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Laughing all the way to the Lubyanka

As Brazil enters the final year of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva’s presidency and October’s election looms closer, his Workers Party (PT) administration is frantically abandoning the centrist mixed economy policies that have stood the country in such good stead for the last eight years, and lurching alarmingly to the left.

Two clear examples of this have emerged in the last ten days….

First, hearty congratulations are due to Luiz Carlos Prestes Ribeiro Filho, son of the Brazilian communist guerrilla leader, Luis Carlos Prestes, who led a column of 2,000 men in an attempt to overthrow the República Velha in the 1920s. The Justice Ministry’s Amnesty Commission has awarded him compensation to the tune of R$100,000 ($55,000) for the persecution he suffered during the military dictatorship between 1964 and 1984, when he was forced into exile in the Soviet Union.

Prestes - laughing all the way to the Lubyanka

Strange. One would have thought that growing up in the type of workers’ paradise that his father wished to impose in Brazil, and supported by the authors of the calamitous third National Human Rights Programme (PNDH3) (an untypically lazy piece by The Economist with some illuminating comments), would be recompense enough for his exile.

The most disturbing aspect of PNDH3, however, is not the repealing of the Lei da Anistia (Amnesty Law), but the populist, authoritarian attacks on property and free speech contained within it….

The Decree not only wants to create a “commission of truth” to discuss past crimes, but it aims also at advancing a left wing agenda comprising violation of the property rights, restrictions on freedom of speech, enlargement of the powers of the executive branch, intervention in the markets and so on, in a Venezuelan and Cuban style. Not only the military, but also the civil society is repealing (sic) it.

The Economist should had (sic) gotten more information on the Decree before taking side on this issue.

Talking of which, how’s it going in Caracas these days?

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