Today this blog would like to tell you about Franklin Brito, someone whose name most of you will almost certainly have never heard.
For those who are unfamiliar with Brito’s story, he had a productive livestock farm in Venezuela until a certain Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías decided to “expropriate” it, declaring property rights to be at an end at that henceforth, “all Venezuelan land (would) belong to the people.”
Brito tried to recover his property through the legal system, a herculean task in Latin America generally and all but impossible in Venezuela, where matters of right have been settled at the whim of the regime for years. He was unable to get an explanation, let alone a hearing. So, in desperation, Brito resorted to a hunger strike, which until yesterday had lasted nine months. I say until yesterday because that’s when his body and spirit gave up the unequal struggle for justice.
The poor fellow really should have known better than to expect a dictator to pay the slightest attention to a hunger-striker. No doubt we’ll be hearing more weasel words about “bandits” today from Mr Chávez’s friend, President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who, as the crocodile tears cascade down his cheeks like the Iguaçu Falls, will doubtless also be fielding further awkward questions about his Workers Party’s support of the FARC in Colombia.
This blog would be particularly intrigued to know the thoughts of Noam Chomsky, John Pilger Sean Penn and Oliver Stone, four men who would no sooner live in Chávez’s Venezuela than they would on Jupiter (but are quite happy, it seems, for others to do so) on this most Latin American of outrages.
Brazil has a presidential election in October. It will probably come as no surprise to anyone with more than two functioning synapses that Lula’s anointed successor is Dilma Roussef….
You got that, right? Sean Penn thinks people who refer to Chávez as a dictator should be jailed.
No prizes for guessing whose side the MercoPress Agency is on in the Brazilian election….