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March 21, 2007

ROSE: Ethanol agreement could have unintended consequences

Recently in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo, a new partnership was agreed upon by President George W. Bush of the United States and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil.

After years of a hesitant relationship, both countries have come together to promote the production and use of ethanol between themselves and the countries in between.

President Bush explained that the U.S. decision to move forward on this issue was due to the nation’s increased dependency on oil from overseas, and because it is a national security issue.

Aside from its oil dependency on the conflictive Middle East, the United States has felt the sting and barbs of the aspiring leader of left-wing Latin America, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. President Chavez has made obvious overtures to Fidel Castro of being the one who will raise Castro’s mantel when the old leader dies.

During President Bush’s trip throughout South America, Hugo Chavez tried to ratchet anti-American sentiment from near by Argentina. In February, Venezuela and Argentina had signed a series of economic pacts, one of them being the Bank of the South. Due to its rich oil revenues, Chavez can allow himself the largesse of “aiding” other fellow Latin American countries, with an eye to gain regional power. With the Brazilian-US agreement, part of that plan was thwarted.

The alliance formed by the United States and Brazil positions Brazil as regional leader and world power. It also repositions the United States in an area where it was loosing most of its clout and to re-route relations between North and South in the Hemisphere.

But like most trade agreements, there are certain dangers ahead. This alliance will have an environmental as well as a social impact. A Brazilian engineer, Expedito Parente, was quoted as saying in a Brazilian newspaper, “We have 80 million hectares in the Amazon that are going to be converted into the Saudi Arabia of biodiesel.”

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