Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Soviet Slavery and the Steel Cord
Folha de S. Paulo, October 24th 1982
At times circumstances have brought me to publicly disagree with Your Eminence Cardinal Eugenio Sales. However, I did so with sadness in my soul, because the heart of a faithful man normally leads him to agree, to submit, to obey. And only very grave reasons can make him decide to proceed in another way.
So, I do not want to miss this occasion to applaud the lucid and nobly frank statement made by His Eminence: "If the Church in Brazil had fought like Cardinal Motta, divorce would not have been passed" (O Globo, 9-21-82).
This assessment, coming from such an authoritative source, exactly coincides with what I had observed in the Folha de São Paulo concerning the insufficiency of almost all the bishops' declarations against divorce at a time when the burning issue was being debated in Congress (Cf. articles "But the CNBB did not want to…” 5-16-77, "Fireworks, Not Bombardment," 6-25-77, and "34-75-77," 7-27-77).
The statement of the Cardinal of Rio de Janeiro deserves to go down in history.
* * *
Once this has been said, I would ask the reader to allow me, contrary to the principle of unity of subject essential to all newspaper articles, to resolutely change the subject and head for quite a different topic.
Everyone understands that "preferential option for the poor," so flaunted by the "Catholic left" was supposed to cause an increase in the country's already existing charitable works, as well as the establishment of so many others. To opt for the poor either means to help them, or it means nothing.
But much to the contrary, a survey made by the CNBB reveals that since 1974 the number of Catholic works of charity has been declining. At that time there were 12,487 in the country, and now there are 10,236 (Cf. Jornal do Brasil, 10-15-82). Appalling, is it not?
Undoubtedly, the "Catholic left" has a ready answer for this. It consists in saving that the drive for the poor changed in style and focus.
In style: less and less emphasis is being placed on works of social assistance and charity, and more and more emphasis is being placed on the "conscientization" of the discontented, on their grouping together, and on the subsequent movements of mass agitation.
In focus: This consists of the gradual abandonment of charity in favor of incitement to tension and struggle. What struggle? Class struggle, obviously... which is quite the style of the Basic Christian Communities (Cf. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Gustavo Antonio Solimeo Luiz Sergio Solimeo, The BCCs: Much Talked About But Little Known – The TFP Describes Them As They Are, Ed. Vera Cruz, São Paulo, 1982, 258 pp.). Their style only? Obviously not. Also that of Karl Marx, the implacable detractor of Christian charity and doctor of class struggle.
My God, how obvious all this is. Painfully, tragically obvious.
* * *
Let us once again change the subject. Journalistic style should not be a straightjacket into which all the newspapers of the world are necessarily forced. They are made for the public, the great reality perennially interesting, ceaselessly variable and, in each country, overflowing with peculiarities to which the journalist must adapt his service.
Now, there is a Brazilian custom that has taken root from the extreme north of Para to the extreme south of Rio Grande that of the chat about current events that so frequently precedes meetings of the utmost seriousness and formality.
I am pleased by the fact that many Brazilians feel catered to when, in an article, one or two subjects are dealt with in passing before the main essential theme. So, let us make a fourth and last change of subject.
Many of my compatriots consider capitalism a more or less enslaving regime. Then they infer that the farther one goes away from it, the more one approaches the sunny and utopian region of total liberty. That is it is on the beaches of socialism or on the firm ground of communism that our utopia hunter thinks he will find the realization of his myth.
Everything that is said to the contrary to clarify the vacillating electorate is especially important in these days when the choice will be made a choice which, if wrong, could easily become the most tragic ever made in the life of this country.
* * *
I am going to avail myself of the lavish documentation compiled by the American political analyst Juliana G. Pilon, Ph.D. which was recently published (9-16-82) by the well deserving Heritage Foundation of Washington.
The matter concerns a study of the construction of the Yamal pipeline, an immense cord of steel with which Moscow intends to strangle both Eastern and Western Europe, since it will make both dependent on Soviet gas to face the rigors of winter.
The Yamal project will be one of Russia's greatest undertakings. It will cost nearly $45 billion, financed mostly by Western low interest loans. Some of the loans are being made at an interest rate of only 7.5% (Cf. testimony of specialist Roger W. Robinson, of the Chase Manhattan Bank, in the Congressional Record, vol. 128, n. 65, 5-25-82).
Since the temperature in Siberia sometimes drops to 58° below zero, it is understandable that the Kremlin has not been able to fill a large part of the jobs that the project requires with free laborers. Russian official statistics calculate that nearly two million jobs in Siberia are unfilled. Considering that there are even more slots to fill in the other branches of heavy construction in Soviet territory, it becomes necessary to use slave labor for the work in Siberia. This brought about the meeting between Brezhnev and the Vietnamese communist chief Le Duan, which resulted in Vietnam paying its debts to the Soviet bloc, not with money, but with slave labor (Cf. "Foreign Report" in The Economist, 9-17-82).
The denunciation of The Economist was confirmed by qualified and important anticommunist organizations of the Free World. And in this regard, the work of Dr. Pilon cites many other overpowering statements. To these must be added an important article of the American Senator Bill Armstrong of September 1982, and the report of the Human Rights Association of Frankfurt (Germany) of June 1982.
But unfortunately there is no time to deal with these latter now because the two earlier commentaries invaded the required space, which would evoke the indignation of the readers in any country of the northern hemisphere.
Not, however, the indignation of Hispano Americans or Brazilians...