Source: The Guardian Unlimited
Far from being incompatible opposites, Venezuela and Brazil have established the most solid strategic alliance in the region.
For most analysts, the political regimes of Venezuela and Brazil are very different. Some governments, such as Barack Obama’s, suggest the two regimes are opposites, even conflicting. But the solid alliance between the two countries, overlooked by the media, does not mesh with these simplistic analyses.
The Venezulean government of Hugo Chávez is accused of being populist and authoritarian, because the state plays a central role in the economy and society, and the regime of showing a dangerous tendency towards single-party politics that makes it very similar to that of Cuba.
The Brazilian governments of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-10) and Dilma Rousseff, on the other hand, support private companies and have a good relationship with the opposition, to the extent that half a dozen parties, ranging from communist to centre-right, make up the government led by the Workers party. The leading players in Brazilian media, such as Rede Globo, do not mention the existence of censorship in the country.
One of the main differences between the two countries is the relationship between the state and civil society. In Brazil, social movements such as Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra (Landless Workers’ Movement), arose against the state. In Venezuela, they were created to a great extent by the state after Chávez got to power.
The conservative media consider Venezuela to be a potential danger for the security of the US and a threat to democracy and its neighbours. We should remember that the George W Bush administration assigned Brazil the role of “moderating” Venezuela’s alleged radical impulses. What these analyses fail to explain is why two regimes that are meant to be opposites and incompatible with one another have established the most solid strategic alliance in the region, as solid or more so as that of Brazil and Argentina.