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Brazil: Blogosphere reacts to WikiLeaks

The leak of more than 250 000 documents denouncing the practice of espionage by the U.S. government also caused an uproar in Brazil, where dozens of documents ended up putting the Defence Minister, Nelson Jobim, in a delicate situation. Natalia Viana, from Opera Mundi, details [pt] the number of leaked documents about Brazil and says that there is still much more to come:

No caso brasileiro, os documentos são riquíssimos. São 2.855 no total, sendo 1.947 da embaixada em Brasília, 12 do Consulado em Recife, 119 no Rio de Janeiro e 777 em São Paulo.

Nas próximas semanas, eles vão mostrar ao público brasileiro histórias pouco conhecidas de negociações do governo por debaixo do pano, informantes que costumam visitar a embaixada norte-americana, propostas de acordo contra vizinhos, o trabalho de lobby na venda dos caças para a Força Aérea Brasileira e de empresas de segurança e petróleo.

In the Brazilian case, the documents are very rich. There are 2855 in total, with 1,947 from the embassy in Brasilia, 12 from the Consulate in Recife, 119 in Rio de Janeiro and 777 in Sao Paulo.

In the coming weeks, they will show to the Brazilian public little known stories of the government's under-the-table negotiations, informants who often visit the U.S. embassy, deal proposals against neighbors, the lobbying work in the sale of fighter jets to the Brazilian Air Force and of security and oil companies.

The documents also show the discomfort of the U.S. with the highest representatives of Brazilian diplomacy, Altamiro Borges explains [pt] on his blog:

No caso brasileiro, conversas confirmam o desconforto dos EUA com a política externa soberana praticada pelo Itamaraty. O ministro Celso Amorim e o ex-secretário-geral Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães são encarados como inimigos do império. Já o ministro da Defesa, Nelson Jobim – que infelizmente a presidente Dilma Rousseff pretende manter no posto – é tratado como um “aliado” dos EUA.

In the Brazilian case, talks confirm the discomfort  of the U.S. to the sovereign foreign policy practiced by the Itamaraty [Foreign Ministry]. Minister Celso Amorim and former Secretary-General Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães are seen as enemies of the empire. The Minister of Defence, Nelson Jobim – who unfortunately President Rousseff wants to keep on the job – is treated as an “ally” of USA.

Leandro Fortes, from the blog Brasilia, eu vi (Brasilia, I saw), goes even further [pt], accusing Minister Nelson Jobim of being an informer for the U.S. (using the popular slang X-9, which means “informant”):

Nelson Jobim, ministro da Defesa do Brasil, foi pego servindo de informante da Embaixada dos Estados Unidos. Isso depois de Lula ter consolidado, à custa de enorme esforço do Itamaraty e da diplomacia brasileira, uma imagem internacional independente e corajosa, justamente em contraponto à política anterior, formalizada no governo FHC, de absoluta subserviência aos interesses dos EUA.

[…]

o ministro da Defesa, Nelson Jobim, costumava almoçar com o ex-embaixador dos Estados Unidos no Brasil Clifford Sobel para falar mal da diplomacia brasileira e passar informes variados. Para agradar o interlocutor e se mostrar como aliado preferencial dentro do governo Lula, Jobim, ministro de Estado, menosprezava o Itamaraty, apresentado como cidadela antiamericana, e denunciava um colega de governo, o embaixador Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, como militante antiyankee. Segundo o relato produzido por Clifford Sobel, divulgado pelo Wikileaks, Jobim disse que Guimarães “odeia os EUA” e trabalha para “criar problemas” na relação entre os dois países.

Nelson Jobim, Brazil's Defence Minister, was caught serving as an informant of the U.S. Embassy. This after Lula has consolidated, at the expense of the tremendous efforts of the Foreign Ministry and Brazilian diplomacy, an independent and courageous international image, just as a counterpoint to the previous policy, formalized in the [Fernando Henrique] Cardoso government, of absolute subservience to U.S. interests.

