Something Real, For A Change
Published on: April 15, 2011
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  • Luke Lea

    “Chavez talked; Lula delivered, giving Brazilians (and especially the poor) rising living standards while enhancing rather than reducing their civil liberties.

    I hope you will expand on these two topics. If you can deliver the statistics you might make a believer out of me.

  • Henry Mitchell

    Mr. Lea, respectfully, if you doubt the assertion, you have not followed ANY news regarding Venezuela. This speaks poorly of you, and not the author.

    I have read quite alot, and had friends visit and confirm it, that Chavez has destroyed the oil, agricultural, and finance industries in the country.

    The fact that they have enormous oil reserves, but production by the state-controlled oil co. is in steep decline, such that the country cannot afford milk and sugar in the grocery stores, tells you all you need to know.

    Socialistic dictatorial (really, just cults of personality by El Jefe, the Latin American Idiots) movements always end this way. See Nicaragua, Ecuador, Iran, Libya, Argentina, et al.

  • Jeffersonian

    I lived in Brazil during the transition from military government to civilian and witnessed the peaceful, though sometimes chaotic, exchange. Even when Tancredo Neves passed away unexpectedly, the Braziians mourned and then went on with Jose Sarney as if nothing had happened. The next few years were filled with economic pandemonium, but Brazilians bore it with good humor and proper cynicism of government in general, until a sensible government finally got things under control.

    You are entirely correct about how bright and hard-working Brazilians are, something I saw on a daily basis working along side blue and white collar alike there. It was only a matter of time before Brazil would come into its own with the natural and human resources it possesses. I’m hoping that this rise in stature will one day allow me to return to the nation I called home for so many years. I love the place, its people, its history and its culture.

  • ken in sc

    Brazil also earns credit for ending slavery without a war, even after welcoming ‘Los Confederadoes’ refugees after the US civil war. They founded the Brazilian towns of New Texas and America, which still exist.

  • Greybeard3

    I’d feel a lot more optimistic about America’s future if I could be sure that Obama was trying to emulate Lula and not Chavez.

  • sam

    the article is close to the truth a I see it. It does undermine the cost to Venezuelans. the amount of debt and human cost from the support given to Chavez by Lula are immense. The next 2 to 3 generations will be paying for it. Without out Lula Chavez is likely living in Cuba many years ago. Also China has a large role with regard to loans supporting the fascist left in our hemisphere.

  • Sam Hussey

    Brazil should have nothing to do with US. Nothing. Who wants to be saddled with a washed up neo-colonialist fading power. Brazil has nurtured it’s credentials in the South very carefully to be where it is today. Brazil hasn’t been involved in a war since the 19th century.

  • Polly Sharer

    What you write in this article is absurd and nonsensical. You have absolutely no idea about what is going on in Brazil.

    Lula and now his successor are leading a socialist revolution right under your nose. They are certainly more dangerous than the buffoon Chavez, who is but a smokescreen for their actions. If anything, Brazil has fomented the Bolivarian Revolution, not only in Venezuela, but also within Brazilian territory. (Check out the “Grito dos Excluídos”, for example, which suffers a direct infiltration of the Bolivarian Revolution.)

    Sure, the PT’s government is throwing a bone to the businessmen, but they have tight control and a vision, much of it elaborated by the demonic José Dirceu, who still wields much influence despite being ousted from his previous post, which was almost that of Prime Minister.

    This vision reflects what the PT has always stood for, and it is nothing short of making Brazil a socialist country. And this project will be implemented. The PT will not relinquish power. They will be here during the next 10, 20 years and more.

    And your article will be forgotten because of what it is: nothing but claptrap.

  • Ed Smeloff

    The game changers were the failed coup in Venezuela and the humiliation of Bush in Argentina. This provided the impetus for Lula and others of the democratic left to assert themselves.

