‘Brazil Needs More Education, Not More Guns’, Lula Warns

Source:  TeleSUR
May 11 2019

Lula da Silva 5.jpgFormer President Lula da Silva at the National Coordination of Education
Workers Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Jan. 12, 2019. | Photo: EFE

In an interview aired Friday by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva warned that his country’s problems will not be solved by governmental decisions that facilitate the use of weapons instead of promoting education.

RELATED:  BBC to Broadcast Lula’s Interview Banned by Local Brazilian TV

The Workers’ Party leader said Bolsonaro, “barbarously defends an armed, police state. He only makes that firing gesture. In his head, a weapon solves everyone’s problem. He has just authorized farmers can use guns and shoot anyone they want.” Lula added the current head of state “is sick and believes that Brazil’s problems will be solved with weapons. Brazil’s problems will be solved with books, with schools,” stressed the left-leaning politician.

The criticism came just days after former captain Bolsonaro signed a decree authorizing truck drivers, legislators, journalists, private security agents, lawyers and others to carry weapons in public places. This executive order will allow some 19.1 million citizens to request firearm licenses, according to Souda Paz Institute, an NGO dedicated to promoting a peace culture in Brazil.

Nationwide strike

On Wednesday, the current far-right administration also announced it would “block” 30 percent of the national budget already allocated to universities and research institutes from receiving their funs. This budget cut immediately moved thousands of Brazilian professors, students and scientists to protest and plan for a ationwide strike against social security reforms set for May 15.

“For Lula, education was an investment and not an expense. In 2010, upon leaving the Presidency, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva inaugurated the Teofilo Otoni campus in Minas Gerais. In his speech, he recalled his government’s maxim about education.”

Regarding the repression of young people and students, Lula pointed out in the exclusive interview that “for the wellbeing of Brazil, I hope [Bolsonaro] learns. … Instead of talking nonsense, Bolsonaro should say the following: ‘I will finish my term being better than Lula, I will create more universities, I will invest more in science and technology, I will enroll more children in school’.”

Imprisoned without evidence

During the interview, the 73-year-old politician and political prisoner answered several questions about the corruption allegations used to send him to jail for eight years, down from his original 12-year sentenced ruled on in 2018.

“The only thing that interests me is to prove my innocence and I will fight for it until my life’s last days,” Lula said and commented that, besides being politically motivated, his trial was wrought with legal irregularities. No actual evidence against the ex-president was ever presented in court, just testimonies against him.

“[The Human Rights, Family and Women Minister] Damares echoes Bolsonaro: minors are learning to use weapons without judicial authorization. The families demand it. Which families, minister? Those from the hills and slums? Now the motto is ‘arm one another’?”

Since April 7, 2018, Lula has been imprisoned at a Curitiba’s federal prison convicted of allegedly receiving a luxurious beach apartment from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company in exchange for contracts with Petrobras, a state-owned oil company.

Lula recalled that many opposition politicians wrongly thought he was going to leave Brazil before being arrested.

“I decided to stay in my country. If they want me in Curitiba, I will be there,” he said and thanked “those wonderful people who are out there,” referring to the thousands of Brazilians supporters who have been in permanent mobilization and solidarity since his imprisonment in April 2018.

Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court recently ruled to allow Lula to be interviewed. This was his first broadcast interview originally set to be aired on RedeTV, but the Brazilian media outlet changed course last week, allegedly pressured by the Bolsonaro administration.

Lula, the most important political prisoner in the world, says Chomsky

Source:  chamosaurio
April 15 2019

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, imprisoned for more than a year for alleged acts of corruption, is today the most important political prisoner in the world. 

This was stated by the prominent intellectual and political activist Noam Chomsky, during an interview with the channel Democracy Now, amplified by the portal Rede Brasil Atual. 

According to the professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the political prison seeks to silence Lula who, when he presided over Brazil, was the voice of the ‘global South’. 

