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Lula Questions Advantages for Brazil of Independent Central Bank

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva downplayed the importance of an independent central bank, addressed the country’s inflation target and vowed to see that the Jan. 8 rioters are brought to justice in a wide-ranging interview with Globo TV on Wednesday.

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“There was a lot of discussion in this country to have an independent central bank, believing that it would be better,” Lula said. “It’s silly to think that an independent central bank governor is going to do more than when the president appointed him.”

Brazil’s central bank didn’t have formal autonomy until it was approved by congress in 2021. During Lula’s initial two terms in office, the bank’s chief, Henrique Meirelles, said the president had given him de-facto autonomy to set monetary policy.

On another issue, Lula defended moves to raise the country’s inflation target and said that he would be forced to tighten economic conditions to reach the target and questioned why not set higher than the current 3% goal established for 2024, mentioning 4.5% as a possibility.

Read More: Lula’s Team Seeks to Recover Investment Grade by End of His Term

Jan. 8 Riots

The president said in the interview that he views the storming of the presidential palace, the congress and the Supreme Court building on Jan. 8 to have been “the beginning of a coup” and that the rioters were acting “according to the order and guidance that Bolsonaro gave for a long time.”

“His decision to keep quiet after losing the election, weeks and weeks of not saying anything; his decision not to hand the sash to me, to leave for Miami as if he were running away in fear of something; and his silence even after what happened here, gave me the impression that he knew everything that was happening, that he had a lot to do with what was happening,” Lula said.

Bolsonaro’s lawyer Frederick Wassef didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lula again criticized the absence of defense personal in the presidential palace when rioters stormed the building and said he wanted the conviction of all those involved in the attacks, regardless the rank or military force to which they belong.

“Everyone who we find to have participated in the acts will be punished,” he said. “They will have to be removed from their duties and will answer to the court.”

Radicalism may be one of the themes of the meeting Lula intends to hold with US President Joe Biden next month. Earlier, in a speech to trade unionists, the Brazilian leader said he was going to the US on Feb. 10.

Lula told TV Globo that the extreme right exists all over the world and that it is necessary to prevent the return of fascism.

Read More: Brazil’s Central Bank to Hold Rates for Longer on Fiscal Plans

--With assistance from Beatriz Reis and Simone Iglesias.

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