In an excellent editorial in the Washington Times, the truly courageous Cuban hero, Armando Valladares, takes on the cowardly president of Brazil, Lula da Silva. It is today’s must read.
President Obama has received due attention for pandering to dictators across the globe. He has not been reproached, however, for embracing one of the leaders most effective at spreading the leftist gospel across Latin America. Last year, Mr. Obama called Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva “my champion.” Mr. Lula has enjoyed an undeserved reputation as a moderate during his seven years in office and now is openly campaigning to be the next secretary-general of the United Nations. His accession to head the U.N. would be a dark day for freedom.
On Feb. 24, Mr. Lula arrived in Cuba and warmly embraced Fidel and Raul Castro, the dictators responsible for making that island nation into a prison. On the same day, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a humble plumber who was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International, died in a Cuban jail. The political prisoner was serving a 10-year sentence for encouraging public assemblies in Havana to protest government oppression.
The timing was unfortunate for the myth of Lula the moderate. During a photo session with the Castros, the Brazilian president mocked Mr. Zapata’s resistance and compared him to common criminals in Brazilian jails, grinning all the while. Despite the human-rights scandal in his midst, Mr. Lula – who touts himself as the leader of Brazilian “hyperdemocracy” – went ahead with a nearly $1 billion investment in Cuba and conducted secret meetings about Brazilian military cooperation with the communist state.
For all the hype surrounding da Silva and his days as a political activist, he has shown himself to be nothing more than a pusillanimous tool.