So, Lula…about that whole “good left” thing…


Oh Lula, Lula, Lula, you’re always getting touted as some kind of savior, some kind of messiah, some kind of Antichávez. You must have special powers to command such incredible regard. Therefore, I’m sure you can explain this, right?

The government of Rio de Janeiro is building concrete walls to prevent sprawling slums from spreading farther into the picturesque hills of this world-famous tourist destination, an official said on Saturday.

Construction has begun in two favelas, or shantytowns, in the southern districts of Rio de Janeiro, a government spokeswoman told Reuters. One of the two is Morro Dona Marta, which police occupied in November to control crime and violence caused mostly by rival drug gangs.

Item: News pieces always scream about the murder rates of Caracas, and they’re not shy either about claiming it has something to do with Chavistas. If they can’t get away with that, they still blame it on Chavecito, claiming that crime has exploded on his watch–and forgetting entirely that cities have mayors, and that it is the mayors’ duty to provide policing. Not to mention that the problem has been festering a lot longer than Chavecito has been or ever will be in power, and that it was probably worse before him; a culture of abuse and oppression can’t logically be expected to turn out any other way. Five centuries of highway robbery all over Latin America, and they claim it’s the fault of the “wrong” leftist coming to power in Venezuela. Cuckoo! Cuckoo!! Cuckoo!!!

But when it comes to Rio, which has it much, much worse than Caracas (onaccounta it has way way WAY more slums), they take a more neutral tone–in fact, it amounts to a “ZZZZzzzzzzzz” and a roll over. As here:

Officials say the wall is to protect the remaining native forest but critics fear the move could be seen as discriminatory and become a blemish symbolizing Brazil’s deep divisions between rich and poor.

You mean it’s not? That Brazil really is a racial and economic democracy? And that if the people just wait and trust the benevolent authorities and those handing them bribes, it will all sort itself out, trickle-down style? (Like a heavy rain washing a shantytown down the mountainside, perchance?)

Hi, I’m the Queen of Sheba. I really believe in this “good left/bad left” dichotomy they’re pushing. It’s a nice distraction from the real issues, is it not? Sure makes the news lively and entertaining. Also makes it look like something is being done about all that poverty that resulted in all those favelas. (In whom, I might add, not a single resident was interviewed to get their opinion for that piece, and only one “official” is named and on record. Wonder why that is?)

Never mind that nothing really is being done where it matters and where it might make a difference. But then, the hallowed halls of the world’s big banking institutions are rather a bland setting. The crime there is all carefully whitewashed and out of the public eye. Worse, it’s not even recognized as a crime–it’s all perfectly legal. So of course no one is building walls around them to keep their tentacles from spreading. No one, that is, except maybe bad old Chavecito, who is also personally to blame for each and every murder in the hillside slums of Caracas. This while Venezuela has done an impressive job of clawing its own way out of poverty.

Meanwhile, is anyone planning to rag Lula about how Brazil is still lagging behind? Nahhhh…of course not. He’s the GOOD leftist, don’cha know? Of course he gets a pass. Because damn, it would be a bummer not to go on pushing him as the anti-Chavecito, and neoliberal continuity (with a few mild, superficial reforms) as the “smart alternative” to socialism. Never mind that Lula himself would reject the role the media has foisted on him. He’s actually been urging Barack Obama to rethink Venezuela, the ‘Cito, and all that crap his so-called “advisors” have been feeding him. But do you think that will be interpreted accurately by the media? No, he’s still the anti-Chávez, and don’t you forget it! The media have their storyline already mapped out, and no deviations from it will be allowed.

Meaning, that “good left/bad left” thing will go on unabated until further notice. World without end, amen.

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