Lula Watch: Focusing on Latin America’s New “Axis of Evil” -Vol. I – No. 1

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Lula Watch: Focusing on Latin America’s New “Axis of Evil” -Vol. I – No. 1
Lula Watch: Focusing on Latin America’s New “Axis of Evil” -Vol. I – No. 1

After the Elections…

As President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva and the Workers’ Party (PT) begin to govern Brazil, an important political cycle opens in Latin American politics.

Given Brazil’s geo-political importance, its policies will affect events throughout South America and thus may come to shape American foreign policy in the region.

1. The Emerging Political Picture

Throughout the election campaign, the PT, and particularly its presidential candidate, disguised or denied their relationship with the ideologies and methods of the conventional left.

Nevertheless, Lula da Silva’s victory is being presented, especially outside of Brazil, as if the Brazilian public had subscribed en masse to leftist ideology.

In order to analyze objectively what is really happening in Brazil, we must first of all point out that the votes given to Lula da Silva did not reflect support for a leftist ideology and that the majority of Brazilians remain as conservative as ever. This is recognized by leftist leaders, even within the PT itself. It is further confirmed by the glaring discrepancy between Lula’s share of the vote and that garnered by the PT.

It should be also emphasized that Brazilian voters had only leftist candidates to choose from, without a single conservative alternative. Many political analysts and important people pointed out this fact before and after the elections.

If the present administration ignores this profound reality of public opinion and adopts unequivocally leftist measures, it will run the risk of splitting the country socio-politically.

Such divisiveness could cast Brazil into a state of social upheaval similar to that seen now in neighboring Venezuela, under President Hugo Chavez’ leftist policies.

A possible convulsion of this magnitude would destabilize all South America, with grave political, social and economic consequences.

2. An Unexpected Shift to the Left

With the installation of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s administration, its ideological course is becoming clearer.

Lula da Silva based his whole campaign – a deftly carried out marketing operation – on the idea that he had ripped up his membership card in the radical left. Even his designer suits and personal appearance seemed to corroborate this purported ideological change.

This metamorphosis was minted into the celebrated sobriquet “Lulinha, (Little Louie), peace and love,” paraphrasing the motto of the hippie movement in the 60’s. That sobriquet conveyed the image of a benevolent, moderate, conciliating leader far removed from the revolutionary methods of the left.

After the election, Lula da Silva attempted to maintain some consistency between his campaign image and his statements and attitudes. Thus, he picked a few people for his governing team from the corporate world, a decision that helped to calm down the markets.

a) A Cabinet With Many From the Radical Left

Nevertheless, during the two weeks after the inauguration, political observers have noted a shift to the left in the new government’s orientation. This is true both for appointees at the Cabinet and Deputy Secretary levels, and for policies that have been announced in some areas.

To start with, the man picked to be the president’s Chief of Staff, Minister José Dirceu, is a former activist of the National Liberation Alliance (ALN)1, a guerrilla organization known for kidnappings and bank robberies.

Mr. Miguel Rossetto, Minister of Agrarian Development (Land Reform), is a Trotskyite from the leftmost wing of the Workers’ Party and is linked with the Landless Movement (MST), a close ally of the Colombian FARC guerrillas.

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Ms. Dilma Rousseff, was a leader of Palmares Armed Revolutionary Vanguard (Var-Palmares), a guerrilla organization.

Moreover, several members from the Trotskyite “Liberty and Struggle” organization were called to join the Federal Government in Brasilia, where we find at the top echelon of government people like Antonio Palocci, Minister of Finance, and Luís Gushiken, Press Secretary.2

These are only a few examples.

b) The New President’s Inaugural Address

This scenario of ambiguity between campaign promises and the first steps of the new Brazilian government has now congealed as the new President and his cabinet have been installed.

President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva’s inaugural speech, dubbed disappointing in the media, was marked by ambiguity.

In addition to a strong note of demagogy, Luís Inácio Lula da Silva strove to please the PT’s radical wing even as he called for political caution.

