Brazil’s foreign minister was rebuked for comparing trade talks between rich and poor countries to Nazi propaganda.
Celso Amorim at World Trade Organization talks Saturday in Geneva said rich countries were employing deceptive tactics of the kind used by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. Amorim implied that the rich countries claim they are willing to make agricultural concessions while criticizing poorer countries for refusing to liberalize their industrial markets.
“I am reminded of Goebbels, who used to say if you repeat a lie several times it becomes a truth,” he said.
Amorim’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from the United States, whose chief trade negotiator, Susan Schwab, is the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
The foreign minister’s spokesman qualified the remarks and apologized to Schwab.
“Maybe there would have been no reaction if I had said the same thing without quoting the author,” said Amorim, according to the Brazilian press, who added that the country’s diplomats believe the harsh reaction was aimed at weakening the minister’s performance in the meeting.