Executive Intelligence Review
This article appeared in the November 10, 1995 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

The PT: neo-liberals
and Leninists

Name of group: Workers Party (PT).

Headquarters: São Paulo, Brazil.

Founded: 1979-80.

Locations of operations, areas active: The PT is a national, legal party, the country's third largest. Currently it controls two governorships (Brasilia, D.F. and Espiritu Santo), dozens of municipal presidents and vice presidents, several of them in the larger cities, and broad representation in the National Congress with 70 deputies and 5 senators.

The PT has a trade union apparatus, the Unified Workers Central (CUT), giving it a great mobilization capacity. Also in its support apparatus are 80,000 Ecclesiastical Base Communities (CEBs), with 3 million members.

As of the last Presidential election, the PT has been working intensively to organize a group within the Armed Forces, regarding which Fidel Castro gave them the following advice in a 1989 meeting: "The PT shouldn't give the impression it is hostile to the military. It is crucial that they not see the PT as an enemy. Without conceding the party's principles, you should seek them out."

Major terrorist actions: Although the PT is not directly terrorist, leading members came out of groups which participated in the terrorist movement of the 1960s. Inside the country, it supports and promotes pro-terrorist groups such as the Landless Movement (MST). Outside Brazil, PT leaders such as Sen. Eduardo Suplicy openly defend active narco-terrorist groups, as in the case of the kidnapping ring exposed after the explosion of an arms bunker in Managua, Nicaragua.

Trademark terror signatures: This is a classical Leninist political party, with professional militants. Its statutes permit the existence of so-called tendencies, so that, in effect, the PT is a conglomerate including many different groups ranging from the ultra-left to those nearer to the right-wing social democracy.

The PT's known currents are: "Articulation," its historic wing which, although it portrays itself as moderate, houses Marxist groups and a section of the CEBs; PT-Broad and Democratic, the moderate wing. The most radical currents are: "Labor" and the "Socialist Current," both Trotskyist groups, the latter affiliated with the Trotskyist Fourth International led by Ernst Mandel; The Hour of Truth; Socialist Force; Leftist Option; Socialist Brazil; Marxist Tendency; and Revolutionary Communist Workers Party (PCBR), proponents of armed struggle, members of which, in 1986, assaulted a branch of the Banco do Brasil, in Salvador, Bahía.

Leaders names and aliases: Luís Inacio da Silva ("Lula"), twice candidate for the Presidency of Brazil; José Dirceu, current PT president; Aloizio Mercadante, in charge of economic studies; Olivio Dutra, former municipal president of Pôrto Alegre; José Genoino, deputy, specialist in security and intelligence matters; Marco Aurelio García, foreign affairs secretary; María Luiza Erundina, former municipal president of São Paulo; Markus Sokol; Luís Eduardo Greenhalgh, on the board of the São Paulo Forum's magazine, América Latina; Francisco Weffort, current culture minister; Benedita da Silva, senator; João Paulo Cunha; Raul Pont; Marcos Rolim, who represents the party's most radical New Age, anti-military current; Rui Falcão; Gilberto Carvalho, secretary of organization of the PT, and sits on the board of América Libre; Eduardo Suplicy, senator; Tatau Godinho; José Luís Fevereiro; Lauro Marcondes; Augusto de Franco; Telma de Souza; Hamilton Pereira; Luci Choinacki; João Machado; Vladimir Palmeira.

Groups allied nationally or internationally:

Nationally: Unified Workers Central (CUT); Landless Movement (MST); Brazilian Socioeconomic Analysis Institute (IBASE), a PT intelligence group run by sociologist Herbert de Souza; Socioeconomic Studies Institute (INESC); National Forum of NGOs; Pastoral Land Commission (CPT); Indigenist Missionary Council (CIMI), a group of bishops and archbishops linked to liberation theology, including Cardinal Evaristo Arns.

Internationally: founding member of the São Paulo Forum; Greenpeace; Trotskyist Fourth International; former communist parties of Europe, especially from the former Italian Communist Party (PCI); Germany's Green party; Cuban Communist Party; Inter-American Dialogue.

