Brazil's Lula calls US bailout plan unfair to poor

BRASILIA, Sept 28 Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:58am EDT

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BRASILIA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva blamed the United States for the global financial crisis and said its financial bailout plan was unfair to poor people.

U.S. lawmakers on Sunday were set to sign off on a deal to create a $700 billion government fund to buy bad debt from ailing banks in a bid to stem a credit crisis threatening the global economy.

"They want to help the banks and not help the poor," Lula said late on Saturday in Sao Paulo during a campaign rally ahead of Oct. 5 municipal elections.

"Why give $700 billion to the banks and no money to the poor guys who lost their houses," Lula asked, according to local media. He referred to the troubled U.S. housing market.

The former factory worker, who obtained record approval ratings this month, said the United States had the primary responsibility to fix a crisis with global repercussions that it had caused.

"I'm not at fault if they turned their economy into a casino," Lula said in reference to accusations that lax U.S. financial regulations worsened the crisis.

Brazil was in a better position to withstand the crisis than it was years ago, the former union leader said.

"I don't want to say we're at ease but ... today we depend less on the United States for our exports," Lula said.

Brazil's economy is growing by more than 5 percent annually but is expected to slow to around 4 percent growth next year. A few Brazilian exporters announced last week large derivatives losses related to currency fluctuations caused by the global financial crisis. (Reporting by Raymond Colitt; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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