Brazilian prosecutors and judges have revealed the largest transnational political corruption scheme of the Americas organized and operated by leftist political leaders through the Forum of São Paulo. A political corruption scheme at the highest levels that used around 15 construction companies from Brazil to execute its operations that starting with the “Lava Jato” case and subsequent confessions made by Odebrecht, has painted a clear picture that the main objective and purpose of the so-called socialists of the São Paulo Forum was “to ensure that never again there was lack of money to pursue political objectives”. They spread corruption to include just about all the region’s governments that today are either accused, jailed, or covered by a veil of protection and impunity stemming from the power they still have, but that have already been identified, implicated, and comprise a waiting list of corrupt members of the Forum of São Paulo.
The Forum of São Paulo was founded in the city of São Paulo, Brazil in 1990 by the Brazilian Workers Party (PT in Portuguese), with leftist political parties and groups from Latin America as its members, “to concentrate the efforts of the leftist political parties and organizations to debate the international geopolitical evolution after the fall of the Berlin wall and the consequences of neo-liberalism in the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean”. It was an initiative by Fidel Castro and his regime to deal with the crisis generated by the termination of their economic lifeline of subsidies from the extinct Soviet Union. When founded in 1990 the only member of the Forum of São Paulo that had power was a dictatorship, the Cuban Communist Party and 20 years later in 2010 most of its members were in the government of their country and the Cuban dictatorship now had the political leadership of the region.
The Forum of São Paulo is the direct result of the end of the Cold War with the disappearance of the Soviet Union. This is why the Castroist agenda formulated it as a premise for political action “to multiply the axis of confrontation” given the insufficiency and disappearance of the confrontation of Communism against Capitalism or the simple fight of the proletariat. They decided to spouse and pursue issues for social groups, sectors, functional and territorial such as feminism, ecologic, regionalism, indigenous, defense of the gender and all the possible remaining issues to confront democracy that was labeled as neoliberalism. They multiplied the axis of confrontation to remodel and disguise the defeat of the Soviet Marxist Communism that guided the Castroists.
The decade of the 90’s is considered “the lost decade for the Forum of São Paulo’s leftists” because they could not destabilize or seriously impact the growing strength of Latin American democracy and attributed their failure to the lack of financial resources, of money, at a time when the forum’s main promoter -Castroist Cuba- was at its lowest economic point of misery, going through the so-called “special period”. The region’s strengthened democracies were negligent regarding the situation of the Cuban people because they neglected to do anything to regain democracy in Cuba at a time when it had an ideal opportunity to do so.
If the 90’s were the lost decade for the left due to the lack of money, truly it was the lost decade for Latin America’s democracy that did not consolidate itself and allowed the survival of the dictatorship in Cuba and its recreation with the flow of Venezuelan money and oil from the hand of Hugo Chavez.
The alliance between Chavez and Castro saved the Castroist dictatorship and enabled it to stabilize itself to the point of reactivating its permanent objective of expanding across the Americas turning the defeated guerrilla icon of the sixties and seventies into an electoralized icon not devoid of violence. Chavez was the cornerstone with Venezuelan oil resources and exerted regional leadership with a Castro subtly subordinated and turned into “the oracle of Havana” deposing governments in Ecuador and Bolivia and destabilizing many others. At first the resources to pursue political objectives flowed solely from Venezuela and Chavez would do it openly, until Lula da Silva got to power and starting in 2003 he placed into motion the largest institutionalized transnational political corruption scheme for and with his friends from the Forum of São Paulo.
The fundamental idea to internationalize corruption, confessed by many politicians in the scheme, was “to isolate political actions and political parties who were members of the Forum of São Paulo from the businessmen” and contributors at times reluctant, tightwads or stubborn in their contributions. It was about generating their own capital in order to fulfill their promise “not to ever lack money to pursue political objectives” and towards this end Lula da Silva as President used the system to award “Brazilian credit” to “friendly governments” (his partners from the Forum of São Paulo) for “infrastructure construction works” executed by “Brazilian construction enterprises” with a system of disbursement to other companies, but with a mechanism -now revealed- to pay bribes and commissions to politicians and the political parties of members of the Forum of São Paulo. It did not take long for the scheme to expand to include Civil Servants and sympathizers in exchange for their votes in international organizations and their silent complicity in the dismantling of democracy in the region.