He referred repeatedly to the “mobilization of the people,” stirring up memories of a dangerous populism at odds with democratic practice, and made few references to the role of Congress in the political reforms he intends to implement.

In such a context, one of his lines was particularly telling: “I’m not the fruit of an election, I’m the result of a history.”3

It is unsettling that from its first days in power, the PT administration of President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva reveals not just ambiguities but also flagrant contradictions with his election promises.

c) Speeches by the New Ministers: Profession of Leftist Ideals and Calls for “Social Revolution”

Political observers were unanimous in stating that the Lula administration’s ideas and style were revealed in his ministers’ inaugural speeches.

The Chief of Staff, Minister José Dirceu, gave the most important speech. Until shortly before the inauguration, he had been PT president and one of the architects of Lula’s changed, moderate image.

In his speech, Mr. Dirceu recalled PT’s leftist and socialist roots (a fact most craftily silenced during the election campaign); he spoke harshly of employers and preached a “social revolution” for Brazil. He also reminisced on his years of political activism (he was a guerrilla) and thanked Fidel Castro for providing asylum during his exile in Cuba.4 5

Benedita da Silva, the new Minister for Social Welfare, compared herself to Che Guevara, recalling the guerrilla leader’s phrase: “We must toughen up without losing tenderness.”

The Education Minister, Cristovam Buarque, lavished praise on dictator Fidel Castro and said that President Lula da Silva himself had recommended that “as far as education is concerned, accelerate and turn left.”

In a clear allusion to the land invasions and rural agitation carried out by the MST landless movement, the new Minister of Agrarian Development (Land Reform), Miguel Rossetto, stated “it is not the business of a democratic government under the rule of law to stifle the mobilization capacity of social movements.”6

The inaugural speeches led the daily Folha de São Paulo, the politically influential newspaper with the largest circulation, to exclaim that the PT exchanged “peace and love” for “social revolution” and, furthermore, to conclude that the government of President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva “abandoned the cautious and conciliatory speech that had characterized his campaign.”7

It is important to note that José Dirceu is seen as the new government’s strong man and is known for his authoritarian attitude, even inside the PT.

In a recent issue, the important political analysis magazine, Primeira Leitura, comments on Mr. Dirceu’s political methods, in an article with a suggestive title: “Politburo Chief?” The article affirms that in his quest for power, José Dirceu intends to bring the state’s intelligence services under his control. Were this to happen, the state apparatus and the PT would enjoy a relationship fraught with dangers for the rest of society.8 9

3. The PT takes over the state bureaucracy

Brazil has 30 political parties registered with the Superior Electoral Tribunal. Of these, 19 are represented in the National Congress.

In spite of having the single largest bloc in the House of Representatives, the PT is clearly a minority, with 91 seats out of 513 (17.74%). In the Senate, the PT is the third largest group with 14 senators out of 81 (17.28%). Thus, the PT is far from holding a majority in the National Congress.

This minority status stands out all the more when one considers the number of PT governors elected nationwide in the same ballot that brought Lula da Silva to the Presidency: Out of 27 states, only 3 have PT governors. These 3 states with PT governors are of little overall consequence, representing only a small percentage of the national vote.

All of the above would lead one to suppose that the new government would include members of other political parties and thereby confirm Lula’s pledges that he would govern on the country’s behalf and not his party’s.

Instead, the PT ended up with the lion’s share in the new administration. What’s more, several of the independent ministers are known to have close links to the PT.

A telltale sign was the mysterious breakdown in the agreement between the PT and the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), one of Brazil’s largest political parties. It had been understood that the PMDB would fill a large number of cabinet-level and other positions in the new administration.

At the release of LulaWatch’s first issue, the PT is trying to cobble together congressional alliances that will enable it to govern effectively. One cannot rule out, however, the creation of an opposition bloc formed by three large parties, the Liberal Front Party (PFL), the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) and the PMDB.