Chomsky placed the prison of the former Brazilian ruler in a universal context and compared his situation with that of Australian journalist Julian Assange, creator of WikiLeaks, arrested on Thursday.

The renowned American linguist, of 90 years, perceives, from the historical perspective, the imprisonment of both as similar to that of the founder and general secretary of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937). 

‘Some may remember when the (fascist) government of (Benito) Mussolini placed Antonio Gramsci in jail. The prosecutor said: We have to silence that voice for 20 years. We can not let him talk. That’s Assange. That is Lula. That is a scandal, “said Chomsky. 

He asked himself: ‘Do you hear something in the press about that? And he replied: ‘Well, Assange is a similar case: We have to silence that voice’.

According to the renowned intellectual, under the Lula government, at the beginning of this millennium, Brazil was one of the most, perhaps the most respected country in the world. “He was the voice of the global South under the leadership of Lula da Silva,” he stressed. 

In September, the North American thinker visited the exmandatario in the seat of the Superintendence of the Federal Police of Curitiba, capital of the southern state of Paraná, and when leaving he thought that by right Lula should be next president of Brazil and that meeting him again was ‘a wonderful experience’. 

“It is not possible to meet an extraordinary figure of the 21st century every day,” he said on the occasion.

Since April 7, 2018 Lula remains in prison in Curitiba after receiving a penalty of 12 years and one month imposed by the Federal Regional Court of the fourth region (TRF-4) for alleged acts of corruption. 

The former president was subjected in February to a second conviction in the anti-corruption operation Lava Jato, this time to 12 years and 11 months. 

I do not want to “think badly”

Source:  Guajirita Soy
April 15 2019

By: Ana Hernández Hernández

from guajirita 1.png

During the last few months, some unprecedented events in the medical collaboration that Cuba has given, have happened one after another, which without the slightest interest in “thinking badly”, I do interpret that behind them can go the hairy hand of those who have always tried to discredit the human task, to bring life, hope and light, where others are present with missiles, bombs and military forces in the name of vaunted “Humanitarian Aid”.

First, once he assumed power in Brazil the  neofascist Jair Bolsonaro, discontinues the More Doctors Humanitarian Program, thus putting the Cuban doctors out of the South American giant, but not before proffering as many slanders and lies as possible  against the true professionalism of our doctors, while, at the same time, encouraging them to defect and assuring them employment.

Jair Bolsonaro, who stated,  among the many falsehoods, that the doctors were slaves of the Cuban government, assured employment to those who were willing to leave the mission and not return to Cuba.  Those who decided to opt for his call and his promises, today are the same ones who the passing of the months have found them unemployed and drifting away from what they can find to pay for their livelihood.

Second , just a few days ago, as a result of irregularities in the payment, by their country, to the Congolese scholars who are studying at the Latin American School of Medicine, ELAM, these students created a climate of violence and instability in the center. It transcended borders, where the intervention of  public order personnel was necessary  in order to control indiscipline.

A few hours after the events,   the future health professionals apologized to Cuba, for such a situation …, but notwithstanding that it is a problem that concerns the Congolese authorities and not the Cuban ones, an unusual event occurred and before the eyes of the malicious, manipulators of information, criticism appeared blaming the largest of the Antilles and its study programs that train medical and paramedical personnel.

Third , and only a few hours ago, they kidnapped in Kenya two Cuban collaborators that make up the Medical Brigade, which since last year has been serving in that African land, an unprecedented fact throughout the long history of Cuba, in more than 160 countries of the world, where they have arrived with their message of health, life and hope for the needy.

There are undoubtedly three significant facts, in different latitudes, but they could very well be marked by a single interest, although apparently they could not have contact points … and I do not want to “think badly”, but that interest and points of contact I see through the magnifying glass that guides my steps and my eyes towards those who, once and a thousand times, have tried to tarnish the human work carried out by the Cuban medicine world, and of course! They are the same people who, without scruples,  have given themselves to the task of  calling Cuban collaborators, like military men who arrive to indoctrinate the peoples.

