Filières du Vatican: Attention des Monuments men peuvent en cacher d’autres (Ratlines: Looking back at the other Monuments men)

19 mars, 2014

http://berlinfilmjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/The-Monuments-Men.jpg

http://www.concordatwatch.eu/Users/X890/X890_727_CWPavelicwithFranciscans.jpghttp://www.angelismarriti.it/images/ratlines-byLoftusAarons.jpghttp://fallschirmjager.net/books/TheRealOdessa.jpghttp://images.indiebound.com/994/181/9780312181994.jpghttp://static.lexpress.fr/assets/359/poster_183999.jpgRien actuellement n’empêche plus la voix du pape de se faire entendre. Il me semble que les horreurs sans nom et sans précédent dans l’Histoire commises par l’Allemagne nazie auraient mérité une protestation solennelle du vicaire du Christ. Il semble qu’une cérémonie expiatoire quelconque, se renouvelant chaque année, aurait été une satisfaction donnée à la conscience publique… Nous avons eu beau prêter l’oreille, nous n’avons entendu que de faibles et vagues gémissements. (…) C’est ce sang dans l’affreux silence du Vatican qui étouffe tous les chrétiens. La voix d’Abel ne finira-t-elle pas par se faire entendre ? Paul Claudel (lettre à Jacques Maritain, ambassadeur de France auprès du Saint-Siège, 13 décembre 1945)
C’est de ce long, troublant et douloureux silence qu’il est devenu urgent de parler. Non pour l’interpréter à la seule lueur de la polémique antichrétienne. Non pour en conclure qu’il était d’approbation ou de complicité tacite : tout prouve exactement le contraire. Comme il est devenu d’usage, on soupçonne le pape actuel des pires intentions – sans jamais préciser lesquelles – lorsqu’il franchit une étape dans le lent processus qui pourrait mener à la béatification de Pie XII. On lui refuse le crédit d’une pensée et d’une action qui s’élèvent au-dessus des calculs et se tiennent sans coup férir dans leur sphère propre : religieuse, spirituelle. Les si fortes paroles de Claudel et de Maritain ne nous engagent pas sur la voie d’un procès d’intention dont l’acte d’accusation serait écrit d’avance. En revanche, elles jugent et condamnent sans aucune ambiguïté, avec une force qui dépasse toute polémique, le silence coupable – et non pas la culpabilité silencieuse – de Pie XII. Ce faisant, elles interrogent en toute conscience la réelle héroïcité des vertus du pontife. Le péché par omission est le dernier que le fidèle catholique avoue dans l’acte de contrition. Il n’est pas le moindre. Tout ce que j’aurais pu faire et dire, que je n’ai pas fait, pas dit, remettant à plus tard, à jamais, le bien qu’il m’est commandé d’aimer et de servir. De ne pas trahir. Omettre le bien, se soustraire à ce service, ouvre donc l’espace immense et sombre d’un manquement majeur. Un espace qui ne peut pas être occulté par des motifs contingents, des excuses fallacieuses. Un espace qui n’est étranger à personne, pas même au pape. Patrick Kéchichian
Nous devons conserver une espèce de réservoir moral dans lequel nous pourrons puiser à l’avenir. Krunoslav Draganavic
À l’époque il se produisait à Nuremberg quelque chose que personnellement je considérais comme une honte et une malheureuse leçon pour le futur de l’humanité. J’acquis la certitude que le peuple argentin aussi considérait le procès de Nuremberg comme une honte, indigne des vainqueurs, qui se conduisaient comme s’ils n’avaient pas vaincu. Maintenant nous réalisons [que les Alliés] méritaient de perdre la guerre. Juan Peron
Les contacts de Pavelic sont si élevés et sa situation actuelle si compromettante pour le Vatican, que toute extradition du sujet déstabiliserait fortement l’Église catholique. Rapport des services de renseignement militaire américains (12 septembre 1947)
Le pape François joue la carte de l’ouverture. Le Point
Les travaux d’une commission d’enquête argentine ad hoc semblent montrer au contraire que les dignitaires du Vatican (au premier rang desquels le sous-secrétaire d’état Montini, futur pape Paul VI) n’ont jamais encouragé ces exfiltrations, voire ont eu l’occasion d’y manifester leur opposition. L’Église catholique aurait simplement été, comme la Croix-Rouge, tellement submergée par les flux massifs de réfugiés qu’elle n’aurait pu procéder qu’à des enquêtes sommaires, aisément contournées par les anciens dignitaires nazis. Ce défaut de vigilance aurait d’ailleurs également profité à de nombreux espions soviétiques. Wikipedia
Washington and Bonn failed to act on the information or hand it to the Israelis because they believed it did not serve their interests in the cold war struggle. In fact, the unexpected reappearance of the architect of the « final solution » in a glass box in a Jerusalem court threatened to be an embarrassment, turning global attention to all the former Nazis the Americans and Germans had recruited in the name of anti-communism. Historians say Britain and other western powers probably did the same, but they have not published the evidence. The CIA has. Under heavy congressional pressure, the agency has been persuaded to declassify 27,000 unedited pages about American dealings with former Nazis in postwar Europe. (…) It was not just a question of bureaucratic inertia. There were good reasons not to go hunting for Eichmann. In Bonn, the immediate fear was what Eichmann would say about Hans Globke, who had also worked in the Nazis’ Jewish affairs department, drafting the Nuremberg laws, designed to isolate Jews from the rest of society in the Third Reich. While Eichmann had gone on the run, Globke stayed behind and prospered. By 1960 he was Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s national security adviser. « The West Germans were extremely concerned apparently about how the East Germans and Soviet bloc in general might make use of what Eichmann would say about Hans Globke, » Mr Naftali said. It was not just a West German concern. Globke was the main point of contact between the Bonn government, the CIA and Nato. « Globke was a timebomb for Nato, » Mr Naftali said. At the request of the West Germans, the CIA even managed to persuade Life magazine to delete any reference to Globke from Eichmann’s memoirs, which it had bought from the family. But it was not just Globke. When Eichmann was captured the CIA combed files it had captured from the Nazis to find information that might be useful to the Israeli prosecution. The results caused near panic among the CIA’s leadership because, unknown to the junior staff who had looked through the files, a few of Eichmann’s accomplices being investigated had been CIA « assets ». An urgent memo was sent to CIA investigators urging caution and pointing out that if Moscow discovered these ex-Nazis had been working for the Americans that would make those agents « very vulnerable ». Meanwhile, some of the CIA’s German agents were beginning to panic. One of them, Otto Albrecht von Bolschwing – who also had worked with Eichmann in the Jewish affairs department and was later Heinrich Himmler’s representative in Romania – frantically asked his old CIA case officer for help. After the war Bolschwing had been recruited by the Gehlen Organisation, the prototype German intelligence agency set up by the Americans under Reinhard Gehlen, who had run military intelligence on the eastern front under the Nazis. « US army intelligence accepted Reinhard Gehlen’s offer to furnish alleged expertise on the Red army – and was bilked by the many mass murderers he hired, » said Robert Wolfe, a historian at the US national archives. Alongside the Gehlen Organisation, US intelligence had set up « stay-behind networks » in West Germany, who were supposed to stay put in the event of a Soviet invasion and transmit intelligence from behind enemy lines. Those networks were also riddled with ex-Nazis who had horrendous records. One of the networks, codenamed Kibitz-15, was run by a former German army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Kopp, who was described by his own American handlers as an « unreconstructed Nazi ». Most of the networks were dismantled in the early 1950s when it was realised what an embarrassment they might prove. (…) The new documents make clear the great irony behind the US recruitment of ex-Nazis: for all the moral compromises involved, it was a complete failure in intelligence terms. The Nazis were terrible spies. (…) « The files show time and again that these people were more trouble than they were worth, » Mr Naftali said. « The unreconstructed Nazis were always out for themselves, and they were using the west’s lack of information about the Soviet Union to exploit it. » The lesson would be well learned by young CIA case officers today. « Threats change rapidly, and it’s always exiles and former government elements who are the first to come running to us saying – we understand this threat. We have seen it with Iraqi exiles. No doubt we’re seeing it now with Iranian exiles. We have to be smart and we have to know who we are really dealing with. » The Guardian
J’ai enquêté personnellement sur Draganovic qui m’a dit qu’il faisait rapport à Montini, a souligné Gowen. Ce dernier a rapporté qu’à un certain moment, Montini apprit, apparemment du chef de l’antenne de l’OSS à Rome, James Angleton, qui entretenait des relations avec Montini et le Vatican, sur les recherches menées par Gowen. Montini se plaignit de Gowen à ses supérieurs et l’accusa d’avoir violé l’immunité vaticane en ayant entré dans des bâtiments appartenant à l’Église, comme le collège croate, et d’y avoir enquêté. Le but de cette plainte était de gêner l’enquête. Dans son témoignage, Gowen déclara également que Draganovic aida les Oustachis à blanchir les trésors volés avec l’aide de la Banque du Vatican : cet argent fut utilisé pour supporter financièrement ses activités religieuses, mais également pour fournir des fonds en vue de l’exfiltration des chefs Oustachis au travers de la filière. Haaretz
Jonathan Levy and Tom Easton are representing elderly Serb, Jewish and Ukrainian survivors of atrocities committed by the Nazi puppet regime in Croatia, the Ustashe, in a class action lawsuit against the Vatican Bank and the monastic Franciscan Order. Wartime intelligence documents have suggested Ustashe leaders took loot, including gold, silver and jewelry seized from their victims, to the Vatican at the end of the war. There the assets were allegedly used to help finance an escape route – the « ratline » – for Nazis trying to escape Europe, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which tracks Nazi war criminals. The Vatican has consistently denied the allegations, while declining to open its unpublished wartime archives despite appeals from Jewish and other groups. The Swiss National Bank, suspected of acting as a depository for stolen Ustashe loot, has also been named as a defendant in the class action lawsuit, and the lawyers are awaiting a judge’s order allowing the case against the Swiss to proceed. Levy said it was hoped the District Court in San Francisco would order the release of more than 250 documents from files dealing with one Krunoslav Draganavic, a Croatian priest who helped run the « ratline. » Some files had been released as early as the 1980s, when Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie stood trial in France. But a core of others remained withheld on « national security » grounds, he said. Levy said Draganavic was alleged to have worked at various times for the intelligence services of Croatia, the Vatican, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Britain and the U.S. The lawyers said in a statement they believed « the withheld documents, most well over 40 years old are highly embarrassing to the Americans, the British, and Vatican. » (…) Parallel to the counterintelligence unit, other American army intelligence units, and mainly the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, from which the CIA developed) and British intelligence were engaged in contradictory actions. They made contact with Nazis and with the Ustashe people and enlisted them in their service as agents, collaborators and informers, with the intention of forming a front against the Soviet spread into Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Haaretz

Attention: des Monuments men peuvent en cacher d’autres !

A l’heure où après l’accident industriel de l’Obamamanie, nos médias en mal de copie repartent pour un tour avec le premier anniversaire de l’entrée en fonction du nouveau parangon d’ouverture argentin du Vatican …

Et où via le film Monument men, le monde redécouvre l’ampleur du pillage nazi des trésors culturels de l’Europe  …

Qui se souvient d’un autre « sauvetage » à peu près au même moment mais autrement plus sinistre ?

Et qui s’étonne du long silence radio (bientôt 70 ans !) dudit Vatican (comme d’ailleurs des habituelles banques suisses ou des services secrets américains et britanniques – ou français dans le cas du Grand Moufti de Jérusalem et dont on se souvient de l’embarras lors de la capture d’Eichmann par les Israéliens) sur ces mystérieuses archives que l’on continue de refuser d’ouvrir aux victimes de certains des plus grands criminels de l’histoire ?

Ces Eichmann, Mengele, Barbie et autres Priebke, Heim et Pavelic à qui, via notamment certains dignitaires catholiques tels que le prêtre croate Krunoslav Draganovic ou le prêtre autrichien pro-nazi Alois Hudal et sur fond de guerre froide commençante (mais, au-delà de la désinformation soviétique, probablement à l’insu d’un Pie XII et d’un sous-secrétaire d’état Montini et futur pape Paul VI dépassés), le Vatican fournira faux papiers et soutanes …

Mais aussi caches et blanchiment pour leurs butins de guerre en vue de financer leurs réseaux d’exfiltration vers l’Amérique latine (avec en première ligne l’Argentine péroniste) et le Moyen-Orient …

Les fameuses filières dites « rat lines » en anglais ou enfléchures en français, du nom de ces échelles de cordage qui servaient aux marins – mais aussi aux rats – d’ultime refuge au moment où coulait leur navire ?

Tied up in the Rat Lines

Yossi Melman

Haaretz

Jan. 15, 2006

It is possible that within a short time a court in the United States will prohibit the publication of the account before us. In the meantime, Haaretz has obtained the testimony given last month by William Gowen, a former intelligence officer in the United States Army, at a federal court in San Francisco. The testimony contains historical and political explosives. It links Giovanni Battista Montini, who later became Pope Paul VI, to the theft of property of Jewish, Serb, Russian, Ukrainian and Roma victims during World War II in Yugoslavia. Many studies and stories have already been written about the thundering silence of Pope Pius XII, who reigned in the Vatican during World War II. Now the former intelligence officer’s testimony has revealed that after the war, Montini, who during the war served as the Vatican’s deputy secretary of state under the pope, helped hide and launder property that had been stolen from, among others, Jews and was involved in the sheltering and smuggling of Croatian war criminals, such as the leader of the Ustashe movement, Ante Pavelic.

The smuggling and hiding of Croatian war criminals was part of the extensive network known as the Rat Lines. Senior officials at the Vatican were involved in hiding and smuggling Nazi war criminals and their collaborators so they would not be arrested and tried. Hundreds of war criminals were provided with church and Red Cross papers that enabled them to hide in safe houses and then flee from Europe, mainly to the Middle East and South America. Among them were Klaus Barbie (« the butcher of Lyon »), Adolf Eichmann, Dr. Josef Mengele and Franz Stengel, the commander of the Treblinka death camp.

The Vatican network was also used by leaders of the Ustashe – the nationalist Croatian Catholic movement that was active in Croatia and collaborated with the Nazi occupation. « The Reverend Dr. Prof. Krunoslav Draganovic seemed to be in cooperation with the Ustasha network. And he was given a Vatican assignment as the apostolic visitator for Croatians, which meant he reported directly to Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, » states an American document based on a report from the Italian police; the document was recently placed in evidence at the court in San Francisco where Gowen testified.

The leaders of the Ustashe headed by Pavelic are the ones who stole the victims’ property: art and jewelry – silver and mostly gold. After the war they fled with the treasure and laundered it with the help of Vatican institutions. According to Gowen’s testimony, Montini, who in 1964 became the first pope to visit the State of Israel, was also involved in the Vatican’s help in laundering the wealth.

Still terrified

In 1999 a suit was filed at a court in San Franciso against the Vatican Bank (Institute for Religious Works) and against the Franciscan order, the Croatian Liberation Movement (the Ustashe), the National Bank of Switzerland and others. The suit was filed by Jewish, Ukrainian, Serb and Roma survivors, as well as relatives of victims and various organizations that together represent 300,000 World War II victims. The plaintiffs demanded accounting and restitution.

One of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs is Jonathan Levy. « Many of the plaintiffs have been reluctant to be pictured, after all these years, » says Levy. « Many are still terrified of the Ustashe, the Serbs particularly. Unlike the Nazi Party, the Ustashe still exist and have a party headquarters in Zagreb. »

The Ustashe was founded in 1929 as a Croatian nationalist movement with a deep connection to Catholicism. From the day it was founded the movement made its aim the establishment of an independent Croatian state and declared to fight the monarchy in Yugoslavia. The movement was banned and its founders, Pavelic and Gustav Percec (who was later murdered at Pavelic’s orders) were condemned to death in their absence. The Ustashe was linked to the assassination of Yugoslav King Alexander and French foreign minister Louis Barthou in Marseilles in 1934.

Upon the occupation of Yugoslavia, the German Nazis and the Italian Fascists formed an « independent » state in Croatia, which was basically a Nazi puppet state. Pavelic was appointed poglovnik, the leader of the country. He hastened to meet with Hitler and allied himself with the Fuehrer. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Pavelic sent Ustashe units to fight alongside the Nazis and then joined the declaration of war against the United States. Ustashe leaders declared they would slaughter a third of the Serb population in Croatia, deport a third and convert the remaining third from Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism. Anyone who refused to convert was murdered.

Immediately upon the establishment of its puppet government, the Ustashe set up militias and gangs that slaughtered Serbs, Jews, Romas and their political foes. Catholic priests, some of them Franciscans, also participated in the acts of slaughter. The cruelty of the Ustashe was so great that even the commander of the German army in Yugoslavia complained.

Himmler of the Balkans

Under the leadership of Pavelic’s right-hand man Andrija Artukovic, who earned the nickname « the Himmler of the Balkans, » the Ustashe set up concentration camps, most notably at Jasenovac. According to various estimates, about 100,000 people were murdered at the camp, among them tens of thousands of Jews (it is interesting to note that some of the heads of the Ustashe were married to Jewish women). Throughout Croatia about 700,000 people were murdered. The partisans, led by the Croat Communist Josip Broz Tito, and the Chetniks – Nationalist Serb royalists – fought the Ustashe.

After the war, Pavelic and other Ustashe heads fled to Austria and, with the help of the British intelligence and their friends in the Vatican, found refuge in Italy. They hid in Vatican monasteries and were provided with false documents that gave them a new identity. Secret documents that were disclosed at the court in San Francisco show that at the end of the war, British intelligence took Pavelic under its wing and allowed him and a convoy of 10 trucks that carried the stolen treasure to travel to the British occupation zone in Austria. The British did this with the intention of using him as a counterweight to the Communist takeover in Yugoslavia.

The Ustashe brought the treasure convoy to Rome, where they put it into the hands of the Croatian ambassador to the Vatican, Rev. Krunoslav Draganovic. Draganovic also saw to hiding Pavelic and his aides in Vatican institutions and safe houses in Rome. American military intelligence located Pavelic’s hiding place. But according to a secret document Gowen wrote in July 1947, that was submitted to the court, Gowen’s unit received the instruction: « Hands off » Pavelic.

This was an order from the American Embassy, stressed Gowen in his testimony. It is also stated in the document, which is classified as top secret, that Pavelic, via his contacts with Draganovic, was receiving Vatican protection. From Italy, Pavelic was smuggled on the Rat Lines to Argentina, where he served as a security adviser to president Juan Peron (Peron granted entry visas to 34,000 Croats, many of them associated with the Ustashe and Nazi supporters).

In 1957 there was an attempt to assassinate him, in which he was wounded. The operation was attributed to Tito’s Yugoslav intelligence, although the possibility that this was an attempt at revenge by a Chetnik activist was not dismissed. Pavelic had to leave Argentina and found refuge with the Spanish dictator Franco. Two years later, in 1959, he died as a result of complications caused by the wound. The Ustashe has continued to exist over the years and until the 1980s its operatives were involved in acts of terror against diplomats and other Yugoslav targets abroad.

Montini complains

The suit filed at the court in San Francisco is based on earlier investigations and reports from American government agencies, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and committees of historians who researched the matter of the Jewish property in Swiss banks. The case was preceded by successful legal battles by attorney Levy and his colleagues against the CIA and the American Army to obtain secret documents. The defendants, on their part, led by the Vatican Bank and the Franciscan order and others, deny the charges against them and made every effort to have the charges dismissed. So far, the court has rejected these efforts outright and determined that the deliberations would continue. But the defendants are tenacious and now they are demanding that publication of Gowen’s testimony be prohibited.

After the end of the war Gowen served as a special agent, meaning an investigations officer in the Rome detachment of American counter-intelligence. This unit’s role was to track down, among others, Italian Fascists, Nazi war criminals and their collaborators, including the Ustashe leaders (Gowen said another mission included, at the request of British intelligence, surveillance of Irgun and Lehi activists). The code name for the unit’s actions was « Operation Circle. »

Parallel to the counterintelligence unit, other American army intelligence units, and mainly the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, from which the CIA developed) and British intelligence were engaged in contradictory actions. They made contact with Nazis and with the Ustashe people and enlisted them in their service as agents, collaborators and informers, with the intention of forming a front against the Soviet spread into Eastern Europe and the Balkans. « To try and find Pavelic you had to discover how the Ustashe network in Italy was constituted, how it operated, what were its bases, » testified Gowen.

A key person in the Pontifical Croatian college was Rev. Draganovic, the Croatian ambassador to the Vatican. Draganovic and the college issued false papers to Croatian war criminals, among them Pavelic and Artukovic. « I personally investigated Draganovic – who told me he was reporting to Montini, » emphasized Gowen.

Gowen related that at a certain stage Montini learned, apparently from the head of the OSS unit in Rome, James Angleton, who nurtured relations with Montini and the Vatican, of the investigation Gowen’s unit was conducting. Montini complained about Gowen to his superiors and accused him of having violated the Vatican’s immunity by having entered church buildings, such as the Croatian college, and conducting searches there. The aim of the complaint was to interfere with the investigation.

In his testimony, Gowen also stated that Draganovic helped the Ustashe launder the stolen treasure with the help of the Vatican Bank: This money was used to fund its religious activities, but also to fund the escape of Ustashe leaders on the Rat Line.

Voir aussi:

Nazi-Era Victims Demand Army, CIA Release Documents on Vatican

Patrick Goodenough

CNS news

July 7, 2008

(CNSNews.com) – Two California attorneys have filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in a bid to have the U.S. Army and CIA release documents relating to alleged Vatican collaboration with Nazi-allied fascists in the wartime Balkans.

The Army’s decision earlier this year to withhold more than 250 documents, some at the request of the CIA, was in violation of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, the lawyers contended in their complaint.

Jonathan Levy and Tom Easton are representing elderly Serb, Jewish and Ukrainian survivors of atrocities committed by the Nazi puppet regime in Croatia, the Ustashe, in a class action lawsuit against the Vatican Bank and the monastic Franciscan Order.

Wartime intelligence documents have suggested Ustashe leaders took loot, including gold, silver and jewelry seized from their victims, to the Vatican at the end of the war.

There the assets were allegedly used to help finance an escape route – the « ratline » – for Nazis trying to escape Europe, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which tracks Nazi war criminals.

The Vatican has consistently denied the allegations, while declining to open its unpublished wartime archives despite appeals from Jewish and other groups.

The Swiss National Bank, suspected of acting as a depository for stolen Ustashe loot, has also been named as a defendant in the class action lawsuit, and the lawyers are awaiting a judge’s order allowing the case against the Swiss to proceed.

Levy said it was hoped the District Court in San Francisco would order the release of more than 250 documents from files dealing with one Krunoslav Draganavic, a Croatian priest who helped run the « ratline. »

Some files had been released as early as the 1980s, when Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie stood trial in France. But a core of others remained withheld on « national security » grounds, he said.

Levy said Draganavic was alleged to have worked at various times for the intelligence services of Croatia, the Vatican, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Britain and the U.S.

The lawyers said in a statement they believed « the withheld documents, most well over 40 years old are highly embarrassing to the Americans, the British, and Vatican. »

Among those Holocaust researchers say escaped via the « ratline » between 1945 and the late 1950s was Ustashe leader Ante Pavelic, who made his way to Latin America using papers allegedly provided by the Vatican, and disguised as a priest.

Barbie, known as « the butcher of Lyon, » was another reported beneficiary of the « ratline, » escaping to Bolivia. It has long been alleged the U.S. used him as an anti-communist agent after the war. A 1983 Justice Department investigation concluded that the U.S. had no relationship with Barbie since he left Europe in 1951.

Barbie was eventually deported to France in 1983, jailed for life several years later for crimes against humanity, and died in prison in 1991.

Another suspected user of the « ratline » was Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of Hitler’s « final solution. » He was abducted from Argentina by Mossad agents in 1960, convicted at the end of a marathon trial in Israel, and hanged in 1962.

Between 700,000 and 900,000 people died at the hands of the Ustashe regime, which also participated in the systematic Nazi looting of occupied Ukraine.

Voir également:

Why Israel’s capture of Eichmann caused panic at the CIA

Information that could have led to Nazi war criminal was kept under wraps

Julian Borger in Washington

The Guardian

8 June 2006

On May 23 1960, when Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion announced to the Knesset that « Adolf Eichmann, one of the greatest Nazi war criminals, is in Israeli custody », US and West German intelligence services reacted to the stunning news not with joy but alarm.

Newly declassified CIA documents show the Americans and the German BND knew Eichmann was hiding in Argentina at least two years before Israeli agents snatched him from the streets of Buenos Aires on his way back from work. They knew how long he had been in the country and had a rough idea of the alias the Nazi fugitive was using there, Klement.

Even though German intelligence had misspelled it as Clemens, it was a crucial clue. The Mossad effort to track Eichmann had been suspended at the time because it had failed to discover his pseudonym. They were ultimately tipped off by a German official disgusted at his government’s failure to bring the war criminal to justice.

Embarrassment

Washington and Bonn failed to act on the information or hand it to the Israelis because they believed it did not serve their interests in the cold war struggle. In fact, the unexpected reappearance of the architect of the « final solution » in a glass box in a Jerusalem court threatened to be an embarrassment, turning global attention to all the former Nazis the Americans and Germans had recruited in the name of anti-communism.

Historians say Britain and other western powers probably did the same, but they have not published the evidence. The CIA has. Under heavy congressional pressure, the agency has been persuaded to declassify 27,000 unedited pages about American dealings with former Nazis in postwar Europe.

One of the most startling of those documents is a CIA memo dated March 19 1958, from the station chief in Munich to headquarters, noting that German intelligence (codenamed Upswing) had that month passed on a list of high-ranking former Nazis and their whereabouts. Eichmann was third on the list. The memo passed on a rumour that he was in Jerusalem « despite the fact that he was responsible for mass extermination of Jews », but also states, matter-of-factly: « He is reported to have lived in Argentina under the alias Clemens since 1952. »

There is no record of a follow-up in the CIA to this tip-off. The reason was, according to Timothy Naftali, a US historian who has reviewed the freshly-declassified archive, it was no longer the CIA’s job to hunt down Nazis. « It just wasn’t US policy to go looking for war criminals. It wasn’t British policy either for that matter. It was left to the West Germans … and this is further evidence of the low priority the Germans gave to hunting down war criminals. »

It was not just a question of bureaucratic inertia. There were good reasons not to go hunting for Eichmann. In Bonn, the immediate fear was what Eichmann would say about Hans Globke, who had also worked in the Nazis’ Jewish affairs department, drafting the Nuremberg laws, designed to isolate Jews from the rest of society in the Third Reich. While Eichmann had gone on the run, Globke stayed behind and prospered. By 1960 he was Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s national security adviser.

« The West Germans were extremely concerned apparently about how the East Germans and Soviet bloc in general might make use of what Eichmann would say about Hans Globke, » Mr Naftali said.

It was not just a West German concern. Globke was the main point of contact between the Bonn government, the CIA and Nato. « Globke was a timebomb for Nato, » Mr Naftali said. At the request of the West Germans, the CIA even managed to persuade Life magazine to delete any reference to Globke from Eichmann’s memoirs, which it had bought from the family.

But it was not just Globke. When Eichmann was captured the CIA combed files it had captured from the Nazis to find information that might be useful to the Israeli prosecution. The results caused near panic among the CIA’s leadership because, unknown to the junior staff who had looked through the files, a few of Eichmann’s accomplices being investigated had been CIA « assets ».

An urgent memo was sent to CIA investigators urging caution and pointing out that if Moscow discovered these ex-Nazis had been working for the Americans that would make those agents « very vulnerable ».

Meanwhile, some of the CIA’s German agents were beginning to panic. One of them, Otto Albrecht von Bolschwing – who also had worked with Eichmann in the Jewish affairs department and was later Heinrich Himmler’s representative in Romania – frantically asked his old CIA case officer for help.

After the war Bolschwing had been recruited by the Gehlen Organisation, the prototype German intelligence agency set up by the Americans under Reinhard Gehlen, who had run military intelligence on the eastern front under the Nazis. « US army intelligence accepted Reinhard Gehlen’s offer to furnish alleged expertise on the Red army – and was bilked by the many mass murderers he hired, » said Robert Wolfe, a historian at the US national archives.

‘Unreconstructed’

Alongside the Gehlen Organisation, US intelligence had set up « stay-behind networks » in West Germany, who were supposed to stay put in the event of a Soviet invasion and transmit intelligence from behind enemy lines. Those networks were also riddled with ex-Nazis who had horrendous records.

One of the networks, codenamed Kibitz-15, was run by a former German army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Kopp, who was described by his own American handlers as an « unreconstructed Nazi ».

Most of the networks were dismantled in the early 1950s when it was realised what an embarrassment they might prove.

« The present furore in western Germany over the resurgence of the Nazi or neo-Nazi groups is a fair example – in miniature – of what we would be faced with, » CIA headquarters wrote in an April 1953 memo.The new documents make clear the great irony behind the US recruitment of ex-Nazis: for all the moral compromises involved, it was a complete failure in intelligence terms. The Nazis were terrible spies.

« Subject is immature and has a personality not suited to clandestine activities, » the CIA file on one of the stay-behind agents said sniffily. « His main faults are his lack of regard for money and his attraction to members of the opposite sex. »

Those were the least of their flaws as would-be anti-communist agents. They had not risen in the Nazi ranks because of their respect for facts. They were ideologues with a keen sense of self-preservation.

« The files show time and again that these people were more trouble than they were worth, » Mr Naftali said. « The unreconstructed Nazis were always out for themselves, and they were using the west’s lack of information about the Soviet Union to exploit it. »

The lesson would be well learned by young CIA case officers today.

« Threats change rapidly, and it’s always exiles and former government elements who are the first to come running to us saying – we understand this threat. We have seen it with Iraqi exiles. No doubt we’re seeing it now with Iranian exiles. We have to be smart and we have to know who we are really dealing with. »

Protected Nazis

Adolf Eichmann The SS colonel who organised the final solution was so enthusiastic about his work that he carried on even after Heinrich Himmler had called a halt. He was captured by US troops but escaped to Argentina. Israeli agents tracked him down in 1960 and he was hanged in 1962.

Hans Globke A Nazi functionary working with Eichmann in the Jewish Affairs department who helped draft the laws stripping Jews of rights. After the war he rose to become one of the most powerful figures in the government. As national security advisor to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, he was the main liaison with the CIA and Nato.

Reinhard Gehlen A major general in the Wehrmacht who was head of intelligence-gathering on the eastern front. He sold his supposed inside knowledge of the Soviet Union to the Americans who made him head of West German intelligence, an organisation he led until 1968.

