Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Brazil's Lula raps 'white' crisis

By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Brazil's president blames wealthy countries for the crash

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said the world's poor people should not be forced to pay for the global financial crisis.

President Lula said white, blue-eyed people - not Indians, nor black, nor poor people - had created and spread the crisis throughout the world.

He was speaking at a news conference during a visit by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mr Brown was in Brazil in advance of the G20 summit in London next week.

Mr Brown made a joint appeal with the Brazilian leader for the world's biggest economies to provide $100bn to boost global trade.

Both leaders also appealed for the stalled round of Doha trade talks to be resumed.

'Irrational behaviour'

President Lula has long argued that poor and developing nations have been victims of mistakes made in richer countries, caused by irresponsibility or a lack of regulation in the world's banking systems.

It was not a surprise, therefore, that he would return to this topic just days ahead of the crucial G20 summit in London.

What was perhaps less expected was the way in which the Brazilian leader chose on this occasion to identify those to blame for the current economic situation.

Gordon Brown and Lula
Lula was speaking at a joint news conference with Gordon Brown

"It is a crisis caused and encouraged by the irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes," the president said, "who before the crisis appeared to know everything, but are now showing that they know nothing."

If Mr Brown appeared uncomfortable with this claim, he did his best not to show it. Questioned by a reporter, President Lula expanded his theory.

"As I do not know any black or indigenous bankers," the president added. "I can only say it is not possible for this part of mankind, which is victimised more than any other, to pay for the crisis."

Mr Brown said he preferred not to attribute blame to individuals, and the rest of the news conference focused on a more conventional message of unity in advance of the G20 summit in London.

As well as the plan for a $100bn fund to boost world trade, there were calls for greater regulation of financial markets, strong words against protectionism and an appeal for the stalled Doha round of world trade talks to be restarted.

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