[Marxism] Argentine and Brazilian troops in Haiti
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jun 28 10:10:10 MDT 2004
Walter Lippmann wrote:
> I'd like to hear and informed Argentine opinion on why Kirchner
> and Lula have decided to join in Washington's occupation of
> Haiti, and whatever broader significance you think it has for
> their rule. Thanks.
Speaking of Lula, there's a useful article on him in yesterday's NY
Poor Man's Burden
By BARRY BEARAK
Published: June 27, 2004
Lula, his speech over, waded into the embrace of the masses. It was the
opposite of most crowd scenes. Here the president was pushing through
the ropes to get at the people. He was tired and sweaty, his face
infused with crimson. But the swarm of bodies, pressing his way,
energized him. He seemed propelled by the heat of their need.
Most of the throng -- like most of Brazil -- was throttled by poverty.
These thousands in the city of Sobral were dressed in threadbare clothes
and mud-covered sandals. Some stood on tiptoes, hoisting small children
who squirmed in their arms. Others held tightly to the bicycles they had
ridden across the rain-drenched roads. ''Lula, Lula!'' they shouted,
relentlessly pushing forward, those closest grasping for the president's
sleeve. A small bear of a man, Lula is bearded and round-shouldered with
a wide neck and a thick middle. He moved from one person to the next,
hugging some and pausing to hear what they had to say, patting the palm
of his hand against the side of their faces. ''O-lé, o-la, Lu-la,
Lu-la!'' the crowd began to sing, as if roused to a chant at a soccer
game. ''You are a saint!'' cried one barefoot old woman. Her eyes were
desperate and bloodshot. She was clutching Lula and wouldn't let go.
''You will help us,'' she said, and as the president bent closer to
hear, she bestowed the accolade of the people: ''You are one of us.''
What she, like the others, wanted was a little attention, a little
empathy, a little money. Brazil is a rich nation full of poor people,
its distribution of income nearly the most unequal in the world. The
next night, in another city, a young girl mistook me and my translator
for members of Lula's staff. She handed us a note, begging us to pass it
on. Many words were misspelled; there was a name but no address. It
said: ''Lula, I have six brothers and sisters and my mother doesn't work
and we don't have a father to help us. Please, my mother cries because
we don't have anything to eat. My name is Adriene.''
Lula, of all people, would understand, the little girl must have thought.
And this would have been right. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 58, is the
genuine article, a walking fable, democracy's classic story, the poor
boy who grew up to be president. He, too, had a mother who cried and no
father to raise him. He, too, had nothing to eat. He, too, suffered all
the indignities of privation. But from destitution Lula would become a
metalworker and then a union leader and then the nation's most
celebrated firebrand, the man who took tens of thousands out on strike
in defiance of a military government, opening the body politic to some
of the first cross-breezes of democracy. He then led the creation of the
Partido dos Trabalhadores, the Workers' Party, an amalgam of the
Brazilian left, including trade unionists, radical intellectuals and
progressive Catholics. He won Brazil's presidency on his fourth try, in
October 2002, getting an overwhelming 61 percent of the vote.
''In a country where the elite have always held a stranglehold, it was
never written anywhere that someone like me could become president,''
Lula told me as we sat aboard the Brazilian equivalent of Air Force One.
There was a dining table between us. He stabbed at a piece of meat with
his fork and nodded at a handful of eavesdropping cronies who savored
his words. ''With me being president, the history of Brazil begins to
change because someone from the humble people, the lowest classes, has
risen to the top.''
Lula allowed me to join his entourage in mid-March during a three-day
swing of meetings, speeches and ribbon-cuttings. Adoring crowds greeted
him at every stop, but there were also notable gaps in the adulation. He
had been in office for 15 months, and the expectation was that this very
different president would somehow bring about a very different Brazil.
But the masses, born poor, have remained poor, with no end in sight to
their reiterating misery. ''Lula, give us jobs!'' were words one man had
written on a placard. ''We are still hungry,'' read another. The federal
police had gone on strike, and some police officers occasionally heckled
as the president spoke, shouting out their union's demand for an 83
percent raise. Instead of instigating labor protests, Lula was now their
target, recast as the villainous gatekeeper of the status quo. There are
many numbers between 1 and 83, he reminded the unruly strikers
The Marxism list: www.marxmail.org
More information about the Marxism