Voir encore:

Le long péché par omission de Pie XII

Patrick Kéchichian

Le Monde

29.12.2009

A propos de l’attitude de Pie XII durant la guerre, face à la Shoah qui avait lieu presque sous ses yeux (et ceux des puissances alliées) au coeur de la Vieille Europe chrétienne, les historiens s’affrontent. Tous les documents ne sont pas encore accessibles. Il est urgent qu’ils le deviennent. Ce à quoi le Saint-Siège ne s’oppose pas, que l’on sache, invoquant simplement la nécessité d’un « délai technique » pour « le classement et la mise en ordre d’une masse énorme de documents », selon les déclarations de Federico Lombardi, directeur de la salle de presse du Vatican, le 23 décembre. Il semblerait naturel et intellectuellement digne que le procès de canonisation n’aille pas plus vite que le complet dévoilement des archives.

La très diplomatique prudence de Pie XII permit-elle de sauver plus de juifs que ne l’auraient fait des interventions directes ? Les témoignages ne manquent pas, y compris du côté juif, qui attestent de gestes multiples et ponctuels. Par ailleurs, une chose est sûre : aucune complaisance idéologique avec le paganisme nazi ne peut être imputée au Saint-Père. Rappelons simplement, parmi d’autres paroles, son message de Noël 1942 évoquant les « centaines de milliers de personnes, qui, sans aucune faute de leur part, et parfois uniquement pour des raisons de nationalité ou de race, sont destinées à la mort ou à une extinction progressive ».

De même, six mois plus tard, devant le collège des cardinaux, il parle des « supplications anxieuses de tous ceux qui, à cause de leur nationalité ou de leur race, sont parfois livrés, même sans faute de leur part, à des mesures d’extermination ». Mais il ajoute (nous sommes donc en juin 1943) : « Toute parole de notre part, toute allusion publique devrait être sérieusement pesée et mesurée, dans l’intérêt même de ceux qui souffrent, pour ne pas rendre leur situation encore plus grave et insupportable. » Ce propos qui sonne si mal à notre oreille introduit directement à l’autre aspect de la question.

Pour y répondre, je laisserai la parole à un homme peu soupçonnable de la moindre inimitié à l’égard de la papauté ou d’esprit de querelle face aux faits et gestes du magistère romain. Paul Claudel, le 13 décembre 1945, écrivit à Jacques Maritain, alors ambassadeur de France auprès du Saint-Siège – ce document et ses commentaires furent publié par les Cahiers Jacques Maritain, n° 52, 2006. « Je pense souvent à vous et à la mission si importante et si difficile que vous remplissez auprès de Sa Sainteté. Rien actuellement n’empêche plus la voix du pape de se faire entendre. Il me semble que les horreurs sans nom et sans précédent dans l’Histoire commises par l’Allemagne nazie auraient mérité une protestation solennelle du vicaire du Christ. Il semble qu’une cérémonie expiatoire quelconque, se renouvelant chaque année, aurait été une satisfaction donnée à la conscience publique… Nous avons eu beau prêter l’oreille, nous n’avons entendu que de faibles et vagues gémissements. »

Puis, faisant référence à l’Apocalypse, il parle du sang des « 6 millions (de juifs) massacrés » et conclut par ces mots : « C’est ce sang dans l’affreux silence du Vatican qui étouffe tous les chrétiens. La voix d’Abel ne finira-t-elle pas par se faire entendre ? » Peut-on imaginer plus claire prise de position ?

Jacques Maritain, dont la réflexion sur l’antisémitisme s’est approfondie au cours des années 1930, était lui-même intervenu, dès 1942, pour obtenir de Pie XII une encyclique « qui délivrerait beaucoup d’âmes angoissées et scandalisées ». Il avait même proposé, la même année, de faire du Yom Kippour un jour de prière pour les chrétiens en faveur des juifs persécutés. L’on sait que toutes ces démarches restèrent lettre morte.

C’est de ce long, troublant et douloureux silence qu’il est devenu urgent de parler. Non pour l’interpréter à la seule lueur de la polémique antichrétienne. Non pour en conclure qu’il était d’approbation ou de complicité tacite : tout prouve exactement le contraire.

Comme il est devenu d’usage, on soupçonne le pape actuel des pires intentions – sans jamais préciser lesquelles – lorsqu’il franchit une étape dans le lent processus qui pourrait mener à la béatification de Pie XII. On lui refuse le crédit d’une pensée et d’une action qui s’élèvent au-dessus des calculs et se tiennent sans coup férir dans leur sphère propre : religieuse, spirituelle.

Les si fortes paroles de Claudel et de Maritain ne nous engagent pas sur la voie d’un procès d’intention dont l’acte d’accusation serait écrit d’avance. En revanche, elles jugent et condamnent sans aucune ambiguïté, avec une force qui dépasse toute polémique, le silence coupable – et non pas la culpabilité silencieuse – de Pie XII. Ce faisant, elles interrogent en toute conscience la réelle héroïcité des vertus du pontife.

Le péché par omission est le dernier que le fidèle catholique avoue dans l’acte de contrition. Il n’est pas le moindre. Tout ce que j’aurais pu faire et dire, que je n’ai pas fait, pas dit, remettant à plus tard, à jamais, le bien qu’il m’est commandé d’aimer et de servir. De ne pas trahir. Omettre le bien, se soustraire à ce service, ouvre donc l’espace immense et sombre d’un manquement majeur. Un espace qui ne peut pas être occulté par des motifs contingents, des excuses fallacieuses. Un espace qui n’est étranger à personne, pas même au pape.

Patrick Kéchichian, auteur de Petit éloge du catholicisme (Gallimard, 130 p. 2 €), ancien collaborateur du Monde des livres.

L’Eglise catholique face au génocide

Marc Riglet

Lire

05/07/2012

Spécialiste des relations judéo-chrétiennes, l’auteur revoit la position de l’Eglise vis-à-vis des Juifs.

Quelle fut l’attitude de l’Eglise romaine, des années 1930 jusqu’à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, envers les Juifs persécutés ? Quelles positions de principe adopta-t-elle par rapport au fascisme en général et au national-socialisme en particulier et quelle politique fut conduite, par le Vatican, avec l’Allemagne nazie ? L’antijudaïsme chrétien s’accommoda-t-il de l’antisémitisme racialiste moderne ou bien y a-t-il eu entre l’un et l’autre solution de continuité ? Quel jugement, enfin, convient-il de porter sur la personnalité et les actions de Pie XII qui, de la nonciature à Berlin dans les années 1930 au trône de saint Pierre pendant la guerre, joua le tout premier rôle et commanda l’essentiel des réponses à ces questions ?

Dans les années 1960, la pièce de Rolf Hochhuth, Le Vicaire, qui dénonçait sans ménagement les silences du pape face aux persécutions des Juifs, avait provoqué une vive polémique. Les travaux historiques conduits depuis, les réflexions menées au sein même de l’Eglise romaine, l’aggiornamento de Vatican II revisitant et déplorant l’antijudaïsme traditionnel, et puis, surtout, les déclarations de repentance de nombreuses autorités ecclésiales semblaient avoir établi solidement le « jugement de l’Histoire ». Non seulement Pie XII était bien resté silencieux face au martyre juif, mais sa position ambiguë sur l’antisémitisme rendait ce silence coupable. Or, voici que ce constat est à nouveau discuté. Menahem Macina, éminent spécialiste des relations judéo-chrétiennes, s’en émeut dans un excellent livre où la richesse de la documentation le dispute au caractère serré de l’argumentation. Et comment ne pas être sensible, avec lui, à ce qu’il peut y avoir d’indécent dans l’entreprise de « révision hagiographique de l’attitude de Pie XII envers les Juifs » ? Elle s’explique dans le projet, bien avancé, de béatifier ce pontife et culmine même, chez certains, dans la proposition de conférer à Pie XII la qualité de « Juste des Nations » dont Israël honore ceux qui, dans les épreuves, ont aidé le peuple juif.

Menahem Macina reprend toutes les pièces du dossier. Ses conclusions sont sévères mais justes. Pie XII, tout attaché à la défense de son Eglise, a manqué, vis-à-vis des Juifs, de la troisième vertu théologale : la charité. Ce serait la force de l’Eglise catholique que de le reconnaître et de s’en tenir là… une fois pour toutes.

LA CAVALE DES MAUDITS

Conan Eric

L’Express

12/08/1993

A la fin des années 40, fuyant l’épuration, des centaines de Français débarquent à Buenos Aires. Dans cette ville qui leur rappelle Paris, on n’est pas trop regardant sur leur passé. Et ils ne risquent pas d’en être extradés. Certains s’y referont une vie de notable. D’autres végéteront. Quelques-uns y sont encore. Beaucoup sont rentrés. Récit d’une débandade.

Il y a ceux qui sont restés et ceux qui sont repartis. La plupart sont restés. Souvent jusqu’à leur mort, au terme d’une seconde vie, paisible et confortable. Très loin de leur éternel sujet de discussion, de passion et de ressentiment: la France. Cette France qui les a fait fuir. Et qui les a perdus. Personne n’a tenu la chronique de cet exil silencieux: à la fin des années 40, des centaines de Français ont débarqué à Buenos Aires, redoutant la justice de la Libération, ou désireux de s’y soustraire lorsqu’elle s’était déjà prononcée.

L’exil argentin reste une tradition française. Plusieurs générations de proscrits ont échoué ici: communards, anarchistes, juifs fuyant Vichy, collaborateurs, soldats de l’OAS. Jean-Michel Boucheron, le député socialiste ripou, constitue le dernier arrivage de marque… Ce tropisme s’explique d’abord par l’absence de convention d’extradition entre la France et l’Argentine, qui rend la sérénité à beaucoup de fuyards. De plus, Buenos Aires, véritable cité européenne, rassure avec ses immenses quartiers copiés sur Paris, Madrid ou Bruxelles, et sa population comme sa gastronomie offrent un agréable échantillon des silhouettes et traditions du Vieux Continent. La vie y fut longtemps facile, et les Français, très bien accueillis. D’autant plus que la tradition locale veut que l’on n’importune jamais les migrants sur les raisons qui ont pu les pousser à faire subitement des milliers de kilomètres pour s’établir dans un pays qu’ils ne connaissent pas…

A leur arrivée, beaucoup de ces Français de l’épuration tiennent cependant à s’expliquer, en donnant une version retouchée des événements qui les ont conduits à quitter la France: ils sont résistants, mais, à cause de De Gaulle, le Parti communiste a pris le pouvoir et fait la chasse aux vrais patriotes. En danger de mort, il leur a fallu fuir… Version peu discutée dans une Argentine péroniste qui croit alors à l’imminence d’une troisième guerre mondiale… Ils viennent de Suisse, d’Italie ou d’Espagne, pays refuges où beaucoup ont attendu de connaître leur jugement par contumace avant de décider d’aller voir ailleurs. Certains débarquent à Buenos Aires avec femme et enfants, comme ces notables de province engagés tardivement dans la folie meurtrière de la Milice de 1944. Beaucoup ont dû tout abandonner. Le clivage se fait vite entre ceux qui ont de l’argent, facile à faire fructifier en Argentine, et ceux qui n’ont rien. Ces derniers, souvent, commencent par trimer comme dockers sur le port avant de trouver mieux. Mgr Barrère, évêque de Tucuman et proche de l’Action française, fut secourable pour certains. Mais, entre eux, il n’y eut jamais de réelle solidarité, sauf peut-être au sein de l’importante tribu des anciens journalistes de « Je suis partout »: Charles Lesca, directeur de l’hebdomadaire, condamné à mort par contumace en mai 1947, avait la double nationalité française et argentine et une petite fortune héritée d’un père négociant dans la viande à Buenos Aires. Mais il est mort dès 1948, immédiatement après son arrivée.

Un petit groupe de nostalgiques essaya pourtant de maintenir l’ambiance de l’ex- « nouvelle Europe ». Dans le quartier Belgrano, une association, la Casa Europa (la « Maison Europe »), dirigée par Radu Guenea, ancien ambassadeur de Roumanie à Madrid, leur permettait de se retrouver: Français, Allemands, Roumains, Italiens, Croates, Belges, Hongrois se réunissaient et suivaient à travers la presse étrangère les développements de la guerre froide en Europe. Ils avaient choisi pour quartier général la brasserie Adam’s, près du port, où les soirées se prolongeaient souvent fort tard, dans la gaieté et la bonne humeur. Il s’agissait alors moins de nostalgie que d’espoir: la troisième guerre mondiale leur semblait une hypothèse sensée, et son déclenchement leur aurait permis de revenir en Europe participer au combat final contre le communisme. Espoir que la plupart perdent définitivement après la fin de la crise de Corée, en 1953. Les manifestations collectives chez Adam’s deviennent moins régulières. « J’ai vite compris qu’il fallait s’en sortir tout seul, précise un ancien Waffen SS français. Continuer chez Adam’s, c’était la meilleure façon de se faire remarquer. Et, à cette époque, c’était encore dangereux. »

Car, dans ces années d’après guerre, l’ambassade de France demeure active, comme le raconte un ancien membre des services spéciaux auprès de l’attaché militaire: « Nous devions repérer ceux qui arrivaient et établir des rapports sur leur identité, leur comportement et leurs activités. Selon leur ?calibre?, plusieurs devaient faire l’objet d’une élimination physique. C’était la tâche de commandos qui, sur la base de nos renseignements, agissaient de façon autonome. Certains sont même venus spécialement de France. Le travail était difficile, car il ne fallait absolument pas éveiller les soupçons des Argentins, très sourcilleux sur leur souveraineté et leur hospitalité. Beaucoup d’opérations ont ainsi échoué au dernier moment. » Une dizaine de Français ont finalement été « neutralisés » sans bruit et sans éclat: morts naturelles apparentes et surtout accidents divers.

ÉPURATION SECRÈTE

Jean de Vaugelas, l’un des principaux chefs de la Milice, est l’une des plus célèbres victimes de cette épuration secrète. Cité par Laval à l’ordre de la Nation le 8 juillet 1944 (« commandant de la Franc-Garde permanente de la Milice française. Chef milicien de très grande classe »), cet aristocrate, ancien officier d’aviation monarchiste, fut un temps le responsable de l’école des cadres de la Milice à Uriage (Isère), avant de prendre la tête de l’une des unités les plus redoutées de la Franc-Garde (la Milice armée), appelée à intervenir contre les maquis les plus importants. Il dirigea ainsi les 600 miliciens accompagnant les 5 000 Allemands qui détruisirent le maquis des Glières en mars 1944. Le mois suivant, il est chargé des opérations de maintien de l’ordre qui sèmeront la terreur dans la région de Limoges. Puis dans des maquis du Massif central. Lorsque la débâcle se précise, il n’hésite pas, le 10 août 1944, à rejoindre en avion plus de 1 000 miliciens encerclés par le maquis autour de Limoges, pour en organiser l’évacuation, avant de partir avec la division Charlemagne comme chef d’état-major. Prisonnier des Soviétiques en Lituanie, il s’échappe en compagnie du chef milicien Jean Bassompierre, et, avec lui, traverse la Lituanie et l’Allemagne pour rejoindre l’Italie. Là, ils sont trahis. Bassompierre sera arrêté (puis fusillé en France), tandis que Vaugelas s’échappe à nouveau et parvient à gagner Buenos Aires en 1948 avec un passeport de la Croix-Rouge. Son périple s’arrête brusquement en 1954, à Mendoza, région viticole, où il est devenu administrateur des Caves franco-argentines: il est exécuté dans une mise en scène d’accident de voiture.

Cette vindicte cesse au cours des années 50, l’ambassade se bornant encore pendant quelques années à « suggérer » aux entreprises françaises implantées en Argentine de ne pas employer quelques compatriotes en situation irrégulière. Et le consulat, à rappeler de temps en temps à certains membres de la communauté française au lendemain de dîners mondains: « Quand vous invitez le consul, évitez les condamnés à mort! »

Que peut faire un exilé politique en Argentine? Entre ceux qui n’ont jamais pu imaginer changer d’activité et ceux qui ont réussi une reconversion radicale, les nuances sont nombreuses. D’autant plus que d’aucuns ont développé de nouvelles compétences tout en conservant leurs anciennes obsessions (1).

Parmi les premiers s’impose d’abord le célèbre Dewoitine: il a passé sa vie à construire des avions. Pour les Français, les Allemands, les Espagnols. Et les Argentins. L’un des plus grands créateurs français d’avions de l’entre-deux-guerres avec Henry Potez et Marcel Bloch (Dassault), Emile Dewoitine, fondateur des usines aéronautiques de Toulouse (2) et père du D 520 (le dernier chasseur que la France put opposer aux Messerschmitt en 1940), avait mis pendant l’Occupation ses talents au service de la firme allemande Arado, en dirigeant, à Paris, un bureau d’études de 200 employés (dont une partie venait des usines de Toulouse). A la même époque, il travailla également pour l’Espagne et le Japon. Lorsqu’il est recherché, à la Libération, pour « intelligence avec l’ennemi » et « atteinte à la sûreté extérieure de l’Etat », il se trouve depuis longtemps en Espagne. Et en Argentine quand, le 9 février 1948, la cour de justice de la Seine le condamne par contumace à vingt ans de travaux forcés, à l’indignité nationale à vie et à la confiscation de ses biens. Il n’a pas perdu de temps: dès son arrivée à Buenos Aires, en mai 1946, il s’est attelé à la construction du premier avion à réaction argentin! Le prototype du Pulqui (la Flèche) a volé le 9 août 1947: grâce à lui, l’Argentine péroniste est le cinquième pays au monde à posséder un avion à réaction. Le retentissement est énorme, y compris dans les couloirs du ministère de l’Air à Paris. Mais Dewoitine, qui a créé sa société, Dewoitine Aviacion, et fait venir de Toulouse une dizaine de spécialistes français pour passer à la phase industrielle, sera évincé par l’ingénieur allemand Kurt Tank (ancien ingénieur de la Luftwaffe, créateur du célèbre Focke-Wulf 190), qui, venu en Argentine avec une cinquantaine de techniciens allemands, mettra au point le Pulqui II. Dépité, Emile Dewoitine écrit à son ami Charles Lindbergh pour proposer ses services aux Etats-Unis. Indésirable, il se voit refuser le visa d’entrée. Il vivote en mettant au point un avion de tourisme pour les aéro-clubs argentins (El Boyero), avant de partir, en 1951, offrir ses services en Uruguay. En vain. Il revient alors en Espagne pour répondre à un appel d’offres du ministère de l’Air concernant un avion d’entraînement. Il se fait à nouveau devancer par un avionneur allemand, cette fois-ci le grand Willy Messerschmitt en personne!

RETOUR NÉGOCIÉ

Les lois d’amnistie étant votées, il peut envisager de rentrer en France et négocie son retour: cinq ans après sa condamnation, il est acquitté au cours d’un procès express – le commissaire du gouvernement abandonne l’accusation, et l’on n’entend même pas les témoins. Mais Emile Dewoitine pousse le bouchon un peu loin et agace ses protecteurs en réclamant la restitution de ses bénéfices acquis illicitement sous l’Occupation… Très vite, il offre ses services à son ancien concurrent Marcel Dassault, qui refuse de le recevoir en déclarant que « Dewoitine n’est plus dans le coup »… Il tente ensuite sa chance au Japon. Sans résultat. Vexé, il retourne en Argentine et s’installe en Patagonie pour y créer un élevage de 8 000 moutons et se livrer à son plaisir favori: la pêche. Il se retire dans les années 60 à Montreux, en Suisse, puis à Toulouse, où, à la fin des années 60, les milieux de l’aérospatiale lui accordent sa place d’ancêtre fondateur de l’aéronautique française. Il ne manque plus un Salon de l’aéronautique à Toulouse (il sera même un jour assis à dîner à la droite de Pierre Messmer, ministre des Armées… et ancien des Forces françaises libres). Il est invité à l’un des premiers vols à mach 2 du Concorde (mais refuse de participer à un vol inaugural d’Airbus, par rancune envers son responsable, Henri Ziegler, ancien ingénieur du ministère de l’Air ayant rallié la France libre…). L’année de sa mort, la promotion 1977 de l’école d’apprentissage de Toulouse porte son nom.

Même obstination professionnelle chez l’ex-conseiller d’Etat Jean-Pierre Ingrand. L’obsession du service de l’Etat l’avait conduit sous l’Occupation à administrer envers et contre tout. En exil, il n’eut qu’une passion: l’administration, et il est mort en décembre dernier président de l’Alliance française de Buenos Aires. Représentant du ministère de l’Intérieur à Paris, auprès de Fernand de Brinon, de juillet 1940 à janvier 1944, il avait, à moins de 40 ans, les 48 préfets de la zone nord sous son contrôle. Ce rôle d’intermédiaire entre le ministre de l’Intérieur et l’autorité militaire allemande (avec pouvoir de négociation politique) l’a amené à jouer un rôle essentiel, en août 1941, dans la mise en place de la Section spéciale de Paris, tribunal d’exception qui renia le principe de non-rétroactivité des lois. Prévoyant son sort, il se cache à la Libération. Dénoncé, arrêté, mis en liberté provisoire, il préfère s’échapper en Suisse avant son procès, qui a lieu en 1948 (voir L’Express du 8 août 1991). Puis en Argentine, où, grâce à un ami inspecteur des Finances, il devient administrateur de la Compagnie financière de Santa Fe, avant d’investir dans l’agriculture et la faïence. Tout en se consacrant vite au développement spectaculaire de l’Alliance française: en vingt ans, il en fait le plus beau fleuron au monde, avec plus de 30 000 élèves et une multitude de succursales dans tout le pays. Situation dont ne profitèrent guère les autres exilés: « Il était hors de question d’aller demander de l’aide à Ingrand, cette marionnette de Laval, ce suppôt de l’ordre bourgeois de Vichy! » explique un ancien de « Je suis partout ». Seul rappel du passé pour l’ancien délégué de Pierre Pucheu en zone occupée: lors de la visite du général de Gaulle au cours de son grand périple en Amérique latine, en octobre 1964, Christian Margerie, ambassadeur de France en Argentine, le convoque et lui demande, « pour éviter tout incident », de ne pas participer aux cérémonies et d’aller prendre quelques jours de vacances, par exemple au Brésil… Refus de l’ancien conseiller d’Etat révoqué en 1944: il est chez lui à Buenos Aires, il est chez lui à l’Alliance française. De plus, il a connu de Gaulle à Bordeaux, en juin 1940, lorsque celui-ci était sous-secrétaire d’Etat à la Guerre dans le gouvernement Reynaud, et il est curieux des retrouvailles. Tout se passera bien, le Général se contentant de lui envoyer une apostrophe très gaullienne: « Alors, Ingrand, ça marche, l’Alliance française, à Buenos Aires? »…

L’esprit de continuité peut aller jusqu’à l’absurdité, comme chez Olier Mordrel, ancien chef du Parti national breton (PNB) allié avec les nazis: il passa une partie de ses années d’exil, au fin fond de l’Amérique du Sud, à réinventer une langue pure à partir du breton de la Renaissance pour remplacer le dialecte parlé, qu’il jugeait trop vulgaire… Architecte, cet autonomiste bretonnant présente la particularité d’avoir été condamné à mort deux fois, en mai 1940 et en 1946. En août 1939, il avait envoyé de Berlin un manifeste proclamant la neutralité de la Bretagne et appelant les Bretons à la désertion. Avant de revenir au pays avec les nazis, qui offraient, selon lui, aux « êtres supérieurs » qu’étaient le marin et le paysan bretons la chance historique d’être enfin libérés de l’ « exploitation du capitalisme juif et français ». Ses illusions de parti et d’Etat bretons ne prendront que la forme sanglante, en 1943, d’une Milice régionale (la « Milice Perrot ») et se termineront par l’épisode pathétique du protocole signé le… 15 février 1945, sur le lac de Constance, avec Jacques Doriot (autoproclamé chef de l’Etat français), qui le désigne comme gouverneur en exil d’une Bretagne enfin reconnue en tant qu’Etat associé à la France… Mordrel débarque à Buenos Aires en juin 1948 et rachète, à un ancien nazi, un hôtel à Cordoba. Ses études linguistiques, étendues aux langues celtiques, et quelques correspondances avec des Bretons occupent une grande partie de ses vingt-trois ans d’exil. Il part pour l’Espagne en 1969, en attendant la mesure de grâce qui lui permettra de rentrer en Bretagne en 1971. Après avoir tenté de renouer avec le mouvement régionaliste breton (qui préfère ne pas utiliser la culture phénoménale de cet encombrant ancêtre), il s’occupera un temps d’une crêperie, avant de mourir en 1985.

Quelques-uns en sont réduits à exploiter le seul atout qui reste à un exilé: sa langue. Comme Philippe Darnand, qui donna pendant longtemps des cours de français à l’Alliance française. Fils du chef de la Milice, Joseph Darnand, et lui-même ancien membre de l’Avant-garde (les jeunes de la Milice qui montaient la garde à Sigmaringen, le château sur le Danube où s’était réfugié en 1944 le gouvernement de Pétain), il s’était enfui en Italie, où il travailla comme speaker à Radio-Vatican. Après l’exécution de son père, en 1945, et sur les conseils de Jean de Vaugelas, il se rend avec sa mère en Argentine, à Tucuman, où il enseigne le français. Mal à l’aise dans le pays, il décide, à 28 ans, de passer son bac, entreprend des études et quitte l’Argentine en 1960, avec un diplôme d’ingénieur, pour aller travailler en Allemagne, à Cologne, où il trouve une place chez Hoechst grâce à un ami allemand de son père, ancien secrétaire de l’ambassade du Reich à Paris.

LE CAS LE VIGAN

La langue française fut également le gagne-pain de quelques acteurs. Maurice Rémy, membre du PPF, qui joua un rôle important dans le film de propagande « Forces occultes » et animait des sketchs politiques dans l’émission « Au rythme du temps » sur Radio-Paris, trouva du travail dans les émissions en langue française de « La Voix de l’Argentine ». En compagnie d’une autre ancienne de Radio-Paris, Lola Robert. Mais le cas le plus célèbre – et le plus paradoxal – reste celui de Robert Le Vigan. Car le ténébreux interprète du « Quai des Brumes » et de « Goupi Mains rouges », recyclé dans les émissions de propagande de Radio-Paris et auteur d’un délire antisémite digne de Céline (dont il était l’ami et qu’il accompagnera à Sigmaringen), n’a pas fui l’épuration: il ne s’est exilé qu’après avoir été condamné, en 1946, à dix ans de travaux forcés. Libéré en 1949, et se heurtant au boycottage du cinéma français, il part tenter sa chance en Espagne, puis en Angleterre. En vain. En Argentine, deux essais tourneront court, et il doit vite se contenter de donner des cours de français et de diction, à Tandil, à quelques centaines de kilomètres de Buenos Aires, où il traîne péniblement sa silhouette, avec sa cape et son épée, ruminant sa hantise de la victoire prochaine du communisme. Confronté à de coûteux problèmes de santé, il survivra difficilement jusqu’à sa mort, en 1972, grâce à l’aide financière de quelques bienfaiteurs parisiens: Pierre Fresnay, Madeleine Renaud, Jean-Louis Barrault, Maurice Ronet, Fernand Ledoux et Arletty (qui lui rendit visite en 1966).

Les véritables reconversions sont plus ou moins spectaculaires. Beaucoup d’anciens responsables de la Milice ont simplement troqué un statut de notable de province en France contre celui de notable de la Pampa. C’est le cas de X., ancien ingénieur de Centrale, industriel, responsable de la Milice dans le Sud-Ouest, qui réussit à organiser la fuite de la Milice de Toulouse par la vallée du Rhône en août 1944, avant de diriger le bataillon des 500 derniers « soldats » de l’Etat français à Sigmaringen. Arrivé en Argentine via l’Italie, il rentra en France dans les années 60. Ou du Dr Y., ancien chef de la Milice de Limoges, mêlé au pillage et au massacre de Magnac-Laval (Haute-Vienne) le 8 juillet 1944, mais surtout célèbre grâce à sa femme, milicienne exubérante et surexcitée, qui participait aux opérations sanglantes des francs-gardes et aimait à répéter publiquement qu’il lui fallait un « sac à main en peau de maquisard ».

Parmi les reconversions plus originales, celle d’Henri Queyrat mérite d’être citée. Délégué du PPF de Jacques Doriot pour toute l’Afrique du Nord, il retourne clandestinement en Tunisie après le débarquement des Alliés, en novembre 1942, pour former, en 1943, un réseau d’espionnage allemand. Nommé ensuite secrétaire fédéral du PPF de la Seine, il crée, en mars 1944, les « Groupes d’action du PPF », formés par les Allemands à Taverny (Val-d’Oise), spécialistes de la chasse aux résistants, aux réfractaires au STO, aux juifs, et réputés pour leurs chantages et leurs pillages. Engagé dans la Waffen SS en mai 1944, il sera condamné à mort par contumace. En Argentine, il effectue divers travaux pour les éditions Larousse, rédige le journal de la Chambre de commerce franco-argentine et travaille plusieurs années comme journaliste à l’AFP (où il sera remplacé par Jean Dumazeau, un ancien milicien du Nord), avant de se consacrer à sa nouvelle passion: l’oenologie. Devenu l’un des meilleurs spécialistes des vins argentins, il sera, jusqu’à sa mort, récente, le conseiller très écouté de plusieurs caves de Mendoza (qui sont encore loin d’atteindre la qualité de la production chilienne). Et l’auteur, chez Hachette, de très bons livres de référence sur les vins (et les fromages) argentins.

La confrérie tumultueuse des anciens de « L’Action française », de « Je suis partout » ou du « Cri du peuple » (le quotidien du PPF de Doriot) arriva en force à la fin des années 40. Il y avait notamment là Pierre Daye, ancien grand reporter du « Soir » de Bruxelles et correspondant belge de « Je suis partout » depuis 1932, tout en étant député et président du groupe rexiste au Parlement de Bruxelles. Condamné à mort en 1946, il fut professeur de littérature française à l’université de La Plata, avant de mourir en 1960.

Georges Guilbaud, ancien marxiste ayant intégré le PPF, dont il devint le responsable en Tunisie, dirigeait le quotidien « Tunis-Journal », organe du collaborationnisme en Tunisie. Venu en France après le débarquement allié de 1942, il est chargé par Pierre Laval d’organiser la Milice en zone nord. Il tentera d’en faire un organe unique, en essayant en vain d’y faire fusionner toutes les organisations collaborationnistes. Au début très actif, à Buenos Aires, au sein du groupe des nostalgiques de la brasserie Adam’s, il se lança, au milieu des années 50, dans les activités financières, où il excellait, en travaillant avec la maison de change Piano. Gagnant beaucoup d’argent, il devint administrateur d’un célèbre palace de Buenos Aires, avant de partir, dans les années 60, exercer ses talents financiers en Suisse.

