Friday, March 21, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 7: The Victors Segment 6/14
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The journal South, which describes itself as "The Business Magazine of the Developing World," reports on Brazil under the heading "The Underside of Paradise." A country with enormous wealth, no security concerns, a relatively homogenous population, and a favorable climate, Brazil nevertheless has problems:

The problem is that this cornucopia is inhabited by a population enduring social conditions among the worst in the world. Two-thirds do not get enough to eat. Brazil has a higher infant mortality rate than Sri Lanka, a higher illiteracy rate than Paraguay, and worse social indicators than many far poorer African countries. Fewer children finish first-grade school than in Ethiopia, fewer are vaccinated than in Tanzania and Botswana. Thirty-two percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Seven million abandoned children beg, steal and sniff glue on the streets. For scores of millions, home is a shack in a slum, a room in the inner city, or increasingly, a patch of ground under a bridge.
The share of the poorer classes in the national income is "steadily falling, giving Brazil probably the highest concentration of income in the world." It has no progressive income tax or capital gains tax, but it does have galloping inflation and a huge foreign debt, while participating in a "Marshall Plan in reverse," in the words of former President José Sarney, referring to debt payments.

It would only be fair to add that the authorities are concerned with the mounting problem of homeless and starving children, and are trying to reduce their numbers. Amnesty International reports that death squads, often run by the police, are killing street children at a rate of about one a day, while "many more children, forced onto the streets to support their families, are being beaten and tortured by the police" (Reuters, citing AI). "Poor children in Brazil are treated with contempt by the authorities, risking their lives simply by being on the streets," AI alleged. Most of the torture takes place under police custody or in state institutions. There are few complaints by victims or witnesses because of fear of the police, and the few cases that are investigated judicially result in light sentences.30

For three-quarters of the population of this cornucopia, the conditions of Eastern Europe are dreams beyond reach, another triumph of the Free World.

A U.N. "Report on Human Development" ranks Brazil, with the world's eighth largest economy, in 80th place in general welfare (as measured by education, health, hygiene), near Albania, Paraguay and Thailand. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced on October 18 that more than 40% of the population (almost 53 million people) are hungry. The Brazilian Health Ministry estimates that hundreds of thousands of children die of hunger every year.31

Recall that these are the conditions that hold on the 25th anniversary of "the single most decisive victory of freedom in the mid-twentieth century" (Lincoln Gordon, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil at the time), that is, the overthrow of parliamentary democracy by Brazilian generals backed by the United States, which then praised the "economic miracle" produced by the neo-Nazi National Security State they established. In the months before the generals' coup, Washington assured its traditional military allies of its support and provided them with aid, because the military was essential to "the strategy for restraining left-wing excesses" of the elected Goulart government, Ambassador Gordon cabled the State Department. The U.S. actively supported the coup, preparing to intervene directly if its help was needed for what Gordon described as the "democratic rebellion" of the generals. This "de facto ouster" of the elected president was "a great victory for free world," Gordon reported, adding that it should "create a greatly improved climate for private investment." U.S. labor leaders demanded their proper share of the credit for the overthrow of the parliamentary regime, while the new government proceeded to crush the labor movement and subordinate poor and working people to the overriding needs of business interests, primarily foreign. Secretary of State Dean Rusk justified U.S. recognition for the regime on the grounds that "the succession there occurred as foreseen by the Constitution," which had just been blatantly violated. The U.S. proceeded to provide ample aid as torture and repression mounted, the relics of constitutional government faded away, and the climate for investors improved under the rule of what Washington hailed as the "democratic forces."32

The circumstances of the poor in Brazil continue to regress as austerity measures are imposed on the standard IMF formula in an effort to deal somehow with this catastrophe of capitalism. The same is true in Argentina, where the Christian Democratic Party called on its members to resign from the cabinet in March 1990 "in order not to validate, by their presence in the government, the anti-popular [economic] measures of the regime." In a further protest over these measures, the Party expelled the current Minister of the Economy. Experts say that the socioeconomic situation has become "unbearable," and that a third of the population lives in extreme poverty.33

The fate of Argentina is addressed in a report in the Washington Post by Eugene Robinson. One of the ten richest countries in the world at the turn of the century, with rich resources and great advantages, Argentina is becoming a Third World country, Robinson observes. About one-third of its 31 million inhabitants live below the poverty line. 18,000 children die each year before their first birthday, most from malnutrition and preventable disease. The capital, once considered "the most elegant and European city this side of the Atlantic," is "ringed by a widening belt of shantytowns, called villas miserias, or `miseryvilles,' where the homes are cobbled-together huts and the sewers are open ditches." Here too the IMF-style reforms "have made life even more precarious for the poor."

Robinson's article is paired with another entitled "A Glimpse Into the Lower Depths," devoted to a mining town in the Soviet Union. Subtitled "A mining town on the steppes reveals `the whole sick system'," the article stresses the comparison to capitalist success. The article on Argentina, however, says nothing about any "sick system." The catastrophe in Argentina and the general "economic malaise" in Latin America are attributed vaguely to "economic mismanagement." Again the usual pattern: their crimes reveal their evil nature, ours are the result of personal failings and the poor human material with which we are forced to work.34

Go to the next segment.

30 South, November 1989. Reuters, NYT, Sept. 6, 1990.

31 Mario de Carvalho Garnero, chairman of Brasilinvest Informations and Telecommunications, O Estado de Sao Paulo, Aug. 8 (LANU, Sept. 1990); Latin America Commentary, October, 1990.

32 See chapter 12, p. 00. Phyllis R. Parker, Brazil and the Quiet Intervention, 1964 (U. of Texas, 1979), 58ff., 80ff., 103ff. See also Jan Knippers Black, United States Penetration of Brazil, and Leacock, Requiem for Revolution. See Black, chapter 6, on the role of U.S. labor leaders in the demolition of the Brazilian labor movement, and their pride in bringing about "the revolution."

33 Excelsior, March 7 (LANU, May 1990).

34 WP weekly, Oct. 28, 1990. For a very similar example, see Avi Chomsky, Lies of Our Times, November 1990, commenting on a New York Times analogue: paired articles, one deploring the failures of the sick Communist system in Romania and heralding the new hopes with the transition to a free market, the other describing the plight of a middle-class Argentinian family, with no reasons given apart from alleged failure to follow free market policies. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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