President Lula?s encounter with the Forum

As we write these lines on the morning of the 27th, all the Brazilians staying with us have already left; they went at 6 in the morning to be able to find a place and listen to President Lula?s address. There are rumours saying that a huge political manoeuvre is afoot to convince many of his supporters in the PT (his own Workers Party) not to shout and boo at him. It is a well-known fact that the Forum served as an early political platform to Lula. Now he returns to the Forum in Porto Alegere, not as a radical political activist but as the President of Brazil. He is confident, but popular support appears to be dwindling. Those who have left this morning for Lula?s public meeting with his former supporters and admirers expect some strong words and a firm commitment to lead the movement against hunger in the world. The hard realities of paying a huge foreign debt leave very scarce resources for social programmes. Some popular Catholic figures who had joined the government have left. Their complaint: ?Fine words, but there is no money.?