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From smiles to smirks, Lula upset at Chavez

By Daniel Duquenal

11.05.06 | Last Friday I was writing on the Iguaçu summit between Lula, Kirchner, Chavez and Morales where meddlesome Chavez was pretending to arrange the situation between Bolivia and its two gas clients, Brazil and Argentina. That Chavez was the one pushing Bolivia to speed up the nationalization (albeit in the hope to get a fairer price for its gas) did not escape the attention of observers.

I did write then:

"as long as adequate compensation comes, which remains to be seen and which might turn the Iguaçu smiles into bitter smirks"

Well, yesterday and today my words were validated much sooner than I could have expected (pat, pat). Celso Amorin, the representative of the no-nonsense Brazilian foreign office has warned Venezuela, or rather Chavez, on its irksome meddling in Latin America. I quote Celso Amorin

"But yes, President Chavez was advised of our discomfort and the personal discomfort of President Lula for some of his (Chavez') actions,"
Now, in diplomatese, this is as direct as it gets to "bug off!"

The Venezuelan foreign ministry replied in a less than convincing note where not only it contradicts was Celso Amorin says:
"But, in addition, it is false that there might have been any complaint about our presence in Bolivia"
But goes on adding some silly and cliché banality that might play in Caracas but probably not in the streets of Brazilia:
" spite of the pressure and provocations of the right, as strong as it might be..."

Saying that Petrobras, a state company, and Lula, the former trade union boss now president of Brazil are subject to right wing pressure from a few articles is actually pretty insulting for Lula and Petrobras. Yet an additional testimony on how ineffective and ill prepared is the new "revolutionary" staff of the Venezuelan foreign ministry.

I do not know whether Amorin was smirking during the Brazilian congress comission intervention, but he probably does now.

Poor Chavez, he is not going to be helped much from his own ministry. Then again, he sees it only as a cheer leading squad, little bit better than to make sure that adoring crowds are wherever he sets foot overseas.

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