Just for Essequibo?…

Folha de S. Paulo, 1st July 1982

by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

I am imagining a small episode: A foreigner owns land in Brazil and is surprised at finding a termite hill on some corner of his property. Since he is a friend of good order, he instinctively dislikes any knobby, suspicious and useless outgrowth or protuberance. So, he has the termite hill razed, the fleeing insects killed, and those obstinately remaining in the crater buried with new dirt. Once this is accomplished he feels happy and victorious.

Days later, he finds another hill being formed elsewhere on the property: sur­prise, fury, a new operation to raze the unexpected and unaesthetic knob. Identical persecution of the termites. A new “victory,” a new euphoria.

But our foreigner asks himself if both ugly phenomena do not have a common cause. As his eyes cover the considerable distance between the two sites, he finds nothing that could link one hill to the other, and utters a sigh of relief. There was nothing. And how could there have been something between two termite hills so far apart?

The problem is that, besides being a foreigner unaware of the mysterious world of termites and hills, he did not perceive that termites have wings and thus can build new nests at considerable distances from their homes.


For decades I have been an enthusiast of the idea of our Luso-American coun­try having increasingly closer ties to its Hispano-American neighbors and, as the most practical and immediate step, closer relationships among the Iberian peoples of South America. Within my own scope of action I have worked untiringly for this. The evidence of this is the growth of the TFPs in nine South American na­tions. I do not say ten because we have no TFP in Paraguay. This is enough to show how much I love and respect these sister nations.

So, without going over the Falklands War issue, I simply call to mind that communist action, cunningly working its way into the field of Argentina’s international interests, suddenly appeared in the deceitful form of an offer of military aid. At the same time the little, home-grown, extreme leftist groups which had been so persecuted and held back until now, began to appear in collusions in the Casa Rosada and in prominent foreign assignments. If the Argentine public, enlightened by two lucid and skillfully written communiqués of the Argentine TFP, had not bravely rejected communist collaboration, the country’s modest communist termite colony would have swollen unrestrainedly and attempted to change the whole nation into a gigantic termite hill.

To what extremes could things have gone as a result of the fact that Argentina’s old and most appealing claim over the Falklands was abruptly revived by the Galtieri regime precisely at the moment that internal and external circumstances gave Russia the best opportunity to make a gain?

But, to say the least, Russia came out of the episode like a pickpocket caught with his hand in his victim’s pocket, that is, in the very act of intervening in a South American nation through internal and external pressures, moved by its ideological expansionism.

Is it possible that, already during the crisis over the islands on the Beagle channel, the communists were looking for an opportunity to start an all out war between Argentina and Chile and apply to that military situation a maneuver similar to the one used in the Falkland case: offering arms to one of the belligerent parties in exchange for succulent political advantages for the local communist party, in order to prepare the coming of communism during the war?

The first case — the first termite hill — would then have appeared on one of the islands in the Antarctic Ocean, followed soon after by another in an Archipelago in the same general area. The hypothesis does have its consistency.

However, in this case it is indispensable not to discard yet another hypothesis consistent with the previous one. Diplomatic tension is increasing between Venezuela and former English Guyana on account of old and also appealing claims of Caracas over the territory of Essequibo.

The Georgetown government, the weaker of the two and admittedly Marxist, has already asked for the help of “Cuba.” That is, Russia. And it also counts on the support of Brazil, which has interests related to a highway our country is helping Guyana build in the oil-rich territory of Essequibo.

But it happens that Colombia, in turn, has territorial claims against Venezuela. The conquest of Essequibo, some sectors in Bogotá allege, would disturb the balance of power in the region. So, if Venezuela attacks Guyana, Colombia will probably revive its claim against Venezuela. This would be a beautiful opportunity for Peru to revive its border dispute with Ecuador. Above all, it would be an excellent opportunity for Russia to intervene in each conflict with the scheme that failed in the Falklands case only by a slim margin.

Would it not be that Moscow is behind all this to aggravate, embitter and infect the quarrels between neighboring peoples, who could so well resolve them in a peaceful way, or postpone them until better days?

In Itamarati (the Ministry of Foreign Relations) I see one of those most beautiful and glorious institutions of which our country has very few. So I hope with all my heart that Itamarati will know how to see the problem as a whole, and not merely the rights and interests of Brazil in the Essequibo highway. If our country remains inflexibly aloof from the dispute between Guyana and Venezuela and accepts only some kind of conciliatory role, it might be decisive in keeping peace in the area and preventing the communist “termite hills” from growing dangerously throughout South America.

It is worth running the risk of so many dangers just because of the… Essequibo highway?

Someone might ask, what connection can there possibly be between trouble spots so far apart as the Falklands and Essequibo? This is the same question asked by our foreigner, unaware that the inhabitants of termite hills fly when it comes to establishing new colonies.

If there is a connection between Moscow and Havana, and between Moscow and the Antarctic Ocean, why can there not be one between the Antarctic Ocean and the Caribbean?