[Marxism] Brazil's president took donations from Castro, magazine alleges

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 1 03:47:47 MST 2005

(In the MIAMI HERALD where this kind of story is more likely to
be read, a more cautious headline is used, "Castro cash claim 
triggers Brazil uproar". A careful reading of the article give
you the information that there is "no proof" as the article 
says. Of course, we remember that a lie travels halfway around
the world while the truth is getting its boots on, so the most
important aspect of this is to sling the mud, facts of course 
to the contrary, not withstanding. The timing of this related 
to the Latin American summit couldn't be more suspiciously timed.)

Posted on Mon, Oct. 31, 2005	

Brazil's president took donations from Castro, magazine alleges

By Jack Chang 
Knight Ridder Newspapers

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - A Brazilian newsmagazine published
allegations over the weekend that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
had received as much as $3 million in secret campaign donations from
Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The alleged action would break Brazilian campaign laws that mandate
the disclosure of campaign funds and prohibit politicians from
receiving contributions from foreign sources.

The report in the newsmagazine Veja, one of the country's most
influential, dominated political debate Monday. Da Silva and his
Workers' Party already have been fighting accusations that top
administration officials funneled money to secret campaign accounts
and bribed rival legislators for votes.

Da Silva called the charges "fantasy," and some in his party
threatened legal action against the magazine, saying it had published
false information.

"We need to deal with this not just politically but in the justice
system," Sen. Serys Slhessarenko said Monday on the floor of
Congress. "The press has rules of behavior, and it's important they
be held accountable."

Opposition legislators have promised to investigate the accusations,
which the magazine based on interviews with two former aides to
Finance Minister Antonio Palocci: Rogerio Buratti, who himself is
fighting bribery charges, and financial consultant Vladimir Poleto.

The pair said they learned of the alleged Cuban donations from
another former Palocci aide, Ralf Barquete, who died of cancer in
June 2004.

In August, Buratti made waves after testifying before a congressional
panel that Palocci had received bribes from a garbage company while
serving as a provincial mayor. Buratti's source then was also
Barquete, but Buratti never was able to prove the accusations.

According to the Veja story, the money arrived in the country's
capital, Brasilia, in 2002 by unidentified means and was safeguarded
by Cuban diplomat Sergio Cervantes, who's since returned to Cuba.

A Workers' Party supporter, Barquete allegedly received the money
after it was hidden in boxes of whiskey and rum and flown to a town
near the city of Sao Paulo.

The Cuban embassy said in a statement late Saturday that "the
government of Cuba categorically rejects these slanders and affirms
that it has never interfered in the internal affairs of its sister
nation." The embassy blamed "the aggressive plans of imperialism
against Cuba and Lula" for the false charges.

In March, Veja accused the Workers' Party of receiving money from a
Colombian guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, but the accusations were never proved.

If anything, the uproar shows that Castro remains a lightning rod for
controversy in Brazil, said David Fleischer, a political science
professor at the University of Brasilia.

With Cuba deeply impoverished, Castro's influence in South America is
largely ideological, although many of the region's left-leaning
governments are on friendly terms with the communist nation,
Fleischer said.

"The links between Castro and Brazil are quite warm and fairly
strong," he said. "It allows the opposition to try and make some hay
out of these allegations."

In Argentina, Castro still can draw thousands when he visits and
speaks, as he did during the 2003 inauguration of President Nestor

Just Thursday, Argentine soccer hero Diego Maradona, a longtime
Castro admirer, interviewed the 79-year-old dictator in Havana for
his television show.

In an August poll, 31 percent of respondents in greater Buenos Aires
said they'd vote for Castro if they could, a higher percentage of
support than for any of the other seven leaders from the Americas in
the study.

"Castro is an enigmatic, romantic figure here," Argentine political
scientist Julio Burdman said. "Cuba is very far away, and many people
don't actually know what's going on there."

No proof has emerged so far that Cuban money is supporting friendly
governments or guerrilla groups anywhere in South America, several
political observers said.

But many think the growing influence of Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez, a close Castro ally who's reaping a windfall in oil profits,
is resuscitating Castro's role in the region.

"Chavez's finances have allowed Cuba to be a player again in the
region, especially in places like Bolivia," said V. Manuel Rocha, a
former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia who's now a Miami-based consultant.
Evo Morales, the leftist front-runner in Bolivia's presidential race,
is an unabashed admirer of Chavez and Castro.

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