Contrairement aux Flamands et aux Allemands, rares furent les Français qui se passionnèrent pour la politique locale. Mais il y eut quelques exceptions sérieuses. Comme W., ancien militant de l’Action française rallié au PPF et journaliste hyperactif (chroniqueur à « Je suis partout », au « Cri du peuple » et l’un des chroniqueurs du « Radio-Journal » de Radio-Paris). Violemment antivichyste (il sera interné trois mois sur ordre de Laval, avant d’être libéré sur pression allemande), il termine la guerre en s’enrôlant dans la brigade SS Wallonie, dont la croisade s’arrête en 1945 devant Cracovie. Parvenu en Suisse, il y attend de connaître sa condamnation par contumace à perpétuité, en 1948, et part pour Buenos Aires, où il débarque avec 50 francs en poche. Il se plonge alors dans les subtilités du péronisme et fait la connaissance de Victor Paz Estenssoro, chef du Mouvement national révolutionnaire (MNR), parti de la gauche nationaliste bolivienne en exil à Buenos Aires, dont il devient un actif conseiller politique. Lorsque Victor Paz Estenssoro conquiert la présidence de la République de Bolivie, en 1952, W. le suit au palais Quemado, où il occupe pendant trois ans les fonctions de conseiller officiel, avant que sa femme, qui supporte mal La Paz, le contraigne à revenir à Buenos Aires. Il entame alors une carrière alimentaire de publicitaire, tout en restant passionné par la politique argentine. Dans les années 70, il participe à « Segunda Repùblica », revue de Marcello Sorrendo, vieux nationaliste maurrassien et l’un des pères spirituels des Montoneros, péronistes dissidents d’extrême gauche passés à la guérilla.

Même passion politique chez Jacques de Mahieu, professeur de philosophie, ancien de l’Action française, où il fut le théoricien du maurrassisme social et du corporatisme. Ayant terminé la guerre dans les rangs de la division Charlemagne, il arrive en 1946 avec sa famille à Buenos Aires. Devenu professeur polyvalent (économie, français, ethnographie) à l’université de Cuyo et directeur de l’Institut d’études et de recherche du marché, il publie de nombreux ouvrages sur le syndicalisme, les problèmes sociaux et le corporatisme. Il eut son heure de gloire pendant la période des gouvernements militaires à partir de 1966, quand il devint le maître à penser sur les questions sociale et syndicale auprès des jeunes profs de droit et de sciences politiques proches des militaires. Il est resté très lié avec un autre intellectuel, William Gueydan de Roussel, philosophe germaniste engagé dans la lutte contre la maçonnerie, cofondateur du Cercle aryen de Paris, avec Paul Chack, et président du Cercle d’études judéo-maçonniques, dont le principal objectif était de prouver l’origine juive de la maçonnerie. Etabli à El Bolson, Gueydan de Roussel mit son érudition bibliographique au service de la Bibliothèque nationale de Buenos Aires.

LES VIKINGS, DIEUX INCAS

Mais Jacques de Mahieu est également connu en France comme auteur à succès de la collection Les énigmes de l’Univers, chez Robert Laffont. Dans « L’Agonie du dieu Soleil », publié en 1974, il prétend révéler que l’Amérique du Sud a été découverte par des Vikings. Il avait monté à la fin des années 60 des expéditions d’ethnographie au Paraguay et retrouvé, à la frontière du Brésil, des fresques représentant de grands gaillards blonds, pour lui incontestablement « de race aryenne ». Il échafauda une théorie selon laquelle le continent aurait été découvert au xe siècle par les Vikings, qui auraient civilisé les Indiens et fondé l’Empire inca, dont ils devinrent les « dieux blancs ». Les actuels Guayakis seraient, d’après cette théorie, leurs derniers représentants, malheureusement « dégénérés par

métissage ».

Quelques exilés n’ont pas connu les bonheurs d’une seconde vie parce qu’ils n’ont pas supporté l’Argentine et sont rentrés le plus tôt possible. Il y eut deux vagues de retours: dans les années 50, après les lois d’amnistie de 1951 et de 1953, et au milieu des années 70, grâce à la prescription des poursuites. Ainsi Henri Lèbre, qui fut à la fois directeur du « Cri du peuple » et l’un des dirigeants de « Je suis partout », journaux dans lesquels il s’insurgeait contre la mollesse de la politique antijuive de Vichy (statut des juifs et aryanisation), qu’il qualifiait de « solution dérisoire ». Arrivé en Argentine en 1947 avec un passeport de la Croix-Rouge, après sa condamnation à mort par contumace en France, il ne s’adapte pas au pays et repart très vite pour le Portugal, où il attend la loi d’amnistie qui lui permet de rentrer en France dans les années 50, afin de reprendre du service à « Rivarol » et à « Spectacle du monde ». A la même période quitte également Buenos Aires Pierre Villette, cofondateur de « Je suis partout », membre du PPF et journaliste au « Cri du peuple », qui avait terminé sa carrière de journaliste engagé à Radio-Patrie, à Sigmaringen, et au « Petit Parisien », publié à Constance, à la fin de 1944, avant d’être condamné à mort par contumace en 1947. Marc Augier, journaliste à l’hebdomadaire « La Gerbe », ancien de la LVF et de la division Charlemagne, réfugié à Mendoza, aidera un temps l’armée argentine à organiser des expériences de résistance au froid en zone montagneuse, avant de rentrer en France, dans les années 50, pour entamer une seconde carrière d’écrivain et de chroniqueur dans la presse d’extrême droite, sous le pseudonyme de Saint-Loup. C’est plus tard, au tout début des années 70, qu’Henri Janières regagne la France. Ancien de « Paris-Soir » et de « Notre combat », organe oeuvrant pour « une France socialiste dans l’Europe nouvelle », ce dandy obsessionnel occupa à Buenos Aires la place enviée de correspondant du « Monde » de 1961 à 1969, tout en étant très proche de l’ambassade de Syrie. Autre personnage particulièrement affecté par le mal du pays: Simon Sabiani, le célèbre maire PPF de Marseille et véritable empereur de l’agglomération, mise en coupe réglée pendant l’Occupation au profit de ses hommes de main du clan corse de Simon Mema et de la pègre de Carbone et Spirito. Condamné à mort par contumace et réfugié à Rome, ce personnage célèbre pour son goût du luxe et de l’opulence s’est retrouvé dans une petite pension de famille de Buenos Aires, vivotant en travaillant dans une agence immobilière. Ne supportant plus de vivre si loin de sa vieille mère corse, il vint s’installer en 1952 à Barcelone, où les fervents sabianistes venaient le voir en car de Marseille et d’où il fit quelques voyages clandestins en Corse pour voir sa mère. A sa mort, en 1956, des centaines de personnes assistèrent à son enterrement dans le petit cimetière de Casamaccioli, près de Corte.

Les passions sont retombées depuis longtemps chez la plupart des exilés restés sur place et encore vivants. « De temps en temps, on a eu des bouffées de chaleur, comme les femmes de 40 ans, précise un ancien de ?Je suis partout?, au moment de la guerre d’Algérie, quand on a paniqué l’ambassade de France en lui faisant croire que s’était créé un ?Comité Algérie française? à Buenos Aires, puis en Mai 68, quand les jeunes de Paris ont failli foutre en l’air de Gaulle. Mais c’est tout. Et c’est bien fini. » Aujourd’hui, la plupart viennent régulièrement passer des vacances en France. « Les Français vivent bien, c’est un beau pays, bien tenu, et vous avez un bon président de la République, qui vous a enfin débarrassés des communistes », conclut un ancien SS français.

(1) Nous avons préservé l’anonymat des personnes encore vivantes que nous avons mentionnées.

(2) Voir Emmanuel Chadeau, « Histoire de l’industrie aéronautique en France, 1900-1950″, Fayard.

PHOTOS:

ÉMILE DEWOITINE

Le célèbre avionneur au service des Allemands, puis de Peron (ci-dessus, dans son bureau à Buenos Aires); rentrera à Toulouse dans les années 60 (ci-contre, chez lui, en 1977, l’année de sa mort).

JEAN-PIERRE INGRAND

Délégué du ministre de l’Intérieur à Paris (ci-dessus, dans son bureau), auprès des autorités allemandes, entre 1940 et 1944. Meurt à Buenos Aires en décembre dernier, où il dirigeait l’Alliance française (ci-contre).

ROBERT LE VIGAN

L’interprète de « Quai des Brumes » (ci-contre, avant la guerre) sera condamné

(ci-dessous, pendant son procès) pour avoir animé les émissions de propagande de Radio-Paris. Vivotera de leçons de français en Argentine (ci-dessus), où il mourra en 1972.

HENRI QUEYRAT

Responsable au PPF de Doriot (ci-dessus, tenant une réunion salle Wagram en avril 1944), engagé dans la Waffen SS, condamné à mort, il s’enfuit en Argentine. Après quelques années à l’AFP, il se lance dans l’oenologie à Mendoza (en haut) et publie des livres de référence sur le vin (ci-contre).

PIERRE DAYE

Journaliste à « Je suis partout », député belge d’extrême droite (au centre sur la photo, en 1944). Condamné à mort, il enseignera la littérature française à l’université de La Plata. Meurt en 1960.

GEORGES GUILBAUD

Chargé par Laval d’organiser la Milice en zone nord (ici, lors d’une conférence au théâtre des Ambassadeurs, à Paris, en mars 1944), il fera ensuite fortune en Argentine, puis en Suisse.

JACQUES DE MAHIEU

Intellectuel de l’Action française, théoricien du corporatisme social, il débarque en 1946 à Buenos Aires. Professeur d’université, influent auprès des militaires argentins en matière sociale, il se rend célèbre en Europe pour ses thèses ethnologiques, publiées chez Laffont (ci-contre): selon lui, l’Amérique du Sud aurait été découverte par les Vikings, fondateurs de l’Empire inca.

HENRI LÈBRE

Directeur du « Cri du peuple », le journal de Doriot, condamné à mort. Court séjour en Argentine, puis amnistie et retour à Paris dans les années 50. Il rejoint les rédactions de « Rivarol » et de « Spectacle du monde ».

SIMON SABIANI

Maire de Marseille, qu’il se partagea avec les célèbres gangsters Carbone (à sa gauche, ci-dessus) et Spirito; proche de Doriot (ci-contre, à la droite du chef du PPF). Condamné à mort, s’installa à Barcelone après un exil malheureux en Argentine.

Background Report on Krunoslav Draganovic

The Pavelic papers

This is a follow-up report to Counter-Intelligence Corps Agent Robert Clayton Mudd’s earlier report in which he indicated that the Monastery of San Girolamo was acting as a haven for Ustase fugitives, and that he had run an agent into the network smuggling accused Ustase war criminals out of Croatia. Mudd appeared earlier to be suspicious that Ustase agents had infiltrated legitimate networks to help refugees, rather than that these networks themselves had been set up in order to smuggle out hunted Ustase officials. His conclusions in Paragraph 15 remain unchallenged to this day. This is an improved copy of the document originally published here, found among the CIA papers on Krunoslav Draganovic.

HEADQUARTERS

COUNTER INTELLIGENCE CORPS

ALLIED FORCES HEADQUARTERS

APO 512

February 12, 1947

SUMMARY OF INFORMATION

SUBJECT: Father Krunoslav DRAGANOVIC,

RE: PAST Background and PRESENT Activity.

1. Fr. Krunoslav DRAGANOVIC is a Croatian Catholic priest in the Monastery of San Geronimo [sic – here and below], 132 Via Tomacelli. ROME. This man has for some time now been associated with Ustashi elements in Italy and, while in many instances it is hard to distinguish the activity of the Church from the activity of one man whose personal convictions might lie along a certain line, it is fairly evident in the case of Fr. DRAGANOVIC that his sponsorship of the Ustashi cause stems from a deep-rooted conviction that the ideas espoused by this arch-nationalist organization, half logical, half lunatic, are basically sound concepts.

2. Fr. DRAGANOVIC is a native of TRAVNIK where he finished his elementary and secondary school. Shortly after this he went to SARAJEVO to study theology and philosophy. Here he fell under the personal magnetism of Dr. Ivan SARIC, archbishop of SARAJEVO, whose particular interest he soon became and after graduation he was sent to ROME under the auspices of Dr. SARIC who had some good connections in the Vatican.

3. Having completed his studies at ROME where he majored in ethnology and Balkan affairs he returned to SARAJEVO where he held various political offices, all of a minor importance. Shortly after the formation of the Independent State of Croatia under Ante PAVELIC in April 1941 DRAGANOVIC became one of the leading figures in the Bureau of Colonization. In the middle of 1943 however he became involved in a disagreement over the relative merits of the younger Eugen KVATERNIK, whom he called a « madman and a lunatic », and he left Croatia and returned to ROME.

4. According to a reliable informant it is believed that this departure of DRAGANOVIC from Croatia to Italy is a classic example of « kicking a man upstairs » inasmuch as it is fairly well established that the leaders of the Independent State of Croatia expected the prelate, through his good connections in the Vatican, to be instrumental in working out the orientation of Croatia towards the West rather than the East. These same leaders, being occidental-minded and knowing full well that Croatia’s militant Catholocism [sic] made her a « natural » in such a deal, relied on DRAGANOVIC to assist them in their aims. He was eminently unsuccessful.

5. DRAGANOVIC has a brother still in ZAGREB who is a member of the Napredak Co., who recently was ignored in the elections to determine the members of the Board of Directors. He has another brother, whereabouts unknown, who was a member of the Croatian Embassy in BERLIN. He is in touch with his brother, ZVONKO, in ZAGREB but not with KRESO, whsoe [sic] whereabouts are not definetly [sic] known although he has been reported in the British zone in Germany.

6. About a year ago DRAGANOVIC is alleged in some circles to have somewhat denounced his now ardent pro-Ustashi sentiments during a conference of Croats in ROME. Having been accused by a certain Dr. KLJAKOVIC (apparently a member of the Croat Peasant Party) of being in very close contact with only Ustashi emogrees [sic] DRAGANOVIC is said to have replied that if working for an independent Croatia meant being an Ustasha then « I am an Ustasha ». « However, » he added, « I disassociate myself from all other attributes of the Ustashi. »

7. With this aim in view DRAGANOVIC is working with the Ustashi and also with some leftovers of the Croat Peasant Party in exile. When Milan PRIBANIC, erstwhile Commandant of the Guard of Vlado MACEK, appeared in ROME, he immediately contacted him and thus made his aims and purposes clear to MACEK.

8. Many of the more prominent Ustashi war criminals and Quislings are living in ROME illegally, many of them under false names. Their cells are still maintained, their papers still published, and their intelligence agencies still in operation. All this activity seems to stem from the Vatican, through the Monastary of San Geronimo to Fermo, the chief Croat Camp in Italy. Chief among the intelligence operatives in the Monastery of San Geronimo appear to be Dr. DRAGANOVIC and Monsignor MADJARAC.

9. The main messenger between the Vatican, the Monastary and Fermo is an Ustasha student by the name of BRISKI. BRISKI was interned in the 209 POW Camp at AFRAGOLA and was with the Ustashi Cabinet members when their escape was organized from there. His physical description is as follows: 25 years old, medium height, black hair, seen mostly without a hat. Has very bad teeth in upper and lower jaw. Appears to be very wise.

10. This Agent managed to run a counter-operative into this Monastary to find out if possible if the internal setup of the place was as had been alleged, namely that it was honeycombed with cells of Ustashi operatives. This was established and several things more but operations were stopped abruptly when it became too dangerous for the counter-intelligence agent in the Monastary. The following facts were ascertained:

11. In order to enter this Monastary one must submit to a personal search for weapons and identification documents, must answer questions as to where he is from, who he is, whom he knows, what is purpose is in the visit, and how he heard about the fact that there were Croats in the Monastary. All doors from one room to another are locked and those that are not have an armed guard in front of them and a pass-word is necessary to go from one room to another. The whole area is guarded by armed Ustashi youths in civilian clothes and the Ustashi salute is exchanged continually.

12. It was further established that the following prominent ex-Ustashi Ministers are either living in the monastery, or living in the Vatican and attending meetings several times a week at San Girolamo:

1. Ivan DEVCIC, Lt. Colonel

2. VRANCIC, Dr. Vjekoslav, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

3. TOTH, Dr. Dragutin, Minister of Croat State Treasury.

4. SUSIC, Lovro, Minister of Corporations in Croatian Quisling Government

5. STARCEVIC, Dr. Mile, Croat Minister of Education.

6. RUPCIC, General Dragutin, General of Ustashi Air Force.

7. PERIC, Djordje, Serbian Minster of Propaganda under NEDIC.

8. PECNIKAR, Vilko – Ustasha General and CO of Ustashi Gendarmerie

9. MARKOVIC, Josip, Minister of Transport in Pavelic Government.

10. KREN, Vladimir – Commander-in-Chief of the Croat Air Force.

13. While this « Croat », directed by this Agent to try to penetrate the Croat intelligence network, was inside the Monastary he personally heard a conversation ensue between this Monsignor MADJERAC and Dr. SUSIC, who, at the time of the conversation, was in the Vatican library. He also heard a conversation between two of the Ustashi in the monastary which established the fact that a brother of Dr. PERIC runs a hotel in ROME, and that often this hotel is visited at night for the purpose of holding important Ustahi [sic] conferences. The money for the purchase of the hotel was given this man by his brother, Dr. PERIC.

14. It was further established that these Croats travel back and forth from the Vatican several times a week in a car with a chauffeur whose license plate bears the two initials CD, « Corpo Diplomatico ». It issues forth from the Vatican and discharges its passengers inside the Monastary of San Geronimo. Subject to diplomatic immunity it is impossible to stop the car and discover who are its passengers.

15. DRAGANOVIC’s sponsorship of these Croat Qusilings definetly [sic] links him up with the plan of the Vatican to shield these ex-Ustashi nationalists until such time as they are able to procure for them the proper documents to enable them to go to South America. The Vatican, undoubtedly banking on the strong anti-Communist feelings of these men, is endeavoring to infiltrate them into South America in any way possible to counteract the spread of Red doctrine. It has been reliably reported, for example that Dr. VRANCIC has already gone to South America and that Ante PAVELIC and General KREN are scheduled for an early departure to South America through Spain. All these operations are said to have been negotiated by DRAGANOVIC because of his influence in the Vatican.

16. This agent will continue to make an effort to keep abreast of the situation in this area and also to advise G-2 of any new plans or changes of operations on the part of DRAGANOVIC and his satellites.

[signed]

ROBERT CLAYTON MUDD,

SPECIAL AGENT, CIC DISTRIBUTION:

AC of S, G-2, AFHQ (2)

Chief, CIC, AFHQ (1)

File (1)

:: filing information ::

Title: Background Report on Krunoslav Draganovic

Source: CIA, declassified September 12, 1983

Date: February 12, 1947 Added: March 15, 2003

Voir enfin:

Peron’s Nazi Ties

How the European fascist sensibility found new roots and new life in the South Atlantic region

Mark Falcoff

Time

November 9, 1998

Since the 1930s, the political culture of Argentina has been afflicted by periodic spasms of covert violence, secrecy and denial. As in the case of Vichy France, memory can be an inconvenience or an embarrassment; faced with incidents that require explanation, too many Argentines instinctively reach for the words borron y cuenta nueva (Let’s forget it all and start over with a clean slate). As a result, even today nobody knows exactly how many people disappeared during the « dirty war » against subversion (1976-83), nor the number of victims in the left-wing guerrilla violence that preceded it. The 1992 and 1994 bombings of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the city’s Jewish center, causing the loss of 115 lives, remain unsolved. Even events far more remote have had to wait decades for elucidation.

One of the most important of those events is Argentina’s vaunted neutrality in World War II, a posture it maintained long after other American republics broke off relations with the Axis. Only since the country’s return to democracy in 1983 has the real story of Argentina’s covert alignment with the Axis finally begun to emerge. A commission to investigate the activities of Nazism in Argentina, appointed by President Carlos Menem and assisted by an international team of scholars, started work last July. A preliminary report is expected in mid-November, when the scholars meet in Buenos Aires, and a final report a year later.

At issue here is not merely a matter of diplomatic taste. Throughout the war, Argentina was regarded by U.S. diplomats and the U.S. media as the regional headquarters for Nazi espionage. After 1945, reports kept cropping up in the U.S. press that Argentina was the final redoubt of important Nazis and their European collaborators, a point dramatically brought home as late as 1960 by the capture and forcible removal to Israeli justice of Adolf Eichmann, principal director of the « final solution. »

Over the years, these allegations seemed at least superficially credible in light of the emergence in 1946 of Colonel Juan Peron as the leader of a defiant, nationalist Argentina. Though in practice the Peron regime resembled hardly at all the defeated European fascist dictatorships, Peron made no secret of his sympathy for the defeated Axis powers.

Argentina’s and Peron’s apparent preference for the Axis, and particularly for Nazi Germany, has muddied the country’s relations with the Anglo-Saxon powers and poisoned its domestic politics. Anti-Peronists have often used the term Nazi (or Pero-Nazi) a bit too freely in attempting to discredit their opponents–not just Peron but also the administration of President Ramon S. Castillo (1940-43), who preceded him. Indeed, Argentina’s 1946 elections, the first of three in which Peron was elected to the presidency, were, as much as anything else, a plebiscite on the credibility of such accusations. In recent years, the Canadian scholar Ronald Newton, in his masterly The « Nazi Menace » in Argentina, 1931-47 (Stanford), has suggested that much of the Nazi-fascist menace in Argentina was an invention of British intelligence, fearful of the loss of historic markets in that country to the U.S. after the war, and therefore desirous of straining relations between Buenos Aires and Washington.

Far in advance of the final report of President Menem’s commission (of which Newton is a member), that theory has now been refuted in an extraordinary piece of investigative reporting–also a major breakthrough in historical scholarship–by Uki Goni, whose Peron and the Germans has just been published in Buenos Aires. In this book the author, who also works as a local correspondent for TIME, establishes that, for all the hyperbole, Washington’s darkest suspicions were if anything greatly understated. For one thing, Goni demonstrates that the Castillo administration, and particularly the Argentine Foreign Ministry, was honeycombed with Nazi sympathizers as early as 1942–so much so that it is difficult to see why any of the most anxious partisans of neutrality, such as found in the secret lodges of the Argentine army, felt the need to overthrow the government at all!

Voir par ailleurs:

Qui étaient les «Monuments Men»?

Métro

11/03/2014

CINEMA – Le film «Monuments Men» et le livre qui l’a inspiré racontent l’histoire d’une poignée de soldats britanniques et américains chargés de sauver le patrimoine culturel…

Basée sur des faits réels. C’est une histoire passionnante et méconnue que relate le film Monuments Men, tiré du livre éponyme de Robert M. Edsel. Après s’être installé à Florence, cet homme d’affaires texan explique à 20 Minutes qu’il avait commencé à s’intéresser à l’art: «Je me suis demandé comment, lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, qui a causé la mort de 65 millions de personnes, tant d’œuvres d’art avaient pu survivre et surtout qui les avaient sauvées.» Soit, en Europe, lors de la fin officielle des hostilités le 8 mai 1945, une soixantaine de personnes, engagés dans la section des Monuments, des Beaux-Arts et des Archives.

De la préservation à l’enquête

En 1944, les Monuments Men débarquent en France avec le souci de préserver le patrimoine, «d’éviter que les Etats-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne détruisent les musées et les œuvres d’art, en bombardant les sites culturels». Au fur et à mesure, les Monuments Men découvrent que les œuvres d’art, issues d’institutions ou propriétés de particuliers, ont été dérobées en masse par les Nazis. Hitler avait pour projet de bâtir son «Führermuseum», un musée gigantesque, à Linz, en Autriche. «En progressant vers Paris, ils se sont aperçus de l’extension du pillage. De leur mission de préservation du patrimoine, ils sont passés, comme des détectives, à la recherche des œuvres d’art.» Parmi celles-ci, L’Autel de Gand, chef-d’œuvre de la peinture des primitifs flamands ou encore La Madone de Bruges, sculptée par Michel-Ange.

Mettre la main sur ces trésors

Alors que la date de la fin de la guerre reste encore inconnue, s’engage une course contre la montre pour mettre la main sur ces trésors, acheminés vers l’Est, comme vers l’extravagant château de Neuschwanstein, en Bavière, ou vers les mines de sel de Altaussee (Autriche) ou de Heilbronn (en Allemagne). Dans cette dernière a travaillé Harry Ettlinger, 88 ans, qui avait fui l’Allemagne pour les Etats-Unis, avant de s’engager dans l’armée. L’ex-Monuments Men se rappelle pour 20 Minutes: «A 18 ans, j’étais le boss juif, rigole-t-il. Je dirigeais les mineurs, je localisais les boîtes, identifiables grâce au nom des institutions marquées dessus, et vérifiais leurs contenus. Par les ascenseurs, on les emmenait aux camions. C’est là qu’on a retrouvé les caisses contenant les vitraux de la cathédrale de Strasbourg»… Aujourd’hui encore, des œuvres dérobées par les Nazis réapparaissent, comme celles découvertes à Munich en 2012. «Mais des centaines de milliers manquent toujours», déplore Robert M. Edsel.

Une reconnaissance pour Rose Valland

L’essayiste conserve l’amertume d’une critique en France au sujet de son livre, intitulée «Pillages et approximations». Il espère toutefois que le rôle de Rose Valland, attachée de conservation au musée du Jeu de Paume pendant l’Occupation, qui a aidé les Monuments Men, sera davantage considéré. «Elle n’a jamais eu en France la reconnaissance qu’elle méritait.» L’héritage des Monuments Men a permis selon lui de largement influencer la rédaction par l’Unesco de «la Convention pour la protection des biens culturels en cas de conflit armé» datant de 1954. Mais leur idéal semble s’être tari. Il déplore que les Américains aient oublié de s’en inspirer en bombardant des sites historiques, pendant la Guerre d’Irak en 2003.

« Monuments Men » : Cate Blanchett incarne une résistante française oubliée

Stéphanie Trouiilard

France 24

05/03/2014

En écrivant sur Rose Valland, une résistante qui permit de sauver des œuvres d’arts volées par les nazis, la sénatrice Corinne Bouchoux était loin d’imaginer son livre porté à l’écran. C’est pourtant chose faite avec le film « Monuments Men ».

« La boucle est bouclée ! Mission accomplie ! Je suis plutôt contente. » Corinne Bouchoux a du mal à cacher son excitation. Il y a quelques jours, la sénatrice Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV) a été personnellement invitée à assister à l’avant-première parisienne du dernier film de Georges Clooney « Monuments Men ». Très émue, l’élue du Maine et Loire a pu voir sur grand écran le fruit d’un long travail. Dans cette superproduction, l’actrice australienne Cate Blanchett redonne vie à la résistante Rose Valland, à laquelle Corinne Bouchoux a consacré une biographie. « Si on m’avait dit un jour que mon livre, qui n’a intéressé personne pendant des années et que j’ai fait dans une solitude totale, pourrait inspirer un film, je ne l’aurais pas cru ! ».

Un coup de fil d’Hollywood

En 2006, en effet, son ouvrage « Rose Valland, la résistance au musée » sort dans une relative discrétion. Le livre est imprimé à seulement 2 000 exemplaires. « Après des années de recherches, j’étais très contente de l’avoir publié. Mais ensuite, j’ai estimé qu’une page de ma vie s’était tournée et je ne m’en suis plus occupée. On me sollicitait juste pour des conférences », raconte Corinne Bouchoux, interviewée par FRANCE 24 dans son petit bureau du Sénat . « Mais un jour, il y a un peu plus de cinq ans, un monsieur avec un fort accent américain m’a appelée pour me dire qu’il voulait racheter les droits de mon livre pour en faire un film à Hollywood. »

Incrédule, la sénatrice croit d’abord à une plaisanterie. Mais au bout du fil, son interlocuteur est des plus sérieux : Robert Edsel est un ancien homme d’affaires texan reconverti dans l’histoire de l’art. Passionné par la Seconde Guerre mondiale, ce riche américain a regroupé dans un livre, aujourd’hui porté à l’écran par Georges Clooney, les mémoires des Monuments Men, ces soldats alliés chargés de récupérer les œuvres d’art volées par les nazis. « Il s’est aperçu qu’en France, il y avait eu très peu de recherches sur ce sujet. Il a juste trouvé mon livre sur Rose Valland, précise Corinne Bouchoux. Il a fait un chèque de 7 500 euros à mon éditeur pour racheter les droits. Il l’a fait traduire et il le vend même aujourd’hui sur son site comme un produit dérivé du film ».

Rose Valland, une résistante de l’ombre

Il faut dire que le parcours de Rose Valland est indissociable de celui des Monuments Men. Tombée dans l’oubli, cette femme originaire d’une famille modeste de l’Isère a pourtant joué un rôle essentiel auprès de ces soldats pour sauver les chefs d’œuvre spoliés durant le conflit. Attachée de conservation au musée du Jeu de Paume, à l’époque le centre de triage des tableaux et des sculptures promis au musée d’Hitler à Linz en Autriche ou encore à la collection personnelle d’Hermann Goering, cette spécialiste de l’histoire de l’art a été un témoin privilégié du pillage nazi. « Pendant l’occupation, elle a été une véritable espionne, notant tous les tableaux qui partaient, avec leur destination. Elle a informé la résistance française et ensuite les Américains afin qu’ils évitent de bombarder certaines caches. Si son cahier n’était pas arrivé entre de bonnes mains, tout cela aurait été perdu », insiste la sénatrice.

Le long-métrage « Monuments Men » se concentre précisément sur ce travail de l’ombre et sur les risques encourus par Rose Valland. Son personnage, joué par Cate Blanchett sous le nom de Claire Simone, fournit de précieux renseignements au soldat américain James Granger (incarné par Matt Damon) pour l’aider à identifier les endroits où les nazis stockaient les œuvres réquisitionnées.

