Brazil’s Lula, the friend of Iran’s Ahmadinejad
Adapted by Julio Severo
As any world leader knows, breaking bread with unsavory regimes is an occupational hazard. But palling around with pariahs is another matter. So when Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva slapped Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the back at the U.N. General Assembly, stoutly defended Iran's nuclear program, and invited Ahmadinejad to visit Brazil, the world took note. What is Lula’s game?
In part, it’s about his ambition to position Brazil as a “first-class nation.” Lula has visited 45 countries in the last three years alone and opened 35 embassies since 2003, most of them in Africa and the Caribbean. This all fits his “South to South” strategy, a diplomatic blitzkrieg designed to gather political capital across the developing world. As a result, Brazil is well regarded in places many other nations ignore, and its trade relations are well balanced, spread in roughly equal measure between Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Europe, and the U.S. This helped Brazil keep its footing during the global economic crash to become one of the first to shake off recession. It also turned its president into a global star.
But Lula’s diplomacy has created some compromising alliances while his administration is touted as one of the world’s most vibrant democracies by different socialists, from the United Nations and Europe to Cuba and Venezuela. Domestically, Lula has been befriending abortion and gay groups, with harsh consequences to those not embracing this radical agenda. Not much different from Lula’s proud domestic “democracy”, his foreign policy has remarkably been befriending Muslim and communist dictators.
Recently, Brazil abstained on U.N. resolutions condemning human-rights abuses in Congo, Sri Lanka, and communist North Korea, where thousands of Christians have been tortured and killed just because they are Christian. The Lula administration also balked on Sudan, where Muslim persecution against Christians has been overwhelming, first passing on a vote to give rights inspectors a wider brief, only to reverse course in June after prominent civic groups lashed out. Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez has no better friend than Lula, even as the former has muzzled the media, bullied rivals, and smothered trade unions. “Each country establishes the democratic regime that suits its people,” Lula recently told Newsweek. “It's a sovereign decision of every nation.”
But “sovereignty” is a word used only when convenient. In the crisis involving Honduras and its sovereign and constitutional right to halt a Chavez-supported president in his illegal actions to perpetuate his presidency, the Lula administration gave him the Brazilian embassy in Honduras as a refuge and a base of operations, directly intervening in the domestic affairs of the small nation to serve the interests of Chavez. Fidel Castro’s friend lost no opportunity to delight his ideological mentor.
Yet, the bonhomie between Lula and Ahmadinejad has been glaring. During the bloody aftermath of Iran’s elections, Lula called the street protesters “losers” and compared the government crackdown to a row between fans of rival football clubs. This friendship is so strange that Lula, whose administration grants broad rights to those that commit homosexuality, has no qualm to support Ahmadinejad, whose administration murders those that commit homosexuality. In turn, Muslim Ahmadinejad also has no qualm to be with Lula, an enthusiastic advocate for homosexuality.
It is a morally antagonistic and definitely opportunistic friendship, because Ahmadinejad exterminates homosexuals in Iran, while Lula works to exterminate opposition to homosexuality in Brazil. If Ahmadinejad were a Brazilian citizen, in no way he would be able to escape prison from Lula’s socialist “democracy”, and if Lula were an Iranian citizen, in no way he would be able to escape death penalty from Ahmadinejad’s Muslim “democracy”.
Would a nation in friendship with Iran, which funds terrorist groups, have a chance to become a first-class nation? In July 2008, Chuck Pierce, who is considered a prophet in the US, told in São Paulo, Brazil, that a immense tragedy was ahead in the future of the Brazilian society and that Brazil had only a few months of opportunity to change. If in less than 12 months Lula fell down in his corrupt socialist administration and if Brazil befriended Israel, Brazil would become a great nation, even surpassing the United States. More than one year later, Lula is enjoying enormous popularity as a president and Brazil is nearer to the worst enemies of Israel.
Yet, you do not need to be a prophet to see that Brazil is on a destructive road.
Even though Ahmadinejad declared that he wants to destroy Israel, Lula has emphatically defended Iran’s right to enrich uranium on grounds that he heard “personally” that Iran didn’t want to build a bomb.
Others see Lula’s aggressive foreign-policy turn as the hubris of a rising power. “It's partly the idea that Brazil can do whatever it wants in international policy, including standing up to the world’s powerful nations,” says former foreign minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia.
Rich nations have the vice of exporting and imposing their abortion and homosexual culture on developing nations, but this is not the reason Lula condemns them. In fact, free speech, a right fully used by him to lambast petty issues of developed nations, is a right not fully guaranteed in Lula’s Workers’ Party itself, where Congressman Henrique Afonso, a Protestant minister, was found guilty of pro-life speech and in the Brazilian society, where Fr. Luiz Carlos “Lodi” da Cruz, a Catholic priest, was condemned by courts just for calling “pro-abortion” a pro-abortion individual. Even the Organization of the American States has recently acknowledged that Brazil is not guaranteeing free speech.
Lula has established a number of radical gay, abortion and racial policies in Brazil he imported from the developed world. So it is no wonder that he has never used his speech freedom to denounce the aggressive abortion and homosexual groups funded by the developed nations to destroy the culture and families in the developing countries. And Brazilians doing this have been prosecuted under his administration. Also, he has never condemned the massive human-rights abuses against Christians in Muslim and communist nations.
Touting the abortion and gay culture from the Western mighty and befriending Hugo Chávez, Ahmadinejad and other Muslim and communist mighty will surely draw world attention — but hardly the sort a first-class nation would want.
Adapted by Julio Severo from the article “Brazil’s Lula Befriends Iran’s Ahmadinejad”, by Mac Margolis in Newsweek.
To see this article in Portuguese, follow this link: http://juliosevero.blogspot.com/2009/10/lula-o-amigo-de-ahmadinejad-do-ira.html
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