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What the loss of Brazil to "the Reds" would mean for the United States

By David T. Pyne
web posted September 9, 2002

Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva
Da Silva

Were a Communist coalition under front-running presidential candidate Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva allied with Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to take power in Brazil following this October's presidential election, it would undoubtedly be the greatest Communist coup since Mao and his Red Army proclaimed the People's Republic of China in Beijing over fifty years ago. In one fell swoop, 175 million more Latin Americans would fall under Marxist domination and together with Communist Cuba and Communist led Venezuela would automatically be the dominant power bloc in Latin America with a sizable majority of the population and territory there.

Constantine Mendes, a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute and former member of the National Security Council who recently preceded me in being interviewed on Howard Phillips' excellent and informative Conservative Roundtable public access program, has written a series of similar, but highly important articles regarding the developing political situation in Brazil. His articles serve to confirm what I wrote in an editorial on the Communist threat back in June. In addition to da Silva's strong ties to rogue states such as Cuba, Iraq, and Libya, Mendes states that da Silva has publicly praised his friend, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as "an example to emulate" if he succeeds in getting elected President in October. He states that this would mean that we could expect "the use of pseudo-electoral process and referenda to consolidate his rule as dictator." Da Silva would probably embark upon a slow path of transforming Brazil into an authoritarian, though not doctrinaire Marxist state. He would likely subvert political freedoms in Brazil and change the constitution and/or commit electoral fraud to ensure his indefinite continuance in power as has been done by Chavez in Venezuela. His political opponents should expect no mercy.

Mendes has attempted to highlight the dangers posed by a da Silva victory in the Brazilian presidential elections and prod the Bush Administration to pursue whatever options are available to avert what would undoubtedly amount to the greatest regional crisis for the US since the Soviets parked nuclear-tipped medium range ballistic missiles in Cuba in 1962. He warns of the formation of "a new axis of evil" if da Silva wins the election. Mendes writes that da Silva has spoken of his desire to restart Brazil's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs if re-elected. He reveals that Brazil's military actually "successfully designed two atomic bombs and was reportedly on the verge of testing one nuclear device" when its democratic participant discovered the rogue program and shut it down in 1994. Da Silva has essentially declared his intention to have Brazil join the Sino-Russian axis of nations against the United States if he becomes President. He has also expressed interest in providing Communist China with naval bases along Brazil's long Atlantic coastline.

Brazil is the second largest and second most powerful country in the Western Hemisphere, comprising over half the population and territory of South America. As it borders on ten other countries in Latin America, Brazil would be well-positioned to serve as regional hegemon of the South American continent were it to find the political will to do so. This would be particularly true were it to test a nuclear weapon and become a nuclear power. Brazil also boasts the world's eighth largest economy.

Da Silva has established extensive ties to international terrorism. He has been very critical of the US "War on Terror" and has professed admiration for such widely respected international statesmen as Saddam Hussein and Mohomar Quadafi. His election as President would greatly increase the prospect of a successful takeover of Columbia by the Communist FARC guerillas, which he fully supports. Mendes states that a Marxist regime in Brazil would also be well-positioned to help cause Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru to fall to would-be Marxist dictators and exploit the deepening economic crisis in Argentina, which I recently visited in June, and Paraguay. All told, a da Silva victory could well result in "as many as 300 million people" falling "under the control of anti-American dictatorships."

In 1990, da Silva co-founded the Forum of Sao Paulo with Cuban President Fidel Castro and former Nicaraguan Marxist President Daniel Ortega. The Forum is a kind of annual "Communist Party Congress" for Communists, anti-American terrorists and Marxist revolutionaries to meet together and strategize on how to best effect their plans for Communizing much if not most of Latin America. Venezuelan President and self-proclaimed Communist, Hugo Chavez has become a major power player in this organization since coming to power in 1998. Chavez is probably supporting the da Silva campaign to the tune of millions of dollars while Castro may also be committing hundreds of his intelligence operatives to help da Silva win the election.

Under da Silva's leadership, Brazil would become the new Marxist powerhouse of Latin America and the base of operations for a new Latin American "axis of evil" from which much of the rest of Latin America, beginning with Panama could fall like a series of dominoes to well-supported Marxist politicos and revolutionaries. America's surviving allies in Latin America would be completely isolated. Losing Brazil to a Communist-aligned regime would be a loss that the US could not recover from anytime soon. It would force the US to retool its entire foreign policy and change its main focus from the Eurasian subcontinent to Latin America with a concomitant redeployment of forces to the South American theater of operations (SOCOM). It would also require the reoccupation by US military forces of the Panama Canal and the eviction of its current Communist Chinese tenets for the US to have any hope of restoring a measure of continental, let alone hemispheric security.

During a pre-brief for my last trip to Brazil's capitol last March as part of an official US government delegation, I queried the intelligence community briefer on whether he believed that an electoral victory by da Silva would adversely effect Brazil's foreign policy towards the US. He told me that he did not believe that it would, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Since then, I have determined that neither the Bush Administration nor the US intelligence community is focusing much attention on the threat of a Marxist takeover of Brazil and determining what that outcome would mean for US foreign policy initiatives in Brazil. Accordingly a victory by da Silva in this fall's election will be a wake-up call for which they will be woefully unprepared. The Bush Administration would be well-advised to correct course and take immediate action designed to prevent the unthinkable loss of Brazil to a Communist-aligned coalition government.

David T. Pyne, Esq. works as an International Programs Manager with the Department of the Army responsible for cooperation with Latin America. He is a former Army Reserve Officer. He spent two years in Brazil from 1988-1990 serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Mr. Pyne recently served as a member of an official Department of Defense-led trip to meet with officials of Brazil's newly established Ministry of Defense. Mr. Pyne holds an MA in National Security Studies from Georgetown University and is a member of the Center for Emerging National Security Affairs based in Washington, D.C. He has been cited in the New American magazine and was recently interviewed on Howard Phillips' Conservative Roundtable TV program in regards to issues related to the coming Brazilian election. (c) 2002 David T. Pyne

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