As soon as the danger dissipated, Nelson Jobim, Brazil’s Defense Minister, showed up at the war zone ready come hell or high water. In case of a tsunami, he would land on a beach in Haiti in the admiral uniform he was given in Russia. In case of a space invasion, he would fly over the Caribbean with the gala attire of a French Brigadier. As this was an earthquake, the Defense minister channeled general Jobim and burst in Port-au-Prince wearing a campaign uniform.
The mission was accomplished in three days. In the first day, the fearless stranger recommended survivors that they hospitalized the wounded and buried the dead. In the second day, he ordered the active Brazilian military in the waterless and foodless city to give water to those who are thirsty and food to the hungry. In the third day, he found that the Brazilian government had suffered a loss much more painful than that brought by the earthquake.
Jobim maintained the serenity of someone who prepares a mate in the late afternoon to comment on the death in combat of sweet warrior Zilda Arns, of diplomat Luiz Carlos da Costa and of 14 young heroes engaged in UN’s peacekeeping force. These things happen, the flight attendant’s smile suggested. What seemed unbearable to him was the loss of control of the capital’s airport.
“We cannot accept the unilateral command of the United States,” he warned upon learning that the U.S. military, when bumping into the airport in collapse and without effective control, had taken the reins and normalized the air traffic without asking Brazil’s permission.
Angered by the insolence, Jobim lost the rest of his patience with the news that the Brazilian Air Force cargo planes had been prevented from landing in the Haitian capital by Yankee flight controllers who advised them to land on less insecure runways.
“All this can be seen as something natural,” admitted Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, “but it is important to make it clear that we are being treated with the appropriate priority.” Now, amid mountains of rubble, the Itamaraty (Foreign Ministry) continues to look for the shortcut that will give Brazil a seat in the UN’s Security Council.
The spectacle of crass opportunism was thickened on Friday by Brazil’s ambassador to the UN, Maria Luisa Viotti. “I am looking for information about the character of the presence of the U.S. troops in Haiti,” revealed the diplomat, battered by the ever-present suspicion: after having leased Colombia, the empire of Barack Obama may try now Haiti’s annexation.
She gave a sigh of relief when she found out that the mission is humanitarian, but she isn’t quite satisfied yet. Now she wants to know from the White House if there is a risk of “interference in the peace mission led by the Brazilian military.”
The UN tells us that a miserable nation was devastated by the biggest tragedy since its founding 60 years ago. Deep in the unparalleled nightmare, devoid of all, Haiti needs a lot of bread, but at the moment doesn’t need a circus. The government troupe is free to embarrass Brazil elsewhere.
Augusto Nunes is a Brazilian journalist and writes for weekly Veja magazine. This article was originally published in Portuguese in his blog – http://veja.abril.com.br/blog/augusto-nunes/direto-ao-ponto
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