- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Likening the global financial crisis to a sinking ship, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva lashed out once more Wednesday against rich nations for provoking the world’s economic woes and called for a new economic order based on input from all nations.

“There is water leaking in the ship. And in this moment it is useless to say who is in first class, second class or third class,” Silva told business leaders from around the globe attending the opening of the World Economic Forum on Latin America. “You saw when the Titanic went down no one escaped. When that boat sank, everyone paid the price.”

The two-day forum _ one of the annual regional meetings hosted by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum _ takes place just days before the leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations gather this weekend in Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas, where the crisis will take center stage.

The tone of Silva’s 30-minute address strongly indicated that he would use the summit as a platform to continue to rail against the U.S. for a crisis he says Wall Street started _ but for which he fears the world’s poorest will pay.

Saying one of the biggest political fads of the 20th century was the notion the state had little or no role to play in regulating the global economy, he called for a new economic order, one constructed with input from all nations.

“We cannot become prisoners of old paradigms that have collapsed in the last months,” Silva said. “Latin America and the Caribbean have all the credentials to propose an international financial system that should not be synonymous of unleashed speculation, easy profits and socialization of the losses.”

Silva called for a calm and balanced economic restructuring, though he offered scant details.

“I don’t want the state to manage the economy. I want the state to play the role of oversight,” he said. “That will enforce and advocate for the majority of people, not the minority.”

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who joined Silva on stage for the forum’s opening, said that he agreed the globe’s poorest should not pay for a crisis that began in the U.S., and that now was the moment for carefully reconstructing economic models that take into account the broadest range of people possible.

“We need to have a new concept of capital: capital that should be used for the construction of social wealth,” Uribe said.

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