Le film tait toutefois une large partie de sa vie. « Elle aurait pu avoir un rôle plus consistant, car le film s’arrête en 1945 alors que Rose Valland est restée en Allemagne jusqu’en 1954″, regrette Corinne Bouchoux. Au lendemain de la capitulation allemande, poursuit la sénatrice, la résistante a en effet pris une décision courageuse. Devenue capitaine de l’armée française, elle parcourt pendant de longues années – et en uniforme – les ruines du Troisième Reich pour retrouver les œuvres d’arts emportées par les Allemands. « Grâce à elle, 70 000 œuvres sont revenues en France, où sont enregistrées 100 000 réclamations. À l’époque, elle était aussi une négociatrice souterraine pour les diplomates, une sorte de sherpa lorsqu’étaient entamés des pourparlers. Elle s’est ainsi déplacée une quarantaine de fois en zone soviétique pour voir ce que les Russes avaient récupérés. Ce n’était pas facile car ils considéraient qu’ils pouvaient bien tout garder étant donné tout ce qu’on leur avait pris. Elle a ainsi joué un rôle crucial pendant et après la guerre. »

Devenue conservatrice des musées nationaux en 1952 et décorée des titres les plus prestigieux (Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, Médaille de la Résistance, Médaille de la Liberté en 1948, et Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite de la République fédérale d’Allemagne), Rose Valland a ensuite passé le reste de sa vie dans l’anonymat le plus total. « On l’a mise dans un placard quand elle est rentrée en France. On lui a confié une nouvelle mission, celle de défendre le patrimoine français en cas de troisième guerre mondiale. Elle était la madame sécurité des musées français », poursuit Corinne Bouchoux. « Mais elle n’a jamais accepté qu’on lui dise que c’était terminé. Elle était obsédée par le sujet. Elle a travaillé jusqu’à sa mort [En 1980, NDLR], elle voulait retrouver un propriétaire pour chaque tableau volé par les nazis et renouer le fil de l’histoire ».

Pour sa biographe, Rose Valland est finalement tombée dans l’oubli pour plusieurs raisons : « D’abord, c’était une femme, et dans ce pays, on préfère les héros masculins. Elle était aussi issue d’un milieu modeste, loin du sérail culturel. Et elle était également homosexuelle. Elle a vécu avec la même compagne, mais pendant longtemps on l’a prise pour une vieille fille acariâtre, alors qu’elle ne l’était pas du tout. Elle était juste discrète. Enfin, elle était aussi au courant d’un certain nombre de scandales et d’abus. Personne n’avait intérêt à ce qu’elle les révèle ».

Soixante-dix ans après son engagement héroïque, le film « Monuments Men » lui rend enfin honneur. Mais l’action de Rose Valland est loin d’être une page révolue de l’histoire. Dans les musées nationaux français, 2 000 œuvres issues de la spoliation (appelées MNR) n’ont toujours pas retrouvé leurs propriétaires. À l’image de son illustre aînée, Corinne Bouchoux en a fait un combat personnel. Rapporteuse d’une commission sur le sujet au Sénat, elle souhaite que la France donne réellement aux ayants droit des propriétaires juifs les moyens de retrouver leurs trésors culturels et que l’État ne se contente plus d’attendre qu’ils se manifestent. Elle préconise la création d’une cellule de recherches. « Si on ne peut pas les identifier, il faut au moins qu’on soit au clair sur ces tableaux. Je ne veux plus qu’aucun musée français n’achète une œuvre alors qu’il y a un doute sur son passé », assène-t-elle.

Pour faciliter ce travail, un site Internet portant le nom de Rose Valland a été créé par le ministère de la Culture. Il permet notamment de consulter le répertoire des MNR en dépôt dans les musées français ou de se documenter sur le sujet. Mais ce bel hommage ne satisfait pas encore pleinement Corinne Bouchoux : « Je trouve cela anormal qu’il n’y ait pas dans tous les musées une plaque avec son nom et sa photo. J’espère que cela va arriver. Que Rose Valland soit aussi méconnue m’a toujours semblé être une injustice. J’ai juste voulu la réparer ». Sur les écrans le 12 mars, le film « Monuments Men », va aussi contribuer à lui redonner sa juste place dans l’Histoire.


Piranhas: Attention, un mythe peut en cacher un autre ! (Blame it on the man who gave the world the Teddy bear !)

30 décembre, 2013
http://www.arte.tv/sites/fr/olivierpere/files/2013/04/piranha_poster_02.jpghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/TR_Buckskin_Tiffany_Knife.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1f/Tr-bigstick-cartoon.JPG/743px-Tr-bigstick-cartoon.JPG
Teddybear cartoon

Teddybear cartoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A child can play with a bear like a doll – but a lot of children are not keen on dolls and if you are a boy you can play with it because it’s like a grizzly bear. Daniel Agnew (Christie’s)
Parle doucement et porte un gros bâton et tu iras loin. Proverbe africain 
They are the most ferocious fish in the world. Even the most formidable fish, the sharks or the barracudas, usually attack things smaller than themselves. But the piranhas habitually attack things much larger than themselves. They will snap a finger off a hand incautiously trailed in the water; they mutilate swimmers—in every river town in Paraguay there are men who have been thus mutilated; they will rend and devour alive any wounded man or beast; for blood in the water excites them to madness. They will tear wounded wild fowl to pieces; and bite off the tails of big fish as they grow exhausted when fighting after being hooked. But the piranha is a short, deep-bodied fish, with a blunt face and a heavily undershot or projecting lower jaw which gapes widely. The razor-edged teeth are wedge-shaped like a shark’s, and the jaw muscles possess great power. The rabid, furious snaps drive the teeth through flesh and bone. The head with its short muzzle, staring malignant eyes, and gaping, cruelly armed jaws, is the embodiment of evil ferocity; and the actions of the fish exactly match its looks. I never witnessed an exhibition of such impotent, savage fury as was shown by the piranhas as they flapped on deck. When fresh from the water and thrown on the boards they uttered an extraordinary squealing sound. As they flapped about they bit with vicious eagerness at whatever presented itself. One of them flapped into a cloth and seized it with a bulldog grip. Another grasped one of its fellows; another snapped at a piece of wood, and left the teeth-marks deep therein. They are the pests of the waters, and it is necessary to be exceedingly cautious about either swimming or wading where they are found. If cattle are driven into, or of their own accord enter, the water, they are commonly not molested; but if by chance some unusually big or ferocious specimen of these fearsome fishes does bite an animal—taking off part of an ear, or perhaps of a teat from the udder of a cow—the blood brings up every member of the ravenous throng which is anywhere near, and unless the attacked animal can immediately make its escape from the water it is devoured alive. Theodore Roosevelt
C’est en 1903 qu’apparaît le nom célèbre de l’ours en peluche : Teddy Bear, surnom repris dans de nombreux pays.Ce nom lui vient du président des États-Unis Theodore Roosevelt, qui était surnommé « Teddy » et qui était un grand amateur de chasse. Une anecdote raconte qu’un incident survint lors d’une chasse à l’ours dans le Mississippi en 1902 : des chasseurs acculèrent un ourson afin de satisfaire les cartouches du président, qui était bredouille depuis plusieurs jours. Roosevelt, outré, jugeant l’acte anti-sportif, refusa de tuer l’animal3,4. Cette histoire fut vite immortalisée : l’expression « Teddy’s Bear » a immédiatement été utilisée dans les caricatures de la presse, notamment par Clifford Berryman dans le Washington Post. Deux émigrants russes de Brooklyn, Rose et Morris Michtom créèrent puis commercialisèrent dès 1903, à partir des dessins publiés dans la presse, un ours en peluche qu’ils baptiseront Teddy3, avec la permission du président : le nom de « Teddy bear » se retrouve sur tous les ours de la production de Michtom. Les Michtom sont alors connus comme les premiers fabricants d’ours articulés en mohair; ils créeront ensuite leur entreprise « Ideal Novelty and Toy Co ». La vogue des Teddy’s Bear continuera, inspirant même des chansons comme « Teddy Bear’s Picnic », composée par John W. Bratton et chantée par Jimmy Kennedy. Wikipedia
Feeling old? Tired? There is something found around these parts that a lot of people say can help. Men in their retirement years eat it, start new families and swear by it. So do childless women, who drink it and give birth. Found in the Peruvian rain forests, the demand for it is phenomenal. But it isn’t some pharmaceutical corporation’s answer to Viagra, the impotence drug, nor is it available at a corner drugstore. In fact, an Amazonian witch doctor here must be consulted for a prescription. It’s piranha. The bitter-tasting flesh of the fish that have devoured so many villains in jungle B-movies is hailed here as the cure for problems dealing with fertility, virility, even baldness. It is said to be the ultimate aphrodisiac. « The power of the meat can cure many things, » said Flor, a Peruvian witch doctor who specializes in concoctions based on piranha meat. « It is one of the strongest medicines the world has known. » The scientific community, of course, scoffs at the anecdotal claims of the supporters of piranha-based cures. The meat, they say, is acidic, sometimes toxic and utterly without medicinal powers. « These claims about the power of the piranha fish meat have been around for a very long time, and there has never been any scientific evidence to support it, » said Celso Pardo, the dean of a Lima pharmacological institute. « People see an aggressive, macho animal, and they say, `I want to be more like that.’ «  Eric J. Lyman
Certaines tribus d’Amérique du Sud vénèrent le piranha depuis plusieurs siècles car il représente la force et la peur. Il y a environ 500 ans, les colons européens sont arrivés dans ces contrées, ils ont trouvé des piranhas et, au vu de leur dentition, ils ont tout naturellement redouté cet animal. De plus, ils ont entendu auprès de certaines tribus les récits mythiques à propos du piranha… Il n’en fallait pas plus pour que naisse une légende qui perdure encore aujourd’hui. A cette époque, rappelons que les marins pensaient que les baleines dévoraient les embarcations, que l’océan était terminé par un gouffre, etc. La science a aujourd’hui invalidé la plupart de ces mythes mais par ignorance, certaines de ces légendes perdurent encore. Le mythe des piranhas en fait partie ! Pour commencer, il faut savoir qu’il n’y a eu qu’une seule attaque mortelle envers les hommes de la part des piranhas. C’était en 1870, le Brésil était alors en guerre contre le Paraguay. Des soldats blessés, saignant parfois abondamment ont essayé de franchir le Rio Paraguay mais ils seront dévorés vivants… Il n’y a pas eu d’autres attaques vérifiées de piranhas ayant entraînées morts d’hommes. Par contre, le piranha aime les cadavres et s’attaque donc à tous les corps tombés ou jetés dans l’eau mais ils ne sont pas la cause du décès qui est souvent une noyade ou un meurtre. La réputation de tueur d’hommes est donc infondée ! Même s’il mord de temps à autre un pêcheur qui se lave les mains dans l’eau, ce poisson n’est donc pas une menace pour l’homme d’autant plus que son aire de répartition abrite des créatures bien plus redoutables comme les caïmans, les candirus, les raies venimeuses, les anguilles électriques, etc. (…) Comment expliquer cette persistance ? Pendant toute la durée d’exploration du continent sud américain (que l’on va considérer comme ayant commencée il y a 500 ans et terminée il y a un siècle) les aventuriers ont bien souvent étoffé leurs récits de balivernes pour faire sensations. Un aventurier en Afrique ne pouvait être pris au sérieux à son retour s’il n’avait pas combattu un lion et bien les piranhas étaient l’étape incontournable de l’Amazonie. Il est bien plus glorieux d’avoir traversé des étendues d’eau infestées de monstres sanguinaires que de simples poissons blancs. Les aventuriers n’ont donc pas hésité à exagérer la nature de ce poisson pour se magnifier. La légende avait donc traversé l’Atlantique pour arriver en Europe. Des personnes ont tout de suite compris l’intérêt financier qu’il y avait dans ce poisson tueur et ont contribué à en faire un monstre aux yeux du public. La littérature a répandu encore un peu plus cette idée tant les livres présentant les piranhas comme très dangereux sont encore nombreux. Puis est apparu le cinéma qui a lui aussi exploité le filon en faisant des films d’horreur sur le sujet. (…) Et enfin, plus proche de nous, la littérature aquariophile a classé ce poisson à part car dangereux et mangeant du coeur de boeuf régulièrement (alors que la plupart le digère très mal). Les vendeurs aquariophiles jouent encore un grand rôle puisque certains d’entre eux mettent une pancarte « Piranha – féroce et cannibale » sur les bacs de vente. A leur décharge, il convient de préciser que la majorité des personnes mordues par des piranhas sont des vendeurs, les conditions de vente, à savoir un petit aquarium surpeuplé sans décors pour se réfugier conduisant parfois les piranhas à mordre, faute de pouvoir fuir. Entre les livres aquariophiles réputés sérieux qui continuent de mentir sur ce poisson, les commerçants qui ont compris depuis bien longtemps que le sensationnel fait vendre et certains médias peu scrupuleux qui recherchent le spectacle quitte à affabuler ou a en rajouter un peu, il est vrai que rien n’est fait pour rétablir la vérité. Mais nous sommes les premiers responsables car nous préférons majoritairement continuer de croire qu’il s’agit d’un poisson exceptionnel plutôt que d’un poisson guère plus dangereux qu’un autre, le fantastique est tellement plus intéressant que le banal ! Pirahnas.fr

Attention: un mythe peut en cacher un autre !

Au lendemain d’une nouvelle attaque de piranhas en Argentine qui a vu une soixantaine de blessés …

Qui se souvient que la si féroce mais largement surfaite réputation de ce prétendu « poisson tueur » d’Amérique latine …

Nous vient en fait du même homme qui bien que grand explorateur et chasseur amateur de proverbes africains qui décéda de fièvres tropicales contractées en Amazonie …

Avait auparavant donné au monde, au grand bonheur de tant de petits garçons frustrés de ne pouvoir jouer à la poupée trop féminine,… le terrible grizzli en peluche ?

Piranha Attack! As 70 Christmas Day bathers are savaged, the truth about the fish with a bite more powerful than a T-rex

Bathers were attacked on the Rambla Catalunya beach in Argentina

Among revellers cooling off in 100-degree heat were 20 children, who were injured in the frenzied attack

Guy Walters

30 December 2013

The seven-year-old girl was just one of thousands in the water of the mighty River Parana on the afternoon of Christmas Day last week. For residents of the central Argentine city of Rosario, the festive season most certainly does not involve eating mince pies and drinking eggnog before sleeping it off in front of a fire. Instead, with the mercury hitting a sticky 100 degrees, most are keener to cool off than to gorge themselves. The best place for a dip is the city’s Rambla Catalunya, a mile-long stretch of sandy beach on South America’s second largest river. With bars, restaurants and fun fairs, the beach is a major attraction and last Wednesday was no exception. Tens of thousands had gathered to enjoy the holiday. Many took the opportunity to swim or paddle in the river.

That afternoon, as the little girl splashed up to her waist in the waters, everything seemed quite normal. Then, she suddenly felt a tugging at the little finger of her left hand. Instinctively, she pulled away, but the tugging grew more powerful. And then came a searing pain that caused her to cry out. She looked down at her finger, but all she could see was a trail of blood leaking into the dark water. As she ran for the shore, her screams startled the sunbathers. The top part of the girl’s finger had been completely torn away. There could be no doubt what had happened. The girl had been attacked by one of man’s most feared creatures — the deadly piranha fish. Word quickly spread up and down the Rambla Catalunya. Lifeguards ordered people to stay out of the water but, tragically, the heat was so intense and the atmosphere so jubilant that people continued to swim. What happened next was like a scene from a horror film.

That afternoon, some 70 people – around 20 of them children – were savaged by shoals of the razor-toothed fish. Those who were attacked had chunks of their naked and exposed flesh ripped away. They emerged from the waters with agonising wounds dripping blood onto the white sand. Deep cuts were reported on scores of fingers, ankles and toes. One injury resulted in an amputation. Pictures taken in the local hospital show one man with the whole underside of one toe missing. The attack was the most serious in the city since 2008, when 40 swimmers were hurt and, while mercifully no one was killed, the story made headlines around the world. There is something about this sinister fish that preys on our imaginations. Along with great white sharks, wolves, pythons and crocodiles, the piranha is the stuff of nightmares. Ever since Boy’s Own adventure stories described game hunters and explorers being devoured after daring to swim in piranha-infested waters, we have been taught that the piranha is one of the deadliest predators on the planet.

Most of us can create a horrific mental image of falling into a river – and being stripped to the bone in two minutes by a boiling shoal of flesh-eating fish. Just such a fate was memorably portrayed in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, when the evil Blofeld dispatched Helga Brandt into a tank of piranhas for her failure to kill Bond. Although not as great a horror movie staple as the great white shark – immortalised in the Jaws films – our fascination with the piranha has made for box office success. Since 1978, there have been at least six films starring the piranha. The most recent was last year’s Piranha 3D. No wonder Londoners were alarmed when a piranha was discovered in the Thames in 2004. Experts stressed that the fish had in all likelihood been thrown away by a collector of rare fish, and further reassured anxious Londoners that the water of the Thames is far too cold to sustain these creatures.

Yet despite their awesome power, scientists insist piranhas are not the malicious predators the films would have you believe. They tend to attack humans only if trapped or hungry. So who is to blame for our fear of this fish? It is none other than Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the U.S. In 1914, he published a travel book Through The Brazilian Wilderness, in which he described how piranhas could eat entire animals, such as cattle, alive. ‘They are the most ferocious fish in the world,’ Roosevelt wrote. ‘The head with its short muzzle, staring malignant eyes, and gaping, cruelly armed jaws, is the embodiment of evil ferocity; and the actions of the fish exactly match its looks.’ Roosevelt’s book was read by many, and the piranha entered into the public consciousness as one of mankind’s most vicious foes. However, what Roosevelt was not told was that the piranha attack he had witnessed on a cow was staged. For the benefit of the former president, the Brazilians had trapped hundreds of piranhas in a netted-off stretch of the river and had then starved them for days. This created the ideal conditions. When Roosevelt arrived, a sick old cow was led into the water, with its udder slit to release blood to further encourage an attack. Trapped, starving, and excited by blood, the piranhas did their job all too well. Rumours of deadly South American fish had been known since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, who reported they were often attacked when they forded rivers.

In the 19th century, naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt insisted the piranha was one of the continent’s greatest dangers. What sets them apart from other fish are their terrifying sharp teeth, tightly packed into highly muscular jaws. Relative to its size – they grow up to ten inches long – a piranha has a more powerful bite than that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Recently, scientists measured the bite force of the black piranha at 320 newtons, which is nearly three times greater than that exerted by an American alligator. That is more than enough to rip off a finger. What is disturbing is that these attacks are becoming more frequent. In November 2011, 15 swimmers were bitten by piranhas in the River Paraguay in western Brazil. One, 22-year-old Elson de Campos Pinto, recalled how he suddenly felt an agonising pain in his foot. ‘I saw that I had lost the tip of my toe,’ he said. ‘I took off running out of the river, afraid that I would be further attacked because of the blood. I’m not going back in for a long time.’ One local fisherman talked of catching some of the fish in his nets and often seeing blood on the banks. Despite relying on the river for his livelihood, Hildegard Galeno Alves said: ‘I would never even think of going in there.’

In Bolivia the following month, a drunk 18-year-old fisherman jumped out of his canoe, and was seized by a shoal of piranhas. Although he managed to get out of the water, he bled to death. Last year, a five-year-old Brazilian girl is said to have been attacked and killed in the water by a shoal of the fish. After the feeding frenzy in Argentina last week, Carlos Vacarezza, a local expert, said that the Christmas Day attack was ‘exceptional and unlikely to be repeated’. ‘What happened has no logical explanation,’ he told a local radio station. ‘In this area, the water flows too fast to create the warm and stagnant conditions where the fish are comfortable.’ While some observers claimed the piranha were attracted by debris left by fishermen, the only explanation Mr Vacarezza could suggest was that one of the fish had been injured – and the shoal had descended to eat it. Some of the human bathers simply got in the way. Certainly, cannibalism among piranhas is common, and larger, more aggressive fish will take a bite out of smaller rivals. The Christmas Day attack alone would have been enough to terrify most of us. But there have been more since.

On Boxing Day, in the town of Posadas, 600 miles up the River Parana (the name, although it sounds like that of the fish, actually translates as ‘big as the sea’) to the north-east, five children and teenagers were attacked by piranhas. All had to be treated in hospital. And then, on Friday, back at the Rambla Catalunya in Rosario, another attack took place. At four o’clock in the afternoon, a ten-year-old boy was bitten on his right hand, and he too had to be taken to hospital. The experts may like to reassure us that piranha attacks on humans are rare, but are they right? Perhaps the truth about the dreaded piranha may be closer to the horror movies after all.

Voir aussi:

La légende du poisson tueur

Emmanuel

Piranhas.fr

Le piranha a une réputation de poisson tueur, de nombreux livres le présentent comme étant un redoutable danger pour l’homme. Qu’en est il réellement ?

Il est difficile de répondre avec certitude à cette question. On peut cependant avancer quelques pistes…

Certaines tribus d’Amérique du Sud vénèrent le piranha depuis plusieurs siècles car il représente la force et la peur. Il y a environ 500 ans, les colons européens sont arrivés dans ces contrées, ils ont trouvé des piranhas et, au vu de leur dentition, ils ont tout naturellement redouté cet animal. De plus, ils ont entendu auprès de certaines tribus les récits mythiques à propos du piranha… Il n’en fallait pas plus pour que naisse une légende qui perdure encore aujourd’hui. A cette époque, rappelons que les marins pensaient que les baleines dévoraient les embarcations, que l’océan était terminé par un gouffre, etc. La science a aujourd’hui invalidé la plupart de ces mythes mais par ignorance, certaines de ces légendes perdurent encore. Le mythe des piranhas en fait partie !

Pour commencer, il faut savoir qu’il n’y a eu qu’une seule attaque mortelle envers les hommes de la part des piranhas. C’était en 1870, le Brésil était alors en guerre contre le Paraguay. Des soldats blessés, saignant parfois abondamment ont essayé de franchir le Rio Paraguay mais ils seront dévorés vivants… Il n’y a pas eu d’autres attaques vérifiées de piranhas ayant entraînées morts d’hommes. Par contre, le piranha aime les cadavres et s’attaque donc à tous les corps tombés ou jetés dans l’eau mais ils ne sont pas la cause du décès qui est souvent une noyade ou un meurtre. La réputation de tueur d’hommes est donc infondée ! Même s’il mord de temps à autre un pêcheur qui se lave les mains dans l’eau, ce poisson n’est donc pas une menace pour l’homme d’autant plus que son aire de répartition abrite des créatures bien plus redoutables comme les caïmans, les candirus, les raies venimeuses, les anguilles électriques, etc. N’en concluez pas cependant que ce poisson est un ange car il serait risqué de traverser une pièce d’eau isolée infestée de ces créatures en période sèche, et encore, ce n’est même pas sûr car dans la plaine de l’Orénoque par exemple, les cabiais en bonne santé (sorte de cobaye de la taille d’un cochon) traversent sans être jamais inquiétés ces pièces d’eau.

Comment expliquer cette persistance ? Pendant toute la durée d’exploration du continent sud américain (que l’on va considérer comme ayant commencée il y a 500 ans et terminée il y a un siècle) les aventuriers ont bien souvent étoffé leurs récits de balivernes pour faire sensations. Un aventurier en Afrique ne pouvait être pris au sérieux à son retour s’il n’avait pas combattu un lion et bien les piranhas étaient l’étape incontournable de l’Amazonie. Il est bien plus glorieux d’avoir traversé des étendues d’eau infestées de monstres sanguinaires que de simples poissons blancs. Les aventuriers n’ont donc pas hésité à exagérer la nature de ce poisson pour se magnifier. La légende avait donc traversé l’Atlantique pour arriver en Europe. Des personnes ont tout de suite compris l’intérêt financier qu’il y avait dans ce poisson tueur et ont contribué à en faire un monstre aux yeux du public. La littérature a répandu encore un peu plus cette idée tant les livres présentant les piranhas comme très dangereux sont encore nombreux. Puis est apparu le cinéma qui a lui aussi exploité le filon en faisant des films d’horreur sur le sujet. On peut citer la sortie récente du film « piranha 3D » d’alexandre Aja qui raconte l’histoire de piranhas retenus dans un lac souterrain depuis la préhistoire qu’un séisme libère. Ces films / navets sont apparus dans les années 1950. Dans Piranhas 2: Flying killer, les piranhas sont marins, volent et agressent les humains hors de l’eau. Dans Megapiranha, ce sont des piranhas géants qui engloutissent des navires…

Et enfin, plus proche de nous, la littérature aquariophile a classé ce poisson à part car dangereux et mangeant du coeur de boeuf régulièrement (alors que la plupart le digère très mal). Les vendeurs aquariophiles jouent encore un grand rôle puisque certains d’entre eux mettent une pancarte « Piranha – féroce et cannibale » sur les bacs de vente. A leur décharge, il convient de préciser que la majorité des personnes mordues par des piranhas sont des vendeurs, les conditions de vente, à savoir un petit aquarium surpeuplé sans décors pour se réfugier conduisant parfois les piranhas à mordre, faute de pouvoir fuir.

Entre les livres aquariophiles réputés sérieux qui continuent de mentir sur ce poisson, les commerçants qui ont compris depuis bien longtemps que le sensationnel fait vendre et certains médias peu scrupuleux qui recherchent le spectacle quitte à affabuler ou a en rajouter un peu, il est vrai que rien n’est fait pour rétablir la vérité. Mais nous sommes les premiers responsables car nous préférons majoritairement continuer de croire qu’il s’agit d’un poisson exceptionnel plutôt que d’un poisson guère plus dangereux qu’un autre, le fantastique est tellement plus intéressant que le banal !

De plus, sur les forums de discussions, il est encore fréquent que des personnes n’ayant jamais maintenu ni même vu de piranhas répondent à des sujets ayant trait à ce poisson en mettant par exemple en garde son propriétaire ! Ce genre de comportements est malheureusement celui de toute les discussions, aussi bien sur internet qu’au quotidien mais dans le cas du piranha, elle contribue à véhiculer une image aussi erronée que stupide. Il existe pourtant de la littérature sérieuse (un peu) et quelques reportages télévisés qui présentent la véritable nature de ce poisson. Certains aquariophiles ayant maintenu des piranhas en aquariums convaincus de leur férocité, sont déçus de leur timidité en captivité. Ils avancent qu’ils sont bien plus dangereux et agressifs en bancs dans la nature. C’est en réalité l’inverse, les piranhas sont plus agressifs dans nos bacs car, stressés et pris au piège par leur prison de verre, ils sont parfois capables de mordre alors qu’ils auraient fui dans leur milieu naturel.

Pour terminer et pour tenter de rétablir la vérité : un pêcheur sud-Américain vous le dira : le piranha n’est pas dangereux dans l’eau. Par contre, un piranha qui s’agite au fond d’une pirogue et claque de la mâchoire frénétiquement après avoir été péché peut sectionner un orteil ! Méfiez vous donc quand même de ces animaux. Ce ne sont pas des monstres, mais la mâchoire est puissante et un accident peut arriver.

Can piranhas really strip a cow to the bone in under a minute?

Julia Layton.

When Theodore Roosevelt went on a hunting expedition in Brazil in 1913, he got his money’s worth. Standing on the bank of the Amazon River, he watched piranhas attack a cow with shocking ferocity. It was a classic scene: water boiling with frenzied piranhas and blood, and after about a minute or two, a skeleton floating to the suddenly calm surface.

Roosevelt was horrified, and he wrote quite a bit about the vicious creatures in his 1914 book, « Through the Brazilian Wilderness. » He recounted the stories of townspeople who had been eaten alive, and others who’d lost body parts to piranhas while bathing in the river. « They are the most ferocious fish in the world, » Roosevelt announced to the world. « hey will snap a finger off a hand incautiously trailed in the water; they mutilate swimmers — in every river town in Paraguay there are men who have been thus mutilated; they will rend and devour alive any wounded man or beast; for blood in the water excites th­em to madness »

The legend of the piranha had begun.

Hollywood picked it up from there with the 1978 horror flick « Piranha » (« When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort’s rivers, the guests become their next meal »), 1981’s « Piranha II: The Spawning, » and a remake of the original B-movie that came out in 2010 [sources: IMDb, Movie Insider]. The killer piranha has made the gory jump into the 21st century.

But is the vicious reputation deserved? Roosevelt witnessed the now-famous cow stripping incident in Brazil, where piranhas live in especially high numbers. Howev­er, they’re native to and pretty common all along South America’s Amazon River — from Argentina to Colombia. So are South American bovines a regular meal for these ferocious fish? And why are there cows hanging out in the Amazon River?

Setting aside the account of a former U.S. president, piranhas stripping a cow — or a human — to the bone in less than a minute is a tough sell. How would that even be possible for a bunch of 10-inch, 3-pound fish?

Let’s find out.­

Tooth Fish

The name “piranha” is derived from the Tupi Indian language, native to Brazil. It’s a combination of the Tupi word pira, or “fish,” and ranha, meaning “tooth. »

The History of the Teddy Bear

Marianne Clay

Teddy bear & friends

2002

Today we can hardly imagine a world without that eager listener, confidante, and loyal friend, the teddy bear. But the teddy bear has not always been with us. In fact, the teddy bear did not make its entrance until late in 1902. Then, in one of life’s unexplainable synchronicities, the teddy bear appeared in the same year in two different parts of the world: Germany and the United States.

The History of the Teddy Bear

Drawing the Line in Mississippi by Clifford Berryman: This cartoon is believed to have triggered the teddy bear craze in the U.S.

The Early Years

In America, the teddy bear, according to tradition, got its start with a cartoon. The cartoon, drawn by Clifford Berryman and titled « Drawing the Line in Mississippi, » showed President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a baby bear. According to this often told tale, Roosevelt had traveled to Mississippi to help settle a border dispute between that state and Louisiana, and his hosts, wanting to please this avid hunter, took him bear hunting. The hunting was so poor that someone finally captured a bear and invited Roosevelt to shoot. Roosevelt’s refusal to fire at such a helpless target inspired Berryman to draw his cartoon with its play on the two ways Roosevelt was drawing a line—settling a border dispute and refusing to shoot a captive animal.

The cartoon appeared in a panel of cartoons drawn by Cliffored Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902. It caused an immediate sensation and was reprinted widely. Apparently this cartoon even inspired Morris and Rose Michtom of Brooklyn, New York, to make a bear in honor of the president’s actions. The Michtoms named their bear « Teddy’s Bear » and placed it in the window of their candy and stationery store. Instead of looking fierce and standing on all four paws like previous toy bears, the Michtoms’ bear looked sweet, innocent, and upright, like the bear in Berryman’s cartoon. Perhaps that’s why « Teddy’s Bear » made a hit with the buying public. In fact, the demand was so strong that the Michtoms, with the help of a wholesale firm called Butler Brothers, founded the first teddy bear manufacturer in the United States, the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

The History of the Teddy Bear

Made in the early days of teddy bear history, this 1904 Steiff hugs an early Steiff polar bear.

Meanwhile, across the ocean in Germany, Richard Steiff was working for his aunt, Margarete Steiff, in her stuffed toy business. Richard, a former art student, often visited the Stuttgart Zoo to sketch animals, particularly the bear cubs. In 1902, the same year the Michtoms made « Teddy’s Bear, » the Steiff firm made a prototype of a toy bear based on Richard’s designs.

Though both the Michtoms and Steiff were working on bears at the same time, certainly neither knew, at a time of poor transatlantic communication, about the other’s creation. Besides, the Michtoms’ bear resembled the wide-eyed cub in the Berryman cartoon, while the Steiff bear, with its humped back and long snout, looked more like a real bear cub.

