Brazil refuses to sign U.S. statement on Russia’s Ukraine invasion at ‘democracy summit’
President Joe Biden speaks during the U.S.-hosted Summit for Democracy, March 29, 2023, in Washington. | Patrick Semansky / AP

Brazil has refused to sign a statement condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move came during the Summit for Democracy, a virtual event hosted by the United States to “renew democracy at home and confront autocracies abroad.”

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who did not personally participate in the event, said that his country did not support the use of the summit for such purposes.

Lula, as he is universally known, said: “We’re going through a moment of threat of a new Cold War and the inevitability of armed conflict.

“Everyone knows how much the first one cost in arms spending to the detriment of social investments. The cause of the defense of democracy can’t be used to build walls or sow divisions.”

He added: “To defend democracy is to fight for peace. Political dialogue is the best path for building consensus.”

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Mao Ning condemned U.S. actions at the summit. She accused Washington of seeking to “draw lines between countries in the world according to U.S. criteria and interfere in their affairs based on U.S. interests.

“The summit is designed to patch up small groupings in the name of democracy, tout the false narrative of ‘democracy versus autocracy,’ impose hierarchy on the international community, and create division in the world.

“The summit reflects how arrogant, intolerant, selfish, and domineering the U.S. has always been and how it contravenes and tramples on democracy as part of the common values of humanity.”

The summit came after Brazil and China agreed last week to ditch the U.S. dollar in trade transactions in favor of using their own currencies.

The deal allows the two countries to trade and carry out financial transactions in either the Chinese yuan or Brazilian real rather than converting money into U.S. dollars.

While this will cut transaction costs between the two trading partners, it also delivers a blow to U.S. control of international finance, which has often been used to impose sanctions on nations such as Cuba and Venezuela.

China overtook the U.S. as Brazil’s top trading partner in 2009, accounting for more than a fifth of all imports and a third of all exports.

The preliminary agreement to ditch the U.S. dollar was reached in January and would probably have been the centrepiece of a planned visit by Lula to China last week had the Brazilian president not been struck down by pneumonia and forced to postpone.

Morning Star

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Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.