[…]

The Defence Minister Nelson Jobim used to have lunch with former U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Clifford Sobel in order to speak ill of Brazilian diplomacy and [to] transfer varied reports. To please the interlocutor and to show itself as a close ally within the Lula government, Jobim, Minister of State, belittling the Foreign Ministry, presented as an anti-American citadel, and denounced a government colleague, Ambassador Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, as an anti-yankee militant. According to the report produced by Sobel, published by Wikileaks, Jobim said Guimarães “hates America” and works to “create problems” in the relationship between the two countries.

On the official website of the Ministry of Defence, Jobim denied [pt] having criticized the then vice-chancellor of Brazil, Guimarães, information also passed on [pt] by the official Ministry of Defence's Twitter account.

On the other hand, André Raboni, from the blog Acerto de Contas, considers [pt] the excuses given by Jobim to be ridiculous, and that his statements only prove the function of being an informant for the U.S. embassy:

É absurdo (pra não dizer outra coisa) um ministro de Estado manter esse tipo de atitude colaborativa com um país que está tentando enfiar uma lei anti-terrorismo goela abaixo dos brasileiros. Uma lei que só interessa aos EUA, diga-se de passagem. Aliás, seria absurdo um ministro agir dessa forma com qualquer outro país, independentemente de serem os Estados Unidos e sua rede internacional de espionagem diplomática.

It is absurd (to say the least) for a Minister of State to keep this kind of co-operative attitude with a country that is trying to shove an anti-terrorism law down the throats of Brazilians. A law that only interests the U.S., say in passing. Indeed it would be absurd for a minister to act this way with any other country, whether or not the United States and its international network of diplomatic espionage.

Danilo Marques, from the blog O Inferno de Dandi (Dandi's Hell) is ironic in considering the notion of US jealousy of Brazilian successes in foreign relations [pt]:

Nos relatórios percebesse uma crise de ciúmes dos americanos, insatisfeitos com o sucesso brasileiro em suas relações exteriores. Achando que o Brasil está criando asas, a questão do Irã foi uma grande decepção aos que não gostam de dividir os brinquedos. Pois o Ministro Amorim, que defende as cores nacionais, afirmou em Washington que os americanos vão ter que largar de xilique, agora o panorama mundial pede outras relações diplomáticas.

In the reports I noticed what appeared to be a jealous rage of Americans, dissatisfied with the Brazilian success in its foreign relations. Finding that Brazil is growing wings, the issue of Iran was a major disappointment to those who do not like to share toys. Because Minister Celso Amorim, who defends the national colors, said in Washington that the Americans will have to stop its panic attacks, now the world scene asks for other diplomatic relations.

Cristina Rodrigues, from the blog Somos Andando (We are Walking), recalls [pt] other controversial episodes that Nelson Jobim was involved:

Ele se posicionou contrário ao Programa de Direitos Humanos defendido pela sociedade civil e a criação de uma Comissão da Verdade. Parecia mais um aliado daqueles militares que comandaram o Brasil nos 21 anos entre 1964 e 1985. Foi peça-chave para derrubar Paulo Lacerda da Abin. Foram vários, enfim, os constrangimentos.

He stood contrary to the Human Rights Program defended by civil society and the creation of a Truth Commission. He looked more like a military ally of those who ruled Brazil in the 21 years between 1964 and 1985 [Military Dictatorship]. It as a key to overturn Paulo Lacerda from the Abin [Brazilian spy agency]. There were, after all, many constraints.

Luiz Carlos Azenha, from the blog Vi o Mundo (I Saw the World), adds [pt] that, according to WikiLeaks, Jobim would also have passed to the U.S. Ambassador the (false) information that Evo Morales, Bolivia's president, had “a tumor stuck on the nose”.

