The ‘Brazil alongside Chavez’ campaign has begun
Quatro e Zamponhas
Cordilheiras e florestas,
Uma América que sonha
Mescla de tanta gente,
Lutadores e idealistas,
Nesta terra de Guevara
Por um sonho socialista
Venezuela segue em frente,
Nossa voz e nossa vez,
O Brasil está contigo,
Pedro Munhoz, singer and composer
It is through this playful way that social movements, political parties and organizations in Brazil showed their support and solidarity with the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who will compete in the elections on 7th October.
During the meeting held on Tuesday (24/7) – the birthday of Simon Bolivar - various organizations met at the headquarters of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) to show support for the so-called Bolivarian Revolution and to discuss initiatives to support President Chavez in the clashes he will face in the coming months.
Read and sign the ‘Brazil alongside Chavez’ manifesto
For João Pedro Stedile, National Director of the MST, the developments in Venezuela are at the centre of dispute over political projects at risk in Latin America. He estimates that ‘the Empire’, represented by the United States, focuses all of its energy and will use all of its weapons to defeat Chavez.
"A victory for Chavez is a victory for the whole Latin America. But the opposite is also true: the defeat of Chavez would be a defeat for the whole process which has occurred in the last 12 years in Latin America, "said Stedile.
According to Valter Pomar - executive secretary of the Sao Paulo Forum which brings together the continent’s left wing groups - progressive organizations must strive to rally public opinion against the constant attempts to discredit Chavez's political project, should organise actions of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and warn the public about post-electoral plans to immediately bring the electoral process into question.
The meeting defined the creation of a committee to form the ‘Brazil alongside Chavez’ campaign. The first activity of this forum is organizing a major act on July 31, opposite the Presidential Palace, to both welcome Hugo Chavez and express support for the inclusion of Venezuela in Mercosur.
Authorities are discussing the construction of a political-cultural campaign in late August in São Paulo and are promising to make clear efforts if Henrique Capriles, Chavez’s opposition, visits Brazil.
Carlos Ron of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), thanked the Brazilian organizations for their support saying, "People power is what can end poverty, exclusion and inequality, which in reference to the current process occurring in Latin American means changing power relations in favour of the majority".
Response of the Right
Organisations have reported that the potential response of continental right wing forces is to stop or even destroy the progression occurring in Latin America.
"When we say that Chavez's victory is our victory, this is not a mere slogan. What is at stake is the geopolitical balance of forces in Latin America” claims Ioli Ilíad, Secretary of International Relations for the PT.
According to Ioli, an example of this response can be found in Henrique Capriles’ attempt to draw parallels with the image of former President Lula, who was frustrated with the release of Lula’s video support for Chavez (see here). "We cannot underestimate the power of the right and the lack of scruples that some forces may have. For example look at Paraguay (referring to the coup suffered by Fernando Lugo)"emphasised the leader of the PT.
Stedile warned that the Brazilian right wing already has formed its committee. He said the conservative sectors of Venezuela had outlets in Miami (United States) and Madrid (Spain) as sources for news and media to undermine the legitimacy of Hugo Chavez’s government. From this year, the main source of information against the central government is Brazil.
"The Right here diffuses a news story into the Brazilian media, which sometimes has little impact on a national level, but immediately the Venezuelan right amplifies this news by giving it as a source to the world's press" he said.
Two electoral campaigns
Ricardo Abreu, Secretary of International Relations for the PCdoB, stressed the importance of Chávez in strengthening the South American integration partnership. With the recent entry of the country into Mercosur, parts of the Brazilian right wing have used the media to denounce its membership and have decreed a supposed death of the economic block. "What has died is their proposed Mercosur project. However, we say long live the Mercosur, "he said.
For Gilberto Maringoni of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), the Brazilian left wing has two battles in the coming months: to defeat the right wing in Brazil and to help win the election for Chavez in Venezuela. "The task is very similar to what Chavez is facing right here. The greatest solidarity we can offer is defeating them" said Maringoni.
Caio Santiago of the Popular Youth Uprising said young people will organise a demonstration if Capriles comes to Brazil. He argued "The youth cannot remain oblivious to this dispute, since it is one of the most affected sectors within the other proposed model. Therefore, the role of the youth must use action, rebellion and propaganda to take the debate to the whole population”.
"The media hits hard, presenting Chavez as an enemy of Brazil, and we need to tell the people that his victory is also a victory for the Brazilian people," proposed Ismael Cardoso of the Union of Socialist Youth (UJS).