The Guardian September 4, 2002


The people and the elections in Brazil

In the last two weeks Brazil was visited by two important US authorities  
Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Otto Reich, and Secretary 
of the Treasury, Paul O'Neil. They followed different but convergent 
schedules.

The first came to be informed on the political situation and analyse 
Brazil's commitment in the next government regarding the main matters of 
the US policy for the hemisphere.

It was a discreet visit  something convenient when one is trying to make 
strategic moves.

On the other hand, Paul O'Neill's visit  in a moment when the economic 
and financial crisis in Brazil worsened  reached the headlines and became 
the main fact defining government measures and the electoral campaign's 
debates.

However, whether discreetly on the backstage or under the spotlights, the 
two officers from the White House came to feel the Brazilian political 
pulse, define positions and impose conditions. This is US imperialism 
reaching the stage of the current electoral struggle in Brazil, and in 
their usual way and within diplomatic limits, despite O'Neill's 
impertinence.

The United States are not indifferent to the election of the President of 
the Republic in Brazil. The paths chosen by our country may be decisive to 
the success or failure of strategy of US imperialism towards the 
hemisphere.

Two pillars

This strategy deliriously aims at making the 21st century the "Century of 
the Americas"  that is, the century of the United States  and is based 
on two pillars.

The first one consists in assuring the full and free circulation of 
financial capital at the expense of the independent development of national 
economies in all countries of the continent subordinated to the US 
dominion.

The second pillar is the so-called "fight against terrorism", which implies 
the struggle against revolutionary movements, nationalist and popular 
governments, such as in Venezuela, and against the only socialist country 
in the Americas, Cuba.

Even though the situation is not prone to coups d'itat, this aspect of US 
strategy towards the continent is reflected in its support of neo-liberal 
governments and strengthens an elitist, anti-democratic and restrictive 
trend regarding liberties and social rights.

Ultimately, it is reflected in the creation of a political institutionality 
of an authoritative character, even though it lies under the cover of 
constitutional normality.

Washington's heralds came to claim commitment to the realisation of this 
strategy. And surreptitiously divulged the idea that either the Latin 
American countries accept that in order to keep their status as allied 
countries or they will face the onus of being listed as renegade states.

Thus they outlined the profile to be accepted by our future President  
someone committed to the FTAA, the 'fight against terrorism', the Colombia 
Plan, the blockade of Cuba  someone willing to be a pawn for the United 
States.

They want a midget statesman destined to enter into history with the stigma 
of an all-yielding bootlicker such as the last Presidents of Brazil, 
Argentina, Mexico, Peru, etc.

These political moves go hand in hand with interference in the economic 
orientation in face of the financial crisis and the evidence that the neo-
liberal recipe has failed not only in Brazil, but all over the continent.

There is stagnated production, high unemployment, diminished labour income 
and financial strangulation  all phenomena resulting from the 
implementation of such recipes. It characterises the Brazilian situation 
and constitutes a heavy inheritance that the government of President 
Cardoso will leave for his successor.

The emissaries of the US Government and the IMF board that are settling a 
new agreement with the Brazilian Government pretentiously intend to outline 
the future economic management and demand that candidates repeat in unison 
their pre-disposition to apply this bitter recipe  the same one that has 
[already] failed  the achievement of primary surpluses, the policy of 
high interest rates and the religious payment of [debts to] foreign 
creditors.

In such moments we must read and reread history. What is good for them is 
not good for us, the Brazilian people.

The United States is not willing to deal with statesmen, but with colony 
governors.

We, the Brazilian people struggle to find a new direction, a new policy, a 
new government identified with the national longings, able to transform 
this great country into a powerful nation.

The election is an important episode and, in the present conditions, is a 
decisive one. It is at the same time a struggle and a movement. Should it 
be well conducted, it may prepare the conditions for the second and 
definitive independence of Brazil.

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