The elected president of Brazil arrived in Buenos Aires on Sunday evening on his first international trip after his victory in October elections.
During his Monday meeting with Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde in the official residence of Olivos, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva insisted on his aim to strengthen Mercosur towards the full integration of South America. He also expressed his complete solidarity with Argentina: "an extraordinary, neighbor, and brother country.”
"Our first visit must be understood as the will of the future Brazilian Government to rebuild Mercosur,” PT's leader declared to the press. He also criticized the economic plans implemented on both countries during the nineties and ratified his commitment with the eradication of poverty in Brazil.
After the meeting with Duhalde, Lula rushed to Buenos Aires' City Hall, where his personal friend, Major Anibal Ibarra, declared him a "Distinguished Citizen" of Buenos Aires. The Palace was overcrowded with politicians, national and international journalists, and other personalities, as Lula is very popular in Argentina and, even more, among center left voters.
Lula and Ibarra held a brief meeting and joined in the Golden Room for the ceremony. Again, Lula talked about integration into the Mercosur and insisted on opening the block to other countries, such as Chile and Bolivia, "and the whole South America.” The future Brazilian head of sate wants to lead a regional union to counterattack US plans in the continent.
In the ceremony, the leader of the Argentine Socialist Party, Alfredo Bravo, expressed to Pravda.Ru his satisfaction with the presence of Lula as his party "has worked with Lula since 1977, when we first met him in Geneva dealing with the political assassinations during the dictatorship of the military Juntas,” Bravo, also agreed with Lula with the necessity of a united Latin America. "Integration will not be achieved through a single man or woman, it is a duty of all the peoples of the region. They will understand what unity for Latin America means.”
In turn, Lula's spokesman Andre Singer confirmed that Lula would not support any candidate in the Argentine elections scheduled for the next year. However, PT's contacts with social leaders as the trade unionist Victor De Gennaro and center-left candidate Elisa Carrio are very well known for all.
Later, Lula met with local congressmen, who where focused on the creation of a Mercosur Parliament, following the European example.
Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina
Photo (AP): Presidents Lula and Duhalde after the 40 minutes meeting in Buenos Aires.