[Marxism] Re: Lula and Haiti.

Carlos Eduardo Rebello crebello at antares.com.br
Mon Dec 6 18:00:55 MST 2004

> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 12:54:18 +1100
> From: Fred Fuentes <fred.fuentes at gmail.com>
> Subject: [Marxism] More on UN troops in Haiti discussion
>> So, what about Lula and Brazil's role in Haiti?
> The story is one of realpolitik and conflicting goals.

I'm beginning to think it's more one of an overambitious pipedream (that of
Brazil as an international power) that may end up badly.

> 1. The Cuba Factor. Lula would not be placing Brazilian troops in the
> lead in the Haiti occupation without the expressed consent of Fidel
> Castro. Many of Lula's top cabinet members and party
> officials - including Ze Dirceu, perhaps the most important of them
> all - would not be alive today had Cuba not offered them sanctuary
> years ago when a brutal military dictatorship controlled Brazil.

Of course Castro prefers to have Latin American troops in Haiti than to
Amarrican ones. But wouldn't he prefer to have none? Your exposé shows El
Comandante as having the power of making Lula and his cabinet lending him
thers ears anytime, because José Dirceu sought asylum in Cuba during the
1970s - a kind of Left version of some rants published here in Brazil by
rightist nutters who think Dirceu a covert member of Cuban military
intelligence and liason officer between Castro and Lula...

Photo-ops with Castro are always good, and talk is cheap:  sentimental
recollections aside,a Cuba-friendly policy has been a constant of
post-military dictatorship Brazilian diplomacy, as the most conservative
Brazilian governments are all too happy to exploit trade opportunities in
Cuba left open by the American embargo. That's perhaps part of the rationale
behind the Haiti scheme: the desire to build a Brazilian presence in the
Caribbean, an area of the Americas from which Brazil was always
conspicuously absent.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh, and then the Brazilian troopers have behaved so
far very mildly, as a peacekeeping force was supposed to be. But then, when
Fred goes on with what is below....

> 2. The Brazilian Military Factor. Like it or not, the military in
> Brazil remains a gigantic, oversized, really, institution. It has a
> brutal history of men like that General Heleno mentioned in the
> Counterpunch article, with ugly, indeed fascist, attitudes. By sending
> them somewhere else, Lula keeps them from sitting idly in Brazil
> where, as elsewhere, idle hands are the devil's garden. . Like
> it or not, indeed, the Lula people feel that the Armed Forces is a
> beast that must be fed lest it start dreaming nostalgically again of
> reasserting the old military dictatorship.

I expected something more sophisticated; the above line of reasoning is
something I could here anytime at a Rio pub: let's give these _milicos_
something to do. But then remember:, primo, if the Haiti action is
successful, maybe it will give the military new prestige; secundo, there is
something in the whole Haiti scheme that smacks of the old subimperialist
dreams of the 1970s dictatorship: the idea that Brazil could fill the vacant
niches left open by the US, who would not be able to control everything at
the same time- a notion developed by the ideologue of the dicatatorship
Golbery do Couto e Silva in his _Geopolitics of Brazil_. The idea is that
somehow a Brazilian military presence in Haiti could go indefinitely, as it
could behave with a degree of "softness" the Americans would be unable to

Well, perhaps for the Haitians that's better - so far. But then what
imperialism wants is not _this_ kind of outsourcing - what they want is a
brutal crackdown, the sooner the better, and damn the consequences for
Brazilian pretige in the Caribbean, for Latin American unity, and that
stuff....The problem, then is: what will Lula do when US demands for Brazil
having a piece of the action increase? Will he order the football team to
take again to the front? To call back the whole thing? Or comply for the
sake of looking respectable?


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