I do not want to “think badly”, but behind this may be the hairy hand of those who do not like us … I just conclude thinking: That on earth there are more flowers than snakes …, not to “Think Bad”

Bolsonaro closes More Doctors; Cuban professionals who stayed in Brazil face broken promises

Source:  La Santa Mambisa
February 7 2019

By Sergio Alejandro Gómez

Mayra Pinheiro’s promises to Cuban doctors in Brazil

The government of Jair Bolsonaro is preparing to permanently close More Doctors, a project designed by the Workers Party in 2013 to bring health care to the most remote areas of Brazil, and in which thousands of Cuban doctors participated.

The federal government decided to close the program and replace it with a new one , which is still being planned and will be presented “soon,  Mayra Pinheiro, secretary of Labor and Education at the Brazilian Ministry of Health , told the press on Wednesday. More Doctors.

The announcement leaves without job opportunities the professionals of the largest of the Antilles who decided to stay in Brazil after the Cuban Ministry of Public Health ended its participation in the program last November , due to the aggression and threats of Bolsonaro against Havana.

“People are like going crazy. There are those who no longer have money or work , “a doctor from Pinar del Rio, who is in Brazil, told Cubadebate, but she preferred not to give her name.

Of the eight thousand 471 employees who were working in that country when on November 14 the decision was made not to continue participating in More Doctors, 7 thousand 635 completed the mission, more than 90 percent , said the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, in an act of homage to the doctors.

A group of doctors was married and with families incorporated in Brazil, so they decided to stay there legally, while others returned to Cuba in December and then traveled independently to Brazil to try to specify a job offer.

“There is always someone who stayed even to sell coconuts on a beach, but most people are disappointed because they had the idea that they were going to stay to work as doctors, ” said the doctor from Pinar del Río. “The reality is that they made promises and now they cleaned their hands like Pontius Pilate.”

In a recording that Cubadebate had access to, Mayra Pinheiro assures Cubans that they will have preferential treatment . The Brazilian official organized groups in the social network WhatsApp to “keep informed” those who decided to stay.

“The meeting was very productive with the Ministry of Justice, which ruled on the legality of Cuban doctors, who would be treated with a special category that would allow them to work and stay in the More Doctors registry, granting them the possibility to participate in the program in the coming months, “says Pinheiro in the audio shared between hundreds of doctors and in which he asks that they not disclose it.

The hope of those who wanted to opt for their re-entry to Más Médicos was set on February 18th. That day, the call for Brazilian professionals to fill vacancies in the most intricate areas of the country was over.

The Cubans were going to bid for one of the nearly 800 positions available and that no Brazilian doctor accepted , but the decision of the Ministry of Health closed the doors.

According to Pinheiro’s statements to the press, the idea is that the last cycle of open vacancies will be closed this week.  The doctors who are currently in the program (not the Cubans) may continue for the term of their contract, which is three years.

The official called for foreigners not to attend these calls, because they will not be accepted. And that is precisely the situation of the Cubans.

The only possibility of being able to exercise their profession is in the revalidation of the title , a cumbersome and delayed process that is controlled by the Medical College of the country.

The test, managed by the National Institute of Studies and Educational Research, is carried out in two phases and does not have a fixed date for the call. The 2017 edition should offer the results this month, almost two years later.

In addition, according to the laws in force, only Cuban doctors who have received permanent residency can take the exam .

Promises from the United States

The group of professionals in Brazil has also been contacted by institutions from third countries with promises to legalize their status in the United States .

This call of the Solidarity Without Borders (SSF) group, based in Hialeah, promotes the migration of professionals to the United States and says that the group is making efforts to reactivate the controversial Parole program for Cuban Medical Professionals.

Senators of Cuban origin and opponents of any rapprochement with Havana, Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, recently introduced a resource in the US Congress that seeks to reestablish a program of brain drain aimed at Cuban doctors who fulfill their mission abroad.