Finally, the PT’s overwhelming presence in the state apparatus was replicated in the clearly politically motivated appointments of managers of large state-owned enterprises like Petrobrás and the Caixa Econômica Federal (Federal Savings Bank). The new head of Petrobrás lacks even that modicum of technical qualifications required by law to fill the post.

Political circles are feeling malaise and concern over this great turnaround in the PT’s attitude, which until recently officially favored a great national consensus and has now become exclusive.

In the halls of Congress, one Representative noted that the PT’s attitude is reminiscent of post-World War II East European Communist Parties, who formed large coalitions to make it to power and then seized the state apparatus for themselves.

4. Collaboration with a subversive movement

One of the most delicate aspects of the political scene in Brazil has to do with Land Reform.

Land Reform is an old banner of the left and has been promoted in various ways: now by arbitrary laws decreeing the expropriation of land and violating the principle of private property; now by land invasions promoted by the MST. The MST invades farms – which are then frequently expropriated by the Government –sets up encampments, and reduces lands that were formerly cultivated and prosperous to squalor and desolation.

MST is a socialist-communist movement that advocates seizing power by force. It uses guerrilla tactics and maintains links with the FARC guerrilla movement in Colombia. Its foundation was inspired by the Comissão Pastoral da Terra (Pastoral Commission on the Land – CPT), an organ of Brazil’s National Conference of Catholic Bishops (CNBB). From an ideological perspective, it is close to Liberation Theology.

Curiously enough, during the election campaign the MST suspended its land invasions almost completely so as not to harm Lula da Silva’s prospects, since he is closely allied with the MST in the public’s perception.

After repeated campaign promises to pacify the countryside and to rein in MST’s agitation, Lula da Silva ended up appointing Miguel Rossetto to the Ministry of Agrarian Development (Land Reform). Mr. Rosetto is the defeated candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Rio Grande do Sul State and one of the organizers of Porto Alegre’s World Social Forums. He hails from the PT’s most radical faction (the so-called “Socialist Democracy,” of Trotskyite leanings). Mr. Rosetto’s nomination was enthusiastically welcomed by the MST. In his first statement as minister, Miguel Rossetto promised to overthrow legislation that makes it hard to invade private lands.

His appointment was received with great perplexity and displeasure by agricultural leaders, who saw it as a serious breach of Lula da Silva’s election pledges.10 11

This scenario became even bleaker when, in a clear allusion to MST’s subversive activities, Minister Rossetto stated in his inauguration speech that it is not the business of a democratic government to repress “social movements.”

In what appears to be a well-concocted game ably played by both sides, in the next few days the MST is supposed to present its wish list to the Minister, and the latter is engaged in talks with President Lula da Silva to ensure that whoever is appointed to head the National Institute of Colonization and Land Reform (Incra) is acceptable to the MST.

The new government’s favoritism towards a subversive movement like MST can quickly lead to a widespread climate of subversion in Brazil’s countryside.12

5. An Ambiguous Foreign Policy

Perhaps one of the greatest ambiguities manifested by the Lula da Silva administration is its foreign policy.

a) Ideological Rapprochement with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez

Throughout his election campaign, Lula da Silva carefully distanced himself from Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Lula’s efforts were so successful, that it created quite a stir in the media when, in perhaps his only exception to this strategy, he referred publicly to Armando Valladares – an ex-Cuban political prisoner and former United States ambassador to the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission – in a disparaging and insolent manner. Lula’s strategy slip was provoked by an article published by Ambassador Valladares in Miami, in which he warned about the ideological closeness between the three Latin American leaders.

Having sought court injunctions to prevent his election opponent from likening him in any way to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Lula da Silva now endeavors to support Chavez’s regime.

This he does at the very moment when the Venezuelan people manifest their rejection of Chavez’s communist-Castroite revolution in a legal manner befitting democratic practice.

