quinta-feira, 12 de novembro de 2009

Chomsky: Brasil e América Latina

Dear Professor Chomsky,

Brazil is now recognized as a sort of leader of the underdeveloped world, and president Lula - who has just received a "Statesman of the Year" award - as a sort of spokeperson for the BRICs, even though local press adheres to historical elites (of which is part and parcel) and openly tries to destabelize his government. In view of this new position, is it justified, in your view, to announce the purchase of fighter jets and atomic submarines to "defend the Amazon and the deep-ocean oil reserves" as Lula claims, when the same funds could improve life standards if invested in basic infrastructure such as sanitation and transportation (brazilian railways are virtually inexistent)? It seems a bit absurd to me to think that US Navy, for example, would come and rob us of our oil, or that the Amazon could be defended from above when it's threatened by biopirates and illegal lumber extraction (more down-to-earth problems, no pun intended). What about other countries in the continent joining, to a lesser extent, the arms race - initiated long ago by Chávez? Is it a reaction to Colombia's being a puppet of the U.S. and to the announcement of the seven new bases? But in the end, could any country resist an american invasion if things should ever come to this?

As for brazilian lead role in the Haiti peace mission, do you see it as an important and effective effort in aiding the most impoverished country of the Americas, or a legitimation of a coup led by the U.S.? The groups our troops are supposed to disarm, aren't they popular resistance movements, political in nature and not merely criminal? And finally about Honduras. Local press supported the dictatorship when Lula sheltered Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy: our major newspaper published Negroponte's (who was reported meeting Micheletti days before the coup) views. And it seems to me that his proposal of waiting for the elections "so a third name is sworn in and all is fine" is pretty much US policy, despite official position of nor ratifying elections under the regime. Recently the agreements proved too unstable and failed - no dictator simply apologizes and leaves. What do you see as the likeliest outcome?

Muito Obrigado.

Noam Chomsky:
A bad choice in my opinion, though the fears are hardly paranoia. There is, after all, a history, which can't just be wiped away, and the US is stepping up its militarization in the region, continuing under Obama.

Haiti was subjected to a coup by its traditional torturers, France and the US. It left such a horrendous situation that some international intervention was probably in order. The Brazilian record has been awful, judging by the reports of human rights monitors.

I'm not surprised at the stand of the Brazilian press, judging by my limited exposure. The US now stands in isolation from the rest of the hemisphere, and Europe, in effectively endorsing the elections even with the elected President removed by a coup and popular forces under sharp attack. Quoting Negroponte is quite remarkable. He is a leading international terrorist and supporter of the kind of vicious crimes that Brazilians can easily recall from their own US-backed dictatorship.

I think the likeliest outcome is that the US-Micheletti position will win out, unless there is strong opposition within Latin America. Unlikely in the US, unfortunately, where the matter is little known.


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