Sept. 25, 2002: Diario Las Américas, Miami (FL)

Brazil toward the abyss? Neo-Lula, collective suggestion and Cubanization


by Armando F. Valladares *

If this October, in gigantic Brazil, the pro-Castro candidate, Lula da Silva, of the Worker's Party (PT), should win the presidential elections, several nations on the continent will likely be swept toward the left and the bloody Cuban Communist dictatorship shall prolong its wicked days.

It is not I affirming this; it is Mr. Lula himself who confesses these sad predictions.

In Havana, in December of 2001, during the 10th reunion of the Forum of Sao Paulo (FSP), the Brazilian organizer - sitting next to the Colombian narco-terrorist chiefs, Rodolfo Gonzalez (FARC) and Ramiro Vargas (ELN) and the continent's more than 300Communist leaders - rendered an incredible homage to Dictator Castro: "Despite the wrinkles marking your face, Fidel, you soul continues being clean because you never betrayed the interests of the people;" "thank you, Fidel, thank you because you continue existing." The object of such an effusive thanksgiving was the tyrant who maintains the most complete misery and enslaves, by blood and fire, 12 million of my brothers, now for over 40 years; the same tyrant who, admittedly, is directly responsible for the subversion that laid waste Latin America in the decade of the 70s, including Brazil, costing thousands of innocent victims their lives.

After eulogizing the so called "social conquests" of the Revolution (education and health which, in reality, are used as an efficacious instruments of psycho-ideological control and repression of the population) Lula convoked the "Latin American and Caribbean left" to protect, "in a unified manner," Communist Cuba. Paraphrasing the well known refrain, one could affirm: tell me with whom you walk, whom you eulogize and whom you intend to help, and I shall tell you who you are. Let me recall that the FSP is a coalition of Latin American revolutionary groups, founded by Lula and Fidel Castro in 1990, in order to save from the drowning the Latin American leftists, demoralized in the face of the breakup of the Soviet Empire.

From Cuban Hell, in which he felt like he was in Heaven, Mr. Lula da Silva went to Venezuela in order to consolidate alliances with his friend, President Chavez. "He thinks the same way I think," he declared, outlining the numerous affinities that unite him to the pro-Castro president of Venezuela. Whatever the similarity of the Castro-Lula-Chavez axis - that can lead to the Cubanization of the continent, it was recently denounced Prof. Constantine Menges, researcher for the Hudson Institute - is no mere coincidence. In Brasilia, in June of this year, during a joint session of the Commission on Foreign Relations of the House and Senate, Lula reiterated his determination, in the event he were elected president, to make every effort to end what he considers an unjust "exclusion" of Communist Cuba from the Inter-American community, and defended the necessity to "include it" in the Alca. In Passo Fundo, near the border with Argentina and Uruguay, in the beginning of September, Lula confessed that, with his eventual victory, he expected to unchain a "domino effect" in the region: "Our victory will change many things in the region, it will have repercussions in Argentina, in Uruguay, in Paraguay and in Colombia."

The ambitions of Lula's foreign policy do not end with South America. Three years ago the PT reestablished relations with the Communist Party of China and in May of 2001 Mr. Lula took a trip with an important committee to that Communist nation. Aloizo Mercadante, Secretary of of International Relations for the PT, Director of FSP, organizer of the international trips of Lula and probably future Chancellor, explained that the occasions of alliances with China, Russia and India are "important" in order to give force to a possible anti-American coalition. Lula, in his referred to visit to the Brazilian Congress, reaffirmed his determination to deepen such links.

In the beginning of February of 2002, the leaders of the Worker's Party (PT), convoked the second World Social Forum (FSM), that took place in Porto Alegre, in the south of Brazil. During the seminar "Another Brazil is possible," in a discourse before the highest ranking directors of his union and of thousands of militants, Lula outlined the new strategy that could permit the PT, after so many frustrated attempts earlier, to take power through the electoral process. Retaking his intervention in the 10th annual assembly of the FSP, in Havana, the labor leader recognized that certain "electoral failures" had occurred because "at times the left plays a game that is not the most convenient," imprudently presenting itself before the Brazilian public with a profile that is "very radical." Such a strategic defect, according to Lula, would affect some "99% of the participants in the 2nd FSM;" and he made an urgent appeal to correct it. The organizer limited himself to criticize the tactical means used up until now, but in no way did he deny the goals or ends of the leftists, that, in general, continue with the same radicalism.

