The Guardian September 4, 2002


Which direction for Brazil?

by Jose Reinaldo Carvalho
Vice-President of Communist Party of Brazil
Secretary for International Relations

Elections are due to be held in Brazil on September 21. The outcome of 
these elections will have important ramifications far beyond Brazil's 
borders. Is Brazil to become a prosperous, progressive and independent 
country playing an important role in world affairs or is it to remain a 
colony of the giant US corporations? In the two (edited) articles on this 
page Jose Carvalho argues for the first alternative. Jose Carvalho is a 
journalist, Vice-President of Communist Party of Brazil, responsible for 
International Relations.

The elections in Brazil raise attention all over the world. The perspective 
of change regarding the South-American giant should new progressive, left-
wing forces deeply rooted in the working class and popular masses take 
power, results in different kinds of reactions.

There are the attempts by North-American imperialists (via IMF), to 
condition the economic policies of the future government and determine the 
strategic siding with the US policy towards Latin America, as Assistant 
Secretary of State for Latin America Otto Reich and US ambassador in Brazil 
Donna Hrinak have insinuated.

For the United States, [it demands that] whichever government is elected it 
will have to submit itself to the rules of the international financial 
system and take the necessary steps towards integrating the Free Trade of 
the Americas Agreement (FTAA).

In Europe the focus of their interests is different. With an eye on the 
great Brazilian and Latin American market, the European Union has given 
different signals. The declarations of many EU leaders, even conservative 
ones, indicate that it may support Brazil in its effort to create another 
kind of block  a strengthened Mercosur or possibly a Free Trade Area of 
South America  an exclusively Southern block.

There is no doubt regarding the monopolist nature of the European interest 
in Latin America and especially Brazil, but we should not be indifferent to 
the development of such a contradiction between the great imperialist 
blocks especially when the contention takes place in our own continent and 
the Brazilian nation.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 many strategic changes have 
taken place in the world.

Europe has been consolidated as a powerful economic union and now is in a 
process of military strengthening.

The United States began the formation of an economic block with the North 
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), involving Mexico and Canada, as the 
starting point for the annexation of all Americas in the FTAA.

The great empire enjoyed its five minutes of glory and spent the last 
decade of the previous century affirming its hegemony by means of 
aggressions and by the aggrandizement and improvement of its military and 
nuclear power.

The facts make it clear that the United States is a superpower  literally 
the only one as far as its military power is concerned. When its economic 
power is taken into account it becomes clear that it is relatively smaller 
than it was in the '70s and now faces the rivalry of consolidated poles 
such as the European Union and Japan, despite the economic crisis of the 
latter.

Europe and Japan are obviously strategically preparing themselves to get 
rid of the US control and seek their economic, political and also military 
independence.

The government of Lula da Silva, which we struggle to elect, must take this 
situation into account. Brazil has a huge room to occupy in the world and a 
leading part to play among the great nations.

It must not be treated as a neo-colonial banana republic at the disposal of 
the determinations of the US imperialism. We must wipe out the ignominious 
stain with which the government of Fernando Cardoso has covered itself in 
the submissive era that its eight years of misgovernment constitute.

During five centuries the people who lived here have been the leading 
characters in the beautiful and epic human adventure that resulted in the 
development of a modern civilisation in the tropics  despite enslavement, 
the past colonialism with its perverse results, and the present dependence 
that cripples national development.

A firm, independent and able foreign policy will make the world treat us 
with respect. The fair exploration of the contradictions between 
imperialists and the search for strategic partnerships with countries such 
as China, India, South Africa and others will contribute to that end.

There is still another kind of reaction raised by the perspective of 
electing a government representing the democratic, national and popular 
forces: the hope  especially regarding our Latin American brothers  
that a turnaround in the situation will contribute to the struggle of us 
all against neocolonialism and imperialist domination.

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