Thursday, November 30, 2023

LATIN AMERICA | 21-09-2023 15:29

Alongside Biden, Lula declares that Argentine democracy is 'in danger' with Milei

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets his US counterpart Joe Biden; Leftist leader warns that democracy in Argentina is endangered by threat of Javier Milei winning the Presidency.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has made another intervention into Argentina's general election campaign, warning his US counterpart Joe Biden of the threat of libertarian frontrunner Javier Milei.

Speaking during a meeting with Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Lula assured his peer that democracy in Argentina is "in danger" due to the consolidation of “extremist sectors” – a clear reference to Milei's victory in Argentina's recent primary elections on August 13.

“Democracy is in danger because denying politics gives way to extremist sectors, as has already been the case in Brazil, and is now happening in Argentina and other countries,” Lula highlighted, jumping feet first into the campaign in his neighbouring country.

During his meeting with Biden in New York, the Brazilian president said he believed that “many have given in to the temptation of replacing a failed neoliberalism with a primitive, conservative and authoritarian nationalism."

“Neoliberalism has widened the economic and political inequality affecting current democracies. Its legacy is a mass of disenfranchised and excluded people. From its debris emerge far-right adventurers who deny politics who sell both easy and wrong solutions,” Lula assessed.

The statements of the Brazilian head of state, who is close to Economy Minister Sergio Massa, refer to Milei’s victory in the PASO primaries, although he did not specifically name the libertarian.

Workers pact

The remarks came as the two leaders unveiled a new pact on workers' rights Wednesday.

"The two largest democracies in the western hemisphere are standing up for human rights around the world," Biden said as he met Lula. "That includes workers' rights, and I'm honoured we're going to launch a new partnership for workers' rights."

The US-Brazil Partnership for Workers' Rights calls for ending forced and child labour and discrimination against women and LGBTQ people, and dealing with the effect on workers as economies transition to clean energy, US officials said.

Lula said that Brazil and the United States were "friends seeking a common objective: development and improving the lives of everyone."

Relations between the United States and Brazil have warmed since the return to power of veteran leftist Lula, who unseated right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro in elections last year.

Biden received Lula at the White House earlier this year. 


Defenders of democracy

During the visit both leaders portrayed themselves as defenders of democracy – in Biden's case after the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack by supporters of former president Donald Trump, and Lula when a crowd loyal to Bolsonaro stormed institutions in Brasilia on January 8, 2023.

The workers' pact is also politically significant for Biden as the Democrat seeks to win re-election next year, most likely facing off again versus Republican Trump.

Biden, who said he led the "most pro-union administration in American history," is facing an unprecedented strike hitting all "Big Three" US automakers that threatens to harm the US economy.

Wearing a red tie in what White House officials said was a show of support for the car unions, Biden said that "whether it's the auto workers or any other union worker, record corporation profits should mean record contracts for union workers."




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