A few months later, in March 1903, at the Leipzig Toy Fair, Steiff introduced its first bear—Baer 55PB. The European buyers showed little interest, but an American toy buyer, who was aware of the growing interest in « Teddy’s bears » in the States, ordered 3000. In America, people were beginning to get teddy bear fever, and Steiff was in the right place at the right time.

The History of the Teddy Bear

This 16-inch Steiff was made about 1908 and comes from the collection of teddy bear artist Audie Sison.

The Teddy Bear Craze

By 1906, the teddy bear craze was in full swing in the United States. The excitement probably compared to the frenzy for Cabbage Patch dolls in the 1980s and Beanie Babies in the 1990s. Society ladies carried their teddies everywhere, and children had their pictures taken with their teddy bears. President Roosevelt, after using a bear as a mascot in his re-election bid, was serving his second term. Seymour Eaton, an educator and a newspaper columnist, was writing a series of children’s books about the adventures of The Roosevelt Bears, and another American, composer J.K. Bratton, wrote « The Teddy Bear Two Step. » That song would become, with the addition of words, « The Teddy Bear’s Picnic. »

Meanwhile, American manufacturers were turning out bears in all colors and all kinds, from teddy bears on roller skates to teddy bears with electric eyes. « Teddy bear, » without the apostrophe and the s, became the accepted term for this plush bruin, first appearing in print in the October 1906 issue of Playthings Magazine. Even Steiff, a German company, adopted the name for its bears.

Steiff and Ideal were no longer the only players in the teddy bear business. In America, dozens of competitors sprang up. Almost all of these very early companies didn’t last, with the notable exception of the Gund Manufacturing Corporation. Gund made its first bears in 1906 and is still making bears today.

American teddy bear companies faced stiff competition from all the teddy bears imported from Germany, and many of the U.S. companies didn’t last long. In Germany, toymaking was an old and established industry, and many German firms, such as Bing, Schuco, and Hermann, joined with Steiff in making fine teddy bears.

In England, The J.K. Farnell & Co. got its start; in fact, the original Winnie the Pooh was a Farnell bear Christopher Robin Milne received as a first birthday present from his mother in 1921. Five years later, his father, A.A. Milne, would begin to publish the Winnie-the-Pooh books about his son Christopher’s adventures with his bear and his other stuffed animals. Today you can see the original toys that inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh books on permanent display in the Central Children’s Room of the Donnell Branch of the New York Public Library in New York City, while the Pooh books themselves are as popular as ever.

The History of the Teddy Bear

Made around 1929, this 9-inch mechanical duck by the German company of Bing was wound by a key.

More Great Years: The 1920s – 1940s

With the exception of the four years when World War I raged in Europe, the next 25 years were kind to the teddy bear. Mass production had not yet taken over the teddy bear world, and people still preferred to buy high quality, hand-finished teddy bears.

Because World War I interrupted the flow of teddy bears from Germany, new teddy bear industries developed outside Germany. Chad Valley, Chiltern, and Dean’s joined Farnell in England; Pintel and Fadap were begun in France, and Joy Toys in Australia. The bears themselves changed, too. Boot-button eyes were replaced by glass, and excelsior stuffing was replaced by a softer alternative, kapok.

The United States was relatively untouched by the war, and its teddy bear industry continued to grow. For example, the Knickerbocker Toy Company got its start in 1920 and continues to make teddy bears today. Nine years later, though, the U.S. was hit by the Depression, and most teddy bear companies were hurt by the financial crisis. After 1929, many American companies either found cheaper ways to produce bears, or they closed.

The History of the Teddy Bear

This 12-inch Schuco bear is called a yes/no bear, because this bear from the 1930s shakes his head no or nods yes, depending on how you move his tail.

In the 1920s and 30s, musical bears and mechanical bears were very popular, and they were produced all over the world. Perhaps the most noteworthy manufacturers of these novelty bears were Schuco and Bing. These two German companies made bears that walked, danced, played ball, and even turned somersaults.

But the outbreak of World War II in 1939 stopped the fun. Instead of making teddy bears, the world’s workers and factories were needed for the war effort. Some companies closed and never reopened.

The History of the Teddy Bear

Made about 1970, this 20-inch bear from the German company of Fechter wears its orignal ribbon.

The Lean Years: The 1950s – 1970s

While traditional teddy bear companies had always prided themselves on quality hand-finishing and had always used natural fibers to make their bears, all that changed after World War II. Fueled by a desire for washable toys, synthetic fibers were all the rage in the post-War years. Buyers liked the idea of washable toys, so bears were made from nylon or acrylic plush, and had plastic eyes and foam rubber stuffing.

While traditional teddy bear companies could adapt to this change in materials, they were not prepared to compete against the flood of much cheaper, mass-produced teddy bears coming from eastern Asia. Even the old, well-established companies were hurt by the onslaught of inexpensive teddy bears from the Far East.

The Teddy Bear’s Comeback: The Present

Strangely enough, the comeback of the teddy after years of mass-production was triggered, not by a bear maker, but by an actor. On television, British actor Peter Bull openly expressed his love for teddy bears and his belief in the teddy bear’s importance in the emotional life of adults. After receiving 2000 letters in response to his public confession, Peter realized he wasn’t alone. In 1969, inspired by this response, he wrote a book about his lifelong affection for teddy bears, Bear with Me, later called The Teddy Bear Book. His book struck an emotional chord in thousands who also believed in the importance of teddy bears. Without intending to, Bull created an ideal climate for the teddy bear’s resurgence. The teddy bear began to regain its popularity, not so much as a children’s toy, but as a collectible for adults.

The History of the Teddy Bear

Jenni, an 18-inch bear, was made by British teddy artist Elizabeth Lloyd.

In 1974, Beverly Port, an American dollmaker who also loved making teddy bears, dared to take a teddy bear she made to a doll show. At the show, she presented Theodore B. Bear holding the hand of one of her dolls. The next year, Beverly presented a slide show she had created about teddy bears for the United Federation of Doll Clubs. That show quickly became a sensation. Other people, first in the United States and then all over world, caught Beverly’s affection for the teddy bear. They, too, began applying their talents to designing and making teddy bears. One by one, and by hand, teddy bear artistry was born with Beverly, who coined the term « teddy bear artist, » often cited as the mother of teddy bear artistry. Today thousands of teddy bears artists, often working from their homes all over the world, create soft sculpture teddy bear art for eager collectors.

Artist bears also set the stage for a new kind of manufactured bear, the artist-designed manufactured bear. Today artist-designed manufactured bears are offered by Ganz, Gund, Dean’s, Knickerbocker, Grisly Spielwaren, and others; all offer collectors the opportunity to own artist-designed bears that cost less due to mass production.

The History of the Teddy Bear

American teddy bear artist Heather Stanley made 14-inch Simon.

This increased appreciation for the teddy bear as an adult collectible has also increased the value of antique teddy bears, the hand-finished, high-quality teddy bears manufactured in the first decades of the 20th century. In the 1970s and 1980s, these old, manufactured teddy bears began showing up in antique doll and toy auctions, and they began winning higher and higher bids. Today the current record price for one teddy bear, Teddy Girl by Steiff, is $176,000; that bear was sold at Christie’s auction house in 1994.

So what’s next for the teddy bear? Certainly our love affair with the teddy bear shows no signs of abating.

In 1999, in just the United States, collectors purchased $441 million worth of teddy bears. Certainly, as we begin our journey through a new century, we certainly need the teddy bear’s gift of uncondtional acceptance, love, and reassurance more than ever.

Voir aussi:

History of the Teddy Bear

Teddy Roosevelt and the Teddy Bear

Mary Bellis

Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, is the person responsible for giving the teddy bear his name. On November 14, 1902, Roosevelt was helping settle a border dispute between Mississippi and Louisiana. During his spare time he attended a bear hunt in Mississippi. During the hunt, Roosevelt came upon a wounded young bear and ordered the mercy killing of the animal. The Washington Post ran a editorial cartoon created by the political cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman that illustrated the event. The cartoon was called « Drawing the Line in Mississippi » and depicted both state line dispute and the bear hunt. At first Berryman drew the bear as a fierce animal, the bear had just killed a hunting dog. Later, Berryman redrew the bear to make it a cuddly cub. The cartoon and the story it told became popular and within a year, the cartoon bear became a toy for children called the teddy bear.

Who made the first toy bear called teddy bear?

Well, there are several stories, below is the most popular one:

Morris Michtom made the first official toy bear called the teddy bear. Michtom owned a small novelty and candy store in Brooklyn, New York. His wife Rose was making toy bears for sale in their store. Michtom sent Roosevelt a bear and asked permission to use the teddy bear name. Roosevelt said yes. Michtom and a company called Butler Brothers, began to mass-produce the teddy bear. Within a year Michtom started his own company called the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

However, the truth is that no one is sure who made the first teddy bear, please read the resources to the right and below for more information on other origins.

Voir également:

Holt Collier Guiding Roosevelt through the Mississippi Canebreaks

Minor Ferris Buchanan

When Holt Collier was chosen to guide President Theodore Roosevelt on the now famous bear hunt of 1902, he was a legend in Mississippi. He had cut roads into the wilderness and was known to have killed in excess of 3,000 bear.

Theodore Roosevelt had become a noted hunter by founding the Boone & Crockett Club and hunting almost all types of American game including grizzly bear, buffalo and pronghorn sheep. One trophy that eluded him was the Louisiana Black Bear. He desperately wanted to experience the thrill of the mounted bear chase. Though Roosevelt and his company had immeasurable finances and manpower, almost every aspect of the hunt was the responsibility of the uneducated 56-year-old Collier. He found a site on the banks of the Little Sunflower River in Sharkey County, about 15 miles west of the Smedes Station, a small farming platform.

Through the Mississippi towns of Tunica, Dundee, Lula, Clarksdale, Bobo, Alligator, Hushpuckena, Mound Bayou, Cleveland, Leland, Estill, Panther Burn, Nitta Yuma, Anguilla and Rolling Fork, the train carried Roosevelt and his entourage the maximum speed of 70 miles per hour.

At Smedes Station, several hundred spectators greeted the President. Almost all were children and grandchildren of slaves. Holt was immediately impressed by the man and his manner. Roosevelt was short but seemed palpably massive being a full 200 pounds of muscle. According to Collier, the President introduced himself by walking straight to him with his hand extended. “He say, ‘So dis is Holt, de guide. I hyar you’s er great bear hunter.’”

The party set out immediately on a field road that took them four miles through the plantation. A second four-mile stretch took them under an open forest carpeted with a knee-high briar tangle. The towering forest of virgin oak, ash and cypress was majestic. Then came the long stretch of Coon Bayou, a mud gully which attracted all types of wild game. On the other side of the bayou, lay the primal Delta swamp with briars and thickets 30 feet high and knit so tightly that the passage had been cut through like a tunnel.

The camp was pitched on the west bank of the Little Sunflower River, described then a fast- flowing, mud-banked stream of clear water. Between the tents, in the center of an open space, was a great cypress log, against which the camp fire was built. Dogs were everywhere. Someone had brought a large rustic armchair which was named the ‘Throne’. The President was an imposing figure in it. Roosevelt announced that in the woods he was to be addressed only as ‘Colonel’.

Roosevelt wanted to participate in the chase, but his demands for a shot on the first day and the timidity of his hosts condemned him to a stationary blind. He was placed to have a clear shot when the bear, driven by Holt’s pack of about 40 dogs, would emerge from the cane.

Roosevelt and companion Huger Foote waited on the stand all morning. The sounds of the dogs faded and increased in intensity as Holt’s pursuit ranged great distances in the canebrakes. After mid- afternoon the hunters broke for camp to have a late lunch.

Collier was annoyed that the stand had been abandoned. “That was eight o’clock in the mornin” when I hit the woods an’ roused my bear where I knowed I’d fin him. Den me an’ dat bear had a time, fightin’ an’ chargin’ an’ tryin’ to make him take a tree. Big ole bear but he wouldn’t climb nary tree. I could have killed him a thousand times. I sweated myself to death in that canebrake. So did the bear. By keeping between the bear and the river I knew he’d sholy make for that water hole where I left the Cunnel.

After a while the bear started that way and popped out of the gap where I said he’d go. But I didn’t hear a shot, and that pestered me….It sholy pervoked me because I’d promised the President to bring him a bear to that log, and there he was.”

At the very spot Holt had planned for the kill, the bear went to bay on the Holt Collier dogs. Collier was in a dilemma. He had been given specific orders to save the bear for Roosevelt, who was not to be found, and he had to protect the dogs from the deadly beast.

Holt dismounted, shouting at the bear. He quickly approached the bear with his rifle in his left hand and the lariat in his right. A rider rushed to camp for the President.

The dogs and the bear fought in a ferocious chorus. It wasn’t until the bear rose to his full height that Holt noticed his prize dog caught in the beast’s mighty death grip. He clubbed the rifle and leaped into the battle. He shouted again, and swung the stock of his gun through an arc that landed at the base of the bear’s skull. The bear was shaken, but he rose up, released the lifeless dog and stood a head higher than Holt. With the barrel of his rifle bent and useless, Collier had only one option. He positioned himself beside the raging animal, put his foot between the bear’s legs, and dropped the lariat over his neck. The injured bear was soon tied to a nearby willow tree.

Minutes later Roosevelt and Foote arrived. Roosevelt dismounted, ran into the water, and though everybody urged him to kill the bear, he declared that he would not shoot an animal tied to a tree. Roosevelt was in awe of the feat he was witness to.

For the entire hunt, Holt Collier was the center of attention. Sitting apart, he spoke simply and fearlessly, unmindful of any difference in social status from the powerful men about him. He told the story of his life, how he had killed white men and had gone unscathed, how he had met Union soldiers in hand-to-hand conflict, and how he fought off a band of vigilantes. His background and experience held the President’s imagination as he told stories of his years as a slave, his service as a Confederate scout, and his many years hunting bear.

The press had a field day with the story. Headlines and cartoons depicted the President as having been unprepared by satisfying his appetite. The story about the President being out-played by a lowly guide invited ridicule. The account of Holt Collier’s heroic efforts received detailed coverage.

At the conclusion of the hunt, Roosevelt declared that Holt Collier “ was the best guide and hunter he’d ever seen”, and that “before he is three years older, he will go back to the Little Sunflower, and, with Holt Collier as his only guide, will chase bears until he comes up with one and kills it, running free before the dogs.”

Clifford Kennedy Berryman ran two editorial cartoons of the incident on the front page of The Washington Post. The cute bear cub he drew immediately became a popular Roosevelt mascot. Morris Michtom saw the Berryman cartoon and designed a toy bear. He called it ‘Teddy’s Bear.’ His success selling the toys for a dollar and fifty cents resulted in formation of the Ideal Toy Corporation in 1903. When Michtom died in July 1938, the company was selling more than 100,000 bears each year.

This article is a condensed version of excerpts from the biography of Holt Collier by Minor Ferris Buchannan.

Voir encore:

TR’s Wild Side

As a Rough Rider in the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt’s attention to nature and love of animals were much in evidence, characteristics that would later help form his strong conservationist platform as president

Douglas Brinkley

American Heritage

Fall 2009

ON JUNE 3, 1898, 39 days into the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders arrived in Florida by train, assigned to the U.S. transport Yucatan. But the departure date from Tampa Bay for Cuba kept changing. Just a month earlier, the 39-year-old Teddy had quit his job as assistant secretary of the Navy, taken command of the 1,250-man 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment along with Leonard Wood, and began a mobilization to dislodge the Spanish from Cuba.

Roosevelt worried that if the ship didn’t leave soon, his men’s livers weren’t going to withstand all the booze they were consuming. The first day was incredibly humid, with a hot, glassy atmosphere and scant wind. Anxious for war, Teddy was unperturbed by the omnipresent swarms of chiggers and sandflies. To kill time he studied Florida’s botany, learning to distinguish lignum-vitae (holywood) trees from blue beech and ironwood at a glance.

The very word wild had a smelling-salt-like effect on Theodore Roosevelt. As a Harvard undergraduate he had studied nature from a scientific perspective, full of rigor and objectivity. To Roosevelt wilderness hunting and bird-watching were the ideal bootcamps for a military career. By studying how grizzly bears tracked their prey, he developed warrior skills. First-rate soldiers were best made in America, he believed, by learning to live in the wild. If a soldier understood how to read a meadowlark call or crow squawk, then his chances of battlefield survival were enhanced. An alertness to all things wild was, in Roosevelt’s eyes, a prerequisite for excelling in modern society. Success would fall upon the individual who could outfox a blizzard or survive a heat wave.

Roosevelt possessed in spades the qualities that Harvard naturalist Edward 0. Wilson has called “biophilia”: the desire to affiliate with other forms of life, the same impulse that lifts the heart at a sudden vision of a glorious valley, a red-rock canyon, or a loon scooting across a mud bog at dusk. Wilson suggests that, at heart, humans want to be touched by nature in their daily lives. His hypothesis offers a key to understanding why Roosevelt as president would add over 234 million acres to the public domain between 1901 and 1909. He responded both scientifically and emotively to wilderness. The shopworn academic debate over whether Roosevelt was a preservationist or a conservationist is really moot. He was both, and a passionate hunter to boot, too many sided and paradoxical to be pigeonholed. Even within the crucible of the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt managed to acquire exotic pets and to write about the Cuban environment, actions that provide valuable insight into Roosevelt’s developing conservationist attitudes.

While waiting to ship out, he studied the waterfowl along the wharf front and marshy inlets: ibis, herons, and double-crested cormorants, among scores of others. Beneath his cavalry boots on the Tampa beaches were sunrise tellin, wide-mouthed purpura, ground coral, bay mud, and tiny pebbles mixed with barnacles and periwinkles. Writing to his friend Henry Cabot Lodge, he turned quasi geobiologist, evoking Florida’s semitropical sun, palm trees, shark-infested shallows, and sandy beaches much like those on the French Riviera. The Gulf of Mexico, the ninth-largest body of water in the world, interested Roosevelt to no end.

Spending those days in Tampa Bay, various conservation historians believe, later influenced Roosevelt’s creation of federal bird sanctuaries along Florida’s coasts. What Roosevelt learned from being stationed on the Gulf Coast was that the market hunters were having a bad effect on Florida’s ecosystem, including the Everglades, Indian River, Lake Okeechobee, and the Ten Thousand Islands. The previous year, his friend the New York-based ornithologist Frank M. Chapman had warned him that tricolor herons and snowy egrets were being slaughtered for their feathers. Now huge mounds were heaped around the Tampa harbor, bird carcasses piled 20 or 30 yards high to rot in the sun. If the slaughter wasn’t stopped, the crowded, beautiful roosts of Florida would vanish and their inhabitants would go the way of the passenger pigeon, the ivory-billed woodpecker, and the Labrador duck.

Even as he shaped his regiment for combat, Roosevelt retained his fascination with animals, an aspect that distinguishes his war memoir The Rough Riders from all other accounts of the 1898 Cuban campaign. And in his 1913 autobiography Roosevelt presented his theory about the role of pets in sustaining morale. Compared with his accounts of military tactics and the toll of yellow fever, such passages can seem frivolous, but they do offer a valuable perspective on Roosevelt as a war leader and as a person.

Largely due to Roosevelt, the 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment took three animal mascots with them, all the way from basic training in San Antonio through their port stay in Tampa Bay. For starters, there was a young mountain lion, Josephine, given by trooper Charles Green of Arizona. Roosevelt spent as much time around the cougar cub as he could. Although he wrote in The Rough Riders that Josephine had an “infernal temper,” he adored everything about her: her sand-colored coat, dark rounded ears, white muzzle, and piercing blue eyes, which turned brown as she matured. Eventually Josephine would weigh at least 90 pounds and be able to pull down a 750-pound elk with her powerful jaws. The New York Times reported that she “rejoiced” when her name was uttered and was beloved by all the men. But one time she got loose, climbed into bed with a soldier, and began playfully chewing on his toes. Roosevelt later chuckled in The Rough Riders that “he fled into the darkness with yells, much more unnerved than he would have been by the arrival of any number of Spaniards.”

Another steadfast comrade from the wild was a New Mexican golden eagle nicknamed “Teddy” in Colonel Roosevelt’s honor. Roosevelt loved to watch these raptors swooping down to pluck a snake or other prey, and he even learned the art of falconry, wearing leather gloves and calling his namesake back to camp after it had gone hunting. “The eagle was let loose and not only walked at will up and down the company streets, but also at times flew wherever he wished,” Roosevelt recalled.

Josephine and Teddy had to be left behind in Tampa, but a “jolly dog” named Cuba and owned by Cpl. Cade C. Jackson of Troop A from Flagstaff, Arizona, did accompany the Rough Riders. Having dirty gray, poodle-like fur and the personality of a Yorkie, the little dog could be easily scooped up with the swipe of a hand. (One story, in fact, claims that Jackson had stolen Cuba just so from a railcar.) Frisky as a dog could be, Cuba accompanied the regiment “through all the vicissitudes of the campaign.” Aboard the Yucatan, Roosevelt asked a Pawnee friend to draw Cuba—who ran “everywhere round the ship, and now and then howls when the band plays”—for his daughter Ethel. Perhaps because Roosevelt was so comfortable with the trio of animals—knowing how to feed the eagle mice and to scratch Josephine behind the ears—the mascots added a compelling dimension to the press coverage of the Rough Riders. But even if TR did use the mascots to play to the cameras, they were part and parcel of his lifelong need to be associated with animals.

When the Yucatan finally set sail on June 13, Roosevelt was nearly giddy with joy at escaping Tampa. As the 49 vessels in the convoy steamed south in three columns, he noted that the Florida Keys area was “a sapphire sea, wind-rippled, under an almost cloudless sky” When he first caught sight of the shoreline of Santiago Bay, waves beating in diagonals, he wrote to his sister Corinne that “All day we have steamed close to the Cuban Coast, high barren looking mountains rising abruptly from the shore, and at a distance looking much like those of Montana. We are well within the tropics, and at night the Southern Cross shows low above the Horizon; it seems strange to see it in the same sky with the Dipper.”

At both San Antonio and Tampa Bay, his two horses Rain-in-the-Face and Texas practically never left his side. With Vitagraph motion picture technicians filming the Rough Riders wading ashore, a trooper was ordered to bring his steeds safely onto the beach. Alas, a huge wave broke over Rain-in-the-Face. Unable to burst free from his harness, he inhaled seawater and drowned. For the only time during the war Roosevelt went berserk, “snorting like a bull,” as Albert Smith of Vitagraph recalled, “split[ting] the air with one blasphemy after another.” As the other horses were brought ashore, Roosevelt kept shouting “Stop that god-damned animal torture!” every time saltwater got in a mare’s face.

On June 23 the Rough Riders debarked at the fishing village of Siboney about seven miles west of Daiquiri, behind Gen. Henry Ware Lawton’s 2nd Division and Gen. William Shafter’s 5th Corps. The soldiers took ashore blanket rolls, pup tents, mess kits, and weaponry, but no one thought to give them any insect repellent. There was no wind, and they felt on fire. The tangled jungles and chaparral of Cuba, particularly in early summer, were breeding grounds for flies that now swarmed the camps. Cuba also boasted 100 varieties of ants, including strange stinging ones that seemed to come from a different world. Unafraid of the soldiers, little crouching chameleons with coffin-shaped heads changed color from bright green to dark brown, depending on the foliage they rested on. “Here there are lots of funny little lizards that run about in the dusty roads very fast,” Roosevelt wrote to his daughter Ethel, “and then stand still with their heads up.”

Roosevelt’s letters crackle with the kind of martial detail also found in Stephen Crane’s 1895 Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage. Yet they’re also crowded with natural history, with observations about the “jungle-lined banks,” “great open woods of palms,” “mango trees,” “vultures wheeling overhead by hundreds,” and even a whole command “so weakened and shattered as to be ripe for dying like rotten sheep.” There was a strange confluence in Cuba between Roosevelt and the genius loci, as he constantly sought to conjure up nature as a way to increase his personal power.

Both in Roosevelt’s correspondence and his war memoir, the land crab is everywhere, its predatory omnipresence almost the central metaphor of his Cuban campaign. Carcinologists had noted that the local species, Gecarcinus lateralis, commonly known as the blackback, Bermuda, or red land crab, leaves the tropical forests each spring to mate in the sea. It made for an eerie spectacle all along Cuba’s northern coast as these misshapen creatures, many with only one giant claw, crawled out of the forests across roads and beaches to reach the water. Swollen with eggs, the female red land crabs nevertheless made their journey to incubate in the Caribbean Sea, traveling five to six miles a day over every obstacle imaginable. Roosevelt noted that they avoided the sun’s glare, often struggling to shade just like wounded soldiers. While basically land creatures, these burrowing red crabs—their abalone-like shells thick with gaudy dark rainbow swirls—still had gills, so they needed to stay cool and moist. “The woods are full of land crabs, some of which are almost as big as rabbits,” Roosevelt wrote to Corinne. “When things grew quiet they slowly gathered in gruesome rings around the fallen.”

For the first time as an adult, Roosevelt was in the tropics. The very density of vegetation he encountered was daunting, the white herons often standing out against the greenery like tombstones. He now knew how Charles Darwin must have felt in the Galapagos and Tahiti. Cuba’s red land crabs were his tortoises or finches; everything about them spoke of evolution. Unlike the stone crabs of Maine, these red crabs weren’t particularly good-tasting. Still, with supplies sparse, the soldiers smashed them with rocks, discarded the shells, and mixed the meat into their hardtack, calling the dish “deviled crab.” Although the crabs were not dangerous, many Rough Riders were jarred awake at night by their formidable pincers. And they were persistent—a buddy would shake them scurrying away from the bedroll, only to find them back a short while later.

In The Rough Riders, Roosevelt vividly described the timeworn, brush-covered flats in the island village of Daiquiri on which the regiment camped one evening, on one side the jungle, on the other a stagnant malarial pool fringed with palm trees. After they stormed Santiago, many of his troops, a third of whom had served in the Civil War, lay wounded in ditches while flies buzzed around them. Sometimes after an American died, villagers would strip the corpse of all its equipment. Humans could be scavengers, too. Roosevelt turned to avian and crustacean imagery to convey the horrors of death. “No man was allowed to drop out to help the wounded,” he lamented. “It was hard to leave them there in the jungle, where they might not be found again until the vultures and the land-crabs came, but war is a grim game and there was no choice.”

Ever since Roosevelt had discovered Darwin’s writings as a boy growing up in New York City, analyzing species and subspecies characteristics became a daily habit. In his 1895 essay on “Social Evolution,” published in the North American Review, he offered a parable about when the dictates of natural selection superseded love of wildlife. “Even the most enthusiastic naturalist,” he wrote, “if attacked by a man-eating shark, would be much more interested in evading or repelling the attack than in determining the specific relations of the shark.” By this criterion, Roosevelt was a dual success in Cuba. He not only thwarted the Spanish sharks but managed to make detailed diary notes regarding vultures and crabs, which he planned to use in his memoir of the war.

What he would call his “crowded hour” occurred on July 1, 1898, when, on horseback, he led the Rough Riders (plus elements of the 9th and 10th Regiments of regulars, African American “buffalo soldiers,” and other units) up Kettle Hill near San Juan Hill in the battle of San Juan Heights. Once the escarpment was captured, Roosevelt, now on foot, killed a Spaniard with a pistol that had been recovered from the sunken Maine. Roosevelt later said that the charge surpassed all the other highlights of his life. Somewhat creepily, it was reported, Roosevelt had beamed through the blood, mutilation, horror, and death, always flashing a wide grin as he blazed into the enemy. Whether he was ordering up artillery support, helping men cope with the prostrating heat, finding canned tomatoes to fuel the troops, encouraging Cuban insurgentes , or miraculously procuring a huge bag of beans, he was always on top of the situation, doing whatever was humanly possible to help his men avoid both yellow fever and unnecessary enemy fire. There was no arguing about it: Colonel Roosevelt had distinguished himself at Las Guasimas, San Juan, and Santiago (although the journalists did inflate his heroics to make better copy).

By the Fourth of July, Roosevelt had become a home-front legend, the most beloved hero produced in what the soon-to¬be secretary of state John Hay called “a splendid little war.” With the fall of San Juan Heights and the Spanish fleet destroyed, Santiago itself soon surrendered. The war was practically over. The stirring exploits of Colonel Roosevelt were published all over the United States, turning him overnight into the kind of epic leader he had always dreamed of being.

But the hardships Roosevelt had suffered were real. Supplies like eggs, meat, sugar, and jerky were nonexistent. Hardtack biscuits—the soldiers’ staple—had bred hideous little worms. Just to stay alive, the Rough Riders began frying mangoes. Worse still, the 100°F heat caused serious de hydration. Then there was the ghastly toll from tropical diseases. Diarrhea and dysentery struck the outfit. Fatigue became the norm. So many Rough Riders were dying from yellow fever and malaria that Roosevelt eventually asked the War Department to bring the regiment home to the Maine coast. On August 14 the Rough Riders, following a brief stopover in Miami, arrived at Montauk Point at the tip of Long Island (not Maine) and were placed in quarantine for six weeks.

In hard, good health, taut and fit, his face tanned, and his hair crew-cut, Roosevelt was living out his boyhood fantasy of being a war hero. He had endured the vicissitudes of combat with commendable grit, and now it was all glory. Something in the American wilderness experience, Roosevelt believed, including his long stints of hunting in the Badlands and Bighorns in the 1880s, had given him an edge over the Spaniards. The same with the Rough Riders, who hailed from the Southwest—Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Indian Territory. Not a single Rough Rider got cold feet or shrank back.

Roosevelt believed that the American fighting spirit would only continue as long as outdoorsmen didn’t get lazy and rest on their laurels. Slowly he was developing an underlying doctrine that he would call “the strenuous life.” The majestic open spaces of western America, such as the Red River Valley, the Guadalupe Mountains, the Black Mesa, the Sangre de Cristo Range, the Prescott Valley, and the Big Chino Wash, had hardened his men into the kind of self-reliance Emerson had invoked in his writings. Wouldn’t Rough Riders make terrific forest rangers? Didn’t the wildlife protection movement need no-nonsense men in uniform to stop poaching in federal parks? “In all the world there could be no better material for soldiers than that offered by these grim hunters of the mountains, these wild rough riders of the plains,” enthused Roosevelt.

While the Rough Riders recuperated under yellow-fever watch at Montauk, New York’s Republican Party was urging Roosevelt to run for governor that fall. As he contemplated his political future, everybody clamoring to shake his hand, he found respite watching the pervasive raccoons and white-tailed deer of Montauk. There was even Nantucket juneberry along the sandplains to study. One hundred years later, to honor the Rough Riders’ residence at Camp Wikoff in 1898, Montauk named a 1,157-acre wilderness area Roosevelt County Park.