The trip to Venezuela of PT envoy Marco Aurélio Garcia, special assistant to the President for foreign affairs, and President Lula’s subsequent support of the Chavez regime have created great uneasiness among the Venezuelan opposition, who had strong words of condemnation for Lula’s behavior and his government’s support for Chavez.

Marco Aurélio Garcia is secretary general of the Forum of São Paulo. This organization brings together Latin American socialist and communist parties and movements. The Forum of São Paulo was founded by Fidel Castro and Lula da Silva himself after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

As a special guest of the new government, President Hugo Chavez turned his visit into a propaganda stunt against the Venezuelan opposition. In statements to the press, published with great prominence by the important newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Chavez said the revolution underway in Venezuela will prevail, be it peacefully or violently.

The media splash was due in part to the fact that, in a clear denial of all the principles and practices that inform a democratic state under the rule of law, Chavez added that his revolution will not stop even if the opposition were to win in the voting booths.13 There is no record of any adverse reaction in Lula da Silva’s government to the Venezuelan President’s statement.

During a working breakfast with Lula da Silva, Chavez proposed energy integration among Latin American countries, particularly in regards to oil. In statements to the Brazilian media, Chavez explained that his plan presupposes that energy conglomerates not be privatized. He further explained that the project is part of his Bolivarian Revolution. This clearly ideological integration of a vital sector of the Latin American economy is aimed at creating pressure against the United States.

Chavez also requested Lula da Silva’s help in creating a group of countries friendly to Venezuela. His request was accepted and Brazil’s new president will formally propose its establishment during the inauguration of Ecuador’s new president, Lucio Gutierrez. Brazil’s diplomatic maneuvering with this initiative intends to prevent an electoral solution to the Venezuelan crisis, and, therefore, to keep Hugo Chavez in power, since he is an important ideological ally of the new PT government.14 15

Another prominent presence at President Lula da Silva’s inauguration was that of dictator Fidel Castro, who compared Lula’s ascent to power with his own. The prominence given to Fidel, enthusiastically echoed in the media, was more than just courteous and deferent treatment.16

Fidel Castro held meetings with Lula da Silva and some of his ministers; and both Castro and the new Brazilian administration announced new and important government exchange programs.17

The new government thus signals a willingness to use Brazil’s economic and geo-strategic importance to significantly expand the influence of Communist Cuba in South America.

Lula da Silva’s rapprochement with the Cuban regime at the very beginning of his term in office is in flagrant contradiction with his statements to The Washington Post during an interview with Lally Weymouth two days after his election.

The presence at the inauguration of various presidents from South America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru), in addition to the President of Portugal and the Crown Prince of Spain helped underscore the special treatment bestowed by President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva on Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. It also demonstrates the clear ideological affinity between them and the Lula administration. This rapprochement seems to confirm Chavez’ own statements made soon after Lula’s election, that the three countries would form a bloc.

b) Nuclear Weapons

The statements made by Roberto Amaral, Minister of Science and Technology, in an interview with BBC Brazil, to the effect that Brazil will master the technology to build an atomic bomb, reverberated in Brazil and around the world.

The Minister’s affirmation intensified international suspicions that Lula’s administration intends to proceed with Brazil’s nuclear weapons program.

José Goldemberg, an important scientific authority in Brazil, refuted in the press the rationale put forth by the Minister that the mastering of the nuclear weapons technology would help solve the country’s energy needs, since Brazil has already mastered the technology needed for generating nuclear power. According to Goldemberg, there is an unmistakable intention to produce nuclear weapons.18 19

Minister Amaral is a former activist of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) and Brazilian Revolutionary Communist Party (PCBR), and was one of the reorganizers of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), which he represents in the Cabinet.

c) An FTAA opponent in the second most important post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

During the inaugural ceremonies, Celso Amorim, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed Ambassador Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães – a bitter opponent of the FTAA and ideologically more to the left than most PT congressmen – as Itamaraty’s new Secretary General.

