Sep 17, 2014 6:41 PM
AP Interview: Brazil's Silva wants better US ties
The Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Marina Silva, a front-running presidential candidate who grew up in the Amazon jungle and could become Brazil's first black president, said Wednesday that if elected she'll improve ties with the U.S. and strongly push for human rights in nations like Cuba.
She spoke exclusively to The Associated Press in her first interview with a foreign media outlet since being thrust into Brazil's presidential campaign after her Socialist Party's original candidate died in an Aug. 13 plane crash.
Silva, a former Amazon activist, senator and environment minister who pushed policies that helped Brazil slash the rate at which it was destroying the jungle, has found herself at the center of a suddenly hot presidential race pitting her against President Dilma Rousseff. The incumbent represents the Workers Party, which Silva helped found three decades ago.
"Brazil has a great opportunity to become a global leader by leading by example," Silva said in talking about human rights and environmental protections. "Our values cannot be modified because of ideological or political reasons, or because of pure economic interest."
Pressed on whether she would continue Brazil's strong investment in and political support of regimes like Cuba, Venezuela, China and Iran, Silva said that dialogue is essential with each but that her personal convictions means Brazil would be more vocal in pushing human rights.
"The best way to help the Cuban people is by understanding that they can make a transition from the current regime to democracy, and that we don't need to cut any type of relations," Silva said. "It's enough that we help through the diplomatic process, so that these (human rights) values are pursued."
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