Remarks to the Press en Route
S„o Paulo, Brazil.
Secretary Colin L. Powell
En Route To S„o Paulo, Brazil
October 4, 2004
SECRETARY POWELL: Thanks for traveling with us down to Brazil. I look
forward to tomorrow's activities in Sao Paulo: the business community
and the Chamber of Commerce speech, where I'll have a chance to review
the state of U.S.-Brazilian relations, which I think are quite good
right now. We have a number of initiatives underway with the Brazilians
that flowed from President Bush's summit with President Lula last year,
last June, or this June, June 2003, excuse me, in the area of treasury,
energy, commerce, a variety of areas that we are working with them. And
I've had very close and continuing relations with Foreign Minister
Amorim, as evidenced in the work we've done in the Security Council on a
variety of resolutions, as well as how we have cooperated so closely
dealing with the problem of Haiti.
I take particular note of the tremendous work being that is being
performed by the Brazilian contingent in Haiti under the leadership of a
Brazilian general, working in turn for the United Nations. They stepped
forward and are playing an important leadership role in the hemisphere
and I think what they did in Haiti demonstrates that. And I also thank
them for the work they did as leadership of the Friends of Venezuela
group that we are a part of.
So, I think Brazil is playing a more significant role, not only in a
hemispheric sense, but on the international stage as well. Evidence of
that was the leadership they took in the food summit at UNGA, Monday
before last, where we had Secretary Ann Veneman participate in that
I'm also looking forward to meeting with some youth groups. And one of
the youth groups I'm meeting with tomorrow is part of a group that came
to visit me in the State Department last year, and I'm looking forward
to seeing these youngsters again. And then onto Brasilia where I'll have
meetings, of course, with President Lula and with Foreign Minister
Amorim, and with other youth groups, as well.
I'll tell you now that after we leave Brazil on Wednesday morning we'll
be going to Grenada, and we'll be stopping in Grenada for a few hours.
We can't stay too long because they are still struggling through the
aftermath of a hurricane, and the facilities are rather austere, and we
didn't want to overload the circuits. And so we'll land, spend a couple
hours in the vicinity of the airport. We may get a little ways away from
the airport, but we can't go too far because of transportation
restrictions and infrastructure problems. But I did want to have a
chance to make a first-hand assessment. We have committed several
million dollars--the exact number Richard can give you, I think it
around $3 million to Grenada so far, and we have a $50 million
supplemental request in the hurricane supplemental that is before the
Congress now. That $50 million is for the Caribbean and I hope the
Congress will act on it later this week. And I'll just stop right there
and see what questions you guys want to go to.
QUESTION: Haiti has been pretty hard hit. Why don't you go over to Haiti
and sort of make an assessment of Haiti?
SECRETARY POWELL: I considered it, but Secretary Thompson was there over
the weekend, in fact, just came out yesterday. So I'll get an assessment
from Tommy and follow up from what I hear from him. I don't want to
overload with two Cabinet officers in a period of four days. And it
seemed like it would be more appropriate to go to Grenada. And while in
Brazil I'll have a chance to speak to Foreign Minister Amorim and other
Brazilian officials about the reports they're getting from Haiti. And so
we're in pretty close touch with the situation in Haiti, and I thought
it better to let Tommy come back and make his assessment, and then we'll
make a judgment as to what else we need to do in the way of visits or
other assistance to Haiti. There will be money in the supplemental of
course for Haiti, as well.
MR. BOUCHER: Do you want to do that on Grenada, or should I?
SECRETARY POWELL: One million dollars already gone into Grenada and
another three and a half, 3.6 million have been identified. And more
will be coming when we get the supplemental passed. So, that's a total
of 4.6, either given or identified to be given.
QUESTION: Right now we've seen a lot of demonstrations, a lot of rioting
against the government, wanting them to do more about what happened and
some calls for Aristide to come back. Don't you think that right now
what the government needs, in addition to money, is a show of U.S.
support for the caretaker government? Do you think that would help the
SECRETARY POWELL: I think we are showing our support in a number of
ways: by supporting the U.N.- the U.N. has a representative on the
ground- the Haitians know we are supporting them. We have a strong
mission on the ground and that's why we sentÖ the immediate problems
over the last couple of days was one of humanitarian support and that's
why Secretary Thompson went down.