In August the New York Times ran a feature story about Josephine, reporting that the colonel might raise the big cat at Oyster Bay. But his wife, Edith, put a stop to that plan, and Josephine was carted off to tour the West as a circus attraction. Unfortunately, she got loose or was stolen in Chicago and was never seen again.

The eventual fate of Teddy the golden eagle was just as disappointing. Quite sensibly, Roosevelt had given him to the Central Park Zoo, where he became a popular tourist attraction, but he was killed by two bald eagles put into his cage to keep him company. The body of the regiment’s mascot was shipped to Frank Chapman at the American Museum of Natural History to be stuffed.

Cuba the dog’s story, at least, had a happy ending. Discharged from quarantine, Corporal Jackson headed back to his home in Flagstaff and gave the celebrity terrier to Sam Black, a former Arizona Territory Ranger, with whose family he lived for 16 years in the lap of luxury. When Cuba died of natural causes, he was given a proper military funeral.

On August 20, 1898, Colonel Roosevelt was allowed to leave quarantine to return to his Oyster Bay home at Sagamore Hill for five days. By the time he got there, a groundswell of support had arisen for his gubernatorial candidacy. All around Oyster Bay, he was greeted with shouts of “Teddy!” (which he hated) and “Welcome, Colonel!” (which he loved). “I would rather have led this regiment,” Roosevelt wrote a friend, “than be Governor of New York three times.”

Cleverly, Roosevelt had kept diaries in Cuba, jotting down exact dialogue and stream-of-consciousness impressions. His editor at Charles Scribner’s Sons, Robert Bridges, worried that if Roosevelt ran for governor the war memoir they’d been discussing would have to be put on hold. “Not at all,” Roosevelt assured him. “You shall have the various chapters in the time promised.”

Once back at Camp Wikoff, Roosevelt wandered Montauk Point, care taking his golden eagle and taking little Cuba on walks. Roosevelt seemed like a changed man, disconcertingly calm, studying the undercarriage of wigeon ducks as they flew overhead. Sometimes, particularly when reporters were around, he rode his horse up and down the beach. By having “driven the Spaniard from the New World,” Roosevelt could relax— the burden of family cowardice and the shadow of his father’s hiring of a surrogate for his Civil War service had passed away forever. With nothing more to prove, he could excel as a powerful politician, soapbox expansionist, true-blue reformer, naturalist, and conservationist.

On September 13 a bugle called, and the surviving Rough Riders dutifully fell into formation. In front of them was a card table with a blanket draped over a bulky object. The 1st Volunteer Cavalry had a parting gift for their humane and courageous colonel. Eventually the blanket was lifted to reveal an 1895 bronze sculpture by Frederic Remington, Bronco Buster. (A cowboy was the western term for a cattle driver, while a bronco buster broke wild horses to the saddle.) Tears welled up in Roosevelt’s eyes, his voice choked, and he stroked the steed’s mane as if it were real. “I would have been most deeply touched if the officers had given me this testimonial, but coming from you, my men, I appreciate it tenfold,” Roosevelt said. The Rough Riders had found the best gift possible. It summed up Theodore Roosevelt well: a fearless cowboy, stirrup flying free, determined to tame a wild stallion by putting the spurs to it, a quirt in his right hand, and the reins gripped in the other. A Remington cast of the Bronco Buster now sits prominently in the White House Oval Office for President Barack Obama to appreciate.

The 42-year-old Roosevelt took more than just a Remington bronze to the White House in September 1901; his wilderness values and philosophy came with him, along with his saddle bag. Besides continuing to collect myriad White House pets, Roosevelt used his executive power to save such national heirlooms as the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Devils Tower, Mesa Verde, and the Dry Tortugas. On July 1, 1908, to help commemorate his “crowded hour” of battle at Santiago, President Roosevelt created 45 new national forests scattered throughout 11 western states. He also initiated many innovative protocols for range management, wildfire control, land planning, recreation, hydrology, and soil science throughout the American West. It was exactly a decade since his moment of military glory. His “crowded hour” 10 years later put much of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest beyond the lumberman’s ax. Adding to the conservationist theme, TR hired as forest rangers men who had served with him in combat. These ex-Rough Riders now protected wild America from ruin under the banner of Rooseveltian conservationism.

What particularly worried President Roosevelt at the dawn of the 20th century was that citizens of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston could not understand the splendor of the American West. “To lose the chance to see frigate birds soaring in circles above the storm,” Roosevelt wrote, “or a file of pelicans winging their way homeward across the crimson afterglow of the sunset, or a myriad of terns flashing in the bright light of midday as they hover in the shifting maze above the beach—why the loss is like the loss of a gallery of masterpieces of the artists of old time.”

Adapted by the author from The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America , published by HarperCollins, © 2009

The truth about piranha attacks

Practical fishing

Piranhas aren’t the man-eaters folklore would suggest; you’re much more likely to lose a toe, according to the results of a new survey of piranha attacks in Suriname.

Humans are much more likely to be bitten when piranhas are removed from the water when fishing than they are while bathing in the water, the study claims.

« Many human deaths attributed to piranhas are probably cases of scavenging on drowned or otherwise already dead persons », says Jan Mol of the University of Suriname, who has just published the results of a study on human attacks by piranha.

« In 15 years of field work in Suriname, often wading for hours through ‘piranha-infested’ streams and catching piranhas with hook and line while bathing in the river, I was never injured by free-swimming piranhas.

« Piranhas are usually more dangerous out of the water than in it and most bites occur on shore or in boats when removing a piranha from a gillnet or hook, or when a ‘loose’ piranha is flopping about and snapping its jaws. »

Other studies have come to similar conclusions, but Mol suggests that under some situations the risk of piranha attack is very real.

« In the low-water season, when hungry fishes become concentrated in pools, some piranha species may be dangerous to any animal or human that enters the water. »

Serrasalmus rhombeusMol studied Serrasalmus rhombeus attacks at three locations in Suriname; the villages of Donderkamp and Corneiskondre on the Wayombo River and a recreation park at Overbridge on the Suriname River.

Dozens of people had been attacked at each location, with most injuries resulting in bites to the heel, soles of the feet and toes.

More serious deeper wounds were also inflicted to the legs, arms and body. Some bites were so severe that the fish completely removed the toes, including the phalange bone.

Reader Mike Rizzo suffered this bite from his rhombeus last year. Full story

The recovery of toe phalanges, complete with human flesh and bits of toenail, identified the culprits as Serrasalmus rhombeus, one of the largest and most aggressive piranhas.

« Individuals of this species tend to remain several weeks at one site and this may explain why the respective piranhas were caught at exactly the same spot after their attacks on bathers », says Mol.

« Also, characteristics of wounds of victims from Overbridge resembled bite marks previously documented as caused by S. rhombeus. Furthermore, no Surinamese freshwater fish other than a piranha could be responsible for the injuries reported here. »

None of the three locations surveyed had reported any human deaths due to piranha attacks.

Two epileptic bathers whose badly mutilated bodies were retrieved from the water are believed to have suffered seizures and then been scavenged by the fish.

Villagers interviewed by Mol claimed that piranha attacks in the small villages were unheard of until the population of the village began to rise in 1990.

When the human population peaked, the number of piranha attacks increased.

Feeding, not defenceWhile piranha attacks in other areas have been attributed to attacks by breeding piranhas defending their eggs and fry, Mol believes this is not the case in Suriname.

« In Surinamese rivers most of the reproductive activity of S. rhombeus occurred in the long rainy season of April to July, while most piranha attacks in Overbridge and Donderkamp occurred during the low-water (dry) season of September to November.

« Nevertheless, there is a small possibility that some individual piranhas were reproducing and guarding their spawn and/or spawning sites out of the main season. »

The sites not only lacked stereotypical spawning sites for the species, but the surveys revealed only sexually immature juvenile piranhas, so Mol believes that the attacks stem from feeding behaviour, not the defence of offspring.

How to avoid being eaten1. Piranhas are only found in certain rivers in the Amazon basin. Avoid swimming in South America, unless you have to. If you must bathe there, fill a bucket and wash on land. But look out for Centromochus!

Voir enfin:

Safety in numbers? Shoaling behaviour of the Amazonian red-bellied piranha

Helder Queiroz1 and Anne E Magurran2,*

Biology letters

2005 May 10

Abstract

Red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri) shoals have a fearsome reputation. However, the variety and abundance of piranha predators in the flooded forests of the Amazon in which they live indicate that an important reason for shoal formation may be predator defence. Experiments using wild-caught piranhas supported the hypothesis that individual perception of risk, as revealed by elevated ventilatory frequency (opercular rate), is greater in small shoals. Moreover, exposure to a simulated predator attack by a model cormorant demonstrated that resting opercular rates are regained more quickly by piranhas in shoals of eight than they are in shoals of two. Together, these results show that shoaling has a cover-seeking function in this species.

1. Introduction

It is now well established that individual animals accrue significant anti-predator advantages by grouping with conspecifics; for example, in flocks of birds and schools of fishes (Elgar 1989; Magurran 1990; Pitcher & Parrish 1993; Cresswell 1994). However, although the protective properties of groups have been comprehensively investigated (Krause & Ruxton 2002), the individual decisions on which these advantages rest are much less well understood (Tien et al. 2004). Hamilton (1971) proposed that individuals take advantage of the cover provided by other group members to reduce their ‘domain of danger’. The prerequisite for cover-seeking behaviour is a heightened perception of risk by singletons or members of small groups.

Few species have attracted greater notoriety than the red-bellied piranha, Pygocentrus nattereri (Schulte 1988). The species is popularly believed to be a dangerous pack-hunting fish. However, a recent investigation of the red-bellied piranha found no support for cooperative hunting and suggested that an important function of shoaling behaviour in the species is defence against predation (Magurran & Queiroz 2003). This assertion is supported by the observation that, in the flooded forests of the Brazilian Amazon in which we work, piranhas are regularly predated by river dolphins, caiman, aquatic birds and large piscivorous fishes (Bannerman 2001).

Here, we test the hypothesis that piranha shoaling is a form of cover seeking. We make two predictions: first, that fishes will feel safer in larger groups—as indicated by a reduction in their physiological stress response; second, that fishes in larger shoals will recover more quickly from a simulated predator attack. We use ventilatory frequency (opercular beat rate) as our measure of fearfulness. Previous work has demonstrated that opercular rate increases in fishes under predation risk; for example, in the presence of alarm substance (Pfeiffer 1962) or in response to a predator model (Metcalfe et al. 1987; Hawkins et al. 2004). Ventilatory frequency is thought to rise in anticipation of predator evasion (Barreto et al. 2003), even in the absence of prior locomotory activity.

2. Methods

(a) Experiment 1: safety in numbers

We tested the prediction that piranhas perceive larger shoals as safer by measuring the opercular rate of fish as singletons and in shoals of two, four and eight individuals. The investigation took place at Flutuante Arapaima in the Mamirauá Reserve, Amazonas, Brazil. Piranhas are abundant in the flooded forest that comprises the reserve. Our study was conducted during the high‐water season in July 2004.

Fish were collected between 12 and 24 h before testing and held in an underwater cage in their natural habitat so that stress levels were minimized. Trials were conducted in sets of four to ensure comparability of handling, time of day and so on. The order in which the four shoal sizes were tested within a set was varied across the 12 replicates in the experiment. Water was changed regularly. Oxygen levels, which were frequently monitored, did not fall below natural levels. At the beginning of a trial, a shoal of fish was gently placed in the test tank and allowed to settle for 10 min. A focal individual was then selected and its opercular rate measured for 5 successive minutes. Focal individuals, which could be identified by small variations in fin morphology, were chosen haphazardly. Using a single focal individual per group size ensured that the same number of observations was collected in each treatment. The tank was screened to avoid disturbance and all fish were observed from above. We selected the median of the five records of opercular rate per minute for our analysis. Afterwards, all fish were removed and measured, before being returned to the wild. With minor exceptions to make up shoal sizes (less than 2% of cases), fish were not reused. The mean (± s.d.) fork length of fish was 15.5±2.09 cm.

(b) Experiment 2: response to predator ‘attack’

We exposed piranhas in shoals of two and eight to a simulated attack from a realistic model cormorant, to test the prediction that larger groups regain their previous ventilatory rate faster than smaller groups. The olivaceous cormorant, Phalacrocorax olivaceus, is an important predator of piranhas at Mamirauá (H. Queiroz and A. E. Magurran, personal observation). During each trial, the 75 cm-long model swooped from its perch and splashed into the water in the test tank (60×15×60 cm3 with water 20 cm deep). The model was then immediately removed. We recorded the opercular rate of a focal individual for five successive minutes after the attack. These values were contrasted with baseline opercular rate for the same focal individual, which had been measured for 1 min before the presentation of the model. There were 10 replicates per shoal size. No piranhas were tested more than once and different individuals were used in experiments 1 and 2.

3. Results

(a) Experiment 1: safety in numbers

Our first experiment revealed a marked reduction in opercular rate with increasing group size (figure 1). A repeated‐measures ANOVA on the untransformed data confirmed that the decline within sets was significant (F3,33=12.67, p<0.001). Post hoc analysis using the Bonferroni–Dunn test showed that there was no significant difference (p>0.05) in opercular rate between singletons and groups of two, nor between groups of four and eight. The opercular rate in shoals of eight was 25% lower than for singletons. Overall, there was no relationship between the size of the focal individual and its opercular rate (F1,46=0.005, p=0.94).

Opercular rate (per minute) of the focal individual as a proportion of the singleton’s opercular rate (indicated by the line through unity) in a set of four tests. Mean value (± s.e.) is shown.

(b) Experiment 2: response to predator ‘attack’

The second experiment took advantage of the observation that focal individuals in shoals of eight have a lower opercular rate than do individuals in shoals of two. Piranhas in both shoal sizes reacted vigorously to the predator model. Experiment 1 had shown that there was no trend in opercular rate over 5 min for groups of two and eight in the absence of direct threat: one sample t-test of slope coefficients of the relationship between opercular rate and time: shoal of two t11=0.254, p=0.80; shoal of eight t11=1.338, p=0.21. By contrast, opercular rates in was experiment, 2 increased dramatically following the presentation of the model (figure 2). We detected a significant difference between shoal sizes in response (repeated‐measures ANOVA on proportion data: F1,18=11.2, p=0.004) and a significant interaction between shoal size and time after presentation (F4,72=4.77, p=0.002), indicating that the pattern of recovery also differed (figure 2). Opercular rates returned to the baseline levels more rapidly in the larger shoals.

Mean opercular rate (± s.e.) of the focal individual in shoals of two and eight, in the 5 min period following predator attack, as a proportion of its baseline value (indicated by the line through unity). Diamond symbols represent …

4. Discussion

The popular image of red-bellied piranhas portrays them as more feared than fearful. However, the results of our investigation are consistent with an anti-predator function for shoaling in the species. We found that opercular rate, which typically increases under risk (Metcalfe et al. 1987; Barreto et al. 2003), and may be indicative of a fish’s preparedness to flee (Hawkins et al. 2004), was lower in larger groups, even in the absence of an overt predation threat. Furthermore, after a simulated attack, opercular rate remained elevated for longer in the smaller shoals. Because the size of red-bellied piranha shoals at Mamirauá ranges from fewer than 10 to about 100 (H. Queiroz and A. E. Magurran, personal observation), the grouping advantages detected in this experiment are applicable to fishes in the wild. Our study not only casts new light on the behaviour of a charismatic, though poorly researched species, but also reveals how a fish’s perception of risk is affected by shoal size.

In the flooded forest at Mamirauá, shoals of fishes (including piranhas) are constantly under risk of attack. A large body of literature attests to the many anti-predator advantages enjoyed by larger groups (Krause & Ruxton 2002). In addition to increased vigilance, there are benefits related to dilution and predator confusion. The probability that a predator will successfully capture a fish declines with shoal size (Neill & Cullen 1974). For these reasons fishes seek cover by placing themselves next to other individuals (Williams 1964; Hamilton 1971; Williams 1992). Previously, we showed that large, reproductively mature piranhas position themselves in the centre of a shoal, and take fewer risks than smaller, immature individuals during foraging (Magurran & Queiroz 2003). The present study strengthens the conclusion that individual piranhas join shoals to reduce their risk of capture. In our study, we examined fish that had no cover from the simulated predation attack. However, piranha shoals may occur in the flooded forest itself as well as in open water in Mamirauá lake, and it is probable that they use the cover provided by submerged branches to evade predators. It would be interesting to determine whether the benefits of shoaling as a cover-seeking device reduce in the presence of physical cover to shelter in.

Time devoted to predator avoidance is time lost from other activities such as foraging. This trade-off can be optimized by resuming previous behaviour as soon as possible after the threat has abated (Krause & Ruxton 2002). For this reason, membership of a larger shoal provides advantages over and above the differences in baseline ventilation frequency. Because higher opercular rate is associated with higher metabolic rate (Shelton 1970; Olson 1998), piranhas in smaller shoals probably also experience greater oxygen requirements. Physiological costs could be particularly significant in this habitat as the flooded forest is seasonally affected by low levels of dissolved oxygen, a result of high rates of decomposition (Henderson et al. 1998). Periodic mass fish kills are a natural phenomenon here (Henderson et al. 1998). Individual mysids (Euphasia superba) consume less oxygen in larger swarms than in small groups (Ritz 2000), even when performing escape responses (Ritz et al. 2001). Our results point towards a similar benefit in piranhas.

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the Royal Society, Mamirauá Institute and the following people without whom our fieldwork would not have been possible: Dalvino and Jonas Costa collected fishes, Divina and Luzia dos Santos maintained the field laboratory and Danielle Cavalcante and Carlos Maciel helped in the pilot study. Two referees made insightful comments on the paper.

References

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Barreto R.E, Luchiari A.C, Marcondes A.L. Ventilatory frequency indicates visual recognition of an allopatric predator in naive Nile tilapia. Behav. Processes. 2003;60:235–239. [PubMed]

Cresswell W. Flocking is an effective anti-predation strategy in red-shanks, Tringa totanus. Anim. Behav. 1994;47:433–442.

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Hamilton W.D. Geometry for the selfish herd. J. Theor. Biol. 1971;31:295–311. [PubMed]

Hawkins, L. A., Armstrong, J. D. & Magurran, A. E. 2004 Predator-induced hyperventilation in wild and hatchery Altantic salmon fry. J. Fish Biol.65, 88–100.

Henderson P.A, Hamilton W.D, Crampton W.G.R. Evolution and diversity in Amazonian floodplain communities. In: Newbery D.M, Prins H.H.T, Brown N.D, editors. Dynamics of tropical communities. Blackwell Science; Oxford: 1998. pp. 385–419.

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Magurran A.E, Queiroz H.L. Partner choice in piranha shoals. Behaviour. 2003;140:289–299.

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2. Piranha attacks are greatest during the dry season when water levels are lowest and the fish breed, resulting in thousands of hungry young piranhas in the water.

3. Human attacks are most common in areas where human densities are highest in the water, such as popular swimming spots.

4. Noise and splashing attracts piranhas, so try to avoid making a commotion while you’re taking a dip. Piranha most commonly attack children for this reason.

5. If you’re a menstruating woman, don’t swim in the water, as any leaking blood may attract piranhas. In Amerindian villages, women in menstruation are not allowed to bathe for this reason, says Mol.

6. Don’t throw dead fish, offal or other food into the water. Piranhas are not strictly carnivorous, so any food in the water might attract them into the area.

7. Piranha attacks are not isolated incidents. If you spot any signs erected by locals saying « Warning Piranhas », it’s probably sensible to avoid bathing there.

For more information see the paper: Mol JH (2006) – Attacks on humans by the piranha Serrasalmus rhombeus in Suriname. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, December 2006; 41(3): 189-195.

Voir enfin:

This article originally appeared in Piranha meat: It can take a bite out of what ails you © 1998 Houston Chronicle Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division (“The Chronicle”), © 1985 – 2002 Hearst Newspapers Partnership, L.P. All rights reserved. By ERIC J. LYMAN Special to the Chronicle PUCALLPA, Peru — Feeling old? Tired? There is something found around these parts that a lot of people say can help. Men in their retirement years eat it, start new families and swear by it. So do childless women, who drink it and give birth. Found in the Peruvian rain forests, the demand for it is phenomenal. But it isn’t some pharmaceutical corporation’s answer to Viagra, the impotence drug, nor is it available at a corner drugstore. In fact, an Amazonian witch doctor here must be consulted for a prescription. It’s piranha. The bitter-tasting flesh of the fish that have devoured so many villains in jungle B-movies is hailed here as the cure for problems dealing with fertility, virility, even baldness. It is said to be the ultimate aphrodisiac. « The power of the meat can cure many things, » said Flor, a Peruvian witch doctor who specializes in concoctions based on piranha meat. « It is one of the strongest medicines the world has known. » The scientific community, of course, scoffs at the anecdotal claims of the supporters of piranha-based cures. The meat, they say, is acidic, sometimes toxic and utterly without medicinal powers. « These claims about the power of the piranha fish meat have been around for a very long time, and there has never been any scientific evidence to support it, » said Celso Pardo, the dean of a Lima pharmacological institute. « People see an aggressive, macho animal, and they say, `I want to be more like that.’  » Such disparaging words do not faze the supporters of the bony fish. Piranha fisherman Miguel Socorro, for example, said his father had been sterile before eating piranha and fathering Socorro and his two siblings. Maria Luisa Quepo, a childless woman near Pulcallpa, gave birth to twins when she was in her 40s after drinking a piranha-based brew. And the mayor of a nearby village, a widower in his 60s, started a second family with the help of the fish. Countless couples here say they’ve used the seductive powers of the piranha to spice up otherwise unimaginative marriages. « The people helped by the fish don’t need proof from scientists, » said the witch doctor, Flor, whose name means « flower » in Spanish. Catching a piranha isn’t easy. The best fishermen start early in the morning by pouring buckets of blood around their boats to attract the fish, which gather with such ferocity that the water near the boat seems to be boiling. The fishermen slap the waters with their fishing poles to mimic the splashing sounds of an animal in distress — something that excites the piranha even more. Then they they drop in multipronged hooks baited with chunks of red meat. The piranha just nibble at the meat, but a slight tug at the hook-lines tells the fisherman to jerk the hooks upward, something as likely to snag the fish in the gills or tails as in the mouths, since the piranha do not allow hooks past their razor-sharp teeth. « The process is difficult, but a good fisherman can catch 12 or 15 piranhas before the sun gets too hot, » said Socorro, the fisherman. The piranhas sell for a little less than $1 each to witch doctors like Flor, meaning a successful fisherman can make the average weekly wage near Pulcallpa of $16 or so in a little more than a day of fishing. Flor charges about $4.25 for most of his signature brews, which use one or two fish each. « This is one of the most profitable businesses a man can get into near here, » Socorro said proudly. Some of the region’s piranha trading takes place at a fish market just outside Pulcallpa. On one edge of the market, away from the tables and mats where more traditional fish are bought and sold, a handful of fishermen and buyers go over the day’s piranha catch. Large black-bellied fish are generally worth a little less and are in highest demand by artisans, who make necklaces from the larger- than-normal jaws and teeth to sell to tourists. The meat from a red-bellied piranha, by contrast, is considered potent and is snapped up by healers. Meat from a baby piranha is thought to start working quicker; pregnant piranhas are used to solve fertility-related problems. According to Flor, medicinal uses of the piranha go back generations, though he said that he personally « discovered » the formulas he uses to make some of his most potent potions. « Medicine in the jungle is always changing, always becoming better, always discovering new cures and powers, » Flor said. « The things we can’t cure are only because we haven’t figured out how yet. » But Pardo, the pharmacist, said any power claimed to reside in the fish is purely psychological. « If there’s any effect at all, it’s due to somebody being convinced it will work, » he said, « and then it does. » « That’s not such a bad thing, » he added, « just as long as people don’t take it too seriously and start hailing it as the next great miracle cure. » Or the next new impotence drug. Whoever is right, the witch doctor or the pharmacist, it makes no difference to people like Quepo, the formerly childless woman who gave birth to twins when she was 43 — a miracle she attributes to piranha. « I don’t understand science, and I don’t know why it works, but it does, » she said. « Before I took the medicine, my husband and I were alone. Now, thank God, we have two little children. » After 5-hour trip into jungle, I’m at home with witch doctor The route to the home of the witch doctor known as Flor is long and difficult, but it doesn’t discourage visitors. Inside his wooden hut, a sweaty five hours by dugout canoe and foot from the Amazon jungle city of Pucallpa, Flor brews his mysterious potions and medicines for an average of three « clients » a day. « People, » he said plainly, « they want what I have. » They want it for dozens of reasons. Flor boasts cures for maladies ranging from infertility to baldness, from alcoholism to poor night vision. During a recent visit, Flor told me he could cure me of whatever ailed me. ` »You have all your hair, » he said, stroking his chin. « Any fertility problems? » I told him I was single, but he wasn’t deterred. « Do you have problems shooting an arrow straight? » he asked, a little more desperate. « Do you make too much noise when you walk through the jungle? Do your feet sweat when you sleep? » Flor wasn’t what I thought an Amazon witch doctor would be. He wasn’t dressed in bright robes, his face wasn’t painted in cryptic patterns. In fact, he was virtually indistinguishable from the 60 or so people in the nearby village of Nuevo Destino — Spanish for New Destiny — with his earth-tone clothes and high, Indian cheekbones. His Spanish was fairly articulate, given that it wasn’t his native language. The Shapibo Indian language is spoken by most people in the area. The route to his hut included a maze of minor river tributaries — some of which had to be blazed by breaking off or slipping under branches from fast-growing Amazon trees — and then a muddy, hourlong walk along an overgrown path. Flor’s hut, on the southern edge of Nuevo Destino, looks as if it grew out of the land around it. Weeds sprouted between the unevenly spaced floor and the wooden-and-palm-thatched roof seemed to absorb the tube of smoke rising up from the flame Flor used to heat the potion he was making for me. The brew he concocted for me included an ounce or two of piranha meat along with a ground-up mixture twigs, herbs, powders and some drops from an odd assortment of bottles that Flor kept on a shelf with the skull of a huge Caiman. The gritty potion tasted bitter, but Flor and my guide urged me to drink it down as they chatted in Shapibo. After I took a few hesitant sips, Flor took the clay pot back and smiled a toothless smile. He declared me almost cured. Of what? I asked Flor and my guide. They looked at me as if I should have perhaps asked for a cure for being dimwitted. A few seconds passed, and Flor spoke slowly. « You will find love, » he said, « within 30 days. » That time has nearly passed, but I haven’t given up hope. –By Eric J. Lyman July 17, 1998 – Page C-1

Voir enfin:

Theodore Roosevelt explorateur

Positivisme et mythe de la frontière dans l’expediçao cientifica Roosevelt-Rondon au Mato Grosso et en Amazonie (1913-1914)

Armelle Enders

Revue d’histoire d’Outremer. Explorations, colonisations, indépendances, Paris, t.85 (1998), n° 318, p.83-104.

Nuevo Mundo

14/02/2005

Résumé

De décembre 1913 à la fin d’avril 1914, l’ancien président des Etats-Unis Theodore Roosevelt dirige une expédition scientifique à l’intérieur des Etats brésiliens du Mato Grosso et d’Amazonie. Le but principal de celle-ci consiste à reconnaître environ 700 km du cours d’un fleuve considéré comme « inconnu », lequel reçoit le nom de « Roosevelt » au terme d’un voyage périlleux. La logistique de l’expédition est assurée par le gouvernement brésilien, représenté par le colonel Cândido Mariano Rondon, célèbre par ses explorations dans l’intérieur du pays et sa politique à l’égard des Amérindiens. A son retour dans l’hémisphère nord, Theodore Roosevelt met sa notoriété au service de sa propre légende, mais aussi de la propagande des missions militaires brésiliennes et des apports de celles-ci à l’extension de la Civilisation à travers la forêt vierge.

1Dans les années 1910, l’Amérique du Sud en général et le Brésil en particulier sont des destinations qu’empruntent un nombre croissant de personnalités. Ainsi, Anatole France, Clemenceau, Jaurès, s’arrêtent à Rio de Janeiro et São Paulo en 1910 et 1911, et, l’ancien président des Etats-Unis Theodore Roosevelt débarque le 21 octobre 1913 à Rio de Janeiro, où il inaugure une tournée de conférences et de visites qui doivent ensuite le mener à Montevidéo, Buenos Aires, et Santiago du Chili, conformément à un programme bien rôdé par les visiteurs étrangers. L’originalité du passage de Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) au Brésil réside dans dans la seconde partie de son voyage, beaucoup moins classique, qui commence le 12 décembre 1913 sur la frontière fluviale qui sépare le Paraguay du Brésil pour s’achever le 30 avril de l’année suivante à Manaus.

2Entre-temps, l’ancien président et son équipe de savants américains ont été confiés aux soins du colonel Cândido Maria da Silva Rondon (1865-1958) et les mondanités ont cédé la place à l’Expédition Scientifique Roosevelt-Rondon, dont l’objectif avoué consistait à parcourir plusieurs milliers de kilomètres dans des conditions périlleuses, collecter des spécimens de la faune locale, et, surtout, reconnaître le cours d’un fleuve oublié des cartographes depuis plusieurs siècles. Ne sachant trop s’il se jetait dans le Guaporé ou s’il s’écoulait en direction du Madeira, Rondon l’avait appelé « fleuve du Doute » (Rio da Dúvida), lors d’une reconnaissance effectuée dans la région en 1909. Sur les instances du gouvernement brésilien, il le rebaptise « Roosevelt » pour conclure glorieusement l’exploration. C’est ce nom, ou parfois celui de « rio Teodoro », que l’on lit toujours sur les cartes du Mato Grosso actuel.

1 « Roosevelt a débarqué à Manaus sur une civière, à l’abri des regards. Cf Esther de Viveiros, Rondon (…)

3Le tribut payé pour cet hommage est cependant élevé : tous les membres de l’expédition ont souffert de la faim et des fièvres, trois porteurs ont trouvé la mort, Kermit Roosevelt, le fils du président, a échappé de peu à la noyade, et, c’est un Roosevelt considérablement amaigri, fiévreux et blessé, qui est discrètement débarqué au petit matin à Manaus1. Ces souffrances ne sont même pas récompensées par l’admiration générale. L’exploit du chef des Rough Riders est immédiatement accueilli par un mélange d’éloges qui saluent l’exploit et de persiflages qui ironisent sur la validité de sa « découverte ». On peut donc se demander si les dangereuses tribulations de Theodore Roosevelt dans la jungle amazonienne ne répondaient pas à quelque dessein de la diplomatie brésilienne et si elles n’ont pas profité principalement à un groupe de militaires brésiliens, adeptes du positivisme et de la conquête des marches de leur pays et de leurs habitants.

