Whenever there is a fire in the Amazonian rainforest, a bunch of
phony NGOs start firing their accusations against Brazil alleging
the environment. They want to transform Amazônia
into a huge botanical garden as if harvesting
nuts were a way of
bringing development to the
amazônidas, who are also Brazilians.
The sun always rises again, even when we are dealing with disaster. For the last few days the television has been
showing the devastation in southern California due to megafires that burned one thousand and five hundred kilometers of
forests, destroyed a thousand homes and left thousands of Americans with no shelter. No matter how hard they try, the
firefighters cannot control the flames. FBI investigations suggest the catastrophe may have been started by the action of a crimminal.
If the Fires Were in the Amazon…
What does this news have to do with us, apart from the natural feelings of sympathy towards other human beings?
Well, everything, actually, because the idea that the U.S. could not be prepared to keep its sovereignty over the state of
California would never occur to anyone in his right mind. No head of state or foreign government has ever come forward to
suggest the internationalization of that state. There is no record of any Non Governmental Organization planning to gather all
Californians into an independent nation or helping arrange for them to go to Belgium or Holland to pursue degrees in administration
or high politics in order to form an autonomous form of government.
When fires devastate the Amazon, howeveralbeit never as extensively as in this casethe first comment we hear
is about the need to internationalize the region, "which belongs to Humanity, as one of its largest lungs". But are not the
Californian forests also huge producers of oxygen for the planet? Smaller than the Amazon, for sure, but just as rich.
In less than fifteen minutes following the detection of any fire in the Amazonian rainforest, a bunch of phony NGOs
start firing their accusations against the government, the farmers and the tappers of Brazil alleging crimes against the
environment. They organize movements to preserve indigenous tribes, specially those that inhabit the region bordering the Guianas,
Venezuela and Colombiaand this is not by coincidence.
They want to transform Amazônia into a huge botanical garden ready to welcome their tourists and scientists, the
latter more than the former, actually. They stimulate the distorted vision, shared by naive individuals inside our government,
that extraction is the sole vocation of the region. As if harvesting nuts were a way of bringing development to the
amazônidas, who are as Brazilian as any of us. Maybe the lesson will stick with Californians… From now on, in order to avoid the
devastation of its forests and remove the danger of internationalization, how about asking them to stick to bird hunting from
The Last Socialist
The idea of trying to find the last socialist alive is a valid one. In spite of his (late but correct) diagnosis announced
at the opening of the Socialist Internationale, we will never conclude that President Lula is that person. Yes, he did state
that our national sovereignty is threatened because former administrations (good morning, Fernando Henrique Cardoso)
have rendered our country extremely vulnerable to the movements of speculative capital and the political forces that sustain it.
However, on top of the neo-liberal stance with which he has branded our economy, the President also made a
statement, weeks ago, that he was never a leftist. Well, it is not easy to find socialists who are not leftistsmaybe the only ones are
those who marched the goose step of the German nationalist-socialism, and definitely this is not the case.
What we have, then, is a new premise demonstrated: Lula is not a socialist because he is not a leftist,
notwithstanding his now very popular statement.
Who, then, will we call `the last socialist’? The only answer is Leonel Brizola, who has been vice-president of
the Internationale for the past ten years and has always been coherent in his attempt to give labor relations the socialist
context reaffirmed by Getúlio Vargas.
If there is a party still faithful to socialist ideals, that party is the PDT (Partido Democrático
TrabalhistaDemocratic Labor Party). And if there is a voice who does not keep silent when protesting the lines adopted by the current
administration, that voice is Brizola’s, the founder and president of PDT. He could very well get comfortable under the shadow of the
Planalto Palace, a much more convenient position for him, and concern himself only with enlarging his party’s congressional
blocs and sharing a small portion of power.
For that, though, he would need to let go of his convictions. Instead, he followed the path imposed by his socialist
conscience: he broke up with the government and became its main critic. This without failing to recognize, as he did this
week, the relevance of Lula’s diagnosis about our economy. The problem, however, is that the practice remains the same, in
spite of any presidential theoryour economic model is one that benefits only speculative capital…
Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio’s daily Tribuna da
Imprensa and is a representative of the Brazilian
Press Association, in Brasília. He welcomes your comments at
Translated by Tereza Braga. Braga is a freelance Portuguese translator and interpreter based in Dallas. She is an
accredited member of the American Translators Association. Contact: