Brazil: Will it be the next Cuba?

By Paul M. Weyrich
web posted August 7, 2000

It isn’t just the economy that has been globalized. To some extent public policy has as well. For many decades the United States could ignore the internal policies of other nations, even in this hemisphere. Well, not any more. The policies that get adopted in one developed nation will end up spilling over into other developed and even developing nations as well.

That is why we should be concerned with what is happening in Brazil. In many ways, Brazil has become a lawless nation. Tourists or business people who go there, especially if they are away from the major cities, may well be the victims of one crime or the other. And the criminals are becoming ever more sophisticated. Recently Brazilian kidnappers responded to SWAT team helicopters with anti-aircraft weapons. Ordinary citizens have begun to live in fear in this great nation.

So what is to be done in a society where the police seem unable to keep order? Well, the federal Administration’s solution is...guess what? Gun control. In fact, Brazilian gun controllers go even further than the confessed aims of our gun controllers in the USA. By their own admission, legislation they introduced on June 20th has as its ultimate aim the complete disarmament of Brazilian society.

The public has reacted strongly against this measure. Some 77 per cent oppose the bill, but the government marches forward anyway. Brazil’s President, taking a leaf from Bill Clinton’s playbook, has issued what amounts to an executive order mandating a moratorium on gun sales. So even before the Brazilian Congress has a chance to act, the Administration is exerting pressure on Congress.

Those who spend time decrying the National Rifle Association in this country might wish they had such a lobby were they living in Brazil. Brazil has no second amendment to fight for nor has it any organized pro-gun committees. That means that the ordinary citizen, faced with increased violence, has no where to turn for help.

Well, almost nowhere, anyway. The Brazilian Society for Tradition Family and Property, which has never been into the gun issue before, has stepped forward and is organizing a grass roots coalition to fight this gun grab. Toward that end some officials of the Brazilian TFP, with help from the American TFP, have been in Washington learning the ropes from the gun lobbies in the USA. But time is short and they have such a long way to go.

Today if Congress wants to confiscate guns, the NRA has three million members who can be aroused instantaneously. Gun Owners of America has hundreds of thousands more and there are other groups as well. In Brazil, the TFP is at ground zero. They have many Brazilian members but heretofore they have largely concerned themselves with social issues such as pornography and abortion, and with fighting so-called liberation theology within the largely dominant Roman Catholic Church in Brazil.

Let us hope the TFP isn’t too late. If Brazilians are disarmed, then those guerrilla groups supported by Fidel Castro and his friends will be able to get arms. Once they have them and ordinary citizens do it, they will begin to run the show.

Brazil is the world’s 9th largest economy. It is a major exporter of food and feeds its own 170 million people pretty well. If Marxist "land reformers" with weapons have their way, Brazil will be turned into another Cuba.

Policy makers forget how close Brazil came in 1964 to becoming a Marxist state. Only an outpouring of the people, many of whom knelt in the streets and prayed the rosary for hours, kept Brazil from going Communist. It would be the supreme irony if after Communism’s defeat in the Soviet empire, it were now to come roaring back in our backyard because ordinary folks are disarmed and can’t fight the Cuban supplied Marxists.

Brazil borders every country in South America except for Chile and Ecuador. What happens to Brazil will spill over into other nations. It behooves us to help the Brazilian TFP fight the gun grabbers anyway we can. To reach the American TFP, which can direct you in how to be most effective in helping them fight against gun control, send an e-mail to noell@tfp.org or fax the TFP at 703-243-2105.

This is an issue where we must show solidarity with our Latin American brothers.

Paul Weyrich is president of the Free Congress Foundation.

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