The Bolivarian movement, the ALBA project or 21st Century Socialism is the creation of the Forum of São Paulo to give Hugo Chavez the impression that the Venezuelan military man led the movement of the Latin American left because it was he who put up the money, when in reality the strategy and objectives always were -and are- under the control of Cuban Castroists. The death of Chavez overcame the awkwardness of the relationship and power was now openly concentrated in Cuba with the Forum of São Paulo as its political instrument. Venezuelan wealth delivered by Chavez was strengthened with the corruption that generated billions of dollars’ worth of Lula and Rousseff Brazil’s construction contracts in addition to narcotics trafficking with the FARC from Colombia, Evo Morales’ coca leaf growers’ unions from Bolivia and the cartels that have turned Venezuela into the hub for narcotics trafficking. There is no doubt that with all of this structure in place they will never lack money for many generations.
But the scheme for the Forum of São Paulo’s abuse of power and corruption -which is not the only source of corruption- is now revealed and the nations must recover their resources. There are officials who have been charged and jailed, noteworthy in countries with democracy that have, among other things, the existence and respect for the “Rule of Law”, the separation and independence of the judicial branch that enables for the existence of “judicial independence” and above it all there is “free press”. In Brazil Dilma Rousseff has been impeached and removed from the presidency, former president Lula da Silva has been condemned to nine and one-half years of jail, there are a large number of politicians and businessmen in jail, prosecuted and their proceedings continue to go on. In Peru arrest warrants have been issued against former President Alejandro Toledo who has been declared a fugitive, Ollanta Humala and his first lady are jailed, and investigative proceedings continue.
There is a group of countries with relative results such as Argentina where investigations of the Kirchner’s governments continue and the judicial system should not delay in revealing the scope of the multi-million-dollar scheme it was involved in; in Colombia where the current President Juan Manuel Santos’ electoral campaign has been implicated; in the Dominican Republic where many have been jailed and others are suspected of covering up or mitigating the crimes and are out on bail; and other countries with democracy that could be included in the scandal such as Panama where investigative efforts are slow.
The important thing is now politicians and governments in the waiting list of corruption from the Forum of São Paulo. The people know who they are, although they are being covered up by their corrupt systems from countries without democracy, they are 21st Century dictatorships in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua concealing their crimes with absolute impunity. In Cuba, contracts for construction at the Port of Mariel indicate cost overruns, and bribes by the hundreds of millions of dollars; in Venezuela these are billions of dollars’ worth of contracts with total concealment; in Ecuador, Rafael Correa successfully covered up the names of corrupted officials in order to get his party reelected and then went to Belgium; in Bolivia Evo Morales hides the conspiracy surrounding the death of Jose Maria Bakovic, the Director of the National Highway Service, who the dictatorship had eliminated, in order to continue with the Bolivian “Lava Jato” projects such as the highway through the TIPNIS (an indigenous protected forest reserve) for which Lula travelled to Bolivia as its promoter; in Nicaragua an effective censorship of the press still continues. To all of these regimes, after the corruption from the Forum of São Paulo, the unveiling of corruption from “Chinese contracts” and God only knows what else awaits them.
The characters in the waiting list of corruption of the São Paulo Forum are many and high profiled; they are part of the power group of the Castro’s in Cuba, Chavez and Maduro in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador, Evo Morales in Bolivia and the Ortega’s (husband and wife) in Nicaragua…are they themselves included? People appear to undoubtedly know this, but they want to know details like how many millions of dollars are involved and how these amounts will be recovered.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Américas on Sunday July 16th, 2017