Extradition of Pinochet & Mercosur News

R. Magellan magellan at netrio.com.br
Wed Dec 9 19:39:10 PST 1998

Chris Burford wrote, referring to the Straw's decision on Pinochet:

------->>> "But there are some on this list who *as a matter of principle* must fail to hail this victory for the people of the world. Who must treat it with patronising "revolutionary" condescension. Who as a matter of principle muffle their joy and cannot analyse the signficance of this step, and leave it to Tom Kruse alone to greet the good news."

Leave it to Tom Kruse alone? And what about me? Even Emilio has changed his mind!

I was reading Burford's message (see below) when listening to MEC radio, a state-owned one (the last!) that broadcasts classic music, operas and news reports. Just in that moment it was transmitting the Mercosur News program. The main news:

a) In the very day of Straw's decison, the presidents of the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) were meeting in Rio de Janeiro with the presidents of Chile and Bolivia, two candidate countries to join in the common market. Eduardo Frei, from Chile, for the second time in about 45 days, tried to take advantage from a continental high-level meeting to obtain an urgent common declaration from the Southern Cone presidents asking for the immediate freedom of Pinochet on the grounds of Chilean sovereignty (the former one was in Brasilia, last October, when Frei dared the diplomatic blunder of proposing it in front of the king of Spain himself). He had already obtained the individual support from the other presidents, the report said, but once more received a rotund "NO" from the host, the Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who lived as an exile in Chile before becoming a neoliberal.

b) The radio report added without any diplomatic politeness: "President Cardoso said to President Frei that he dislikes dictators very much, specially Pinochet, and will do everything he can to confirm the decision of carrying the former Chilean dictator to a trial, whether in Spain, in Brazil or elsewhere." (there are officially only 5 Brazilian citizens among the dead, including one with double Spanish and Brazilian nationality and another Italian-Brazilian, but the numbers that are now being computed are far higher). Furthermore, the report noted stressfully that there were only very formal compliments between Cardoso and Frei instead of the warm hugs which are so common in Latin America, even in official meetings.

c) The same radio program transmitted a special report from the international demonstration of Mercosur workers that was held in Rio de Janeiro in the same day of the presidential meeting. Its main motto was: "Mercorsur for the workers, not for capitalists!" The workers from 6 countries cheered when the news about Straw's decision arrived at the the rally, what the report emphasized.

d) To add insult to injury, the radio program also gave a special attention to the stern criticism of the Paraguayan Catholic Church against the incumbent president of that country, who ilegally ordered the release of the putchist general Oviedo and is so confronting the Supreme Court. It is a serious political crisis. Immediately after these news, and without referring to the Paraguayan crisis, the Mercosur News program transmitted a declaration of President Cardoso saying that any country that does not respect its own democratic order may not belong to Mercorsur.

MEC radio has its own cast of journalists. The Mercosur News program, however, is not made up by them, but by Radiobrás, the federal news agency. So, it means that such a coverage was purposedly aimed to send a definite message to the other Southern Cone governments on the Pinochet's affair without carrying the cost of making it through diplomatic channels.

It seems also to be a warning delivered to the Brazilian military terrorists, which, though being quite silent by now, have a representative in the federal parliament. This guy, the former Army captain Bolsonaro, is as deranged and murderous as the ultra-leftists which have been standing for Pinochet on the same grounds of the Chilean fascists. Like them, he becomes hysterical everytime when issues as Pinochet, human rights and miltary terrorism in South America are debated in the parliament.

I'm strongly opposed to President Cardoso, but one must recognise that on the Pinochet's and military terrorism's affairs he is unanimously backed by the whole country, excepted by the deranged extreme right-wing. Nevertheless, he could push things farther in the continent than he is doing.

Moreover, the Brazilian parliament has just now approved the enforceability of the decisions of the Inter-American Court of Justice in Brazil and has formally requested to it to try Pinochet on the charges of crimes against humankind.

After that unusual news program, Debussy and Villa-Lobos were played in the waves again... By the way, a ----bravo!--- for Chris Burford's words!

In solidarity, Roberto

1848 / 1998: Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch !

Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans (....) Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes Le grand PARTI DES TRAVAILLEURS. (L' Internationale)


Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 22:24:08 +0000 To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com From: Chris Burford <cburford at gn.apc.org> Subject: Re: Britain OKs Extradition of Pinochet

Straw has given a studiously low beat opinion but one that closes off every legal argument that has been raised during the period of debate to oppose the right of Spain to extradite Pinochet for trial. He has defended himself from judicial review.

He has not stepped forward as a spurious revolutionary to mislead the people of the world. He has adjusted very slightly to the new balance of forces, and created a precedent that has shifted the balance of forces in the world still further. It has been commented tonight that had he blocked the extradition, Europe would have been highly indignant.

This is a reform, but there is no danger of reformism here. It is a reform that suddenly allows the mass of poor people in Chile to raise up their expectations, and likewise people in Argentina and Haiti. And the people of Colombia.

It gives insecurity to those who wish ruthlessly to trample on the democratic rights of people by force on the grounds that they must have power by right of knowing how the economy must be run in the interests of the minority, in the interests of capital.

But there are some on this list who *as a matter of principle* must fail to hail this victory for the people of the world.

Who must treat it with patronising "revolutionary" condescension.

Who as a matter of principle muffle their joy and cannot analyse the signficance of this step, and leave it to Tom Kruse alone to greet the good news.

To save them the trouble of more tedious displays of revolutionary contempt I shall quote for them from the Essay on Man:

"Behold the child, by nature's kindly law Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw."

Chris Burford


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