  • Fernando

    Let me point to you an error in the article. It reads “Juan Peron, the Argentine dictator”. Peron WAS NOT a dictator. He was democratically elected for all his three terms in office (he completed only one of them).

  • David

    The main problem with Brazil at the moment is that is in an economic bubble (see various IMF special reports about this). Someday soon Brazil will be faced with not just a need for a new global strategy, which you addressed in a previous column, but also a new economic strategy.

    However, no one is able to predict when the Brazilian bubble will burst, but it is a bubble nonetheless. Hence it is not wise to make optimistic economic forecasts based on the current boom alone

  • Kohl Haas

    In the summer of 1996, I was to join a group of friends in a Redwood Grove north of San Francisco and, because I was doing business in Asia at the time, was asked to make some after-dinner comments about what would happen to Hong Kong after the Chinese took it over from the British the following March. In the event, due to flight delays and schedule changes, I arrived directly from Hong Kong in the middle of dinner in a suit I had been wearing for three days.

    I changed the topic to “What Will Happen to Us When Hong Kong takes over China?” which seemed a little far-fetched to some in my audience. My thesis was that we were about to see the HongKongers, like no one else on earth, with years of experience with 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week unfettered capitalism, burning entrepreneurial energy, managerial experience, and access to large amounts of capital layered on the largest, cheapest labor force in the world. Our problem was that they would bury us. Everyone I knew in Hong Kong at the time had moved, or was making preparations to move, to Shanghai. Fifteen years later they have and the results are obvious.

    I was asked what we should do about it. Answer: We needed to establish and build tight political and economic relationships with Latin America. Latin America has the resources and poplulation with which we could counter the growth of China.

    As WRM describes, an American lack of interest in Latin American affairs since 1990 has abdicated any influence we might have in the region.

    WRM says “unless Hugo Chavez finds a way to turn taunts and insults into a consequential security threat the US has no need to treat him as anything worse than a nuisance”.

    With the construction of Iranian missile bases in Venezuela, he has found a way. Next year, when Ahmadenijad makes his move on Saudi Arabia, who is to stop him? Iraq, Bahrain, and Yemen at that point will likely be Shiite satellites of Tehran. Saudi Arabia will be surrounded by hostile forces, Egypt will still be self-neutralized, our Navy will have a compromised base in Bahrain and any action by us will be threatened by retaliatory missile attacks from Venezuela on Miami, Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, Dallas and ?. Saudi Arabia invaded successfully by Iran? That seems like a “consequential security threat” to me.

    Latin Americans are concerned about our seeming withdrawal from the region. Provincial leaders and businessmen have told me that the withdrawal of American corporations disturbs them in ways they did not foresee. One expressed it as like having a big brother. “Sometimes you fight with him, and sometimes he really pisses you off, and you always have a little resentment because he did things first, and you follow him in school – but he was still your big brother. He had the same family history and heritage, and when he is gone you miss him”. He went on to explain that local Americans with various companies were always like unofficial ambassadors; that he never dealt with the embassy in the capital. If he wanted to know about the US or do something with the US he would talk to the local American manager. They could have coffee in the morning, drinks in the evening, a barbecue and wine on Sunday, and he could work out problems or get help on sending his kids to the US for college.

    “But now the Americans are gone and we have the Chinese. No coffee, no drinks, no barbecues and wine, no courtesy, no hello, goodbye, or thank you. They come in, sign the papers, and walk out. They say nothing not necessary. They are like robots”. The Chinese are buying Latin America. Why are all the lands which once pastured cattle now growing soybeans? Because the Chinese import soy, not beef.

    WRM says that “no global American security interests are challenged by the power of any South American state”. That may be true, but the loss of Latin America to the Chinese and Iranians will be one of our greatest Grand Strategy blunders. One we could have easily prevented.

  • Minor correction: Getúlio Vargas didn’t flirt with comunism.
    Second, from the 30’s until the beginning of the 80’s, brazil was the second or third fastest growing country in the world.

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