. Lula, by contrast, has crisscrossed the globe and visited 21 countries in recent months, from the United States to China, Italy to India, Argentina to Angola. He has sought to boost Brazil’s cred with each state visit and speech, one multilateral forum after another. On Tuesday, his address at the U.N. General Assembly marked his return to that rostrum for the first time since 2009, the last year of his previous presidency’s second term. [...]

“That was an ambitious speech that projected Lula as a leader of the Global South. He touched on big issues like climate, inequality, democracy and the war in Ukraine, and appealed to the conscience of the rich world to help solve them,” said Brian Winter, a longtime Brazil expert and vice president of the New York-based Council of the Americas. When Lula took office in January, some in the Biden administration had expected him to become a staunch ally, but there has been recognition that he is more a partner who, Winter says, “will not fundamentally change his world view.”

Biden and Lula are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting in New York on Wednesday and participate in an event with labor organizers, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Friday. Brazilian and American presidents, who speak first and second at the general assembly, also typically meet backstage for a few minutes beforehand. That didn’t occur last year with Bolsonaro in office...

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