Brazilian President to be first visitor to Russia in 2002

Russian diplomatic sources have confirmed the visit from 13th January. The visit was programmed to have taken place last June but President Cardoso had to postpone it because of the serious energy crisis in Brazil.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a sociologist, became the President of Brazil in January 1995 after having served as Chancellor and Finance Minister in the government of the previous president, Itamar Franco. President Cardoso’s candidacy was supported by a coalition between the centre-left party PDSB (Partido da Democracia Social do Brasil) and the right-wing PFL (Partido da Frente Liberal).

Responsible for the “Real” Plan, he managed to stabilise the currency of Brazil, ending years of hyper-inflation, when prices had to be adjusted in shops three times a day. His reforms have been aimed at modernising Brazil’s economy, opening it to foreign investment and selling off stakes in the state monopolies in oil and telecommunications.

Seen as a man of integrity, Fernando Henrique Cardoso has tried to bring social justice to a country traditionally unjust, where 5% of the population own 95% of the country’s potentially vast wealth. Over 40 million of Brazil’s 170,000,000 population lives in abject misery, without any hope of finding a decent standard of living.

President Cardoso will have meetings in the Kremlin with President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, Mihail Kassianov, and the Presidents of the Parliament and the Senate.

The themes to be discussed will be economic and scientific collaboration in areas such as space exploration and nuclear energy. The sale of Russian military aircraft (Sukhoi and MIG) to Brazil will also be discussed.

Mihail Kassianov visited Brazil at the beginning of December, signing bilateral agreements in the areas of tourism, trade, customs and banking co-operation. Brazil is Russia’s main trading partner in Latin America. In 2001, the volume of trade between the two countries was 1.286 billion USD, with a superavit of 521m. USD for Brazil, as opposed to 992m. USD in 2000.

Russia considers Brazil as its main economic ally in the region and a key political ally in the United Nations.


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