« Que vient faire M. Roosevelt au Brésil ? »2

2 Titre du journal carioca Correio da Manhã, le 22 octobre 1913.

3 Roosevelt, Theodore, Through the Brazilian Wilderness, New York, Charles Scribner’s sons, 1914, et S (…)

4La minceur des apports scientifiques de l’Expedição Científica Roosevelt-Rondon ont fait classer celle-ci au chapitre mineur des activités cynégético-naturalistes de « TR ». Pourtant, le titre retenu pour le récit de voyage que l’ancien président publie dès son retour à New York chez Scribner’s Sons, Through the Brazilian Wilderness, suggère qu’il souhaite se placer dans le sillage de son compatriote Stanley, auteur d’une exploration remarquée du fleuve Congo à la fin des années 1870, exploration qu’il avait relatée dans un ouvrage intitulé Through the Dark Continent3.

4 Correio da Manhã, 20 octobre 1913.

5Lors de l’arrivée à Rio de l’homme d’Etat, le quotidien d’opposition carioca Correio da Manhã retrace brièvement les étapes biographiques de Roosevelt, présenté, à grand renfort de mots anglais, comme un « ancien cowboy qui a fait la guerre aux Indiens au Far-west », un « homme politique, écrivain, sportsman, soldat, globe-trotter »4.

6Depuis ses débuts en politique, Theodore Roosevelt a en effet alterné et cumulé les rôles. S’il n’a pas « fait la guerre aux Indiens », il s’est pris effectivement pris de passion pour le « far west » quelques années avant la fermeture de la « Frontière ». Le mot cowboy est souvent utilisé par les les milieux politiques et intellectuels brésiliens pour désigner le président américain avec une condescendance tout aristocratique, sans savoir que Roosevelt est, précisément, un des inventeurs du cowboy.

5 Miller, Nathan, Theodore Roosevelt, a life, New York, Quill/WilliamMorrow, 1992; et surtout, Ricard, (…)

6 Frederick J. Turner s’était rendu célèbre en prononçant à Chicago en 1893 une conférence intitulée  » (…)

7Au début des années 1880, Roosevelt, qui appartient à l’aristocratie new yorkaise la plus traditionnelle, se singularise en achetant un ranch dans le Dakota où il réside de longs mois5. Cette expérience est déterminante pour l’intellectuel qui découvre dans les grandes plaines ce qu’il perçoit comme l’essence de la nation américaine, la progression héroïque de la civilisation, la naissance d’un peuple dans la lutte contre des conditions hostiles. Il théorise ensuite cette expérience, avant Frederick J. Turner6, en publiant entre 1889 et 1896 une histoire de la conquête de l’Ouest, The winning of the West, qui obtient un gros succès et formule les clichés et les stéréotypes d’une mythologie naissante. Le dandy souffreteux et policé, diplômé de Harvard et de Columbia, rentre à New York transformé en pionnier viril, chantre de l’énergie et des vertus de l’Amérique profonde.

7 Sa seule prestation à l’Instituto Histórico Geográfico Brasileiro, par exemple, lui est payée 2000 $ (…)

8Depuis son départ de la Maison Blanche, qu’il a occupée de 1901 à 1909, la reconnaissance internationale de Theodore Roosevelt croît de manière inversement proportionnelle à sa fortune politique. En 1912, il n’obtient pas l’investiture républicaine pour l’élection présidentielle, il se présente à la tête d’une dissidence « progressiste », mais est battu par le démocrate Wilson qu’il honnit particulièrement. En revanche, les sociétés savantes et les académies du monde entier invitent volontiers le prix Nobel de la Paix de 1910, l’essayiste dévoreur de livres, l’amateur éclairé des sciences naturelles qu’est Theodore Roosevelt, et lui permettent ainsi de conforter ses revenus7.

9De l’Expédition scientifique Roosevelt-Rondon, « TR » peut escompter un regain d’admiration sur le plan politique intérieur et rappeler à l’opinion américaine qu’à cinquante-cinq ans, le colonel des Rough Riders possède toujours la vigueur du temps où il était le plus jeune président de l’histoire des Etats-Unis.

8 Cf. Ricard, Serge, « Theodore Roosevelt et l’avènement de la présidence médiatique aux Etats-Unis », V (…)

9 Correio da Manhã, 24 octobre 1913.

10 Correio da Manhã, 22 octobre 1913.

11 Zahm, J.A., (H.J. Mozans), Through South America’s southland with an account of the Roosevelt Scient (…)

10Expert dans l’art de manœuvrer la presse8, celui-ci prend soin de se faire surprendre par des journalistes à Rio, le doigt pointé sur les cartes de la Brazilian wilderness , alors qu’il s’entretient avec deux collaborateurs de Rondon9. Le Correio da Manhã rapporte ainsi ses propos : « M. Roosevelt a l’intention d’organiser des collections de plantes et d’animaux des Tropiques, y compris des insectes, et emportera, comme il le pourra, les dépouilles de la bataille qu’il va engager contre…l’inconnu. Il destine une part de ses collections (celle du lion) aux musées nord-américains, et l’autre, au Museu Nacional et à celui du Pará »10. Il y a sans doute, dans le voyage à travers le Brésil central, la volonté américaine de marquer le continent de son sceau scientifique. Dans le récit qu’il consacre à la tournée sud-américaine de Roosevelt, le père Zahm, familier de l’Amérique andine, se vante d’avoir pressé le président d’ouvrir la piste aux savants américains : « En comparaison avec les merveilleux résultats des explorateurs allemands, nos hommes de science américains n’ont pas accompli grand’chose dans l’intérieur des régions equinoxiales ; et il semble que si M. Roosevelt pouvait être convaincu de pénétrer le territoire peu connu du Mato Grosso et de l’Amazonie, il stimulerait ses compatriotes à consacrer plus de temps qu’auparavant à l’exploration des régions vastes et inconnues drainées par les eaux de l’Amazone et de l’Orénoque »11. Le titre du livre du père Zahm reste d’ailleurs fidèle au projet qui consistait à mettre sur pied une Roosevelt Scientific Expedition et fait disparaître Rondon du haut de l’affiche.

Sous la protection de Cândido Rondon

11Il y a lieu de croire, d’autre part, que les autorités brésiliennes n’ont pas promené sans dessein l’homme du Big stick, l’auteur du corollaire à la Doctrine Monroe, dans des régions que leurs diplomates et leurs militaires considèrent comme extrêmement sensibles et à propos desquelles ces derniers se sont toujours montrés particulièrement chatouilleux. Au-delà des enjeux diplomatiques évidents, qui visent à consolider le soutien des Etats-Unis d’Amérique aux Etats-Unis du Brésil en cas de litige sur la souveraineté de ceux-ci dans le bassin amazonien, un groupe de militaires positivistes trouve dans le passage de Roosevelt dans leur pays une occasion de promouvoir à l’étranger une facette particulière de la modernité brésilienne. L’illustre touriste ne témoignera pas seulement des réussites du Brésil littoral, de l’assainissement et de l’embellissement récents de la capitale fédérale, des travaux spectaculaires menés par le docteur Vital Brazil au Butantã, l’Institut ophidien de São Paulo, – étapes obligées des visiteurs de marque -, il verra aussi comment les Brésiliens participent à l’extension de la Civilisation dans des contrées sauvages et arriérées.

12 Lettre de Frank Harper, secrétaire de T.Roosevelt, au ministre des Relations Extérieures, Arquivo do (…)

13 Roosevelt,Theodore, Mes chasses en Afrique, Paris, Hachette, 1910.

12Le montage de l’expédition est due en grande partie au ministre brésilien des Relations Extérieures, Lauro Müller (1863-1926). Le projet initial de Roosevelt était plus modeste que la tournure prise ultérieurement par les événements, comme en témoigne la lettre détaillée adressée par l’ancien président aux autorités brésiliennes12. Roosevelt, qui a été invité par le Museo Social de Buenos Aires, est décidé à profiter de cette occasion pour parcourir l’intérieur du continent sud-américain, de l’estuaire de La Plata à Caracas, en suivant les voies fluviales des bassins du Paraguay et de l’Amazone. Pour ce faire, il sollicite du gouvernement brésilien la logistique nécessaire à ce voyage très aventureux à travers des régions à peine reliées au télégraphe en ce début du XXe siècle. Roosevelt entend être accompagné de quelques ornithologues de l’American Museum of Natural History de New York, comme il s’était entouré de naturalistes du Smithsonian Institute lors de son safari est-africain de 190913.

14 Roosevelt, Theodore, Through the Brazilian wilderness, New York, Charles Scribner’s sons, 1914, p. 8 (…)

15 Fausto, Boris (éd.), História Geral da Civilização Brasileira, III, 2, São Paulo, Difel, 1985, 3e ed (…)

16 Amado, Luiz Cervo, et Bueno, Clodoaldo, História da política exterior do Brasil, São Paulo,1992.

13Lauro Müller profite de l’aubaine pour donner à cette visite privée un retentissement important, couvrir Roosevelt d’hommages et faire connaître le Brésil à l’étranger14. Il avait succédé en 1912 au Palais Itamarati (le Quai d’Orsay brésilien) au baron de Rio Branco (1845-1912) qui avait occupé le poste pendant dix ans et marqué pour longtemps la diplomatie brésilienne. Premier ministre des affaires étrangères à s’être rendu en voyage officiel aux Etats-Unis15, Lauro Müller restait fidèle à l’héritage de Rio Branco qui privilégiait l’alliance avec la grande république du Nord16.

14Rio Branco devait son immense prestige à l’efficacité de ses méthodes qui avaient permis d’agrandir pacifiquement le territoire brésilien et d’en faire reconnaître internationalement la plupart des frontières. Ainsi, en 1900, Rio Branco parvient à un arrangement avec la France à propos de l’Amapá, il obtient de la Bolivie la cession de l’Acre (1903), règle les problèmes frontaliers avec la Grande-Bretagne (1904), le Vénézuela (1905), les Pays-Bas (1906), la Colombie (1907) et le Pérou (1909). Lorsque les positions semblent inconciliables, Rio Branco recourt à l’arbitrage international.

17 Cité dans Amado, Luiz Cervo, et Bueno, Clodoaldo, op.cit., p.171-172. Voir aussi, des mêmes auteurs, (…)

15Comme le Brésil est l’Etat du continent américain qui possède le plus de frontières avec des puissances européennes, l’impérialisme de celles-ci, qui achèvent de se partager l’Afrique, paraît bien plus menaçant à Rio Branco que les appétits nord-américains. Rio Branco redoute en effet que les Européens n’imposent au bassin de l’Amazone le régime de liberté de navigation et de commerce en vigueur dans le bassin conventionnel du Congo depuis la Conférence de Berlin. L’alliance privilégiée du Brésil avec les Etats-Unis, l’accueil favorable réservé au Corollaire Roosevelt de la Doctrine de Monroe (1904), ont pour but principal de préserver la souveraineté brésilienne en Amazonie, car, écrit Rio Branco, « si jamais les Etats-Unis invitaient des Etats européens à exploiter des terres en Amérique du Sud et à imposer la liberté complète de l’Amazonie, ils refuseraient difficilement l’invitation »17.

18 Sur les conceptions de Theodore Roosevelt, cf Ricard, Serge, op.cit.

16Le discours que prononce Roosevelt devant l’Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, en présence de Lauro Müller, à Rio en octobre 1913, fait écho aux paroles du baron de Rio Branco. Toute l’œuvre d’écrivain et d’homme politique de Theodore Roosevelt fait de l’expansion coloniale la victoire de la civilisation sur la barbarie, l’apanage des peuples forts, une sorte de darwinisme des peuples qui condamne les plus faibles à la disparition18. Cette tâche est l’affaire des Européens en Afrique et dans une partie de l’Asie. Par la Conquête de l’Ouest, les Etats-Unis ont accompli chez eux leur œuvre de Progrès et reçu de l’Histoire et de leur destin singulier une mission civilisatrice identique à celle exercée par la Grande-Bretagne et la France. La mise en valeur de territoires sauvages est même, pour Roosevelt, une condition de la sécurité. La « mission civilisatrice » justifie pleinement dans les années 1910, du point de vue du droit international, l’intervention d’une puissance tutélaire dans les régions considérées comme sauvage. Inversement, les puissances tutélaires qui faillissent à leur mission sont affaiblies sur la scène internationale, et même, encourent la déchéance de leurs droits. Roosevelt aborde ce thème dans les discours qu’il prononce à Rio en octobre 1913 : « Ici, en Amérique, les nations civilisées ne doivent pas craindre de grandes invasions militaires, pas plus que nous ne devons redouter l’existence de vastes territoires peuplés de sauvages qu’il incombe aux nations civilisées de contrôler et qui, à moins qu’ils ne tombent sous la tutelle d’une nation civilisée et préparée pour cela, deviendront facilement dans ces conditions la propriété d’une autre nation ». Plus loin, l’allusion se précise :

19 Discours prononcé à l’Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, le 24 octobre 1913, Revista do IH (…)

20 Roosevelt indique qu’il a été prévenu de la nouvelle dimension prise par son voyage en arrivant à Ri (…)

17″Il y a une doctrine cardinale sur laquelle nous sommes tous d’accord qui est que l’Amérique ne doit pas être traitée comme un champ de nouvelles colonisations ou d’agrandissement territorial de la part de toute puissance du Vieux Monde »19. C’est là la version civilisatrice du « corollaire Roosevelt ». Il appartient aux nations du continent américain de faire avancer leur propre « Frontière » de colonisation, de lancer leurs pionniers à l’assaut d’une nature vierge et d’une Humanité barbare, comme les Etats-Unis l’ont accompli avant eux, faute de quoi, les appétits s’aiguiseront et la paix du continent sera menacée. Dans une telle perspective, l’idée de l’Expedição Científica Roosevelt-Rondon , qui remplace in extremis la Colonel Roosevelt’s South American Expedition for the American Museum of Natural History20, est un coup de génie de Lauro Müller.

21 Le parallèle entre les deux hommes peut être poursuivi quarante ans après l’Expédition. A la fin des (…)

18Ce dernier ne se contente pas de faciliter le voyage des Américains dans une zone considérée comme stratégique, mais les fait encadrer par des militaires brésiliens fort patriotes. Pour la parfaite symétrie de l’expédition, l’institution new-yorkaise a pour pendant brésilien le Museu Nacional de Rio de Janeiro, et, le prestigieux colonel Roosevelt a pour homologue le colonel Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon21. Personne, en effet, n’était plus qualifié que Rondon pour faire valoir les capacités du gouvernement brésilien à mettre en valeur les sertões du Mato Grosso et la selva amazonienne, ni ne pouvait saisir mieux que lui l’opportunité d’attirer sur son œuvre les feux de la grande presse américaine et la renommée internationale de Theodore Roosevelt.

22 Lettre à Henry Cabot Lodge, sur le fleuve Paraguay, 12 décembre 1913, Selection from the corresponde (…)

23 Ricardo, Cassiano, Marcha para o Oeste. A influência da « Bandeira » na formação social e política do (…)

19Né en 1865 à Mimoso, dans l’immense province du Mato Grosso, Rondon compte des aïeules Borôro et Terena du côté de sa mère. C’est d’ailleurs par cette particularité qu’il est présenté à Roosevelt qui pense avoir affaire à un « full blooded Indian »22. Orphelin et pauvre, Rondon s’engage dans l’Armée brésilienne et réussit à entrer à l’Ecole Militaire de Praia Vermelha à Rio de Janeiro, où il rencontre la brillante génération d’officiers gagnés aux idées positivistes par le professeur de mathématiques Benjamin Constant Botelho de Magalhães. Il y fait notamment la connaissance d’Euclides da Cunha, l’auteur de Os Sertões, publié en 1902, et de Lauro Müller. Comme ses camarades, Rondon participe à la Proclamation de la République mais ne quitte pas la carrière d’ingénieur militaire pour la politique comme Lauro Müller, qui représente pendant de nombreuses années son Etat du Santa Catarina au Congrès fédéral, fait une belle carrière ministérielle et appartient aux noms que l’on cite au moment des successions présidentielles. Lauro Müller avait conservé de la sympathie pour les idéaux colonisateurs de ses compagnons de jeunesse. En 1891, c’est lui qui rapporte l’article de la constitution qui prévoit le transfert de la capitale fédérale sur le plateau central du Brésil23.

24 Viveiros, Esther de, Rondon conta sua vida, Rio de Janeiro, Livraria São José, 1958, p.107.

25 Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, O santo soldado. Pacificador, bandeirante, amansador de Indios, civil (…)

20Toute sa vie, Rondon révère la mémoire et l’influence de Benjamin Constant Botelho de Magalhães (mort en 1891), au point de donner à sa première fille le nom de la fille de Benjamin Constant (Aracy) et d’appeler son fils Benjamin24. Un de ses compagnons et héritiers spirituels, n’est autre qu’Amílcar Botelho de Magalhães, neveu du grand homme25.

26 Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. p.68 et sq.

27 Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. p.107.

21Formé à l’astronomie, Rondon est envoyé en 1890 dans son Mato Grosso natal pour servir la Commision des Lignes télégraphiques Stratégiques de Cuiabá à l’Araguaia, confiée au major Ernesto Gomes Carneiro 26. L’extension du réseau de communication dans les régions frontalières du Paraguay et de la Bolivie obéissait d’abord à des considérations géopolitiques. La guerre contre le Paraguay un quart de siècle plus tôt, les disputes territoriales récurrentes avec les voisins, prouvaient suffisamment la nécessité de rappeler la souveraineté brésilienne sur ses marches peu peuplées et de raccourcir le voyage des informations entre le centre et les périphéries. A la fin du siècle dernier, on met au bas mot trois semaines à rallier le Mato Grosso depuis Rio de Janeiro. En 1892, Rondon met même trois mois à rejoindre Cuiabá après une route particulièrement semée d’embûches, de quarantaines et de contre-temps27.

22Sur le terrain, l’installation de la ligne à travers la forêt prend une tout autre dimension. Pour faire passer le télégraphe, il faut reconnaître des régions peu ou mal cartographiées, procéder à des relevés topographiques, rencontrer les populations de l’intérieur, des fazendeiros isolés et des Indiens misérables et exploités, se frotter aux Indiens réputés bravos, que l’on dit aussi nus, féroces et anthropophages que ceux que rencontra Hans Staden au XVIe siècle. L’euphorie missionnaire et civilisatrice gagne ces officiers progressistes que sont Gomes Carneiro et Cândido Rondon. Ils rêvent de chemins de fer, de colonisation, d’incorporation pacifique des aborigènes dans l’ensemble national.

28 Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. p.227.

23Après la mort de Gomes Carneiro, Rondon dirige la « Commission des lignes télégraphiques stratégiques de Cuiabá à Corumbá », toujours au Mato Grosso (1 746 km de ligne), puis de 1906 à 1915, la « Commission des lignes télégraphiques stratégiques du Mato Grosso à l’Amazonie ». Sous la présidence d’Afonso Pena (1906-1909), le projet ambitieux de Rondon trouve un écho au sommet de l’Etat : « les travaux de reconnaissance et de relevés géographiques, l’étude des richesses minérales, de la constitution du sol, du climat, des forêts, des fleuves, avanceraient au même pas que les travaux de construction de la ligne télégraphique, du tracé des voies de pénétration, du lancement des futurs centres de peuplement, de l’installation des premières exploitations agricoles et des premiers fermes d’élevage »28.

29 Luiz Antônio Simas, O Evangelho segundo os jacobinos. Floriano Peixoto e o mito do salvador da repúb (…)

30 Série Amílcar Botelho de Magalhães, Casa Benjamin Constant, 903.09 a 958.07.30.

24Dans l’intervalle, Rondon a ajouté à ses convictions philosophiques positivistes une foi vibrante dans la religion de l’Humanité qu’il observe scrupuleusement en plein sertão en procédant chaque dimanche à la lecture publique du Catéchisme comtiste. Ce fait est suffisamment remarquable pour être souligné. Si les idées d’Auguste Comte s’étaient en effet répandues parmi les « Cadets » de l’Ecole militaire, principalement à travers l’enseignement de Benjamin Constant Botelho de Magalhães, les dérives religieuses de la doctrine, le culte de l’Humanité, de Clotilde de Vaux et des saints positivistes, séduisaient peu les ingénieurs et les soldats, qui se montraient plus enclins à transformer leur pays qu’à assister aux « conférences » dominicales célébrées par les Apôtres. L’Apostolat, chef du positivisme religieux, considérait la plupart des militaires comme « hétérodoxes »29. Rondon, en revanche, est un modèle d’orthodoxie et son exemple favorisera quelques conversions autour de lui. Ses séjours à Rio sont marqués par la fréquention assidue de l’Eglise positiviste et il adopte, dans sa correspondance personnelle, le calendrier de ses coreligionnaires. Ainsi un faire-part de la famille Rondon annonce-t-il un heureux événement daté du 16 de Shakespeare 115 (25 septembre 1903), d’après le calendrier positiviste30.

31 Le décret du 14 janvier 1890 instituait 9 fêtes nationales dont le sens est expliqué dans un ouvrage (…)

25Les rites du Positivisme religieux consiste essentiellement en la commémoration de dates et de figures qui sont censées représenter les grandes étapes du Progrès humain. Le gouvernement provisoire (novembre 1889-février 1891) avait d’ailleurs accordé à l’Apôtre de la religion de l’Humanité et à ses sectateurs un calendrier de fêtes civiques conformes à leurs vœux31.

32 La correspondance de Júlio Caetano Horta Barbosa, membre de la Commission Rondon, atteste de ces eff (…)

26Ainsi la route de Rondon est-elle jalonnée d’hommages et de pieuses pensées aux dates anniversaires de son histoire personnelle, de celle de son pays et de l’Humanité. Les premières stations télégraphiques inaugurées avec Gomes Carneiro portait les noms de « Benjamin Constant »(Botelho de Magalhães), « Floriano », »Demétrio Ribeiro », les héros des radicaux de la République. Laissé à sa propre intiative, Rondon se livre parfois à une véritable course contre la montre afin d’ouvrir ses stations pour les fêtes nationales : le 21 avril, jour de l’exécution de Tiradentes, le 7 septembre, celui de l’Indépendance du Brésil, le 15 novembre, anniversaire de la Proclamation de la République, le 31 décembre, fête de l’Humanité. Il étrenne toujours la ligne par des télégrammes envoyés aux autorités, mais aussi à Miguel Lemos et Raimundo Teixeira, directeurs de l’Apostolat de l’Eglise Positiviste du Brésil32.

33 Cité par Gagliardi, José Mauro, O índigena e a República, São Paulo, Hucitec, 1989, p.56.

27La caractéristique que Rondon veut retenir de son action dans les sertões est son approche nouvelle et pacifique des Indiens. Nul doute que son positivisme ne vienne fournir des arguments rationnels à son esprit de justice. L’Eglise positiviste du Brésil était une des rares institutions nationales à avoir manifesté de l’intérêt bienveillant pour la question indienne. Lors de l’instauration du régime républicain, l’Apôtre avait proposé que la nouvelle Constitution distingue entre les « Etats Occidentaux brésiliens », formés de la population issue de la fusion des « trois races » européenne, africaine et amérindienne, et les « Etats Américains Brésiliens », « empiriquement confédérés » et « constitués des hordes fétichistes éparses sur le territoire de toute la République »33, dont la sécurité et l’intégrité seraient garanties par le gouvernement fédéral.

28La doctrine positiviste en matière indigène reposait sur l’idée d’une dette contractée par les Européens envers les premiers et légitimes occupants du pays, décimés par les maladies, assassinés au cours des guerres, spoliés de leurs terres. Sans doute, selon cette conception, les aborigènes se trouvaient à un stade primitif de l’Humanité et se débattaient dans les ténèbres du fétichisme, mais rien de congénital ne leur interdisait d’accéder à la civilisation. Il fallait guider leur évolution vers l’âge scientifique de manière à leur épargner un passage inutile par la phase théocratique dont l’Occident se sortait à peine.

34 Cf. José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, Apontamentos para a civilisação dos Indios bravos do Império (…)

35 Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. , p.365.

29Rondon prend donc la défense concrète des Indiens opprimés, s’efforce de faire délimiter leurs terres et veut persuader ses concitoyens que l’Indien n’est pas un obstacle au Progrès, qu’il est travailleur et astucieux. Il associe donc les Borôro et les Pareci, sous la direction de leurs propres chefs, aux travaux de la ligne télégraphique. La commémoration du 7 septembre fait l’objet d’un soin particulier dans la mesure où ce jour rappelle le souvenir de José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, passé à la postérité comme le père de l’indépendance brésilienne mais aussi comme un ardent défenseur des Indiens34. José Bonifácio est honoré d’une sorte de temple rustique et donne son nom à une station télégraphique où le drapeau brésilien est hissé par une petite indienne nhambiquara35.

36 Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza cite longuement ce texte qui a fourni le titre de son livre sur le SPI (…)

37 Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. , p.241.

30L’extension de la ligne vers l’Amazonie, à travers des régions délaissées depuis longtemps par les Blancs, suppose la transformation de la mission en véritable expédition ainsi qu’un renforcement de la méthode indienne de Rondon. Sur les rives du fleuve Juruena, à quarante-huit jours de marche de Diamantino, la dernière bourgade traversée, commence en effet le domaine des Nhambiquara, considérés comme hostiles. Des volées de flèches suivent immédiatement les premiers contacts entre les explorateurs et les habitants des lieux. C’est là que prend corps la doctrine de conquête pacifique de l’intérieur, que Rondon résume par une déclaration de principe : « Mourir s’il le faut, tuer, jamais » et compare à un vaste et patient « siège de paix » (« cerco de paz »)36. Aux Nhambiquara méfiants, il montre la pureté de ses intentions à distance en semant sur son chemin des présents, surtout des pièces de tissu et des machettes qu’il définit comme la « livre sterling du sertão »37 et qui doivent achever de les convaincre de la supériorité technologique de leurs visiteurs.

38 C’est la date retenue par le calendrier positiviste, bien que, selon la chronologie admise, la flott (…)

39 Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. p.314.

40 O Paiz, 2 décembre 1913.

41 Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…, op.cit., p.121.

31Rondon assimile symboliquement son œuvre à celle des « découvreurs » de l’Amérique. La troisième expédition, celle qui l’entraîne de Tapirapoan au fleuve Madeira, s’élance le 3 mai 1909, jour qui commémore la découverte du Brésil par Pedro Álvares Cabral38. Rondon file plusieurs fois la métaphore en décrivant sans originalité un « nouveau monde, plein de merveilles »39 . Dans un moment critique, il exhorte ses hommes à suivre l’exemple de Christophe Colomb. Le colonel Rondon pense ainsi rééditer la découverte de l’Amérique en effaçant le péché originel des souffrances infligées aux Indiens. Le journal carioca O Paiz, proche du gouvernement et des amis de Rondon, synthétise le rôle national de Rondon en même temps qu’il diffuse sa légende : « En découvrant de nouvelles terres, de nouveaux trésors aux confins des sertões du Goiás, en triomphant de tous les obstacles de la nature brute, parfois hostile, il ne se contente pas de signer des conquêtes pour la Patrie et pour la Science (…) : il fonde à l’intérieur de la Patrie une véritable nation »40. C’est bien d’ailleurs ce qu’entendent les positivistes à travers la politique indienne : poursuivre la « formation du peuple brésilien »41.

42 Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…, op.cit., p.132.

43 Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…, op.cit., passim et p.209 et suivantes.

32Conformément à toute une tradition, née de la politique du marquis de Pombal au XVIIIe siècle, réinterprétée par le romantisme brésilien et réactivée par l’Apostolat positiviste, la figure de l’Indien exprime à la fois l’être historique et le corps géographique de la Nation. En même temps qu’il incarne un vestige archéologique du Brésil d’avant le Brésil, du Brésil inconscient à lui-même, il personnifie ses frontières et se fait le gardien naturel de ses richesses42. Cette seconde représentation sert d’argument pour défendre l’existence toujours menacée de la Commission Rondon par ceux qui voient d’un mauvais œil les deniers publics se perdre dans la forêt ou qui veulent freiner l’intrusion d’une bande de soldats positivistes, mandatés par le gouvernement central, dans les affaires (surtout foncières) des Etats de la Fédération. Contre ses ennemis, Rondon compte sur le réseau de ses coreligionnaires et sur l’opinion publique qui s’est enflammée pour ses premiers exploits43.

44 Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. , p.596

33Les positivistes ne constituent pas en effet une grande force capable de peser dans le jeu politique de la République des Etats-Unis du Brésil, – exception faite du Rio Grande do Sul -, et leur influence s’exerce à travers une poignée de fidèles et dans des secteurs particuliers. Les présidences de Nilo Peçanha (1909-1910) et du maréchal Hermes da Fonseca (1910-1914) témoignent de la sympathie pour les positivistes et les activités de la Commission Rondon. Le 7 septembre 1910 est créé le Serviço de Proteção aos Indios e de Localização de Trabalhadores Nacionais (SPILTN), qui dépend du tout nouveau Ministère de l’Agriculture, de l’Industrie et du Commerce (MAIC). Un descendant de José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva assiste à la cérémonie inaugurale44. Cândido Rondon, qui avait servi dans les années 1880 sous les ordres de Hermes da Fonseca, en est le directeur plus symbolique que réel puisqu’il retourne, dès 1911, aux œuvres de la Commission des lignes télégraphiques stratégiques. C’est là que le trouve le télégramme de Lauro Müller lui confiant Theodore Roosevelt.

Portrait de Roosevelt en Stanley

45 Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…., op. cit. p.123.

46 Certaines ont d’ailleurs été publiées : Conferências realizadas nos dias 5, 7 e 9 de outubro de 1915 (…)

47 Les archives de l’escritório central de Rondon se trouvent en grande partie au Fort de Copacabana. V (…)

48 Série Amílcar Botelho de Magalhães, Casa Benjamin Constant, pasta 3.

34Cândido Rondon est la vitrine idéale du Brésil civilisateur. Rondon est, de plus, en bon positiviste, un pédagogue hors pair. Comme l’a noté l’anthropologue Antônio Carlos de Sousa Lima, chez les positivistes religieux, tout est rite et tout rite est fondamentalement pédagogique45. Rondon est passé maître dans la mise en scène de sa vie et de son action. Ses séjours à Rio, entre deux expéditions dans les sertões, sont l’occasion de conférences publiques46, agrémentées de projections de films. Le cœur névralgique de la Commission des lignes télégraphiques stratégiques, le bureau central (escritório central47), comprend un service cinématographique depuis 191248. Le major Luiz Thomaz, cinéaste attaché à la Commission, suit aussi les pas de l’Expédition Roosevelt avec son matériel « Lumière Tropical » et en tire un documentaire.

