What is one to think about the recent trip of Brazil's ex president Lula da Silva to Venezuela and Cuba?
Note first that Lula came to Venezuela from Cuba, the tightly knit union that looks more and more like a colony status for the former.
Note in second that while in Caracas Lula "offered" a conference to a select group of business people from Brazil and Venezuela where he said that private sector must work together with the governments of their country to fight poverty. Coming to Venezuela to say that just as Chavez is in a continuous nationalization streak whose final target is the Polar group? Who was the message really for, and what was the real message for that matter?
Note third that Chavez is finally scheduled to visit Dilma Roussef in Brazil, a long due visit that has been constantly postponed as Dilma found time to see almost everyone else...
Note finally that Chavez made a point to say that he would discuss the aggression to oil producing countries with Lula, as Europa Press reports, favoring Chavez whenever it can.
Well, the first mission of Lula was likely to smooth over Chavez visit to Brazil because Venezuela owes big bucks to Brazilian companies and that was probably one of the reasons why Dilma was in no hurry to receive him if no check came along, exploiting the ego needs of Chavez to figure. I am pretty sure that Lula discussed all sorts of irrelevant issues for Brazil such as Chavez manic supports for unsavory tyrants, in the hope that this way he would be less tempted to bore Dilma with that. He probably also coached Chavez on how to behave with Dilma as it is the first time really that Chavez will meet a woman with much, much more power than he has. We can be pretty sure that Lula also stopped in Cuba to tell them that they had to tighten their belt because Brazil is in no mood to support Cuba at the expense of unpaid bills to Brazil by Venezuela.
But then again there is that "lecture" to the selected few of Venezuela private sector with their Brazilian colleagues in Venezuela. Why oh why?
There is an account of the "closed door" meeting through the tweets of Luis Vicente Leon of Datanalisis (tweets of June 3). In it Lula makes the apology of the necessary relationship between the private sector and the government. He even goes as far as confessing that he told Chavez that before embarking in a massive construction program he should have made sure he could get access tot he needed material first, and that un-kept promises can be fatal for a politician (too long to translate but tweets translate well through Google tool for that).
In a way it is good but I am quite the skeptic. First, after twelve years of hitting hard on the private sector Lula should have known better than to hint that he might have had an effect on Chavez. Second, from the tweets I gather that Lula really worries about big business that he wants with international projection, a type of private concern much easier to tame by a government than the real capitalism, the one of the businesses that hire, say, less than 100 employees. What Lula achieved in his two terms is a form of state capitalism when he promoted Odebrecht, for example, who is building pretty much anything big inside Venezuela when Venezuelan companies could have built some of the stuff had it not been for Chavez sabotage of local talent.
Finally let's not forget that Lula has been a constant enabler of Chavez, living vicariously through him the leftist and anti US positions that as president of Brazil he could not afford anymore to espouse. I am certain that Lula's visit and private speech were aimed at strengthening Chavez whose crumbling situation cannot have escaped the notice of the Brazilian embassy.
Thus Lula started what he thinks might be a win-win situation. By courting Venezuelan remaining big business he tells them that if they associate themselves to Brazilian companies and try to collaborate with Chavez they will remain in businessmen even if Chavez is reelected as he will need them more than ever and Brazil will helps them to stay alive, protect them, if anything to allow Brazilian business to be able to operate inside Venezuela (by buying stock in Venezuelan business if necessary?). But if Chavez loses in 2012 Brazil brisk sales in Venezuela will go down hill because the new government will not be keen on forgetting all the enabling that Brazil did for Chavez regime. Thus Lula is trying to cover Brazil's ass just in case.
I think that Lula's speech is absolutely cynical and if he were serious he should have done it while he was still president of Brazil. Thus I cannot understand how come many Venezuelan political observers praise Lula latest visit. Maybe because his speech is so different than Chavez that they cannot help but approve of it, even as Lula announces that Brazil will continue screwing us as long as it can get away with it? Maybe they think that Lula is actually starting to distance himself of Chavez? So all should be forgiven?
The recent demonstrations of the idiocy of Venezuelan political class and "opinion makers" truly befuddles me. I, for one, do not buy any new and improved Lula. I am sure that Lula's intentions were to help Chavez succeed at least partially in his "mision vivienda", cashing in big contracts for Brazil along the way. Lula's candidate was, is, and will be Chavez, through and through.