Religious/ideological/ethnic motivating ideology: neo-communism, Marxism, theology of liberation, ecologism, feminism, and all variants of the New Age. It fights for socialism, and embraces all globalist causes.

Economics: Although it claims to oppose free-market neo-liberalism, it actually supports its central theses: In December 1992, Lula proposed using a part of the country's reserves to purchase U.S. government bonds, to be given as a guarantee to creditors who would agree to extend payment terms on the foreign debt. José Dirceu, current party president, stated in June 1993, "We're open to discussing the privatization project." The Financial Times, policy voice of the City of London, happily described the PT on May 17, 1995 as "the one real source of new blood in the Congress ... a modernizing influence."

Nuclear energy: The PT opposes Brazil's nuclear program. In 1988, a PT leader who promised to give no quarter in the fight against nuclear energy, won the municipal presidency of Angra dos Reis, site of Brazil's nuclear plants. The PT is a founding member of the Brazilian Anti-Nuclear Network, which includes Greenpeace and other NGOs. In 1993, then-PT Presidential candidate Lula told Bernard Aronson, then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, that the PT was, and would continue to be, anti-nuclear.

Armed Forces: During the 1989 campaign, the party proposed redefining the role of the Armed Forces, creating a Defense Ministry, which the Inter-American Dialogue promotes to reduce the military in Ibero-America, and eliminating obligatory military service.

Indigenism and ecologism: The PT supports the creation of the Yanomami Indian reserve, and demarcation of other indigenous areas. Lula proposes linking renegotiation of Brazil's foreign debt to environmental issues.

Feminism: The adoption of feminism is the party's main cultural project. The most aberrant example is its defense of medieval witches as a symbol of women's liberation. "Who were the witches we burned at the stake in European town squares? Ordinary women who didn't adapt to the masculine criteria of piety."

Demographic control and sterilization: In the National Congress, the PT proposed an amendment to make sterilization legal and performed within the public health system. It also supports abortion.

Known controllers/mentors/theoreticians: Fidel Castro, Louis Althusser, Herbert Marcuse, Max Weber.

Frei Betto: Dominican friar Carlos Alberto Libanio Christo, known as "Frei Betto," intimate friend of Fidel Castro and Lula; former adviser to the CEBs under Nicaragua's Sandinista regime, and currently editor-in-chief of América Libre, magazine of the São Paulo Forum; expresses satisfaction that "there is a new emergence of religiosity in the world, as can be seen in the fact that the books which sell best are spiritualist, esoteric, and self-help books."

Paulo Freire: founding member of the PT; leading advocate of theology of liberation; author of The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which proposes "deschooling"; argues that written and spoken language itself is "a western imposition" upon Africans whose "natural" mode of communication is pantomime. His "literacy" programs were implemented in Sandinista Nicaragua, and have been pushed by Unesco worldwide.

Leonardo Boff: ex-Franciscan priest, one of the primary theoreticians and propagandists of liberation theology and the Gaia cult; argues that Christianity is responsible for genocide and ethnocide; in his book Latin America: From the Conquest to the New Evangelization, he calls for salvaging "the identity [of the Indians], suffocated by European culture and the Christian religion." In a 1994 book, he wrote: "Mankind is in a difficult transition—from the nation-state to the world-state, from the worldwide to the cosmic.... We are standing before a new planetary civilization."

Current number of cadres: unknown.

Training: Cuba, Nicaragua.

Known drug connections: unknown.

Known arms suppliers/routes: unknown.

Known political supporters/advocates:

Of particular importance are theology of liberation advocates within the Catholic Church, who have provided systematic political cover for the PT's activities. Chief among these is Cardinal Evaristo Arns, of São Paulo; and the bishop of São Felix de Araguaia, Pedro Casaldaliga (who refers to Fidel Castro as "older brother, first comrade, already patriarch of the Great Fatherland," and who is intimate friends with the Zapatista Mexican bishop, Samuel Ruiz).

