The decision by the Brasilian Government, whether new or old, to send a tanker of gasoline to Venezuela, may have grave implications for the future of Brasilian-Venezuelan relations. For those of us in the opposition, this represents not only a clear intervention in the internal affairs of our country, but it also represents an act of agression against us. It is an agression because the Brasilian Government is taking sides in a conflict that matches a majority of 70-80% of Venezuelans, against a Government that has by now become absolutely illegitimate. We find little comfort from the words of the Brasilian Ambassador to Venezuela, who attempted to explain the tanker as “Humanitarian aid”. What defines “Humanitarian”? What if the gasoline arriving in Venezuela is used by the National Guard to mobilize its troops to repress peaceful demonstrations like what has happened in the last few weeks? What if it is used to mobilize Chavez’ supporters in their demosntrations, while the opposition walks? What if is used to favor one group over another? This is what makes a mockery of the excuse given by the Brasilian Ambassador to Venezuela.
One of the most puzzling aspects of the gasoline tanker sent by Brasil, is to see Lula Da silva, the soon to be sworn-in President of Brasil, whose power base comes from the unions, act as a scab in a conflict where the largest Federation of Unions the Confederacion de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV), is leading the general strike against the Chavez Government. It is remarkable to see how a “union man” who came to power changes his behavior even before he has taken power. Even worse is to see his personal emissary insulting Venezuelan media in what is clearly an intromission in Venezuelan affairs.
Politicians like to talk about history and supposedly it shapes them, Lula Da Silva should look at history and the history of rebellions. No Government can survive the level of rebellion and civil disobedience by the Venezuelan society in the last few months. No Government can fool the world all the time, the way the Chavez administration is trying to fool the world. Thus, the relations between Brasil and Venezuela will suffer significantly if the Brasilian Government mantains its current attitude. If it does, the protest of Venezuelans will focus on Brasil. Venezuelans are currently mobilized like few citiizens of any country have ever been. Diverting even a small fraction of that protest to Brasil, its Ambassador, its Consul, its properties, boycotting its products will take little effort. The danger is that the Brasilian Government is acting against almost 80% of the Venezuelan population. A population that did not celebrate Christmas because getting rid of Hugo Chavez was more important. A population that sacrificed many things to get where it is today. There is no gas, soft drinks, some foodstuffs are scarce. Thus this same population can sacrifice Brasil and all things Brasilian if it finds that country acts agaisnt its will. We will miss Brasil, its music, its people, its futbol (soccer), its products, but there are values definitely more important to us than that. Like democracy or freedom…….