Friday, March 18, 2016

The Right to Be Born and Brazil
Who is the bad guy, the villain, for the oligarchy?. The PT, Lula and Dilma Rousseff embody those who, for four presidential terms, have struck at the interests of the big bourgeoisie, for the benefit of the poorest.

Omar Olazábal Rodríguez |
March 16, 2016 13:03:01

The Brazilian oligarchy attempts at any cost to destroy the public image of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to prevent his possible return to the presidency of the South American nation.

Every time I hear or read about Brazil, I instinctively recall a visit I made to the country in 1997. As luck would have it, while in São Paulo I toured the set where one of the three Brazilian versions of the soap opera El Derecho de Nacer (The right to be born) was recorded. Its director, Roberto Talma (who sadly died in 2015), was a cheerful, easy-going and well-built Brazilian who spoke with me at length, given I was a compatriot of Félix B. Caignet, whom the whole telenovela (soap-opera) industry in Latin America recognizes as the author of this, the most influential work of the genre, a direct descendant of the radionovela (radio serial).

Talma took on the challenge of a remake and it paid off. The SBT network had the soap opera in its archives until 2001, when it was finally transmitted. When we talked in 1997, Talma expressed his delight with the task of directing the drama, and repeatedly inquired about the fate of its author, who died in Cuba in 1976. The actors and actresses gathered around me, this Cuban who was visiting them, to take photos. I still have some of these, alongside the stars of Brazilian television who embodied the various characters of El Derecho de Nacer.

One of the most controversial characters of the drama, which has seen many versions, was always Don Rafael del Junco, the father of the protagonist. Don Rafael, a true adherent to the moral prejudices of the time, can not bear the fact that his daughter's pregnancy is the result of the deceptive love of a villain, and he banishes her to a ranch as far away as possible from his home.

But the real story behind the character is far more interesting. The Spanish actor who recorded the voiceover for Don Rafael, on noting that his characterization was popular with the audience, asked for a raise from the media tsar of Cuba at the time, Goar Mestre. The mogul’s response was swift. He spoke with Caignet and asked him to silence the character. As such, the author silenced Junco through an accident. The headlines the next day posed the question: “Will Don Rafael talk today?” His silence was really a catapult for ratings, until it was decided he would regain his speech.

This form of silencing is typical of the big media monopolies. When they group together, they do a disappearing act with the achievements of those who they regard as trouble. Or they demonize them as far as the public will allow. There is no coup attempted against those trying to break the shackles of the past in our Latin America, in which the owners of the major television and print media do not unite with the financial sector of the oligarchy, in order to silence what, for them, threatens their class interests.

What is happening in Brazil right now is just that. Who is the bad guy, the villain, for the oligarchy?. The PT, Lula and Dilma Rousseff embody those who, for four presidential terms, have struck at the interests of the big bourgeoisie, for the benefit of the poorest. They will not forgive them for concerning themselves with providing doctors and education to the most deprived. Or for attempting to ensure that the country's income is distributed more fairly. Or ensuring the role of Brazil in the international arena is that which this giant of our continent deserves.

Silencing and demonizing may confuse many. But there are many more who know firsthand the significance of the change in the way the most disadvantaged are now treated, than those who can be confused. The power of the mass media can do a lot of damage. The aggression against the emblematic figure of Lula has been transformed into a mass media show, followed by continued slander, lies and contempt.

Latin America is under attack by these media outlets. And only the strength of the people can push back those attempting to return to the past. Because we all have not only the right to be born; we also have the sacred rights to live in dignity, educated and healthy. Periodic returns to the past have never lasted forever. But they do much damage. Just ask the people of those countries where the numbers of missing, murdered and tortured have come to light, despite the mainstream media’s attempt to silence them for as long as possible, just as Don Goar Mestre did in his time with Don Rafael del Junco. It all remains to be seen.

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