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A threat to free press and democracy in Brazil

By Heitor De Paola |

Originally published July, 25, 2005 | Brief: Not only in the press but also in education areas that proves Brazil is evolving to a Venezuelan kind of bolivarian dictatorship.

Last July 4th, as a reverse commemoration of one of the most important memorial days for freedom in the history of the Western Civilization the main Conservative thinker of the last decades in Brazil, now living in US, was expelled from one of the most prestigious newspapers of Rio de Janeiro, O Globo. Prof Olavo de Carvalho, philosopher, writer and journalist had a weekly column in that newspaper for many years. He is an almost isolated critic in a national media dominated by leftists of the now ruling Brazilian politics, Lulas’s Workers Party (PT).

For years he had been denouncing in his weekly column the activities of the Foro of São Paulo, while the remaining pages of the newspaper (and of all other Brazilian newspapers) kept complete silence on the subject or denied overtly the existence of the Forum or at least its political importance. The Foro of São Paulo is an organization co-founded by now Brazilian President, Lula da Silva, and Fidel Castro in 1990. Its main aim is to ‘re-conquer’ in Latin America what was lost in Eastern Europe after the fall of Soviet Empire.

The first time the Foro was addressed to in American media was through an article to Washington Times by Dr Constantine Menges, a Senior Fellow of Hudson Institute, two months before the election of Lula da Silva: ‘A new terrorist and nuclear weapons/ballistic missile threat may well come from an axis including Cuba's Fidel Castro, the Chavez regime in Venezuela and a newly elected radical president of Brazil, all with links to Iraq, Iran and China. (…) The new axis is still preventable, but if the pro-Castro candidate is elected president of Brazil, the results could include a radical regime in Brazil re-establishing its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, developing close links to state sponsors of terrorism such as Cuba, Iraq and Iran, and participating in the destabilization of fragile neighboring democracies’.

However, Brazilian media gave no importance at all dismissing Dr Menges as a ‘minor’ rightist journalist of a ‘secondary’ American newspaper. But denial became increasingly difficult during the last weeks, inasmuch as the 12th Assembly of the Forum was gathered in São Paulo from 1st to 4th July. While it was running in Bogota or Havana, it was easy to hide it from Brazilian eyes, but São Paulo is the largest Brazilian city. Moreover, one of the main topics of the discussions was the urgent need for the Latin-American left to give public support to Lula and the Workers Party (PT) against the rising tide of criminal charges, including not only the endemic corruption inside government but even murder accusations (Celso Daniel, the socialist-PT mayor of the industrial town of Santo Andre, was murdered some years ago and his brother told Daniel was killed by people from his own party).

In the last week of June Mr. Merval Pereira, a member of O Globo Board of Directors, wrote himself an article where for the first time after fifteen years of silence O Globo admitted frankly the existence and the political relevance of the São Paulo Forum. Four days later Carvalho was fired, the exact day the Foro had his last day meeting.

A few days later another conservative journalist and former Member of the House of Representatives for many years, Dr Emilio Nina Ribeiro was expelled from a state owned broadcasting system of the Ministry of Education – Radio MEC, for which he worked as a talk show anchor in a consumer’s rights weekly broadcast. Explanation given to him: his political ideas as well as his political past were incompatible with the new aims of the Ministry. For many years before Dr Ribeiro run a TV talk show with live questions about the same subject in the TVE – Educative TV of the same Ministry from which he was also fired for the same reason. His political past was as a Representative of the National Democratic Union, perhaps the most important conservative party before 64.

Therefore, censorship is being exercised on two ways. Against private media, through financial pressure due to Brazilian media bankruptcy and its dependency from state owned banks loans. Although this is not an innovative method, it is a very effective one because it leaves no government “fingertip marks” at all for one can always use the argument that it is only a free act from a private enterprise to select its personnel. In state owned enterprises through plain and direct action as happened to Dr Ribeiro.

However, these are not isolated facts in Brazil nowadays, not only in the press but also in education areas that proves Brazil is evolving to a Venezuelan kind of bolivarian dictatorship.

Heitor De Paola: Médico Psiquiatra e Psicanalista no Rio de Janeiro. Membro da International Psychoanalytical Association e Clinical Consultant, Boyer House Foundation, Berkeley, Califórnia, e Delegado Internacional no Brasil do Drug Watch International. Possui trabalhos publicados no Brasil e exterior.

© 2005

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