Miriam Leitao at PostGlobal

Miriam Leitao

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Miriam Leitao is a reporter and columnist for O Globo and Radio CBN in Brazil. She is also a commentator on Globo TV Network and runs her own blog, www.miriamleitao.com, hosted at Globo online at www.oglobo.com.br. She was awarded Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 2005. Close.

Miriam Leitao

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Miriam Leitao is a reporter and columnist for O Globo and Radio CBN in Brazil. more »

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State Dept. Out of Touch On China

The U.S. State Department has chosen the worst time to tell us such a foolish thing that China is no longer a human rights offender. PostGlobal asks us whether the State Department is right to say that. Obviously it is not. Look at what is happening right now in Tibet. The violence with which Chinese authorities are repressing the Tibetan movement for freedom and autonomy is completely unacceptable. If someone thinks it is a normal reaction against a separatist movement, look at what is happening in China itself. The Chinese have no freedom to express any disagreement against the communist regime, neither in the press nor in the blogosphere.

We Brazilians are right now in love with the boss of the State Department. Condoleezza Rice stayed with us for a short and unforgettable visit. She asked to visit Salvador, capital city of the state of Bahia, the most black of our cities. There she showed such a genuine pleasure to listen to Afro-Brazilian music, to join dance groups, to participate in Afro-Brazilians cultural shows that she won over Brazilians’ hearts. In her statement and interviews here, she said that the FARC is a terrorist group. The Brazilian government didn’t declare the Colombian armed movement to be a terrorist group, although our public opinion, if surveyed, would probably agree with Condoleezza. The FARC is a group supported by President Chavez, whom Condoleezza uses to say is a ruler that uses democracy against democracy. Many Brazilians, including myself, would agree with her. It is hard, though, to agree with some of her exotic ideas, such as that we have to be flexible with our frontiers, when it comes from a country that is building a wall to secure its borders.

I would like to see Condoleezza Rice flying to Tibet, to see and enjoy the cultural treasures that are under threat by Chinese repression. I would like to see Condi – let me call her this way – talking to the young Chinese in the same open way that she saw Brazilian dance, music, and history in Pelourinho, Bahia. Pelourinho is an ancient place to punish the rebel slaves during the slavery centuries. It’s a place of Brazilian shame but at the same time we have transformed it into the most beautiful place in Salvador, to remember the memories of slave sufferings. I would like to see her have breakfast with some Chinese journalist, talking freely, the way that she did in Brazil. If she goes to China with her eyes and ears open, probably the State Department will never repeat such a false statement that China is no longer a human rights offender. The Bush government is coming to an end. The U.S State Department should stop for this while to submit principles to economic interests. In this final Bush moment, Condi has nothing to lose, only her sympathy, elegance and cleverness, by saying nonsensical things such as “China is no longer a human rights offender”.

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