A few weeks before leaving the post of head of the United States diplomatic mission in Brazil, with which she concludes her career, Donna Hrinak decided to give President Lula’s administration some “advice” that, though wrapped in elegant diplomatic language, revealed an interventionist, arrogant and threatening tone. Her declarations were made during a conference on the relations between Brazil and the U.S. organized by Florida International University. According to the conservative paper O Estado de São Paulo, Ms. Hrinak did not speak for herself, but was reportedly pushed by ultra-conservative elements in the White House and State Department.
Her declarations reveal the essential preoccupations of U.S. diplomacy regarding our country. Ms. Hrinak tried to cover the threats she was about to pose with tolerance – “The Bush administration has tried not to react to statements made by the Brazilian government that are critical of or diverging from Washington in issues not viewed as essential to the interests of the United States.” And she “advised” the Brazilian government to “carefully balance its opposition to United States positions,” as she still expects that Brazil and the U.S. may be good partners, despite ideological differences, as long as essential American positions are not opposed.
In her speech, Ms. Hrinak emphasized the two situations where Brazil is expected to be submissively aligned to the U.S. positions – Venezuela and Cuba, thus revealing that the U.S. views the situations involving the Bolivarian Revolution and the Cuban Revolution as central to its interests in Latin America. Ms. Hrinak did not mentioned it, but we all know that FTAA plays a role in those essential issues, while opposition to it is one of the issues that the U.S. expects Brazil to “balance.”
The U.S. ambassador practically demanded Brazilian intervention in domestic Venezuelan politics in favor of the counterrevolution. “I have no doubt that Brazilians are discussing with the Venezuelan government the importance of respecting democracy, not only concerning fair elections. As we make advances in that process, we will see that Brazil is in fact the leader of the group of countries that are friends of Venezuela, leading all towards a democratic solution.”
Well, the Brazilian leadership of the group of friends is only justified as long as it is exerted to help Venezuela to stably continue the course of building the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution, which was achieved through elections – not only one, but three: two for the president of the Republic and one for the Constitutional Assembly. As far as the current episodes taking place in our neighboring country are concerned, they are nothing but another crisis fabricated by the U.S. and its agents. Expecting Brazil to try to convince the Venezuelan government to accept a fraud is improper.
As for Cuba, the ambassador – more emphatically – urged Brazil to join the U.S. positions: “It is hard to understand Brazil’s silence before the recent violations of human rights in Cuba.” Ms. Hrinak repeats a worn-out discourse that is doomed to discredit in Brazil. Aside from the explicit position of solidarity towards Cuba demonstrated by President Lula, relations between Brazil and the Caribbean island are excellent since they were reestablished almost 20 years ago.
Ms. Hrinak’s “advice” – with its threatening tone – may be better understood in the context of the assessment of the Latin American situation by ultra-conservative sectors with influence in the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department.
The Heritage Foundation, one of the ideological sources of the Republican Party, has just published a work by analysts James Jay Carafano and Stephen Johnson, specialists in security and Latin America, referring to the subcontinent as the “Southern flank” of the United States, a region in which the superpower’s military and diplomatic interventionist efforts should converge by reestablishing the military “Southern Command” and the Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, an unburied remnant of the Cold War, signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, which served as the basis for a long series of interventionist actions in the region throughout the second half of the 20th century.
Such delirious right-wing interventionist proposals are based on a claim that there is a growing “terrorist presence” in Latin America developed by “at least seven Latin American terrorist groups, including three Muslim ones.”
The Heritage Foundation’s report concentrates its attacks on Cuba and Venezuela, accused of interfering in “Latin American democratic processes,” and calls for American diplomacy to “work coordinately with other governments to neutralize those threats.”
That was what the retiring ambassador tried to do with her “advice.” To achieve a better situation in the world, and with the desire to make an effective contribution to the sovereign integration of Latin America, the Brazilian government, with its new foreign policy, will certainly disdain Ms. Hrinak’s “advice.” But it will certainly take into account those threats.
José Reinaldo Carvalho is a journalist and vice-president of the Communist Party of Brazil, responsible for international relations. This article originally appeared in Diario Vermelho (Red Daily), www.vermelho.org.br.