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Brazzil - Foreign Relation - August 2004

Brazil's Lula, the Generous African

Cape Verde, which cannot meet its meager US$ 2.5 million debt
obligation, had it forgiven. This miserable sum doesn't pay for a
twentieth of Brazil's new presidential jet. In Gabon, Lula again
extended courtesy with his fellow citizen's hat. He managed to
pardon the US$ 36 million Gabonese debt. Such generosity.

Janer Cristaldo

Cape Verde Leader
and Lula


Picture I spoke of him last week. But, not all was said. Our President, Lula, is so quick that I can't keep up. To stay current with his nonsense, only an entire news staff. This, for example, had escaped me. The one to catch it was journalist Elio Gaspari.

On the 19th of last month, in an event in São Paulo, he cried out: "In any part of the world I visit, I have to deposit flowers at the national hero's grave. Brazil doesn't have that."

On the 29th of June, in opening the Human Rights National Conference, he had said: "Poor is the nation that relies on heroes to defend its dignity. Poor is the nation that relies on martyrs to defend freedom or that relies on the dead to defend life."

The Supreme Ignoramus needs to make up his mind. After all, do we or do we not need heroes? In his own uncultured way, he ended up citing a Stalinist. A quote by Brecht was put in his mouth, and he regurgitated it without having a clue as to what it referred to.

He had done the same in England when mentioning the Webb brothers, never imagining the colossal forgery he was alluding to. Brecht, in case one can't recall, was that German communist who praised the proletarian revolution in his theater, while making royalty deposits in Swiss banks.

The Webb brothers, for those unaware, were two English communists, Sidney and Beatrice, who in 1938 wrote a colossal account about the Soviet paradise, Soviet Communism—A New Civilization.

We know today that they wrote nothing. They simply signed their names on the propaganda manifesto provided by NKVD, the Soviet secret service, later renamed KGB.

Amidst all this, Brazilian electoral judges formulate exams to test the literacy level of candidates to elective posts in the upcoming elections. But how can we demand literacy from mayor or city council candidates while the nation's president is illiterate?

I'm not accusing the president of not being capable of reading or writing. He is worse than illiterate. He is one who—according to author Mário Quintana's definition—can read, but does not.

While ancient history gave us Cypian, the African who defeated Hannibal, in Zama, in northern Africa, contemporary times bestow us a prank, in bad taste.

History repeats itself as farce, as that XIX century prophet used to say. Lula, the African, believes in defeating hunger by establishing relations with the poorest continent on Earth. He claims that Brazil's intentions are not only to export to Africa, but to assist in the commercial development of the countries in the continent.

Exporting is a good idea, as long as exports are aimed at those who can pay for them. Cape Verde, which cannot meet its meager US$ 2.5 million debt obligation, had it forgiven.

After all, this miserable sum doesn't pay for a twentieth of the new presidential jet of this magnificent powerful nation that now flexes its leadership muscles in the African continent.

In Gabon, he again extended courtesy with his fellow citizen's hat. Beyond some "r & r" within the environs of tyrant Omar Bongo, who is commemorating 37 years in power, Lula managed to pardon the US$ 36 million Gabonese dictatorship small debt, a little more than half the cost of his new play toy.

Lest we forget, a month ago he let Bolivia off, nothing less than US$ 100 million. Only a few are capable of such generosity. The road is now paved to subsidize the guru of Latin America's left wingers, Fidel Ruz Castro, who will certainly be worthy of a fatter booty, given that he has been running his despotic show for glorious 45 years now.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian government doesn't pay what it owes to its own citizens. There are food voucher recipients dying everyday, without sight of a penny they are entitled to. They die with no hope of even their spouses or children ever receiving it.

Since 1993, the Federal Government has owed its employees a 28.86 percent raise, which is being paid at a snail pace to those most in need and who found themselves forced to accept a deceitful settlement. The decisions were assented by the courts, but no recipient has yet been reimbursed.

Employees from the Judiciary and Legislative, with greater bargaining power, already pocketed theirs. Those from the Executive, particularly the ones who didn't fall for that fraud of an accord, to this day have not seen a dime of what is due.

Many people have died. The unpaid balance has been passed on to the children or spouses, but no one doubts that perhaps only the grandchildren will ever catch a glimpse of that cash, that is, if the Federal or State governments—and the payees themselves—don't have their memories of the debt wiped out by then.

When a private company cannot meet its payroll, it must file for bankruptcy. If a taxpayer cannot fulfill his/her responsibility before the IRS, the state confiscates his/her assets. Yet, when the union falls short of its obligations, it simply puts them on hold.

In the meantime, the leader of a swindling government, that cannot pay its public servants, poses magnanimously next to the small Africans across the sea.

What cannot go without compensation, let it be clear, is the blessed legacy from former president Fernando Henrique, the millions in retirement pensions granted to ruffians and small crooks that one day tried to ruin the country.

Janer Cristaldo—he holds a PhD from University of Paris, Sorbonne—is an author, translator, lawyer, philosopher and journalist and lives in São Paulo. His e-mail address is cristal@baguete.com.br
Translated from the Portuguese by Eduardo Assumpção de Queiroz. He is a freelance translator, with a degree in Business and almost 20 years of experience working in the fields of economics, communications, social and political sciences, and sports. He lives in Boca Raton, FL. His email: eaqus@adelphia.net.

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