The Brazilian writer and political commentator Olavo de Carvalho did something unprecedented in the history of world journalism. All by himself, against the Brazilian government, the university establishment, and the entire Brazilian and American mainstream media, and even against prestigious international institutions like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), he insistently denounced, for years and years uninterruptedly, the subversive activities of the largest, most powerful, and most ambitious Communist organization in Latin America, the São Paulo Forum, whose existence everyone insistently denied and claimed to be a figment of the journalist’s fierce imagination, despite the extensive documentation about it he made available to the public. Against all odds, Olavo de Carvalho came out as the winner in this arm wrestling competition when the founder of the Forum, the former Brazilian president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, and not long afterwards, the members of his party executive, publicly admitted the existence and activities of that international organization, whose existence nobody else has since then dared to deny.
Over sixteen years, by virtue of the media’s unanimous obstinacy, the Brazilian, the American, and part of the South American public were purposely kept in total ignorance of the existence of that organization, which was founded in 1990 by the then Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva withthe support of Fidel Castro, and which claimed that its goals were to restore the Communist movement,“to reconquer in Latin America what has been lost in Eastern Europe,” and to establish, on the southern continent, a base from where al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations could launch all kinds of operations against the United States.
In 2001 Olavo de Carvalho began to denounce the activities of the Forum, based on vast documentation collected by a friend of his, the now deceased attorney José Carlos Graça Wagner. Also in that same year, Graça Wagner himself, already in his old age, was interviewed about the São Paulo Forum by the Miami-based newspaper Diario Las Americas, and previously, in 1997, he had delivered a speech about the organization at the Brazilian Superior War College. However, fighting a thousand personal battles, falling victim to all sorts of persecutions and to his poor health condition, and not having easy access to the mainstream media in his country, Graça Wagner failed to give greater publicity to what he knew about the Forum. Graça Wagner and Olavo de Carvalho planned to write together a book about the São Paulo Forum, but the project had to be put on hold because of a trip the journalist had to make to Europe. When Carvalho returned to Brazil, the health condition of his partner in enterprise had worsened, and not long afterwards Wagner passed away. Carvalho deemed that continuing to research and denounce the São Paulo Forum was a duty not only towards his professional conscience and his country, but also towards the memory of his friend, a remarkable patriot.
The hundreds of articles Olavo de Carvalho wrote about the Forum—published in his weekly columns in the daily newspapers O Globo (based in Rio de Janeiro), Jornal da Tarde (based in São Paulo), Zero Hora (from Porto Alegre), and also in Época magazine (without taking into account those published on his own media watch website Mídia Sem Máscara and on his personal website www.olavodecarvalho.org)—provoked the most rabid denials on the part of his own colleagues in journalism, including the managing editors of O Globo and Época, Luis Garcia and Paulo Moreira Leite.
His persistence in talking about that forbidden topic ended up closing the doors of these and other news outlets to him, besides winning him all sorts of personal attacks and innumerable death threats. Olavo de Carvalho found a last refuge in the São Paulo-based newspaper Diário do Comércio, a hundred-old publication endowed with financial and political independence.
Hostile reactions also came from Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva campaign and, later on, from Lula government itself.
The existence of the Forum was proof that Lula’s party had close ties with the Colombian narcoguerilla, the FARC. Unaware of the written sources on which Olavo de Carvalho based his denunciation, and thinking that he had received information about it secondhand through the Cuban exile Armando Valladares, Lula proclaimed that the existence of those ties was a myth created by “a charlatan from Miami.”
Meanwhile, Olavo de Carvalho published on his electronic media watch website Mídia Sem Máscara, both in the original Spanish and in a Portuguese translation, the minutes of the general assemblies and committee meetings of the Forum, copies of which had been obtained from the organization’s official website. These minutes offered proof that Lula had chaired meetings of the Forum in partnership with the FARC commander Manuel Marulanda. They also proved that senior leaders of Lula’s party ran a magazine for ideological propaganda, America Libre, in close association with the FARC.
In response, the Forum immediately took its own website offline. A new edition of it, expunged of the most incriminating facts, was put back online only six months later. But it was too late: the complete minutes had already been copied and publicized on Mídia Sem Máscara.
Concealing the existence of the Forum was so crucial at that point that the denial effort transcended Brazil’s borders. In October 2002, during a debate held at the Council on Foreign Relations, CFR’s Director of Latin American Studies, Kenneth Maxwell, and Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, columnist of the prestigious Brazilian weekly magazine Veja and professor of Brazilian history at the University of Paris, converged to deny the existence of the São Paulo Forum, or at least to assign it any political importance.
In November 2002, in an article published in the New York Review of Books, Maxwell persisted in denying the mere existence of the São Paulo Forum, which by then already gathered together more than a hundred members, constituting the largest political organization ever recorded in the history of Latin America.
But, of course, not all reactions in the United States were of this same tenor. On September 19, 2002, the renowned strategic analyst Constantine C. Menges sent Olavo de Carvalho a letter in which he essentially agreed with de Carvalho’s analysis of the São Paulo Forum (see http://www.olavodecarvalho.org/traducoes/carta_menges.htm ). Max Singer, senior fellow and former president of the Hudson Institute, gave identical support to Olavo de Carvalho. On September 15, 2005, when introducing the Brazilian journalist to an audience at Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Alejandro Chafuen, its president and CEO, said he considered Olavo de Carvalho’s studies on the São Paulo Forum the most remarkable achievement in political science which had come under his notice in many years. (A summary of the lecture Olavo de Carvalho delivered on that occasion can be found at http://www.olavodecarvalho.org/palestras/palestra_atlas_set2005.htm. Olavo de Carvalho also gave lectures about the Forum at the Hudson Institute, Georgetown University, America’s Future Foundation and the 2006 Intelligence Summit, see, for example, http://www.olavodecarvalho.org/english/texts/neocommunist_rise.htm).