This clearly political step violated Brazilian diplomatic practice and was characterized as a most revealing move by political observers. The uneasiness caused by this appointment was addressed to some extent by dividing this post’s responsibilities in two, one political, the other economic. Responsibility for the latter was given to Ambassador Clodoaldo Hugueney, who will supervise trade agreement negotiations.

Another significant attitude of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the nomination of José Maurício Bustani, former director of the Organization for Banning Chemical Weapons (OBCW), as ambassador to London.20 21

6. Conclusion

The two weeks preceding Luís Inácio Lula da Silva’s inauguration and the first days of his administration have begun to reveal the true ideological colors of the new government.

In a country with a remarkably conservative population, the PT, although a minority, has managed to take over the state apparatus and appears poised to give a clearly leftist orientation to numerous and important government policies.

The contradiction between campaign promises and the first statements and measures taken by the Lula da Silva administration raises concern and mistrust in a large part of public opinion. This can eventually lead the country to a serious socio-political impasse.

Once in power, the left is showing itself determined to transform Brazil, with its very important geo-strategic position, into an ideological powerbase to oppose American influence and interests, and hopes to rally other Hemispheric nations around the South American giant.

The political rapprochement with the Cuban regime and with President Hugo Chavez are indicative of this design, as is Brazil’s announced nuclear weapons program.

Consequently, some observers point out that the most important part of the new President’s inauguration speech had to do with Brazil’s international policy: to stimulate the budding elements of international multipolarity and the democratization of international relations free from every hegemony.

Read the TFP Position Paper

Finally, we present the Brazilian TFP’s position paper on the occasion of Pres. Lula’s inauguration on January 1. Brazilians are naturally peaceful and dislike tension and sudden change. The TFP asks: how far will the left take the country? The TFP presents considerations based on an article of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira written in political circumstances similar in many ways to the present ones.




Today’s Brazil Wants Peace Not Turmoil

Brazilians are naturally peaceful and dislike tension and sudden change.
The TFP asks: how far will the left take the country?

The lights are out and the last sounds of Christmas and New Year’s parties have faded. Also gone with them are the swearing-in celebrations for the new President.

Brazilians return to their daily affairs with the perspectives, hopes, concerns and uncertainties the future holds in store.

As the new administration sets in, the media work overtime to spread a climate of euphoria. However, in their homes, workplaces and in the street, average Brazilians, quick and intelligent, silently await with a pensive, concerned, and at times even suspicious silence, the new directions the country is about to take. One persistent question is on their mind: just where is the left going? Where is it taking Brazil?

The TFP deems it its duty to present some reflections on the political, social, economic, cultural and even religious issues brought to the fore with the rise of the new government.

The ballots’ results do not reflect support for a leftist ideology

From the outset it seems important to emphasize an aspect of the election results: in spite of the left’s significant and undeniable advance, it would be dangerously hasty and erroneous to conclude from Mr. Luís Inácio Lula da Silva’s victory that an overwhelming part of our electorate support a leftist ideology. This lack of support is recognized, incidentally, by leading figures of the left both within and outside the Workers’ Party (PT).

As a matter of fact, in our country, leftism as an ideology is not a phenomenon of the masses except to a very small extent. It is mostly a dysfunction found in plush residential neighborhoods, exclusive clubs, some powerful macrocapitalist circles, and in numerous sacristies and universities.

Voters were given no alternative to the left

For the ballots’ results to be interpreted objectively, let us not forget that our voters were presented with a slate which was strictly limited to the left. The differences between candidates were mere nuances.

A large number of articles and statements by influential political commmentators and public figures attest to this narrowing of electoral choice caused by various circumstances, some of which are somewhat obscure.

The PT’s votes and those of its presidential candidate are out of step

In addition to this unforgivable distortion of the electoral process, it is well to note the striking contrast between the results obtained by Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and those attained by his party, the PT.

The PT’s defeat in the race for state governorships is conclusive: the electorate did not vote for the PT’s socialist ideology.