Known funding: As a registered party, the PT receives legal funding from companies and foundations. In the 1989 Presidential campaign, there were accusations that the PT had received secret financing from foreign firms; among those mentioned were the Argentine food cartel Bunge and Born. The U.S.-based Woodrow Wilson Institute supports it through scholarships granted to PT academics.

The CUT, on the other hand, has admitted that 18% of its total 1994 budget came from Italian, Dutch, and German organizations. The German Catholic Church, through its Adveniat and Misereor agencies, finances the PT indirectly through various projects. The allocation of the funds is mediated through the Pastoral Land Commission, or the Indigenous Missionary Center, both officially entities of the Brazilian Catholic Church.

Thumbnail historical profile: The PT was founded in São Paulo in 1979-80. Three types of forces came together to create it.

The first was a group of intellectuals, sons of wealthy families who belonged to the generation of the New Left, joined with a group of leftist intellectuals from the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), predecessor of the country's largest party, the PMDB. The second group was made up of São Paulo trade union leaders, especially from the metalworkers unions. The third was a strong group of liberation theologists from the Ecclesiastical Base Communities, led by a group of Dominican friars from São Paulo, to which Frei Betto belonged. In radicalizing, it had joined the National Liberating Alliance, the terrorist group of Carlos Marighella, trained in Cuba. The entire project had the blessing of São Paulo Archbishop Paulo Evaristo Arns.

Between 1977 and 1979, the second group of intellectuals, known as the "independent left," tried to create a social democratic party. Participants in this effort were sociologist Francisco Weffort, later the PT's foreign affairs secretary and culture minister in the current government; José Alvaro Moises; Francisco de Oliveira; José Serra, current planning minister; Paulo Singer; then-candidate for the federal Senate from the MDB, Fernando Henrique Cardoso; Almino Afonso; Mario Covas, current São Paulo governor; and Luís Carlos Bresser Pereira, current administration minister.

At that time, Luís Inacio da Silva was a famous and charismatic metalworker union leader from the industrial heart of São Paulo, and the intellectuals wanted to win him over to their projected new party. In 1979, the unions he led used their votes to put Fernando Henrique Cardoso in the Senate.

On Jan. 24, 1979, trade unionists attending the Ninth Metalworkers Congress voted for creating the Workers Party, and not the social democratic party sought by the intellectuals. Some of these joined the PT, and others who did not, nonetheless remained within the party's orbit.

Strong ties to Cuba were evident from the very inception of the party. Originally, these were established through the mediation of Frei Betto, who, in 1980, became friends with Fidel Castro. There were also strong ties with the Cuban intelligence service, the DGI. In his book Paradise Lost, Frei Betto reports that in July 1980, Lula da Silva met Castro for the first time, in Managua, Nicaragua, during the celebration of the first anniversary of the Sandinista revolution. Also present was commander Manuel Piñeiro, whom Betto characterizes as "a professional conspirator endowed with an enviable sense of humor."

The PT has maintained permanent relations with Piñeiro through his wife, Chilean Marxist Martha Harnecker, who has served as an adviser to several Brazilian city governments, such as those of Pôrto Alegre, Santos, São Paulo, and Vitoria, which are, or were until recently, run by PT members.

According to PT historians, the party was consolidated throughout Brazil in 1982, having at that time 400,000 members.

In the 1988 elections, the PT garnered big electoral victories, winning the municipal presidencies of three state capitals: São Paulo, Pôrto Alegre, and Vitoria.

Later, it had significant participation in Presidential elections, in 1989 against Fernando Collor de Mello, in which it won more than 10 million votes in the first round; and in 1994, against Fernando Henrique Cardoso, winning 17 million votes in the first round.

Inspired by such liberation theologists as Frei Betto, the PT has also created other battlefronts involving a broad spectrum of the New Age movement, together with more marginal layers of the population which are the ideal bases for jacobinism. These include the National Articulation of Popular and Trade Union Movements (Anapos), created in 1980 with Lula's backing, and in April 1993, the Popular Movements Confederation.

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