Okello Oculi urges the Continent to support the Da Silva Presidency

LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA won a miraculous Brazilian election victory on 10th October, 2022. Like Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020, President Bolsonaro’s refusal to follow the rules of democratic election is creating a civil war condition.

·       In 1964 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sponsored military coups in Indonesia and Brazil.  Both regimes slaughtered thousands member of ‘’Communist’’ parties.

·       The killings protected big landowners from the redistributed land to millions of landless serfs. Afro-Brazilians would have enjoyed the economic freedom which Fidel Castro had brought to Blacks in Cuba.

·       In 2022, President Biden is faced with the prospect of Bolsonaro, a former military officer with memories of the tradition of 1964 military coup.  Since 2018 he reversed all the pro-people policies of Lula’s eight years of rule, and openly shown admiration for Donald Trump’s fascist policies.

·       Like Trump, Bolsonaro encouraged his supporters to resort to violent rejection of Lula’s victory.

·       The Brazil of 2022 carries memories of economic benefits from Lula’s earlier rule; while Afro-Brazilians had witnessed the  ‘’miracle’’ of Barack Obama’s being elected as the first African – American president of racist United States of America. The ‘’Obama Effect’ had already produced the first Afro-Colombian woman to be elected as Vice President.

·       This socio-political change clashes with the prospect of defeat by it enemies in a free and fair election; and creates an appeal for a resort to violence by rejecting the principle of a shared political community whose rules for electing political leaders is accepted by both winners and losers.

·       The United States had since the 1801 revolution by Africa’s descendants in Haiti, been fearful of its impact on their own Black population. Across South America fear of Blacks had been common. In Argentina, African soldiers led charges in the hope that their numbers would be depleted by casualties.

·         After the 1959 revolution in Cuba, Castro’s policies of access to free and high quality education to Afro-Cubans put to shame the poverty and virtual illiteracy to America’s Blacks.

·       During Lula’s regime, Cuba sent medical doctors and nurses to run clinics in rural and urban slums of Brazil.  Medical care was combined with political education. In 2022, Lula has benefited from high voting by Afro-Brazilians whose political awareness had been built. By the time President Bolsonaro expelled Cuban doctors from Cuba, the roots of votes for Lula in 2022 had already been planted.

·       Critics accused Bolsonaro of callous indifference to huge numbers of deaths from COVID-19 because its victims were predominantly Afro-Brazilians and other slum residents; thereby serving the useful role of depleting future voters for Lula.

·        The Police went around destroying religious symbols of Yoruba and Luba religious worship for fear of their appealing to their Gods for Lula’s victory. Increasing Police killings in ‘’favelas’’ (slums) targeted political activists.

·       Professor Ade Ajayi drew much attention to the Yoruba Diaspora in Brazil and the Caribbean. Moslem descendants from Hausa, Wolof, Mandingo, Fulani and other African groups also got attention in the UNESCO’s ‘’History of Africa’’ research.

·       However, political work has not accompanied this scholarly initiative. Universities of Ife, Ibadan and Dakar have been slow to counter the widespread scandal in the Americas of denying education to Afro-Brazilians, Afro-Colombians, Afro-Mexicans, Afro-Peruvians, and Afro-Americans.

·       In the 1960s, Stanford University built its ‘’Overseas Campuses’’ in several European countries.  Similar campuses by Ibadan and Ife in north-east Brazil would have had ripple effects both in the region and across West Africa. A novel project by an African-American Harvard scholar is using scientific tracking of genealogies to link individuals in the Diaspora to ethnic groups in Africa.  Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is the latest to trace her bloodline to Nigeria.

·        Mexico’s movies are in Nigeria without Afro-Mexican artists in them. Nollywood’s entry into the Caribbean is lacking support by university research about Brazil.

·       American propaganda against Cuba has remained more effective than the lack of health care by millions of Nigerians. South Africa’s predominantly white medical establishment forces doctors trained in Cuba to go through another re-education programme before they can practice in South Africa’s impoverished communities lacking medical care.

·       In his first eight years in power Lula opened gates into African countries for Brazilian corporations. It is not clear that Lula himself urged African government to demand that staff of these companies at management level should be Afro-Brazilians. Likewise, demands that these companies build and fund a school for children from Brazil’s slums to study in Africa.

·       A 1980 study found that there were no Afro-Brazilians in the country’s diplomatic staff.  Brazil’s European immigrants live with fear of Black people outnumbering them.  Donald Trump and Bolsonaro and their Pentecostal Churches are stoking toxic ideologies of racist hate. Africa must support Lula’s as a prophet of LOVE purge hearts and minds for a region of CARNIVALS.

Prof Oculi writes from Abuja


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