“Brazil voted for Lula, but not for the PT,” said an editorial in a large São Paulo newspaper. And it added that “Lula’s crushing victory corresponded to a crushing defeat of the PT in the states” (“O Brasil votou em Lula, não no PT,” Jornal da Tarde, 10/29/2002).

Brazilians are naturally peaceable and reconciling and reject acute tensions and abrupt change

In order to understand in depth Mr. Luís Inácio Lula da Silva’s victory, one must take into account a psychological trait characteristic of our people.

Without a shadow of doubt, Brazilians are one of the most cordial and affectionate peoples on earth. Getting along peacefully in a cordial and even friendly atmosphere is, for us, a necessary condition for well-being.

This explains a certain ideological immobilism of our people, who always cling to the hope that, in the end, through some unexpected pass of diplomacy, everything will be resolved without a fight. Hence, the propensity of our electorate to opt for a new formula they believe can lead them to a prosperous situation marked by free and easygoing political play, always peaceful and amenable.

Thus, from top to bottom, average Brazil, sensible Brazil, authentic Brazil rejects the throes of class struggle as a solution to possible injustices that are inherent to the human condition.

We believe the administration now taking over will not lack enough perspicacity to recognize that a hasty implementation of leftist measures is a highly risky proposition. And it would be particularly risky to implement some measures that were well disguised and even left out of the platform during the election campaign.

The new leaders need to know how to listen to the profound longings of the Nation

Having been a union leader for many years, Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva learned to listen – a talent he likes to point out with explicable pride.

In fact, for a head of state, knowing how to listen is often a more subtle art form than knowing how to speak.

But knowing how to listen is not merely or primarily paying heed to those who, flush with the enthusiasm of a political victory, clamor for the implementation of their most extreme ideological designs. This is all the more so since such designs are often removed from the common wishes of the population. They must also know how to hear silence – the silence of a majority that can be, at times, very eloquent as well.

In a democratic regime as ours, it is important to listen to dissonant voices

Listening to silence is very important and even fundamental. But there is more. One must listen also to the opinions of those who disagree, provided they do so with due respect for democratic principle and the rule of law.

Always faithful to its primeval ideals, the TFP has continuously, heroically and publicly endeavored to defend the interests of Christian civilization in our country through changing political regimes.

At the present juncture, facing the possible implementation of policies it may deem contrary to Christian principles and therefore detrimental to the real interests of Brazil, the TFP proposes to make heard the apprehensions and longings of a large number of Brazilians – even those who do not agree fully with its positions.

Since Mr. Luís Inácio Lula da Silva was led to the presidency by an intrinsically democratic grassroots movement – that is, within the rule of law in which absolutely every Brazilian’s right to speak out and act is proclaimed, we hope this stance of the TFP will be welcome.

If this right of the TFP were not recognized, our democratic regime would be transformed into a mere political fiction, a dictatorship in disguise.

The danger of a consensus that belittles or stamps out dissent

Yet another reflection is appropriate here. Much has been said and written about the need for a consensus so that Brazil is able to overcome its difficulties and crises.

However, here also the new president and his men will have to proceed with extreme caution. In fact, it would be harsh to establish in today’s Brazil a consensus that stamps out free debate; an excluding consensus that marginalizes those who disagree with it on one or more points.

We spoke of our people’s cordiality. This same cordiality gives Brazilians an extreme dislike for rough or violent treatment of ideological or political adversaries. A consensus that becomes polemic and intractable can lose its popularity and be perceived as a form of extremism.

