Feb 16/07 | Breaking News: Guess who is coming for the weekend? President Lula at Camp David
PMBComment: For those who did not believe that 2007 was going to be Bush's year of engagement with Latin America, the breaking news that President Lula will spend the last weekend of March in Camp David must come as a real shocker. But surely no one will be more shocked than Hugo Chavez,who is again indirectly reaping the sour fruits of his crassness, unpredictability and utter inability to play by the unwritten rules of sane politics and prudent governance.
Lula, an opportunist if there ever was one, tried to shelter Chavez from himself while milking Venezuela with both hands and reckless abandon, but at the end it must have become clear to him that the interests and the destiny of Brazil lie with the real world and not with the fictional version that Hugo has been trying to build with our unprecedented and grossly mismanaged oil windfall. The note from Lula to the "elected" autocrat in Caracas might well read something like this: "Hugo it was profitable while it lasted, but I can no longer afford to put up with your antics and mood swings. Marco Aurelio will continue to return your letters and calls, but please don't call me as I will be with George, the other guys from the G-7 and you know Hu. Prazer em conhecê-la! Adeus, vá em paz, Lula".
President Bush starts his 2007 Latin tour in early March in Sao Paulo and ends the month summing it all up at his mountain retreat with the labor union leader who almost squandered his country's long held ambition to lead the region into prosperity and relevance. While some might say GWB is a lame duck, or the mother of all lame ducks, Lula would be utterly irresponsible to lose the next two years in which to advance on multiple fronts of Brazil's extensive bilateral relationship. Having hanged on for longer than he probably wanted to his now fetid friend in Caracas he has clearly opted to end that affair in the most dramatic and potentially productive of ways.
Having criticized Lula for a long time, I cannot but take my hat off to the courage that underlies his acceptance of this smart invitation. In my blog I have over the years repeatedly recommended this personal approach to rebuilding or repositioning the common agenda of the US and the responsible countries in the region.
Now all we have to wait and hope for is white smoke from the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland. PMB
Note: Link to one of many posts on this subject ...interesti