This measure was established by the government of George W. Bush and repealed at the end of the mandate of Barack Obama. During the years that remained in force (2006-2017), this policy constituted an illegal incentive for Cuban health personnel who collaborated in third countries to abandon their missions and emigrate to the United States.

The program caused damages to the international medical cooperation of Cuba and especially to the poor nations of the third world that benefit from the contribution of the professionals of the Island.

According to the Minister of Public Health, José Angel Portal, more than 600 thousand Cubans have rendered medical services in more than 160 countries during the last 55 years. In Cuba, 35 thousand 613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained for free.

Although the Minsap has not specifically stated its position with the Cubans who failed to fulfill their obligations and decided to remain in Brazil, the policy applied so far allows the reincorporation of the doctors to their previous jobs.

The ministry ratified it in 2017 , after the announcement of the end of the Parole program for Cuban Medical Professionals by the United States.

“In this new scenario, the Ministry of Public Health reiterates its willingness to allow sector professionals who abandon their collaborative missions to return to Cuba and rejoin the National Health System, as they have been doing since 2014, of in accordance with current immigration regulations. “

Brazil’s New Foreign Minister: Climate Change is Marxist Ploy

Source: TeleSUR
November 15 2018

ernesto araujo brazil foreign minister.jpgErnesto Araujo (r), Brazil’s new foreign minister does not believe in
climate change. | Photo: Reuters

Brazil’s new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo believes that climate change is a ploy by “cultural Marxists” to asphyxiate Western economies and protome China’s growth. He also characterized climates science as “dogma”. His appointment was confirmed by Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro Wednesday.

RELATED:  Brazil: ‘Doctors For the People’ Regrets Cuban Colleagues Exit

“This dogma has been used to justify increasing the regulatory power of states over the economy and the power of international institutions on the nation states and their populations, as well as to stifle economic growth in democratic Capitalist countries and to promote the growth of China,” he wrote in his blog post in October.

While attacking the Workers’ Party (PT), Araujo wrote in another post, “criminalizing everything that is good, spontaneous, natural and pure. Criminalizing the family on charges of patriarchal violence. Criminalizing private property. Criminalizing sex and reproduction, saying that any heterosexual act is rape and every baby is a risk to the planet because it will increase carbon emissions.”

Climate experts had expressed their disappointment over Bolsonaro’s choice, hoping for a more pragmatic pick.

“Brazil has played a very significant role in the Paris agreement. It would be really bad for the country’s image if he brings with him his ideology,” said Carlos Rittl, the executive secretary of the Brazilian Climate Observatory.

Bolsonaro is intent on opening up the Amazon to corporations which can wreak havoc for the environment and Indigenous people who reside there.

For Rittl, Brazil is not the United States and if the country “becomes a pariah on the global climate agenda, it would be extremely bad for our business, especially agribusiness. When they go to Europe to negotiate a deal, climate safeguards will be on the table.”

Brazil Will Miss Cuban Doctors

November 16 2918
Source:  Granma

In the wake of Cuba’s withdrawal from the Brazilian More Doctors program, Former President Dilma Rousseff stated, “The end of the agreement was caused by the intemperate statements of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro.”

cuban doctors in brazil 12

The National Council of Municipal Health Secretaries and the National Front of Brazilian Mayors warned rightwing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro of the imminent, irreparable damage to the population’s health, as a consequence of Cuba leaving the More Doctors program.

In a joint statement, the two organizations lamented the suspension of the agreement between the Pan American Health organization and the Cuban government which allowed for the work of some 8,500 doctors from the island in Brazil.

Estimates indicate that 29 million Brazilians will be left without medical assistance after the partnership’s interruption. Thus, these bodies have requested a revision of the position taken by the new government, which has announced its intention to make drastic changes to the program’s regulations. The mayors and healthcare authorities called for maintaining current contract conditions, which were approved in 2016 by the Michel Temer administration and confirmed by the Supreme Federal Court in 2017.

