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Lula Not Interested in UNASUR Leadership

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has dismissed any speculation that he will take over the vacated leadership position of the Unión de Naciones SurAmericanas (UNASUR) when he leaves office in January, according to his spokesman, Marcelo Baumbach.  The leadership position of UNASUR currently remains vacant following the October 27 passing of former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner.  Baumbach further stated in comments yesterday that Brazil had no candidate to fill the position ahead of the UNASUR summit in Guyana this Friday. 

Lula’s post-presidency plans remain speculative though he has made statements specifically addressing his desire to remove himself from public service.  After stepping down in January, Lula plans to do a lot of “resting” and “traveling” throughout Brazil while further pledging to “extract myself from the presidency.”  On representing the country abroad, Lula has stated “I don’t look like an ambassador.  I don’t want to be an ambassador.  I just want to be a simple Brazilian citizen once more and travel a lot across Brazil.”

This Friday’s UNASUR meeting in Guyana is not likely to include electing a new head for the multi-national organization as it seems that no countries have candidates for the post.  The summit will instead focus on the possible creation of a human rights council and on the adoption of a “democratic clause” that would suspend countries transitioning power by non-constitutional means from UNASUR.  This clause is being discussed as a response to “the crisis caused by the police uprising” in Ecuador on September 30, Baumbach said.  President Lula will use this Friday’s meeting as an opportunity to also meet with Guyana’s President Bharat Jagdeo to discuss joint infrastructure projects. 

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, UNASUR, Brazil-Guyana relations

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