The cooperation between the Brazilian left and Latin American dictatorships

“Brazil is one of the 15 largest economies in the world, therefore it has the duty to be generous and supportive with less fortunate countries”. Brazilian foreign policy was guided by such puerile speech during the leftist governments of ex-presidents Lula and Dilma. However, time has shown that Lula’s so-called “generosity towards smaller economies” was a nice name for embezzlement of Brazilian resources to finance the left’s perpetuation in power in Latin America. The scheme took form with the creation of the São Paulo Forum in 1990, hours before the fall of the Soviet Union. The Forum has recently changed its name to Puebla Group.


A prime example of how the scheme worked was during the sale of two Brazilian refineries located in Bolivia, in 2007. The refineries belonged to Petrobras -- the Brazilian state’s largest shareholder – who had acquired them in 1999 for US$ 104 million and spent US$ 30 million to modernize them. The Bolivian government abruptly and unilaterally implemented a program to nationalize and hold the monopoly of the oil exports, and subsequently Petrobras sold the refineries to the Bolivian government for a mere US$ 112 million. Years later, after PT were no longer in power, Petrobras admitted that the refineries in Bolivia were worth about US$ 200 million.


In yet another episode involving Bolivia, Petrobras paid US$ 434 million for the supply of “rich gas”, a set of noble components that come in the mixture of natural gas but are of no use to the Brazilian company. This took place in August 2014, two months before Dilma’s reelection. She was impeached from the presidency on August 31, 2016.


The “generosity” of the members of the Workers' Party goes even further. The National Bank for Economic and Social Development of Brazil (BNDES, a public bank focused on promoting the Brazilian economy) financed works abroad in support of dictatorships such as Cuba (construction of the Port of Mariel - US$ 641 million, and the development of the pharmaceutical industry - US$ 15 million) and Venezuela (expansion of the Caracas underground - US$ 875 million; the construction of a steel plant - US$ 391 million - and the Astialba shipyard - US$ 242 million). The Brazilian construction companies Odebrecht and Andrade Gutierrez, main players in the biggest corruption scandal ever seen in Brazil and possibly the world during the PT governments, were the main companies contracted to carry out those works, to no one’s surprise.


One of the main recipients of the Workers' Party philanthropy was the Cuban dictatorship. A narrative was created by Dilma Rousseff’s administration to forge the belief that doctors did not want to work in rural and remote areas of Brazil, so her government was compelled to bring in Cuban doctors to fill those positions. Notably, under this program the Cuban doctors were paid only 10% of the agreed salary by the Brazilian government and the remainder was sent to the Castro dictatorship. In addition to that, their families were held hostage in


It is estimated that the Brazilian government transferred R$ 3.2 billion directly to Cuba through this arrangement. The program was reexamined by newly elected president Bolsonaro, who proposed new terms: full transfer of payment to doctors, permission for their families to leave the island and join them in Brazil, in addition to applying tests for accreditation of their medical degree (mandatory of anyone with a foreign degree).


The Cuban dictatorship did not accept the new proposed terms and demanded the return of the doctors to the Caribbean island. Brazil offered political asylum to those who wished to stay under the new rules and between the end of the program in November 2018 until April 2019, the National Committee for Refugees (Conare) received an average of 12.6 asylum requests per day.

To no one’s surprise, the Workers' Party found a way to benefit the Cuban authoritarian regime by regulating slave labor.

Brazil Uncovered - Some of the 11,400 Cuban health professionals sent to Brazil as part of the More Doctors Program
Sobed-RJ / internet
Some of the 11,400 Cuban health professionals sent to Brazil as part of the More Doctors Program

Lula and Dilma governments were clearly a strong arm of socialism in Latin America. The Brazilian left, by misappropriation of the national wealth, became the greatest sponsor of not only the Cuban and Venezuelan dictatorships but also of large contractors. The contractors paid back in kind by returning part of the contracted values to the Workers’ Party, part of what is known as the world’s largest corruption scheme.

These resources helped the Workers' Party to remain in power since Lula’s election in 2003 until Dilma’s impeachment in 2016 without opposition from any other leftist party. Plenty of time to show the kind of appreciation they have for the democratic institutions.

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