[11/7/2005] MST Mobilizes against FTAA and War during Bush’s Visit to Brazil

The first official visit by U.S. President George W. Bush to Brazil lasted less than 24 hours and provoked protests around the country.

In Brasília, the only city visited by Bush, around 40 protestors gathered at an icon of U.S. industry: McDonalds. With signs reading, “Bush Out‿, protestors entered the fast food restaurant, sat at tables and counters, and ate traditional Brazilian foods: rice, beans, farofa and caju.

Also in Brasília, 200 protestors gathered in front of the Granja do Torto, official residence of President Lula, where Bush was hosted for lunch.

A large part of the peaceful protests that also occurred in São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro were organized by the Coordination of Social Movements (CMS) – made up in part by the Central Workers’ Union (CUT) and Landless Workers’ Movement (MST). Participants gathered to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

According to Bush, the United States wants to, “reduce the debts of the poorest countries‿ throughout the American continent, which is only viable with a “vast trade agreement‿. However, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez – who directed the opposition to the FTAA at the Summit of the Americas – believes that it is necessary to stop the negotiations since it is clear the agreement intends to, “forever destroy and condemn the Latin-American people to underdevelopment‿.

President Bush left Sunday afternoon for Panama, where he was scheduled to meet with representatives of Andean nations.

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