Friday, January 03, 2003

The first two foreign leaders who Lula da Silva met with after his inaguration were Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro. Said Fidel, "Latin America is going through a desperate situation, comparable to the crisis that Cuba went through in 1959." Fidel added, "Leaders like Lula, Chávez, and me appear due to the accumulations of tremendous problems and the crisis that is affecting our nations. Leaders appear at moments of crisis, they are dreamers who are searching for a better world. I feel happy that our ideas are advancing." As a general rule, things that make Fidel Castro happy have the opposite effect on the citizenry. Don't be surprised when Lula drives Brazil straight over the cliff. Best-case scenario: Lula wrecks the economy and they pull a Joseph Estrada on him. Worst-case scenario: Lula wrecks the economy and it's Pinochet ´73 all over again. I advise the United States to be very publicly neutral, not friendly but not an enemy either, and to continue current trade relations with Brazil, so they can't blame us when it's Thelma-and-Louise time. (My favorite scene in the history of motion pictures occurs when Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis go over the cliff into the Grand Canyon. If only it could be true! And with Tim Robbins in the trunk!)

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