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Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 15:00 GMT
Brazil's Lula promises change
Brazil's newly inaugurated left-wing president has promised major reforms to the country's political and economic system.
He said he would need to proceed cautiously, while vowing to eradicate hunger and create a self-confident, caring, outward-looking nation.
The following are excerpts from Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's inauguration speech before a special joint session of Congress.
Change. That is the key word. That was the great message that Brazilian society delivered during the October election. Hope finally defeated fear and society decided that this was the time to walk new roads...
And here I am, on this day many generations of fighters dreamed of, to reassert my deepest and most essential commitments, to reiterate to each citizen of my country the meaning of each word I said during the campaign, to favour change with practical characteristics, to say that our beloved Brazil has reached the time to become the nation that we always dreamed of - a sovereign and dignified nation, aware of its own importance in the international arena, and at the same time capable of receiving and treating all of its children with justice.
We are going to change, yes. We are going to change with courage, but carefully. We will be humble and daring. We will change, but at the same time we know that it is a gradual and continuous process and not just a simple expression of will...
This is a country that never ceases to be young and new. These people know the meaning of suffering, but at the same time know the meaning of happiness. These people believe in themselves and in their own strength. I believe that a great future awaits Brazil because our happiness is bigger than our pain, our strength is bigger than our misery, and our hope is bigger than our fears...
Eradication of hunger
This is a country that has so much fertile land and so many people who want to work that there is no reason to talk about hunger. Millions of Brazilians inside and outside the cities, however, lack food today. They survive, miraculously, under the poverty line, if they do not die while begging for a piece of bread. This is an old story... This situation cannot continue. As long as one of our Brazilian brethren is hungry, we have enough reason to be embarrassed... If at the end of my term every Brazilian person has three meals per day, I will have fulfilled my life's mission...
The central and permanent goals of my administration will be to combat corruption and the defence of ethics in the administration of public funds... We will not let corruption, tax evasion, and waste continue to deprive the population of resources that belong to it and that could be so useful in its fight for survival...
Brazil is great. Despite acts of cruelty and discrimination primarily against indigenous and black communities, and all the inequalities and pain we should never forget, the Brazilian people have shown a praiseworthy endurance and engaged in a task of national construction... This is a nation that speaks the same language, shares the same fundamental values and that feels Brazilian...
This nation, which was created under a tropical sky, must express why it was created: domestically, by bringing justice to the struggle for survival in which its children are engaged; on the foreign front, by asserting its sovereign, creative presence in the world...
A major foreign policy priority in my administration will be to build a South America that would be politically stable, prosperous and united, based on democratic ideals and social justice. This calls for decisive action to revitalize Mercosur...
Brazil can give much to itself and the whole world. This is why we should be very demanding of ourselves. We should demand more than we think because we did not do all that we should have in our history, because we have yet to fulfil the important mission that is ahead of us. In this new historical, social, cultural and economic era, Brazil will count most of all on itself. Brazil will have to think with its own head and walk with its own legs, and listen to its heart. We all must learn to have a more intense love for our country, for our flag, for our fight and for our people...
Today we are starting a new chapter in Brazil's history. We are not acting as an acquiescent nation that gives away its sovereignty or as an unfair nation that watches unmoved as the poor suffer, but as a noble and proud nation that affirms its role without discrimination based on class, ethnicity, sex or beliefs...
What we are living right now, companheiros and companheiras, my brothers and sisters from all over Brazil, can be summarized in a few words: today is the day when Brazil finds itself again. I thank God for having arrived where I am...
I ask God for the wisdom to govern, discretion in judgment, serenity to administrate, courage to make decisions, and a heart the size of Brazil so I can feel that I am tied to each Brazilian citizen each day during the next four years. Long live the Brazilian people!
BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.
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