Through the leaked documents, it also came to public attention that the information that the U.S. would be unhappy with was the fact that Brazil refuses to implement an anti-terrorism law in its territory, that has not passed, according [pt] to Hugh Albuquerque, from the blog Descurvo:

A ideia não vingou por pressão, inclusive, de Dilma Rousseff, atual chefe de estado e de governo. O argumento usado por ela é bem simples, como isso poderia ser usado para criminalizar movimentos sociais e, quem sabe, políticos.

The idea did not work because of pressure, even from Dilma Rousseff, the current head of state and government. The argument used by her is quite simple, as it could be used to criminalize social movements and, perhaps, politicians.

An anti-terrorist law would result, in Brazil, in the criminalization of social movements such as the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra (Landless Workers’ Movement, MST) João Pedro Stédile says in an interview with Opera Mundi:

É evidente que as pressões do governo dos EUA, tentando influenciar governos democráticos e progressistas a aderirem à sua sanha paranóica de terrorismo, visa criminalizar e controlar qualquer movimento de massas que lute por seus direitos e que ocasionalmente representem manifestações contra os interesses das empresas estadunidenses.

It is evident that the pressures of the U.S. government, trying to influence democratic and progressive governments to join its paranoid rage of terrorism, aims at criminalizing and controlling any mass movement that fights for its rights and occasionally pose demonstrations against the interests of US companies.

Hugo Albuquerque continues, criticizing the way the US and some Brazilian analysts deal with terrorism, drawing parallels to the failed ideal of the free market of the 90's:

A maneira como é narrada o aparente descaso do governo brasileiro com o “terrorismo” é uma peça antropológica, sem dúvida. Os americanos e os analistas nacionais – mais gringos que os próprios -, na verdade, não entendem como o Governo brasileiro ainda não descobriu o potencial de como controlar os seus, por meio do potencial de subjetivação dos seus cidadãos como “terroristas”, mas a maneira como isso é narrado é deliciosamente cínica, os tecnocratas apontam o governo como “imaturo” do mesmo modo como se fazia com os países que não queriam aderir ao livre-mercadismo nos anos 90: A nossa vontade é tamanha que quem não se dobra a ela, só pode ser um idiota. Uma forma de idealismo perversa, na qual os próprios ideólogos começam a acreditar nas mentiras que repetem – e aí, caríssimos, só o inferno é o limite.

The way the apparent indifference of the Brazilian government to  the “terrorism” is narrated is an anthropology piece, without a doubt. The Americans and the national analysts – more than the Yankees themselves – actually do not understand how the Brazilian government has not yet discovered the potential of controlling its own people through the potential subjectification of its citizens as “terrorists”, but the way it is told is delightfully cynical, the technocrats point to the government as “immature” in the same way as was done with countries who would not join the free-enterprisers in the 90's: our will is such that anyone who does not bend to it can only be an idiot. A perverse form of idealism, in which the ideologues themselves begin to believe the lies that are repeated – and then, dear, only hell is the limit.

Idelber Avelar, from the blog Biscoito Fino, adds [pt]:

De novidades nesse front, há a participação de um especialista brasileiro, André Luis Woloszyn, como uma espécie de “consultor” para os estadunidenses interessados em adequar a legislação alheia a seus interesses: “é impossível”, disse ele, “fazer uma lei antiterrorismo que não inclua o MST”. O caso me parece gravíssimo.

From the news on that front, there is the participation of a Brazilian expert, Andre Luis Woloszyn, as a kind of “consultant” for Americans interested in twisting the law according to their own interests: “it is impossible,” he said, “to make an anti-terrorism law that does not include the MST.” To me, the case seems very serious.

Finally, Altamiro Borges finalizes [pt], giving his view of the importance of the leaked data of WikiLeaks:

A vasta documentação tornada pública, num serviço inestimável da ONG WikiLeaks, confirma que a luta contra a agressão imperialista é a principal batalha dos povos na atualidade para superar a opressão e a exploração.

The extensive documentation made public, in a valuable service by the NGO WikiLeaks, confirms that the struggle against imperialist aggression is the main battle of peoples now, to overcome oppression and exploitation.

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