The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.63/No.4           February 1, 1999 
Cancel Brazil's Foreign Debt!  
"If current trends continue, within a decade our hemisphere will be the biggest market in the world - with more than 850 million consumers buying $3 trillion worth of goods and services. These are remarkable, hopeful times." - Clinton at 1994 "Summit of the Americas"

Within a few weeks after the U.S. president's glowing speech the Mexican peso was devalued by 15 percent on December 20, 1994. The capitalists' "solution" to the peso crisis was more austerity, more debt at loan-shark rates, a sharp reduction in real wages, and the accelerated sell-off of Mexico's national patrimony to imperialist big business.

Four years later their "solution" to the Brazilian currency crisis is the same, a variant of the future facing every country held in economic bondage to world finance capital. The devaluation in Brazil, which accounts for 45 percent of the economic output in Latin America, is threatening to spread throughout the region. It reflects a deepening of world capitalism's deflationary conditions and how the stability of the imperialist countries themselves are increasingly bound to the effects of the crises and breakdowns in the exploited Third World.

The "bailout" deals arranged by Washington through the International Monetary Fund from Brazil to Indonesia are aimed at ensuring governments in the semicolonial countries continue making debt tribute.

U.S. financial barons are seizing the national patrimony in these countries as collateral on new loans. They are gobbling up huge chunks of industries owned by the government or national bourgeoisie at bargain-basement prices. The austerity demands imposed on Brazil as the terms for the "rescue" deal will mean social devastation for millions. Workers in Brazil already face increasing joblessness, soaring inflation, and other cutbacks.

But the toilers are rebelling against assaults on their standard of living, like the auto workers at the Ford plant in Sao Bernardo, Brazil, who refuse to accept layoffs and have returned to the job site each day demanding that they be rehired. In 1997 when unemployment shot up in Argentina, thousands of workers and farmers blocked highways and organized mass meetings to press their demands for jobs and better social services. Landless peasants in Brazil have already carried out land occupations and other protest actions. This is Wall Street's nightmare.

Working people around the world should view as our own the struggles by workers and peasants in Brazil against unbearable conditions. We should especially call on Washington and other imperialist governments to cancel the debt they use to squeeze blood money from our fellow toilers in the semicolonial countries.

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