SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was heading to Washington Friday, ahead of weekend talks with US President Barack Obama that would include the global crisis -- and the fate of an eight-year-old boy.
US lawmakers this week overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Brazil to return the boy, Sean Goldman, to his US father and said they wanted Obama to raise the matter with Lula when they see each other on Saturday.
Sean is currently living with his stepfather in Brazil after his Brazilian mother -- who took him to the South American nation after a split with her US husband David Goldman four years ago -- died in childbirth last August.
A Brazilian court has granted custody of Sean to his Brazilian stepfather, ignoring a previous court decision in the US state of New Jersey giving custody to David Goldman.
The story has become regular fodder in US media, and, more recently, in Brazil.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised the Goldman case when she met her Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim two weeks ago.
Brasilia's aspirations include a permanent seat on an expanded UN Security Council, and a voice in helping solve the nasty and prolonged Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"It's the first time that Brazil has economic stability with democracy, and it's certain that it's emerging -- but that signifies as well great responsibility," said Paulo Sotero, head of the Brazil Institute research unit in the Woodrow Wilson center of studies in the United States.
Regionally, Brazil is seen as an independently minded nation of 190 million people whose socialist-capitalist policies give it prestige among both free-market US allies (Colombia, Peru, Mexico) and hard-left US antagonists (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia).
Still, the crisis is hitting Brazil hard. Industrial output has fallen off a cliff, unemployment is taking off, and, worse, international credit for the commodity-exporting nation is drying up.
Brazil has been vociferous in demanding the wealthier nations provide credit to emerging countries, and that trade be boosted, not subject to protectionism.
"That is our priority number one," Lula told reporters Thursday, saying he planned to raise it with Obama and at the G20 summit of leading industrial and developing countries.Read the rest