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Dr. Menges, I Apologize for My Fellow Brazilians

By Olavo de Carvalho* reprinted from

The "new axis of evil," which late American scholar Constantine Menges predicted and all others denied is a consummated fact. The hard earned Brazilian workers money, extorted by taxes, gushes in Havana and in Caracas to prop-up a dictatorship in decline and fortify a dictatorship in the making.

When American analyst Constantine C. Menges wrote an article in the Weekly Standard in 2002 predicting that Lula's election to Brazil's presidency would create a "new axis of evil" between Lula, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, Brazil's journalists knew that he was right.

If the Brazilian media refuted Menges' claims with insults at the time it was because they knew that his warnings could cause alarm in Washington and jeopardize the realization of a prophecy in which they deposited their highest hopes.

Lula's election was such an attractive perspective, that many, in the anxiety of waiting, lost their judgment, bestowing the candidate virtues that bordered the sublime. One Brazilian journalist came to write that Lula was a national savior announced in the prophecy of St. John the Baptist.

An ideologically intoxicated journalistic class can create an even greater barrier to truth than any kind of official government censure.

Nothing in the universal history of trickery compares with the Brazilian media's job in hiding Lula's connections not only to Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, but to all the revolutionary movements on the South American continent—including criminal organizations like the Colombian FARC, Chile's MIR—all members of the São Paulo Forum, which was founded and run by Lula.

On the eve of the election, the general effort to polish the image of the Brazilian "messiah" received a powerful reinforcement from the US Ambassador to Brazil Donna Hrinak who declared that Lula was the "embodiment of the American dream".

She did this without receiving any criticism from the usual nationalist circles for this foreign meddling in our elections. Of course, certain foreign meddlings, like certain animals, are more equal than others.

All was going well, until Menges, the spoiler, said what was forbidden but obvious. The reaction of our journalists was immediate. Even though they had never heard of the columnist, they labeled him as a coup mongering CIA agent, assigned with interfering in Brazil's electoral process.

Without perceiving the contradiction, they also attacked in the opposite direction. They explored the casuality that this regular contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post and Commentary's article was also reproduced in the Washington Times.

They took advantage of that fact to create a tie between the highbrow intellectual and the corporate misdeeds of Reverend Moon, owner of the Washington Times paper, insinuating that this was all a plot by the Korean guru to dodge an investigation that was underway against him in Brazil.

Forgotten years ago in an archive of the Federal Police in Brasilia, the investigation returned to the papers as if it were an impressive scoop until it completely drowned out the "São Paulo Forum" issue.

What is the professional trustworthiness of journalists who are capable of a cover-up of such proportions? I, for my part, complied with what should have been the obligation of us all, I wrote to Dr. Menges asking for more information.

I discovered that the man knew a thousand times more that he had written. He spoke based on the facts. He was a serious scholar being questioned by a troupe of clowns and charlatans.

Today, the axis which he predicted and all others denied is a consummated fact. The hard earned Brazilian workers money, extorted by taxes, gushes in Havana and in Caracas to prop-up a dictatorship in decline and fortify a dictatorship in the making. And until now the voters don't know that they were fooled precisely for this purpose.

But it is not just for this reason that it is too late to re-visit past events; it's also late because, Constantine C. Menges passed away on the morning of the 11th, of bladder cancer.

A son of parents who fled to America from Nazism, he dedicated his life and formidable intelligence to the defense of freedom, be it for the civil rights of blacks or against communist oppression.

He was a Professor at several universities and wrote important books. All the news stories on Latin America written in Brazil over the past decade are not worth a single one of his reports that he distributed monthly to a circle of friends and admirers, of which I had the honor to be included, albeit it at the bottom of the list.

Goodbye, Dr. Menges. And while it is late, please accept an apology for my compatriots. They do not know what they do.

*Olavo de Carvalho is a philosopher and the author of several books, including O Imbecil Coletivo: Atualidades Inculturais Brasileiras (1996) and O Futuro do Pensamento Brasileiro - Estudos sobre o Nosso Lugar no Mundo (1997). He writes for three very influential dailies in Brazil: Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo (from Rio) and Zero Hora (from Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul). His articles can be found at and To reach him write to This article appeared originally in the Rio daily O Globo.

Translated from the Portuguese by Gerald Brant.

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