“The abrupt cancelation of the current contracts implies a cruel impact on the entire population, especially the poorest. We cannot renounce the constitutional principle of making the right to health universal, or agree with this setback,” the statement indicated.

Cubans currently represent more than half of the doctors in the program, and the cancellation of their contracts would lead to a situation described by these organizations as disastrous, in at least 3,243 municipalities. Of the country’s 5,570 municipalities, 3,228 (79.5%) only have doctors provided by the program, and 90% of the services available to the indigenous population are provided by Cuban professionals.

The statement also notes that the More Doctors program is broadly supported by those served, indicating, “Eighty-five percent say that health care has improved with the program. In the municipalities, it is also possible to verify the greater permanence of these professionals on the family health teams and their integration within the locales where they are assigned.”

The program was won by Brazilian municipalities, developed in response to the “Where is the doctor?” campaign led by the Mayors Front in 2013. At that time, local officials made clear the difficulties they faced in contracting and placing professionals in the country’s interior, and in poor communities on the outskirts of large cities.

The text notes that the abrupt interruption of cooperation with the Cuban government, focused on prevention at the primary level, will negatively impact the health system, increasing demands for doctors’ appointments at higher level institutions, and additionally aggravate regional inequalities.

“For the designated G100 (a group of cities with large vulnerable populations) the situation is even more devastating. With the goal of reducing the shortage of basic services in these cities, the G100 has been targeted and prioritized for the reception of these professionals.”
Dilma Rousseff stated, “For the poor, this will be an irreparable loss.

“The end of the agreement was caused by the intemperate statements of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who ignores the diplomatic dimension that must prevail in relations between two countries,” continued the former President who launched the More Doctors program.

For the poorest, the end of the program will be a great loss in the short and long run. Tens of millions of Brazilians across the entire country will be without primary care, Rousseff stated, describing Bolsonaro’s decision as unilateral and disrespectful, “criticizing on Twitter the terms of the agreement signed during my administration and renewed, without modifications, by the government of President Temer,” she noted.

“He disregarded, with absolute arrogance, the diplomatic postures required in relations between countries The most serious, therefore, is that all of this has occurred without consulting the signatories of the agreement, the PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) and the Cuban Ministry of Public Health. His rash, authoritarian statements could even disturb doctors from other countries, participating to a lesser degree in the More Doctors Program.”

Rousseff recalled the President-elect’s statements that he would impose individual contracts on foreign participants in the program, require exams and the validation of credentials, and pay professionals directly, ignoring the Cuban government’s guarantee of a full salary for doctors.

“The demand to subject foreign doctors to an exam in Brazil can only be seen as a gesture of disrespect, xenophobia, and arrogance, directed toward health professionals from other countries. Especially since the (Cuban) Ministries of Public Health and Education supervise the work of all doctors and evaluate their performance,” she continued.

According to Rousseff, Bolsonaro’s affront to Cuban doctors, and those from other countries working in the program, is an attack on the Brazilian people, who will lose access to valuable, highly-skilled professionals providing primary care to the poorest sectors of the population.

“Moreover, this is an authoritarian attitude. It reveals incompetence, unilaterally breaking an agreement signed by a respected, internationally recognized health organization.

“The Brazilian population has benefited from the generous competence of Cuban doctors, who the Brazilian government should recognize for their fraternal solidarity. I convey a tribute to them, my gratitude. The work of these dedicated, generous professionals will be missed by Brazilians,” she concluded.

After 5 years seeing 113 million patients, Cuba discontinues participation in “More Doctors” programme in Brazil

November 14 2018
Source:  Granma

Statement from the Ministry of Public Health, Cuba

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the More Doctors program , disregarding the Pan-American Health Organization


The Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba, committed to the solidarity and humanist principles that have guided Cuba’s medical cooperation for 55 years, has been participating in Brazil’s “More Doctors” program since its inception in August of 2013. This initiative launched by Dilma Rousseff, who was at that time the president of the Federal Republic of Brazil, pursued the noble purpose of guaranteeing medical assistance to the majority of the Brazilian people, following the principle of universal health coverage promoted by the World Health Organization.

