Nothing better than to start the year trying to play a guess game: which was the most ecologically regrettable episode in 2011? In our view, it was the fact that former minister Marina Silva left the Green Party (Partido Verde), something that will rekindle the dispute waged for decades or even centuries over the sovereignty in the Amazon.
The eternal vultures of the Northern Hemisphere once again use this opportunity to return to that old rigmarole that it will be easier to call the region a patrimony of humanity, which should be administered by an international power, that would rule over the Amazonian countries governments.
Now and then, the New York Times editorials work as a kind of bugle call capable of enlisting several assault troops.
Twenty years ago we had an increase in the institutionalized blitz by the rich countries governments from Al Gore in the United States, for whom Brazil didn’t own the forest, to François Mitterrand of France, Felipe Gonzalez of Spain, Mickhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, Margaret Thatcher and John Major, of Britain, among others.
During his first presidential campaign, George W. Bush went on to suggest that countries with large external debts should be able to pay them with forests, something equivalent to forgive the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, which have only deserts.
In those days, the campaign bordered on the limits between the ridiculous and hilarious, since in order to convince children and youngsters, preparing them to join the invading forces, even Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and other cretins in costume took their adventures to the Amazon, where they became defenders of red skin Indians and super blond scientists, battling Brazilian policemen and farmers drawn as if they were Mexican bandits, with a thick mustache and prominent belly.
Then in the nineties, the strategy changed. They stopped talking, though they didn’t stop preparing units of American army specialized in jungle warfare. They chose then to prepare new attacks sending first battalions formed by thousands of NGOs with scientists, missionaries and college students committed to transform Brazilian Indian tribes into independent nations, an initiative that’s in full swing today and soon will result in the recognition of fake Indian reservations as “liberated” countries.
We should prepare ourselves for a new phase, stimulated by the absence of Marina Silva, a fierce rival of the forest’s internationalization. Allied to the Brazilian fifth-column made up of naive people and scoundrels, they seem to be making a comeback while attempting to ward off the Brazilian government of the matter.
Was it mere coincidence that the United States has already reestablished the US Navy’s Fourth Fleet, designed to patrol the South Atlantic, bringing together even aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines?
On our side, although we do our best, little apparently has been done. Not long ago a committee of the National Army colonels, led by two generals, spent months in Vietnam, trying to get lessons on how a poor country can win the best-armed superpower on the planet, while waging a war inside the jungle.
Starting with general Andrada Serpa, and going through former Minister Zenildo Lucena, from generals Lessa, Santa Rosa and Claudio Figueiredo, to General Augusto Heleno and Colonel Gelio Fregapani now, the philosophy has been consistent.
Our warriors become guerrillas. They may not resist for fifteen minutes a conventional conflict, with all the electronic paraphernalia of the enemy concentrated in the cities, but they will be able to repeat the saying of the respectable General Giap: “They may get in, but they will get out, only defeated.”
In short, anything can happen in 2012 and we must be prepared for that. Certainly not following the puerile suggestion of a former environment minister, Carlos Minc, who wanted to turn soldiers into gamekeepers and forest guards.
The Amazon peoples rejected, in the seventies, collaborating with the guerrillas in Xambioá, but this time in unison, they will form the choir that can provide a basis for military action nationwide.
For those who think these comments are paranoid fantasies, it is good to remind: for much less the US turned Afghanistan and Iraq in a battlefield, from where, incidentally, they are leaving defeated, despite facing the desert and not the jungle, which is a thousand times more complicated…
Carlos Chagas is a veteran Brazilian journalist who writes for Tribuna da Imprensa.
Translated from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.