Lula: Gringos should keep out of the Amazon

Lula being Lula: President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says no "gringo should stick their nose in where it does not belong." Silva was visiting Para state Tuesday, where the Belo Monte dam is planned. It would be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric project. The dam has been opposed by figures such as British singer Sting ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
RICARDO STUCKERT/AFP/Getty Images)
RICARDO STUCKERT/AFP/Getty Images)
RICARDO STUCKERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Lula being Lula:

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says no "gringo should stick their nose in where it does not belong."

Silva was visiting Para state Tuesday, where the Belo Monte dam is planned. It would be the world's third-largest hydroelectric project.

Lula being Lula:

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says no "gringo should stick their nose in where it does not belong."

Silva was visiting Para state Tuesday, where the Belo Monte dam is planned. It would be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric project.

The dam has been opposed by figures such as British singer Sting and more recently by "Avatar" director James Cameron.

I’m relying on the AP’s translation and I’m not sure if the word was meant to have negative connotations, but da Silva did also once blame the financial crisis on "white people with blue eyes," and in any case, this probably isn’t the most productive way to deal with the legitimate criticisms of the Belo Monte project.

That said, Lula’s comments are a useful reminder that while Cameron and his cohorts view this as a case of rapacious multinational corporations exploiting the wilderness and the Na’vi … er … I mean … indigenous people who live there, Brazilians are justifiably proud of their country’s industrial growth and don’t like being lectured by foreign celebrities. Cameron and Sting probably don’t want any part of a fight with Lula for the sympathy of the Brazilian public.   

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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