Lula’s Latest Decree Is Death Knell for Free Press and Private Property

MST takes over farm in BrazilReaders ask me if I’m not going to comment on the infamous Decree 7,037 establishing the National Human Rights Program, the last gasp of the Kremlin’s widows in a Brazil where the essence of the air is still red. (Le fond de l’air est rouge, as the 1968 rich kids used to say  in Paris).

To be honest, I wasn’t going to comment. The mainstream media is strongly denouncing the miniconstituent dressed as a decree and it is obvious that the text as it is is not going to pass. They couldn’t hide their impatience and greediness.

Terrorist Paulo Vannuchi’s plan angered many people and powerful sectors of the country, starting with the Armed Forces and the Church. What is not appropriate in an election season, particularly in a year when the government is betting all its chips in another terrorist. (Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s pick to succeed him, used to be a member of the Armed Revolutionary Vanguard Palmares, the VAR-Palmares guerrilla group in the 1960s.)

I like to denounce what the press doesn’t. In any case, since readers insist, I’ll do it. The miniconstituent – or coup, as some journalists define it – among other fine qualities, abolishes with a stroke of a pen the right to property, the freedom of education and the freedom of the press.

You don’t need a good memory to be aware that we have seen this. USSR, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba, remember? This is what happens when a country allows miscreants who should be in jail to take the reins of power.

They say the military were the winners of 64. Wrongo! The military were soundly defeated in 64. Their role in history today is that of villains. The terrorists who were supposedly defeated, who wanted to transform the country into a Moscow banana republic, have been taken to the heroes podium.

Since they are on top, nothing more natural than to try to make the legal text into what already exists in embryo in practice. The right to property has been plundered every day by the so-called landless, with the judiciary’s and executive’s consent. Free press, the cornerstone of the 1988 Constitution, became a joke.

Any first instance small potatoes judge, with a stroke of a pen can forbid any paper denouncing the government’s corruption. As for the schools we’ve known for long they are controlled by the former communosaurs. Universities, today, especially the Catholic ones, are laboratories of Marxism. The luminaries from the Brasília Plateau might have thought: since we got there, let’s make this thing official.

A dear friend writes to me: “The insane decree provides, in cases of property invasion, that the victim should seek a solution to the conflict before a government committee (formed by some who-knows, “civil society members.”) In case this terrorist attempt succeeds we may not leave our homes, for example, to travel. For when we come back, we may find the lock already duly changed by the invaders. Hence, we will only be able to cry in the ear of a committee, whose decision is not difficult to predict! Only then, if the ominous committee does not find a solution, at that time only, the poor plundered citizen may seek judicial assistance provided by the Federal Constitution. Can this happen?”

It can. This has been going on for long. Today, if a farmer has its property invaded, he can no longer call the police and expel the invaders. The judiciary, by claiming the right to arbitrate a police matter, gave the Catholic guerrilla on a plate what the bandits most wanted. Indeed, even if a judge grants the owner the legal possession, depending on the state the Executive may have the luxury of disobeying the court order.

What amazes me in all this is that the so-called homeless haven’t yet started to invade beach houses, which after all lack “social function” most of the year. But my friend will get it all sooner or later. At the rate we are going, we will get there rather sooner than later. With or without the Human Rights Decree. And we’ll have enough left-wing judges to recognize the right of possession of the invader.

In Spain they are already there. A citizen, I cannot remember now from which city, went on vacation and when he came back, he found the apartment had been raided and the lock changed. This happened about 15 months ago. To date, the owner has not regained possession. If it were I, I’d smash the door, get in by force and send the bum away.

If someone can break into my house, why can’t I, the owner, do the same? It turns out that the law does not allow it. If I have the property, the villain has the possession. And if in Spain there have been sentences to that effect, it will not take long before the fashion gets to us. The Gordian knot of the decree, however, lies in another item.

It is the terror’s revenge attempt, which wants to send to jail the military that one day, by common consent, were pardoned. To the left, amnesty is unilateral. Only the left can be pardoned. It turns out that this is not the tenor of the institution.

Amnesty is for both sides or it’s not amnesty. Vannuchi in his truculence, is proposing a return to primitive times, when vendetta was an acceptable way of justice. The notorious decree is a recurrence of Marxism in the Workers Party (PT).

After Lula demolished the party’s ideals, some hardliners decided to unfurl again the old flag. If it catches, it catches. But it won’t pass. I would say it is like a goat in the room. In this case in the presidential office.

Removed the goat, everyone will be happy with what they already have. Will remain, of course, some of the animal excrement. For a country that swallows Lula, swallowing shit will be quite easy.

Janer Cristaldo – he holds a Ph.D. from University of Paris, Sorbonne – is an author, translator, lawyer, philosopher and journalist and lives in São Paulo. His e-mail address is

Translated from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.


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