The program had planned the inclusion of Brazilian and foreign doctors who would work in poor and remote areas of the country.

Cuba’s participation in this program was arranged through the Pan-American Health Organization with one distinctive feature: it was intended to fill the vacancies left by doctors from Brazil and other foreign nations.

During these five years of work, some 20 000 Cuban collaborators have assisted 113,359,000 patients in more than 3,600 municipalities. They were able to provide health coverage to a vast 60 million Brazilians, when they accounted for 80% of all the doctors who were taking part in the program. More than 700 municipalities were able to have a doctor for the first time ever.

The work of Cuban doctors in areas of extreme poverty, in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia, and the 34 Special Indigenous Districts, particularly in Amazonia, was widely recognized by federal, state, and municipal governments of that country and its population, 95% of which expressed their acceptance, according to a survey carried out by the Federal University of Minas Gerais at the request of the Ministry of Health of Brazil.

On September 27, 2016, the Ministry of Public Health, in an official statement issued on a day close to the expiration date of the agreement and amidst the events associated to the legislative and judicial coup d’ etat against president Dilma Rousseff, announced that Cuba “would continue to honor its agreement with the Pan-American Health Organization for the implementation of the Program More Doctors, providedthat the guarantees offered by local authorities were maintained”, something that has been so far respected.

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the Program More Doctors, in full disregard of the Pan-American Health Organization and the agreement reached by this organization with Cuba, since he has questioned the qualification of our doctors and has conditioned their permanence in the program to a process of validation of their titles and established that contracts will only be signed on an individual basis.

The announced modifications impose conditions that are unacceptable and fail to ensure the guarantees that had been previously agreed upon since the beginning of the Program, which were ratified in 2016 with the re-negotiation of the Terms of Cooperation between The Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Cooperation Agreement between the Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba. These unacceptable conditions make it impossible to maintain the presence of Cuban professionals in the Program.

Consequently, in the light of this unfortunate reality, the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba has decided to discontinue its participation in the Program More Doctors and has informed so to the Director of the Pan-American Health Organization and the political leaders of Brazil who founded and defended this initiative.

The decision to bring into question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of Cuban cooperation workers who, with the support of their families, are currently offering their services in 67 countries is unacceptable. During the last 55 years, a total of 600 000 internationalist missions have been accomplished in 164 nations, with the participation of 400 000 health workers who, in quite a few cases, have fulfilled this honorable task more than once. Their feats in the struggle against the Ebola virus in Africa, blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean and cholera in Haiti as well as the participation of 26 brigades of the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disaster Situations and Great Epidemics “Henry Reeve” in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among other countries, are worthy of praise.

In the overwhelming majority of the missions that have been accomplished, all expenses have been covered by the Cuban government.

Likewise, 35 613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained in Cuba at absolutely no cost as an expression of our solidarity and internationalist vocation.

All Cuban cooperation workers have preserved their posts and their full salary in Cuba, together with all due labor and social benefits, just as the rest of the workers of the National Health System.

The experience of the Program More Doctors for Brazil and Cuba’s participation in it show that it is indeed possible to structure a South-South Cooperation Program under the auspices of the Pan-American Health Organization in order to promote the achievement of its goals in our region. The United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organization have described it as the main example of good practices in triangular cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

The peoples from Our America and from all over the world know that they will always be able to count on the solidarity and humanistic vocation of our professionals.

The Brazilian people, who turned the Program More Doctors into a social achievement and, from the very beginning,has trusted Cuban doctors, recognized their virtues and appreciated the respect, sensitivity and professionalism with which they have assisted them, will understand who are to be held responsible for our doctors’not being able to continue offering their fraternal contribution in that country.

Havana, November 14, 2018.