Brazil: dirty tricks campaign against Dilma
Over the last few weeks PT supporters have become increasingly alarmed at the vicious campaign, reminiscent of the tactics that were used by the extreme right to try and prevent the return to civilian rule in the late 1970s, that is being waged against the PT’s candidate, Dilma Rousseff.
Tony Chastinet, one of Brazil’s leading crime journalists, is also a specialist in counter-intelligence. He has detected the use of military tactics in the current electoral campaign, with four very clear waves of counter-information:
1) first wave – messages distributed by email and other electronic methods with information about “Dilma the abortionist”, “Dilma the terrorist” and “Dilma against Jesus”. He believes that this tactic, reinforced by anti-Dilma sermons by right-wing Catholic priests and Protestant pastors, eroded enough votes from Dilma to deprive her of a first round victory.
2) second wave – leaflets. This wave, which began in the last days before the first round of the election, has intensified since. These leaflets contain the same information, taking advantage of the
fact that many people still believe more in what is said in printed material than in electronic messages. For instance, vicious anti-Dilma leaflets, that claimed to be speaking in the ‘name of the Catholic Church’, were distributed at an important open air mass in the state of Pernambuco, organised by the Franciscans, in the middle of October. The priest leading the mass was forced to make a public announcement, saying that the leaflets had not been published by the Catholic Church
3) third wave – telemarketing. Numerous people have received phone messages, delivered by real, flesh-and-blood people, in which the same message is given.
4) fourth wave – slogans painted on walls. The anti-Dilma campaign leaves private space to invade public areas. People in Sao Paulo and other cities have come across a large number of slogans painted on walls bearing messages such as “Christians reject Dilma and the PT”, “Dilma is against the Church”.
Those leading the campaign have been careful not to attack Lula, along with Dilma (see leaflet at bottom of article). The most popular president in Brazil’s history, who still enjoys the support of 75% of the population, Lula is seen as untouchable. Not so, Dilma, despite Lula’s attempts to ‘transfer’ his popularity to her.
The PT has tried to react to the onslaught but often has been left behind as the next wave erupts. PT supporters are now worried that there may be a final, forceful offensive in the last few days before the second round on Sunday 31 October. Tony Chastinet is fearful that, as a last throw, the extreme right might “create facts” to reinforce their earlier messages. Such as? Setting fire to a church in the northeast and scattering PT leaflets. Such things have happened before in Brazil’s history.
However, despite all this, Dilma is still ahead n the opinion polls…