A lucid warning: “Today’s Brazil absolutely wants peace”

Nothing could be more timely to conclude these thoughts than quoting the words of TFP founder, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, in political circumstances similar in many ways to the present ones. With an accurate and sagacious political vision and an acute sense of observation of our people’s innermost fibers, and with authentic Christian patriotism, he wrote:

“If the left hastily tries to fulfill the egalitarian and levelling ‘popular’ demands that led it to power; if it becomes bitter and peevish on being criticized by the opposition; if it resorts to legislative and administrative tricks or police violence to persecute its adversaries, Brazil will feel frustrated in its longings for an easy-going and worry-free administration. In a first move, people will distance themselves from the left. Next, they will become resentful. And, finally, they will become furious. The left will have lost its bid for popularity. (…)

“Today’s Brazil absolutely wants peace. If a triumphant left is unable to deliver this peace, it will vanish. For their part, if the center and right are unable to carry on their struggle in a climate of peace, they will vanish as well. (…)

“This is not an hour for smirks but rather for open, polite, logical and intelligent discussion. Peaceable people tolerate everything so long as their peace is not disturbed. If it is, they can easily become ferocious…” (“Be Cautious with the Peaceable,” in Folha de São Paulo, 12/14/1982).

*          *          *

The TFP – praying to Our Lady Aparecida for the new president’s administration – asks the glorious Queen of Brazil to maternally and decisively intervene so that our country, amidst the uncertainties and apprehensions about its future, may remain faithful to the Christian principles that inspired its founders.

São Paulo, January 1, 2003
The National Council of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property — TFP


LulaWatch is an electronic publication of the TFP Washington Bureau. © 2003 by The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property® — a registered name of The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc.


