Saturday, September 30, 2006

Brazil: Typical MSM BS

Brazil's election begins in a few hours and the Western press has already got the story. The acceptable type of Latin left-leaning President Lula da Silva will win a second term. More idealogically attuned writers will get quite explicit in their love for Lula. Check the hyperbole from the Houston Chronicle:

Silva stunned the world by stabilizing the economy and bringing millions out of poverty without raising taxes as Brazil's first elected leftist leader.

But then they know they have to even it out, so they say something like:

For the United States, Silva's re-election would be a mixed blessing.

He proclaims himself a friend of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and helped sink the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas in a protest over lavish U.S. farm subsidies. At the U.N. General Assembly last month, Silva blasted the U.S.-led Iraq war, saying the money should be used to alleviate global poverty.

But unlike Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who used the assembly podium to call President Bush "the devil," Silva refrained from mentioning the United States or Bush by name.

Awwww, isn't that sweet? I never thought I's see the day where all you had to do was not mention the words United States or George Bush when bitching about the US to be considered a regional ally and model global citizen.

What is ironic and amazing is that Lula was probably the most serious, radical threat facing the US plans in Latin American in the 1980s and early 90s. Anyone who knows the PT (Lula's Workers Party), knows they were the ones most harsh on the "Washington Concensus" and neo-liberal model back then - and they were young and smart and different. They made their name by concentrating on the more direct/participatory model of democracy, while upholding socialism as the goal - a lot like the model Chavez is pursuing. The difference in Venezuela and Brazil is more style than substance...

The PT is an amazing party, and a guidiing light to leftist movements across the globe. However, the slow pave of poverty alieveation efforts and modesty of reforms has disappointed many on the left since Lula was elected. Yeah, a few redistributive welfare/food program (like Bolsa Bamilia) has meant a decrease in poverty numbers. But a lack of institutional focus means that education, health and job figures remain terrible and water, sewer and decent housing remain a major problem for poor people.

I think he will go much further in his next term, because the economy is stronger and less vulnerable to fund managers and bond traders - and 2nd terms are for going further. I am ultimately mixed on Lula, his 2nd term will be his legacy. But i certainly am happy he'll have a 2nd chance.


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