In 2005, however, the founder of the São Paulo Forum himself and then Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva publicly admitted that the organization existed and was about to take power on the Latin American continent, as indeed it came to pass as Lula himself, Hugo Chávez, Nestor Kirschner, and other members of the São Paulo Forum ascended to the presidency of their respective countries, and as the systematic dismantling of the opposition parties got started. In an official speech delivered on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the São Paulo Forum, Lula, at that time already president of Brazil, categorically stated that Hugo Chávez’s rise to power and his successive victories against Venezuelan opposition had been secret operations of the São Paulo Forum coordinated directly by Lula himself from Brazil.
However incredible it might seem, the speech in which Lula made this confession—though an official pronouncement of the president, and though stamped with the endorsement of the author on the website of the presidency—was totally withheld from the public by the Brazilian mainstream media.
The American media also had a shameful attitude in this episode. Against this and much other documentary evidence, they kept insisting that Hugo Chávez alone posed danger to continental security while Lula personified the exact opposite, being the very type of a democratic leader, a friend of the legal system and of the United States. Even the most lucid American commentators persisted in seeing only a hand, separately from the arm that moved it. In 2001, on a visit to the Washington Times, Olavo de Carvalho, trying to explain the true dimensions of the São Paulo Forum phenomenon to one of the editors of the newspaper (whose name we will not mention here out of charity), was greeted with a wry smile followed by complete silence on the subject.
Gradually, some few Brazilian journalists eventually realized the big lie about the São Paulo Forum and recognized that Olavo de Carvalho had been right all along, helping to spread the denunciations he had first made. Among these are the Brazilian bloggers Graça Salgueiro, Heitor de Paola, and Paulo Zamboni. Salgueiro, counting with no political support and only with her own financial resources, but working closely with Olavo de Carvalho, was able to build a huge network of contacts that makes her blog notalatina.blogspot.com.br one of the best sources of information about Latin American politics and narcoguerilla, receiving a very complimentary message from former Colombian president, Álvaro Uribe Velez. Heitor de Paola wrote an excellent book about the São Paulo Forum called O Eixo do Mal Latino-Americano (The Latin American Axis of Evil), and Zamboni organized an anthology of articles on the same topic called Conspiração de Portas Abertas (The Open Conspiracy). Not long afterwards the denunciations about the Forum started to get more attention when the columnist Reinaldo Azevedo, one of the most widely read journalists in the country, began to openly express his agreement with Olavo de Carvalho in his weekly column in Veja magazine.
In 2006, the wall of silence was beginning to show serious cracks. On May 14 of that year, the prestigious and hundred-year old São Paulo Chamber of Commerce held a series of debates on the topic of “Democracy, Liberty, and the Rule of Law,” in which participants as important as the former Uruguayan President Luis Alberto Lacalle, the former Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Relations, Edgar Terán, and the Venezuelan presidential candidate Alejandro Peña Esclusa gave total confirmation to what Olavo de Carvalho had been saying about the São Paulo Forum.
In official circles and major media outlets, however, the intransigent attitude of denial regarding the Forum only gave in, granting a complete victory to Olavo de Carvalho, when the Forum itself, having already almost completely dominated the political scene in Latin America, decided that keeping a secret about itself was no longer necessary and, making a 180-degree turn, began to publicly flaunt its glories. This started happening through the publicity videos of III National Congress of the Workers’ Party in 2007.
Recognizing the status of the Forum as the central strategic coordinating body of almost two hundred leftist organizations (including legal parties and criminal mobs), these videos proved beyond any possibility of doubt that Olavo de Carvalho had told the truth and that all the mainstream media, with the help of the entire establishment, had lied.
At that point, the São Paulo Forum had been active for 17 years, during which, under the protection of this immense curtain of silence, it had been able to discreetly grow, away from any public scrutiny, and almost monopolistically dominate Latin American politics.
More recently, even high official circles have recognized the existence of the São Paulo Forum. In 2010, during a debate on Globonews TV, the former Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, Luiz Felipe Lampreia, acknowledged that the São Paulo Forum is today the great center for coordinating the power in Latin America, being therefore responsible for disastrous changes in the direction of Brazil’s and other countries’ foreign policies (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAX791OxSq4 ). Paulo Roberto de Almeida, a member of the Brazilian diplomatic service, manifested a similar opinon in the review of the Ministry of Foreign Relations (see http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rbpi/v53n2/09.pdf).
In a message sent to the 2007 meeting of the São Paulo Forum, the FARC said that the foundation of that organization had saved the Communist movement from extinction in Latin America, opening up most promising prospects for Communist domination on the Latin American continent. And the merit for this, the message assured the Forum, was entirely due to Lula and his Workers’ Party.
Besides his journalistic battle, Olavo de Carvalho also develops an important work as an educator and philosopher. His philosophy course is followed by thousands of Brazilian students who see in him the best hope for a Brazilian cultural rebirth after the mental devastation wrought in the country by its leftist government. But, by itself, his battle for the truth in the case of the São Paulo Forum is enough to make him worthy of public recognition. In the annals of universal journalism, there has never been a similar case in which an overwhelming moral victory is obtained by a virtually isolated journalist against the stubborn resistance of a country’s entire mainstream media, its federal authorities, and against powerful international bodies like the Council on Foreign Relations.