Lula Watch: Vol.6 – No.4

The denunciation is strong. In part, the news was already known. However, the dangerous liaisons between the government of Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Colombia’s FARC terrorist movement now appear to be coming out into the open.

A recent issue of Cambio, a leading Colombian magazine, devotes its cover story (July 31) to the so-called “Brazilian dossier.”

Scandalous Collaboration
Cambio reports on documents found on the laptops of FARC leader Raul Reyes, killed in Ecuadorian territory. They reveal that FARC connections with highly placed members of the Lula government have reached scandalous proportions.

The Cambio story claims the “Brazilian dossier” has even more serious implications than the damning evidence found concerning the involvement of Presidents Chavez (Venezuela) and Correa (Ecuador) with FARC. It also raises a number of questions that require an answer from the Brazilian government.

The magazine had access to a small sample of 85 emails sent between February 1999 and February 2008. The correspondence reveals Brazil’s importance to FARC’s international agenda and show how the terrorist organization profited from Lula’s rise to power.
To judge by the content of the messages, the presence of FARC in Brazil reached the highest levels of the Lula government, the Worker’s Party, the Justice department and others.

Catholic Priest and FARC “Ambassador”
The central figure in the report is a Colombian Catholic priest, Father Antonio Cadena Collazos alias “Oliverio Medina” or “Father Camilo.” Belonging to the FARC, he has long served as an unofficial “ambassador” to Brazilian authorities.

Medina has been accused of various crimes in Colombia. When he was arrested in Brazil and jailed, the government did everything to prevent his extradition and released him from prison by giving him “political refugee” status.

It is well to recall that on the occasion FARC issued a communiqué (posted on its web site) thanking the Lula government for its earnest commitment to protect Medina. Later, Medina’s wife, a native Brazilian, was given a post of confidence in the Lula administration.

Through the e-mail messages, it has now been revealed that Medina has been involved in high level contacts with government officials well beyond his unofficial role in favor of the FARC terrorist movement.

Uribe Delivers the Dossier to Lula
The magazine tells how Lula became aware of the “Brazilian dossier.” During his recent trip to Colombia, in a private meeting with only a few witnesses, President Uribe briefed Lula about the electronic files found on the laptop of Raul Reyes, exposing the involvement of Lula government officials with FARC.

Among others, Cambio mentions José Dirceu (Lula’s former chief of staff), Gilberto Carvalho (a top assistant), Marco Aurélio Garcia (the president’s aide for international affairs), Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, and Paulo Vanucci, of the Secretariat for Human Rights.

Shaken Image
With this development, the media-generated image of Lula as a simple man who gave up or moderated his Marxist agenda upon rising to the presidency has been irremediably shaken.

Lula has not abandoned his leftist ideology. He has been in the forefront of buttressing up Latin American leftists like Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and the Argentine Kirchners to help build Chavez’s proposed “twenty-first century socialism.” Now his government has been caught in cahoots with a leftist terrorist movement.

A convincing explanation by the Brazilian government is in order. For now, foreign advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia says the disclosures are … irrelevant.

And, as often happens, it is well to emphasize that the “Catholic left” is always present in the more sinister affairs involving the Lula government. After all, FARC’s “ambassador” to Lula’s liberation-theology-inspired government is a former priest.

F@RC’s Revealing Emails
In any case, a tomb-like silence has fallen over the emails found in the “Brazilian dossier.”

As soon as the news of the emails became known, officials in the Lula Administration tried to evade the issue. Subsequently, a large part of the media that abide by the “ethics” of officialdom completely smothered the subject.

Embarrassing Emails that “Prove Nothing”
The publication of such damning materials implicating the government should have sparked a true race to see who could practice ‘investigative journalism.’ The contrary has happened. Some journalists are even defending the government.

Eliane Cantanhêde, in the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo (Aug. 3, 2008), broke the silence and played the role of spokesperson for Lula and his party. In an article titled “Ghosts,” the Folha journalist claimed the FARC emails “have no practical content” and “have no reference to gestures, actions or concrete movements that characterize an alliance with the guerrillas.”

This is not true since the materials that were published refer precisely to actions of interest to FARC terrorists, some of them successfully carried out with the support of influential people in the government.

In her haste to disqualify the published documentation, Eliane Cantanhêde stumbled. She claimed: “In short, the guerrilla emails prove nothing except that sectors of the Uribe government are itching to embarrass the Brazilian government. And they are succeeding.” One wonders how these sectors of the Uribe government could succeed in embarrassing the Brazilian government if the guerrilla emails prove nothing.

“Rehashed” Information, “Setup”…
There were also other official “explanations.”

For [presidential chief of staff] Minister Dilma Roussef, the information in the Cambio article is “rehashed” and therefore unimportant. Rehashed or not, what must be determined is if it is true. Any information about a real crime is important.

Furthermore, the minister appears to have “forgotten” that Cambio magazine simply quoted part of the materials about FARC connections in Brazil that the Colombian government recently delivered to the Lula government. Is that information also “rehashed”?

For his part, the president’s aide for international affairs, Marco Aurélio Garcia, speaking to Folha de S. Paulo (Aug. 2, 2008), denied any link between the PT and the government with the FARC and said that “time will show that this is a big setup.”

If this whole thing is a big setup, why doesn’t the Lula government immediately and completely undo it and dispel all doubt? Why only time will solve this? Through forgetfulness?

Another Pretext: “Power Struggle”
Furthermore, the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo (Aug. 2, 2008) reported that after three meetings with his direct aides and members of Itamaraty [the Foreign Ministry], President Lula concluded the Cambio story reflects an internal power struggle in Colombia.

This struggle purportedly involves President Alvaro Uribe and Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, a likely candidate to succeed Uribe as president.

Since Uribe is close to crushing the FARC militarily and obliging them to negotiate and then disperse, he could easily land a third mandate, hurting Santos’ aspirations.

Thus, the “power struggle” theory claims the Colombian Defense Minister published in Cambio magazine the documentation exposing relations between the Lula government and the FARC. Thus, the information contained therein is worthless.

The logic behind the publication is not clear but such explanations are typical of the Lula spinmeisters.

Another Explanation: Colombian “Revenge”
In its systematic and detailed report titled “F@RC, the compromising emails” by Alexandre Oltramari, Brazilian magazine Veja (Aug. 6, 2008) published one more “explanation” by Lula’s officialdom.

Lula aides guarantee that the publication of the revealing messages was an act of revenge of Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos.

According to this theory, the Colombian government opposes the country’s adhesion to Lula’s latest international initiative, the South American Defense Council. Thus, Santos published only incriminating emails and cast aside other messages that allegedly would prove that PT members have taken a distance from FARC.

Contesting this claim, the magazine objectively concludes, “If that is true, it suffices for the government to publish the material in its entirety, which they received three months ago and kept locked under seven keys.”

In face of the email wars, there is growing malaise within official circles, which try by every means to bury the subject, as “the files apprehended from the guerrillas show that the relationship between PT and FARC is deeper than was known and may have involved the government” (Veja).

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