And there were demonstrations over the last several days; I don't have a
report of today. These are the old Aristide elements and some criminal
elements who are trying to take advantage of the situation. I talked to
Kofi Annan last night about it, and he feels confident that his people
can manage it and control it and work very closely with the Haitian
authorities. And we're trying to expedite the additional peacekeepers
who are going in. And so, on that basis, I decided I'd better take a
look at a place that's in even greater distress right now as a result of
the hurricanes, and that's Grenada.
QUESTION: About Brazil, I want to know about what you think about
Brazilís enriching of uranium and the refusal to let in the inspectors
of the IAEA?
SECRETARY POWELL: They havenít refused to let the inspectors in. I think
thereís a team coming in on the 18th of October. There is a discussion
taking place about how much access will be given to, giving them to,
their facility. They are working on that now and I hope they will find a
solution. We have no concerns about Brazil moving in a direction of
anything but peaceful nuclear power, of course, and in creating their
own fuel for their power plants. Thereís no proliferation concern on our
part, but we think that they should work with the IAEA to satisfy the
IAEAís need for oversight. And we also hope that Brazil will, in due
course, accept the additional protocol. And so, the IAEA has worked out
these kinds of differences in the past; I expect they will work it out
this time with Brazil. Itís a question of how much visibility they get
in certain technical aspects of their facilities but thatís something to
be worked out.
QUESTION: On a different subject, Mr. Secretary, over the weekend, Prime
Minster Sharon said that he intends to expand the incursions into Gaza
because of the rockets that are being launched against Israeli towns and
also settlements. This is clearly not in line with the disengagement
plan; itís in fact the opposite of it. Would you have any reaction to
that? And do you think expanding those incursions now is helpful?
SECRETARY POWELL: It is not in contrast to the disengagement plan; the
disengagement plan continues, so Iíll set that editorial comment aside
for the moment. He remains as committed to the disengagement plan and
hopefully that will get on track and we can also see the disengagement
from four settlements in the West Bank as we get into the Roadmap.
The immediate problem right now is that Israeli built-up areas are being
hit by rockets and Mr. Sharon finds a need to respond to that. I hope it
does not expand. And I hope that whatever he does is proportionate to
the threat that Israel is facing and I hope that this operation can come
to a conclusion quickly.
QUESTION: You emphasize the increasingly significant role that Brazil is
playing on the world stage, so when they ask you for support for a
permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, what will your response be
SECRETARY POWELL: Weíre going to wait until the eminent persons group,
as its sometimes called, has finished its work, and see what they
recommend. Clearly they are going to be recommending some modifications
to the entire organization of the U.N., to include the Security Council.
And from what I understand of their work, it will open up opportunities
for additional membership in the Security Council. There are a number of
counties that have expressed an interest, of course, on being on the
Council and weíre not going to take any more positions on this issue
until we see the work of the group. And I hope to be talking to the head
of the group, either later this week, the former Thai Prime Minister is
coming to see me. Itís either the end of this week or early next week,
and Iíll get a better indication of how their work is going and what
recommendations might be flowing from their work toward the end of the
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned that you have worked closely with
the Brazilians vis-a-vis Venezuela. Is it time for a dťtente now between
the United States and Chavez. Is there a willingness in Washington and
do you see anything in Caracas, to make you think that the relationship
is going to get on a better path?
SECRETARY POWELL: I hope it will, and our new ambassador presented his
credentials on Friday and indicated to the Venezuelans, as Ambassador
Brownfield came up from Chile to Caracas. And Ambassador Brownfield in
his presentation said that we are looking forward to improving relations
with Venezuela. Now have the referendum, thatís over and behind us, and
we should find ways to cooperate. We still have differences of opinion,
of course, and when those differences occur, we will present our side of
it as the Venezuelans present their side of it. But weíre looking for
ways to cooperate.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary when you talk about proportional force in Gaza,
do you think that already Sharon and his offensive is an overreaction?