In the Brazilian weekly "Veja," in its latest edition, is recorded that in a recent meeting with representatives of the also -pro-Castro Movement Without Land (MST), "Lula asked that they make themselves understood with a moderate tone in their discourses as a necessity for his campaign," because "the question, he told them, is to win the election." Continuing, the magazine asks: "Three months of moderate campaigning, will they be able to eradicate decades of PT history?"

All of the above have been published and diffused by international press agencies; nevertheless, it has not been an obstacle so that Lula, in the face of publicity wonders, has metamorphosed himself into a new-Lula, with an appearance so moderate that his slogan could trigger envy among militant pacifists: "Lulita peace and love."

Influenced by such prestigious agitation, there is no lack of those who believe that Lula really did change. Nevertheless, his opinions about Cuba's Communist system and its old dictator, function as a test and show that the revolutionary dreams of the new-Lula are no different from those of the Lula of always. If he really had changed, would he not have a moral obligation to publicly beg pardon for having supported, since not long ago, the Communist Revolution in Cuba and its cruel dictator?

The new-Lula, in order to be credible, ought to "burn what he adores, and adore that which he burns," if you will permit me to paraphrase Saint Remigius in his direction of the new Christian, Clovis, King of France.

But the new-Lula does not seem willing to follow in the footsteps of Clovis, burning that which he adores, limiting himself to tarnish that which he continues to adore.

Many in Brazil, in Latin America and the whole world have legitimate distrust over this sudden "moderation" of the new-Lula. Nevertheless, if logic indicates one preoccupying diagnosis, the publicity image of the new-Lula is causing other sectors to allow themselves to be swept by appearances, in a curious phenomenon that seems to have something of a collective suggestion and that specialists in social psychology should be able to examine more appropriately.

Similar phenomena paralyzing reason, anesthetics of sensibility and even the sense of self-preservation itself, have not been lacking to previous moments of paradigm shifting revolutions of History, such as the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution and the Cuban Revolution itself, a phenomenon that I knew from close range. Even before the future dictator and his followers began their descent from the Sierra Maestra - with medals of the Virgin and rosaries around their necks - Cuba was being prepared for capitulation in the face of psychological process of the dissolution of the preventative barriers of horror in relation to those leaders who were known to defend Communist positions. This singular process inclusively affected elite members of the agricultural, industrial and even military sectors, who went to adhere to those who transform themselves into their executioners. To what extent something similar is happening in Brazil, Brazilians themselves are the ones to either corroborate or deny this.

I intended to focus my analysis in the external consequences of an eventual victory by Mr. Lula and of his leftist coalition. In no way did I wish that my reflections be interpreted as a form of interference in the internal affairs of this giant called Brazil, also named the Land of the Holy Cross. I wish only the best for this Nation of Providence, because that is what her people deserve, who are, in the majority, Catholic, intelligent, ingenious, happy and generous; but also, moreover, because the elections, which will occur in some days, could change the history of America and the whole world. I am not the only one saying this. This was expressed by Mr. Jose Dirceu, current president of the Worker's Party, who, in the decades of the 70s got his guerilla training in Cuba: the challenge of the PT is to "govern Brazil in order to change the world." That God not permit this.

Postdata: I just finished reading the news that Brazilian Chancellor Celso Lafer has in his agenda a visit to Havana, carrying in his briefcase loans of $25 million dollars for Dictator Castro. This is what Jornal do Brasil states in September 17 edition. If the current government of Brazil, that calls itself the defender of "human rights," does Dictator Castro this favor at the end of its mandate, how can one not expect an eventual government by Lula?

Meanwhile, the young Cuban physicist, Dr. Juan Lopez Linares, resident of Brazil, clamors about his right to go to Cuba to know, to embrace and kiss for the first time his little son, John Paul, of three years of age. The regime, that cynically alleged the rights of the father to reunite with his son, Elian Gonzalez, now denies Dr. Juan Lopez.

The contradiction is flagrant and indignant. What appears important is to save from drowning, at whatever cost, the wicked Communist dictatorship of Cuba, with which this time bomb has been activated in the flank of the Americas.

Armando Valladares, Cuban ex-political prisoner, author of the book, "Against All Hope," was US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, in Geneva, during the Reagan and Bush Administrations.