  1. Portuguese acronyms are used throughout, unless referring to an international organization or treaty such as the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) or the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), where the more familiar English acronyms are retained.
  2. Ronald Freitas, “A Lenda Libelu” (“The Libelu Legend”), Época, January 6, 2003. This article lists various members of leftist organizations (even guerrillas) who joined President Lula’s new administration.
  3. “O PT ainda não se encontrou consigo mesmo” (“The PT has not come to terms with itself”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A3, January 3, 2003. This editorial analyzes President Lula da Silva’s inaugural speech. It calls the speech disappointing and states that the President focused on PT’s militant members, while at the same time suggesting caution. The editorial further emphasizes the almost total lack of reference to Congress’ role, and the several appeals to people power, which it considers a threat to democracy.
  4. “Dirceu defende ‘revolução social’ que distribua renda” (“Dirceu defends “social revolution” to distribute income”), Folha de S.Paulo, page A7, January 3, 2003. This article analyzes the inaugural speech given by the new Chief of Staff, Minister José Dirceu. One politician characterized the speech as that of a “leftist leader.” The article highlights the call for “social revolution” desired by the PT.
  5. “‘Vamos fazer uma verdadeira revolução social’” (“‘We’re going to have a real social revolution’”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A6, January 3, 2003. This article analyzes Chief of Staff José Dirceu’s inaugural speech. It gives the main points made by Mr. Dirceu in his speech and emphasizes that he reminded everyone of PT’s leftist and socialist roots.
  6. “Rossetto diz que não será tutelado pelp MST” (“The Landless Movement (MST) will not be suffocated, says Rossetto”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A10, January 3, 2003. This article analyzes the inaugural speech given by Mr. Miguel Rossetto, the new Minister for Agrarian Development (Land Reform). Mr. Rossetto hails from the PT’s most leftist clique. The article also states that the speech was well received by the MST.
  7. “PT troca ‘paz e amor’ por ‘revolução social’” (“PT switches ‘Peace and Love’ for ‘Social Revolution’”), Folha de S.Paulo, page A4, January 3, 2003. This article affirms that, on the day of its inauguration, President Lula da Silva’s new administration abandoned the cautious and conciliatory tone heard throughout Lula’s electoral campaign.
  8. “Politburo Chief?”, Primeira Leitura, January 1, 2003. This article shows that Chief of Staff José Dirceu is the administration’s new strong man, saying Dirceu is ready to use an iron fist to enforce policy decisions. The article also claims that Dirceu wants control of the country’s Intelligence Services.
  9. “He’s got the power”, Época, January 13, 2003. This article analyzes the powers given to the Chief of Staff, Minister José Dirceu. It states that not since the days of military rule has so much power been concentrated in any one Minister.
  10. “Rossetto admite rever lei sobre invasões” (“Rossetto admits that land invasions law will receive a fresh look”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A10, December 24, 2002. This article reports on the desire expressed by the new Minister of Agrarian Development (Land Reform) to take a fresh look at the laws curtailing farm invasions by rural agitators. It also states that agricultural leaders see Mr. Rosetto’s appointment as Minister of Agrarian Development as Lula reneging on his campaign promises, and that they fear a rekindling of violence in the countryside.
  11. “O ministro que o MST queria” (“The MST gets the minister it wanted”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A3, December 28, 2002. This editorial states that Miguel Rossetto’s appointment as Minister of Agrarian Development (Land Reform) was welcomed with enthusiasm by the MST. The editorial voices concern, since Rossetto represents PT’s most radical wing, and is known for both his ideological intransigence, and tolerance towards land invasions.
  12. “Rossetto diz que não será tutelado pelp MST” (“The Landless Movement (MST) will not be suffocated, says Rossetto”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A10, January 3, 2003.
  13. “‘Revolução pode ser violenta’, diz Chávez” (“‘The revolution may be violent’, says Chavez”), Folha de S.Paulo, page A12, January 3, 2003. This article reports on the strongly anti-democratic statements made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his stay in Brazil, calling for a revolution that may become violent and which will not stop even if the opposition wins at the voting booths.
  14. “Com Lula, Chávez defende integração energética” (“Chavez lobbies Lula for energy integration”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A19, January 3, 2003. This article reports on the working breakfast between Brazil’s new President and Hugo Chávez. It states that Chavez intends to push for Latin America’s energy integration, especially regarding oil, and that this integration is part of his Bolivarian Revolution. It also reports on Chavez’ request that Lula put together a bloc of nations friendly to Venezuela.
  15. Aníbal Romero, “O Brasil e a crise venezuelana” (“Brazil and the Venezuelan crisis”), Jornal do Brasil, January 9, 2003. A Political Science professor from Simón Bolivar University in Caracas complains about the support given by President Lula da Silva’s administration to the authoritarian and repressive regime of Hugo Chavez.
  16. Antônia Márcia Valle, “Fidel, Cadê Você” (“Fidel, where are you?”), Isto É, No. 1736, page 61, January 8, 2003. This article analyzes the lavish honors shown to the Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro during President Lula da Silva’s inauguration.
  17. “Relação com Cuba será fortalecida na área social” (“Links to Cuba to be strengthened in the areas of Education, Health and Human Services”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A8, January 3, 2003. This article reports on the new inter-governmental exchanges between Brazil and Cuba.
  18. “Para Goldemberg, posição lembra governo militar” (“For Goldemberg it is reminiscent of military rule”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A11, January 8, 2003. José Goldenberg, scientist and the State of São Paulo’s Secretary for the Environment, rejects the arguments put forth by the Minister of Science and Technology, and states that the research intent is the production of nuclear weapons.
  19. “A bomba do ministro Amaral” (“Minister Amaral’s bomb”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A3, January 8, 2003. This editorial urges President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva to fire the newly appointed Minister of Science and Technology for his statement that Brazil needs to master nuclear weapons technology.
  20. “The promised tough game”, Época, January 6, 2003. This article analyzes the appointment of Ambassador Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, a virulent opponent of FTAA, as Itamaraty’s (Brazil’s Foreign Ministry) Secretary General.
  21. “Crítico e defensor da Alca dividem 2.o posto do Itamaraty” (“Deputy Secretary position is shared between opponent and advocate of FTAA”), O Estado de São Paulo, page A8, January 3, 2003. This article analyzes the malaise engendered by the appointment of Ambassador Pinheiro Guimarães, one of FTAA’s most vocal opponents, as General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It also reports on the splitting of the Deputy Secretary position into a political post and an economic one. It further reports on the probable appointment of José Maurício Bustani as Brazilian ambassador to London.

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