And would you like him, when you say you hope that there won't be an
expansion, do you actually expect him to limit the offensive?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think his offensive is for the purpose of
removing the rockets and the places where the rockets are coming from
and the individuals who are doing it. I canít tell you how long itís
going to take, thatís for them to decide. And I can't tell you anything
about the proportional or not proportional without knowing much more
about what he's trying to do, and the threat they are facing, and what
he considers to be the threat heís facing and how long its going to take
him to deal with that. And I think the operation will come to an end
when he feels heís dealt with a threat.
QUESTION: You talk about all the cooperation that you have been doing
with Brazil, and Brazil has been taking on a greater role on the world
stage. Do you see a deepening or a strengthening of the relationship,
like a growth of Brazil as a major U.S. ally now? Has that changed?
SECRETARY POWELL: There are many areas in which we are cooperating now.
Weíre co-chairs of the work on the Free Trade Area of the Americas, as
you know; weíre involved in the friends of Venezuela; weíre involved in
working with them in Haiti. And I think that this kind of involvement
and the close ties that exist on many different levels between officials
in the Brazilian and U.S. governments certainly indicates that the
relationship is improving and strengthening. And President Bush has,
what he considers, a very good relationship with President Lula.
And the economy in Brazil has started to improve and I think that puts
the whole country on a much better footing, of course. And we just look
forward to opening up more areas of cooperation between us and the
Brazilian government. And I know the president is interested in
strengthening an already good relationship that he has with President
QUESTION: I wonder if you could just speak in a general way to your
perception of U.S. standing in the region, after the events of the last
year, where leaders of Latin America accuse the United States of seeing
their problems through the lens of Cuba and has not been friendly to the
aspirations of the poor and addressing the aftermath of the problems of
Venezuela where the U.S. was widely criticized, fairly or not. Do you
acknowledge that there have been some problems that you have to do some
repair work on?
SECRETARY POWELL: There are always problems but I think weíre doing well
in Latin America. Three countries in Latin America are on our Millennium
Challenge Accounts first tranche. Weíre working on bilateral trade
agreements, concluded one with Chile. Working on Central American Free
Trade area. I think youíll see that this trip to Brazil- the largest
country in South America, in Latin America, certainly indicates the
level of interest we have. The way in which we quickly went for
supplemental fighting to deal with the hurricane aftermath. I donít
accept the characterization that the place is awash with problems that
the United States hasnít tended to. We spend a great deal of time with
Latin American leaders. The president has attended a number of meetings
and summits. I have been a steadfast participant in all the OAS
meetings. We got the Community of Democracies launched in 2001.
And we donít see everything through the lens of Fidel Castro. Fidel
Castro is a problem for the Cuban people. I donít view him as that much
of a problem for the rest of the hemisphere. Certainly not the way he
was when I was National Security Adviser- 15 years ago- when he really
And I sense that all of these countries are looking for a better
relationship with the Untied States as we are looking for a better
relationship with each and every one of them. With respect to, we also
had all kinds of trade improvements over the last couple of years-
Andean Trade preferences extension - all of which shows we have an
interest in this part of the world.
And with respect to Venezuela, it was the opposition in Venezuela that
was challenging the actions of its government. The United States worked
with the Friends of Venezuela to try to find a solution. And the people
of Venezuela have had their opportunity to decide how they wanted to
move forward, and they did it in a constitutional means, and weíre
supporting them. So the suggestion that somehow the United States is the
cause of whatever difficulties exist in Venezuela, I donít think itís
accurate. There were legitimate grievances that opposition parties had
and they were worked out and worked through in a constitutional manner.
And the new ambassador is going in and we look forward to working with
Venezuela. If you look at polling, I think youíll find that attitudes
toward the United States are not bad in this part of the world, in fact
better than in many other parts of the world, particularly in Brazil.
Anything else? Thank you.
Source: US Department of State
Released on October 5, 2004