49 Roosevelt, Theodore,Through the Brazilian …, op.cit., New York, Scribner, 1914, p.104.

50 Ibidem, p.100.

35Le trajet prévu par Rondon à travers son royaume est une véritable exposition coloniale in situ et comporte trois parties distinctes qui font parcourir en sens inverse aux Américains les phases successives de la progression vers l’Ouest. La première, qui conduit l’Expédition de Corumbá à São Luís de Cáceres, correspond à la zone pionnière. L’itinéraire est effectué par la voie fluviale. Il est ponctué d’étapes dans des fazendas accueillantes, de réceptions officielles, de parties de chasse et de détours touristiques. Roosevelt se retrouve en terrain connu. Ainsi compare-t-il le maître de la fazenda São João et son fils « au meilleur type des ranchmen et planteurs américains, de ces ranchmen et planteurs adeptes de sports audacieux et virils, qui sont des hommes d’affaires, et qui fournissent aussi à l’Etat des fonctionnaires compétents et fidèles »49. Il peut rêver à son aise sur l’avenir radieux de la région et affirmer que « cette région intérieure du Brésil, y compris l’Etat du Mato Grosso (…) est une région saine, excellemment adaptée la colonisation (settlement) ; des voies ferrées la pénétreront rapidement, et alors, on assistera à son développement étonnant « 50.

51 Ibidem, p.129.

36A partir de São Luís de Cáceres s’ouvrent la seconde phase du voyage et, comme le signale Roosevelt, le rideau sur la « scène des explorations du colonel Rondon », que l’Expédition sillonne pendant trente-sept jours avec un important convoi muletier51. TR peut admirer les lignes télégraphiques, les stations fondées par Rondon, comparables aux « stations de civilisation » implantées le long de la progression européenne en Afrique à la fin du XIXe siècle, et fait sien le futur mirifique que Rondon projette pour le plateau central du Brésil. De retour aux États-Unis, l’ancien président américain se chargera de diffuser l’épopée dans l’hémisphère nord en résumant longuement les travaux de la Commission Rondon :

52 Ibidem, p.212.

53 Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva, Expedição Roosevelt-Rondon, Rio de Janeiro, Typ. do « Jornal do Com (…)

37″Ce pays et les régions adjacentes, qui forment l’intérieur profond du Brésil occidental, alimenteront surement un jour une importante population industrielle ; dont l’arrivée sera accélérée, (…) si les anticipations du colonel Rondon sur le développement de l’extraction minière, surtout de l’or, se réalisent. De toute façon, la région deviendra une patrie saine pour une population considérable d’éleveurs et d’agriculteurs. Surtout, les nombreux rapides, avec leurs multiples cascades, dont certaines d’une hauteur et d’un débit importants, pour la croissance d’un nombre de gros centres industriels, reliés entre eux par les chemins de fer ainsi qu’à la côte atlantique et aux vallées du Paraguay, du Madeira et de l’Amazone, et qui commerceront avec les régions basses riches, chaudes et alluviales qui entourent ce territoire élevé »52. Signe de l’art consommé de Rondon pour la pédagogie ou la propagande, on sent plus d’une fois son influence dans les informations contenues dans Through Brazilian Wilderness qui, pour une bonne part, a été écrit au cours de l’Expédition53.

54 Ibidem.

38La troisième étape de la descente progressive dans la wilderness commence le 27 février avec la reconnaissance du Rio da Dúvida en canot. Il s’agit désormais d’exploration et Roosevelt prend soin de rappeler que Rondon et ses hommes sont les fondateurs de l' »école brésilienne » de cette discipline54.

55 Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva, op.cit…, p.76.

39Après avoir observé les réalisations de la Commission Rondon, Roosevelt peut la voir à l’œuvre dans son défrichement de la wilderness. Pendant quarante-huit jours, la partie inconnue des 1 409 km de méandres et des accidents du Rio da Dúvida sont l’objet de relevés effectués souvent dans des conditions périlleuses. Les cours d’eau rencontrés sont solennellement baptisés par Rondon du nom de « Kermit », le fils du président qui a failli disparaître dans les flots du Dúvida, de « Taunay », auteur brésilien que les deux Roosevelt ont lu, « Cardozo », d’après un compagnon de Rondon, et enfin de « Roosevelt », conformément aux ordres de Lauro Müller qui voulait rendre ainsi un hommage à la « grande République du Nord » en la personne de son ancien président55. Le 15 avril, l’Expédition aperçoit les premières habitations de seringueiros amazoniens : le Rio Roosevelt est un affluent du Madeira et porte en aval le nom de « Castanho ».

56 Série Amílcar Botelho de Magalhães, Casa Benjamin Constant, pasta 3.

57 Article « Rondon », dans Abreu, Alzira de, et Beloch, Israel (éd.), Dicionário biográfico-histórico Br (…)

40Pendant que Rondon retourne à ses travaux, Theodore Roosevelt s’en va divulguer les résultats de l’Expédition, chanter la gloire de son guide de par le monde et ses plus prestigieuses institutions savantes et montrer au public new yorkais les films réalisés par la Commission Rondon56. Cândido Rondon est honoré par la Société de Géographie de New York en 1914 du « Prix Livingstone »57, tandis que Roosevelt place la descente du fleuve qui porte désormais son nom dans la continuité des grandes explorations africaines du siècle passé. L’Amérique du Sud est présentée comme le nouveau « Dark continent » dont il faut dessiner la carte. C’est le sens du rapport qu’il présente le 6 juin 1914, un mois et demi après sa sortie de la Brazilian wilderness, dans le temple des explorateurs, la Royal Geographical Society de Londres, avec d’autant plus de force que les détracteurs sont nombreux.

58 A Epoca, 29 avril 1914.

59 Ibidem, passim.

41Un ingénieur brésilien, Inácio Moerbeck, n’attend même pas l’arrivée de l’expédition à Manaus pour affirmer dans la presse que le « Dúvida » est l’Aripuanã, affluent du Madeira, fréquenté par tout ce que la région compte de seringueiros et autres ramasseurs des drogas amazoniennes58. On fait la fine bouche sur le « rio Roosevelt », dont les cours supérieur et inférieur avaient déjà été rejoints par la « civilisation » et sur les relevés incomplets rapportés par une expédition malmenée par les éléments et que le président était pressé d’achever59.

42Le colonel Roosevelt se défend en affirmant qu’il a bien été le premier « civilisé » à descendre le cours moyen du Dúvida et à le « porter sur la carte » (put it on the map). Il ne lésine pas sur les références illustres devant les membres de la Royal Geographical Society :

60 Roosevelt, Theodore, « A journey in central Brazil », The Geographical Journal, n°2, février 1915, vol (…)

43″Laissez-moi définir ce que je veux dire quand je dis que nous avons porté ce fleuve sur la carte. J’utilise cette expression comme on le dirait, toute proportion gardée, en décrivant ce qu’ont fait Speke et Grant, et Baker, pour le cours supérieur du Nil. Le fleuve que nous avons descendu figure maintenant sur la carte au même sens que le Nil Victoria et le Nil Blanc l’ont été pendant des décennies après leur découverte et situation par les trois hommes que j’ai mentionnés. Depuis le temps de Ptolémée, les grands lacs du Nil supérieur était vaguement connus ; mais ils ont été « portés sur la carte » par Speke et Baker, et le relevé actuel n’a été fait que bien des années plus tard. Les sources du Niger et du Congo étaient connues bien avant qu’on sache où et comment leurs eaux s’écoulaient vers l’océan ; mais ils n’ont été portés sur la carte que lorsque leur cours furent, non relevés, mais situés par un certain nombre d’observations astronomiques quand les explorateurs les ont réellement parcourus ; Le « Columbia » fut « porté sur la carte » par Lewis et Clarke, bien que son embouchure ait été déjà connue, et qu’on n’ait pas procédé à son relevé avant bien longtemps »60.

61 Mille, Pierre, Au Congo belge, Paris, A.Colin, 1899.

62 « A journey in central Brazil : discussion », The Geographical Journal, n°2, février 1915, vol.XLV, p. (…)

44Les comparaisons entre le Brésil amazonien et l’Afrique équatoriale sont fréquentes à la Belle Epoque et fonctionnent dans les deux sens. Le journaliste français Pierre Mille ouvre par exemple son recueil d’articles contre l’Etat Indépendant du Congo sur les similitudes entre les deux pays61. Le président de la Royal Geographical Society ne modère pas l’emphase de Roosevelt à propos d’une haute Amazonie qui serait la dernière terre à conquérir par le peuple des cartographes, et l’intronise comme un nouveau Stanley. Il souhaite seulement que les Américains n’appliquent pas la doctrine de Monroe dans le domaine des explorations62.

63 Roosevelt, Theodore, Mes chasses en Afrique, Paris, Hachette, 1910, p.231.

64 A propos de l’équipe nord-américaine : « In its composition ours was a typical American expedition. (…)

45Cette remarque malicieuse met en lumière un des enjeux de l’Expédition Roosevelt-Rondon. A travers elle, les Américains du Nord et du Sud ont voulu montrer leur participation au mouvement d’expansion qui, depuis le milieu du XIXe siècle, étend la civilisation européenne à travers le monde. Ils ont voulu témoigner de la vocation civilisatrice de leur nation respective, et par conséquent, de la modernité et de la vocation de celle-ci à la puissance. Ils ont voulu, surtout, s’approprier leur continent. En 1909, l’Américain Peary avait atteint le pôle Nord sur un bateau appelé « Roosevelt » et proclamé « le pôle est à nous »63. De même, dans les sertões du Mato Grosso, les drapeaux brésiliens et américains accompagnent les pas de l’Expédition dont les membres sont décrits par Roosevelt comme la synthèse de leur peuple respectif64.

65 Cité par Leitão, C. de Melo, História das expedições científicas no Brasil, São Paulo, Cia editora N (…)

46Du côté brésilien, Roquette Pinto propose en 1915 que, de même que Cecil Rhodes avait laissé son nom à la Rhodésie, la région située entre les fleuves Juruena et Madeira porte le nom de « Rondônia »65. Ce sera chose faite en 1956.

66 Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva, op.cit…, p.121.

67 Ibidem, p.121.

47La « découverte », en assurant la prise de possession scientifique et symbolique du monde, suscite logiquement des polémiques. La plus significative naît à Lisbonne où Ernesto de Vasconcelos, secrétaire perpétuel de la Société de Géographie, conteste précisément les « découvertes » de l’Expédition Roosevelt-Rondon. Vasconcelos exhibe à cette fin la carte de la « Nova Luzitânia » de 1798 et attribue la première descente de l’Aripuanã au capitaine de frégate Antônio Pires da Silva Pontes, au nom de Sa Majesté le roi du Portugal66. C’est Rondon cette fois qui engage le fer et se charge de ridiculiser ce qu’il considère comme des contorsions cartographiques.67.

Les années quarante et la nouvelle actualité de l’Expedição Científica Rondon-Roosevelt

48En Europe et aux Etats-Unis où le temps des explorations est passé et où la guerre fait rage, l’Expédition Roosevelt-Rondon sombre dans l’oubli. L’ancien président meurt en janvier 1919. Son fleuve éponyme qui, comme il avait pu l’éprouver, était loin d’être une voie de pénétration du Brésil central, restait livré à ses enchevêtrements de lianes et de cataractes. Lauro Müller, d’origine allemande, fut pour sa part contraint de quitter l’Itamarati au moment où le Brésil choisit le camp des Alliés en 1917.

68 Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…, op.cit., p.139.

49Cândido Rondon achève sa carrière active à la fin de la Première République qu’il sert sans faille. La « Révolution de 1930″ provoque sa disgrâce et sa retraite, mais le Serviço de Proteção aos Indios e de Localização de Trabalhadores Nacionais reste aux mains d’ingénieurs militaires positivistes sans solution de continuité jusqu’au milieu des années cinquante68.

69 Viveiros, Esther de, op.cit., annexes.

50Cette éclipse dure peu et Rondon est réintégré au Panthéon national sous l’Estado novo (1937-1945). Cette seconde vie héroïque naît du projet idéologique et de la politique d’exaltation nationale que promeut le gouvernement présidé par Getúlio Vargas. La grandeur du Brésil passe par la mise en valeur de ses régions périphériques. Or, qui incarne mieux que Rondon la « Marche vers l’Ouest » que lance l’Estado Novo en 1939 ? Cette année-là, Rondon reçoit de l’Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro et des mains du ministres des Relations Extérieures Oswaldo Aranha, le titre inédit de « civilisateur des sertões »69. En 1940, Getúlio Vargas est le premier président brésilien à se rendre dans l’extrême ouest du pays et à visiter les Indiens Karajá sur l’île de Bananal.

51Les explorations redeviennent un thème fort en vogue dans l’édition brésilienne. Une História das expedições científicas no Brasil est publiée en 1941. Rondon fait l’objet d’innombrables hagiographies qui insistent sur son œuvre conquérante : Rondon, o bandeirante do século XX (1941), Rondon. A conquista do deserto brasileiro (1942), Rondon. Uma relíquia da Pátria (1942). En 1943 enfin, trente ans après sa publication aux Etats-Unis, Through the Brazilian Wilderness devient en portugais, Nas Selvas do Brasil, et est édité sous les auspices du ministère de l’Agriculture. Il paraît aussi en 1944 dans la collection Brasiliana de la Companhia Editora Nacional, sous le titre Através do sertão do Brasil.

52Une préface du ministre de l’Agriculture Apolônio Sales précède en 1943 le récit de Theodore Roosevelt pour en affirmer la double actualité. L’Expédition Roosevelt semble préfigurer la conjoncture des années 1940. Le Brésil s’est rapproché des Etats-Unis de Franklin D. Roosevelt et a déclaré la guerre à l’Axe. Theodore Roosevelt devient sous la plume du ministre le parangon des vertus nord-américaines : courageux, fait pour l’aventure, dévoué aux causes universelles, passionné de progrès scientifique. Tel était Roosevelt l’Ancien, ami du Brésil, tel est son neveu Roosevelt le Jeune, qui a rencontré Getúlio Vargas à Natal en janvier 1943.

70 Préface à Nas Selvas do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Serviço de informação agrícola, Ministério da Agricu (…)

71 Roosevelt, Theodore, Through the Brazilian…, op. cit., p.324.

53Le diagnostic porté par Theodore Roosevelt sur les sertões du Mato Grosso vient à l’appui de la « Marche vers l’Ouest ». « On dirait, écrit le ministre, que le grand homme d’Etat américain a prévu ce qu’aujourd’hui le président Vargas, avec une vision des nécessités sociales du pays qui n’est pas moindre, est en train de d’indiquer comme remède à la désorganisation de notre agriculture et à la pénurie qui règne en souveraine dans la plupart des régions agricoles du Brésil »70. Le lecteur est invité à s’inspirer de la leçon morale contenue dans le livre que Roosevelt terminait par une méditation sur la fin mondiale de la « Frontière » et le rôle des « pionniers » brésiliens : « ces hommes (…) et ceux qui, comme eux, partout sur la frontière entre la civilisation et l’état sauvage au Brésil, joue à présent le rôle qu’ont joué nos coureurs de bois quand ils entreprirent, voilà un siècle, la conquête du grand bassin du Mississipi ; le rôle joué par les Boers depuis environ un siècle en Afrique du Sud, et par les Canadiens, quand il y a moins de cinquante ans, ils commencèrent à prendre possession de leur Nord-Ouest. On répète que maintenant la « Dernière Frontière » se trouve au Canada ou en Afrique et qu’elle a presque disparu. On trouve cette frontière sur une bien plus grande échelle au Brésil – un pays grand comme l’Europe ou les Etats-Unis -, des décennies s’écouleront avant qu’elle ne disparaisse » »71.

72 Ricardo, Cassiano, Marcha para o Oeste. A influência da « Bandeira »na formação social e política do B (…)

73 Les bandeiras, composées de bandeirantes, sont les expéditions qui, du XVIe au XVIIIe siècles, parta (…)

54La mythologie hautement rooseveltienne de la Frontière est récupérée par l’Estado Novo et brésilianisée par l’écrivain ultra nationaliste Cassiano Ricardo. Son livre, Marcha para Oeste, publié pour la première fois en 1940, a pour sous-titre « l’influence de la Bandeira dans la formation sociale et politique du Brésil », dans une référence évidente à Turner72. Cassiano Ricardo passe toute l’histoire de son pays au crible du bandeirantismo. Les bandeirantes 73sont selon lui à l’origine de l’Etat, de la fondation des villes, du métissage, de la démocratie raciale, mais le bandeirantismo n’est pas un phénomène circonscrit dans le temps, c’est l’essence même de la nation brésilienne. Rondon est ainsi le type même du bandeirante moderne et Theodore Roosevelt lui a apporté son concours.

55L’Expedição Científica Rondon-Roosevelt a finalement rempli sa mission, qui consistait à donner, au Brésil même, la plus brillante justification aux entreprises contestées de la Commission Rondon, et à servir le prestige national dans l’hémisphère nord. Quant à Theodore Roosevelt, il avait trouvé au Brésil ce que l’Afrique coloniale lui avait refusé quelques années plus tôt. Le voyage organisé par les militaires brésiliens conjuguait ses deux imaginaires, celui de la Frontière, dont il avait vécu la fin aux Etats-Unis, et celui des explorations européennes du siècle précédent, que lui inspirait la nature tropicale et équatoriale des régions traversées.

56Cette vision s’accorde en grande partie à celle de Rondon avec lequel il partage la même passion contradictoire pour la wilderness et pour sa conquête par la civilisation technicienne. L’expansion méthodique du Progrès à l’intérieur du continent, telle qu’elle est exprimée dans Through the Brazilian Wilderness, frappe par son caractère anachronique et imaginaire. La poussée vers l’Ouest appuyée sur le chemin de fer, le mythe de la Frontière, même sommairement nationalisé sous la forme du bandeirantismo, a peu à voir avec le bourgeonnement désordonné de « fronts pionniers », suscités par quelques cultures spéculatives, qui ont caractérisé la construction de l’espace brésilien. Elle avait l’avantage de s’inscrire dans une conception évolutive de l’histoire, de promettre un futur à une nation qui se voyait comme inachevée, de lui fournir un modèle américain, plausible et épique.

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Notas

1″Roosevelt a débarqué à Manaus sur une civière, à l’abri des regards. Cf Esther de Viveiros, Rondon conta sua vida, Rio de Janeiro, Livraria São José, 1958, p.422.

2Titre du journal carioca Correio da Manhã, le 22 octobre 1913.

3Roosevelt, Theodore, Through the Brazilian Wilderness, New York, Charles Scribner’s sons, 1914, et Stanley, Henry Morton, Through the Dark Continent : Or the Sources of the Nile Around the Great Lakes of Equatorial Africa and down the Livingstone River to the Atlantic Ocean, 1878. Les souvenirs d’Afrique de Roosevelt s’appellent sobrement African Game trails (1910).

4Correio da Manhã, 20 octobre 1913.

5Miller, Nathan, Theodore Roosevelt, a life, New York, Quill/WilliamMorrow, 1992; et surtout, Ricard, Serge, Theodore Roosevelt : principes et pratique d’une politique étrangère, Aix-en-Provence, Presses universitaires de provence Aix-Marseille I, 1991.

6Frederick J. Turner s’était rendu célèbre en prononçant à Chicago en 1893 une conférence intitulée « The significance of the Frontier in the American history ». Cette analyse, devenue classique, faisait de l’expérience historique de la « Frontière » le creuset de la nation et de la démocratie américaines.

7Sa seule prestation à l’Instituto Histórico Geográfico Brasileiro, par exemple, lui est payée 2000 $ d’avance (Arquivo do Itamarati, lata 214, 3642-3643), ce qui est considérable quand on songe que le salaire du président des Etats-Unis au début du XXe siècle s’élevait à 50 000 $ par an, celui de vice-président à 8 000 $ annuels, cf Miller, Nathan, op.cit., p.334 et 360. Amílcar Botelho de Magalhães rapporte que l’on disait que Roosevelt touchait 1 $ par mot de son récit de voyage ! Rondon, uma reliquia da Pátria, Curitiba,Guaíra, 1942, p.175.

8Cf. Ricard, Serge, « Theodore Roosevelt et l’avènement de la présidence médiatique aux Etats-Unis », Vingtième siècle. Revue d’histoire, n°51, juillet-septembre 1996, p.15-26.

9Correio da Manhã, 24 octobre 1913.

10Correio da Manhã, 22 octobre 1913.

11Zahm, J.A., (H.J. Mozans), Through South America’s southland with an account of the Roosevelt Scientific Expedition to South America, New York, Appleton & Cy, 1916, p.5.

12Lettre de Frank Harper, secrétaire de T.Roosevelt, au ministre des Relations Extérieures, Arquivo do Itamarati, lata 214, 3642-3643, s.d.

13Roosevelt,Theodore, Mes chasses en Afrique, Paris, Hachette, 1910.

14Roosevelt, Theodore, Through the Brazilian wilderness, New York, Charles Scribner’s sons, 1914, p. 8.

15Fausto, Boris (éd.), História Geral da Civilização Brasileira, III, 2, São Paulo, Difel, 1985, 3e ed., p.381.

16Amado, Luiz Cervo, et Bueno, Clodoaldo, História da política exterior do Brasil, São Paulo,1992.

17Cité dans Amado, Luiz Cervo, et Bueno, Clodoaldo, op.cit., p.171-172. Voir aussi, des mêmes auteurs, A política externa brasileira, 1822-1985, São Paulo, Ática, 1986.

18Sur les conceptions de Theodore Roosevelt, cf Ricard, Serge, op.cit.

19Discours prononcé à l’Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, le 24 octobre 1913, Revista do IHGB, vol.128, t.76, parte II, p.679. Le discours a été publié aussi dans la presse quotidienne de Rio.

20Roosevelt indique qu’il a été prévenu de la nouvelle dimension prise par son voyage en arrivant à Rio, op.cit…, p.182.

21Le parallèle entre les deux hommes peut être poursuivi quarante ans après l’Expédition. A la fin des années cinquante, les admirateurs de Rondon se lancent (en vain) dans une campagne destinée à lui faire obtenir le prix Nobel de la Paix. TR avait été le premier Américain à recevoir cette récompense, toute catégorie confondue, en 1906.

22Lettre à Henry Cabot Lodge, sur le fleuve Paraguay, 12 décembre 1913, Selection from the correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, New York, 1925, p.443.

23Ricardo, Cassiano, Marcha para o Oeste. A influência da « Bandeira » na formação social e política do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, José Olympio, 1970, 4e éd., p.627.

24Viveiros, Esther de, Rondon conta sua vida, Rio de Janeiro, Livraria São José, 1958, p.107.

25Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, O santo soldado. Pacificador, bandeirante, amansador de Indios, civilizador dos sertões, apóstolo da humanidade. Uma leitura de Rondon conta sua vida de Esther de Viveiros, Museu Nacional, programa de Pós-graduação em antropologia social, comunicação n°21, 1990, p.20.

26Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. p.68 et sq.

27Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. p.107.

28Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. p.227.

29Luiz Antônio Simas, O Evangelho segundo os jacobinos. Floriano Peixoto e o mito do salvador da república brasileira, mestrado, UFRJ, 1994, p.32.

30Série Amílcar Botelho de Magalhães, Casa Benjamin Constant, 903.09 a 958.07.30.

31Le décret du 14 janvier 1890 instituait 9 fêtes nationales dont le sens est expliqué dans un ouvrage recommandé à la jeunesse brésilienne : Rodrigo Octavio, Festas nacionais, Rio de Janeiro, Livraria Francisco Alves, 1893.

32La correspondance de Júlio Caetano Horta Barbosa, membre de la Commission Rondon, atteste de ces efforrts; CPDOC, HB 08 08 23.

33Cité par Gagliardi, José Mauro, O índigena e a República, São Paulo, Hucitec, 1989, p.56.

34Cf. José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, Apontamentos para a civilisação dos Indios bravos do Império do Brasil, 1823.

35Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. , p.365.

36Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza cite longuement ce texte qui a fourni le titre de son livre sur le SPITLN : Um grande cerco de paz. Poder tutelar, indianidade e formação do Estado no Brasil, Petrópolis, Vozes, 1995, p.130.

37Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. , p.241.

38C’est la date retenue par le calendrier positiviste, bien que, selon la chronologie admise, la flotte de Cabral ait aperçu la terre le 22 avril 1500, célébré la « première messe » le 26, et appareillé vers les Indes le 2 mai.

39Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. p.314.

40O Paiz, 2 décembre 1913.

41Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…, op.cit., p.121.

42Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…, op.cit., p.132.

43Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…, op.cit., passim et p.209 et suivantes.

44Viveiros, Esther de, op. cit. , p.596

45Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…., op. cit. p.123.

46Certaines ont d’ailleurs été publiées : Conferências realizadas nos dias 5, 7 e 9 de outubro de 1915 no Teatro Phenix de Rio de Janeiro, sobre os trabalhos da Expedição Roosevelt e da Commissão Telegráficas, Rio de Janeiro, Typ. do Jornal do commercio, 1916.

47Les archives de l’escritório central de Rondon se trouvent en grande partie au Fort de Copacabana. Voir aussi Os Indios em arquivos do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, UERJ, 2 vol., 1995 et 1996.

48Série Amílcar Botelho de Magalhães, Casa Benjamin Constant, pasta 3.

49Roosevelt, Theodore,Through the Brazilian …, op.cit., New York, Scribner, 1914, p.104.

50Ibidem, p.100.

51Ibidem, p.129.

52Ibidem, p.212.

53Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva, Expedição Roosevelt-Rondon, Rio de Janeiro, Typ. do « Jornal do Comércio », 1916, p.39.

54Ibidem.

55Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva, op.cit…, p.76.

56Série Amílcar Botelho de Magalhães, Casa Benjamin Constant, pasta 3.

57Article « Rondon », dans Abreu, Alzira de, et Beloch, Israel (éd.), Dicionário biográfico-histórico Brasileiro, 1930-1983, Rio de Janeiro, FGV/CPDOC, 1983.

58A Epoca, 29 avril 1914.

59Ibidem, passim.

60Roosevelt, Theodore, « A journey in central Brazil », The Geographical Journal, n°2, février 1915, vol.XLV, p.105-106.

61Mille, Pierre, Au Congo belge, Paris, A.Colin, 1899.

62″A journey in central Brazil : discussion », The Geographical Journal, n°2, février 1915, vol.XLV, p.109.

63Roosevelt, Theodore, Mes chasses en Afrique, Paris, Hachette, 1910, p.231.

64A propos de l’équipe nord-américaine : « In its composition ours was a typical American expedition. Kermit and I were of the old revolutionary stock, and in our veins ran about every strain of blood that there was on this side of the water during colonial times. (…) We were as varied in religious creed as in ethnic origin », Roosevelt, Theodore, Through the Brazilian …, op.cit., p.5.

65Cité par Leitão, C. de Melo, História das expedições científicas no Brasil, São Paulo, Cia editora Nacional, 1941, p.340.

66Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva, op.cit…, p.121.

67Ibidem, p.121.

68Lima, Antônio Carlos de Souza, Um grande cerco de paz…, op.cit., p.139.

69Viveiros, Esther de, op.cit., annexes.

70Préface à Nas Selvas do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Serviço de informação agrícola, Ministério da Agricultura, 1943.

71Roosevelt, Theodore, Through the Brazilian…, op. cit., p.324.

72Ricardo, Cassiano, Marcha para o Oeste. A influência da « Bandeira »na formação social e política do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, José Olympio, 1970, 4e éd. Cf « The significance of the Frontier in the American history » de F.J. Turner, ainsi que les nombreuses variantes qu’il a lui-même écrit sur ce thème.

73Les bandeiras, composées de bandeirantes, sont les expéditions qui, du XVIe au XVIIIe siècles, partaient de São Paulo pour capturer des esclaves indiens dans l’intérieur du continent. Au début du XXe siècle, les historiens paulistas font des bandeirantes les créateurs de l’espace national.

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Para citar este artículo

Referencia electrónica

Armelle Enders, « Theodore Roosevelt explorateur », Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [En línea], BAC – Biblioteca de Autores del Centro, Enders, Armelle, Puesto en línea el 14 febrero 2005, consultado el 30 diciembre 2013. URL : http://nuevomundo.revues.org/607 ; DOI : 10.4000/nuevomundo.607

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Armelle Enders

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Diplomatie: Golfeur en chef président des bisous, même combat ! (Mitt Romney was right: great geopolitical powers still matter)

26 juin, 2013
http://static01.mediaite.com/med/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/golf.jpghttp://h16free.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/president-des-bisous.jpgUn des grands problèmes de la Russie – et plus encore de la Chine – est que, contrairement aux camps de concentration hitlériens, les leurs n’ont jamais été libérés et qu’il n’y a eu aucun tribunal de Nuremberg pour juger les crimes commis. Thérèse Delpech
Tout se passe comme si, à l’heure actuelle, s’effectuait une distribution des rôles entre ceux qui pratiquent le repentir et l’autocritique – les Européens, les Occidentaux – et ceux qui s’installent dans la dénonciation sans procéder eux-mêmes à un réexamen critique analogue de leur propre passé (..). Tout indique même que notre mauvaise conscience, bien loin de susciter l’émulation, renforce les autres dans leur bonne conscience. Jacques Dewitte (L’exception européenne, 2009)
J’ai plein de bisous hein, moi, je suis le président des bisous ! François Hollande
D’une certaine façon, les Etats-Unis sont passés du rang de ‘modèle des droits de l’homme’ à celui d »espion de la vie privée’, de ‘manipulateur’ du pouvoir centralisé sur le réseau international internet et d »envahisseur’ fou des réseaux de pays tiers. (…)  Le monde se souviendra d’Edward Snowden, dont l’audace a fait tomber le masque moralisateur de Washington. Le Quotidien du peuple
Nous avons reçu la demande d’asile (…). Nous l’analysons avec beaucoup de sens des responsabilités. Il y va de la liberté d’expression et de la sécurité des citoyens dans le monde. Il y va aussi de la confidentialité des communications. Ricardo Patino (ministre des Affaires étrangères équatorien, Hanoï)
Nous n’avons pas reçu de demande officielle, mais si c’était le cas, nous l’étudierions. Snowden devrait recevoir une aide humanitaire mondiale pour l’information qu’il a révélée. (…) Que se passerait-il si le monde apprenait que le Venezuela se livrait à de l’espionnage? Le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU se réunirait sans doute. Nicolas Maduro (président vénézuélien)
Oui, on entend cela [que la Chine n’est pas faite pour la démocratie], et pas seulement en Chine, de la part d’occidentaux aussi. Que l’on arrête avec ces stupidités dégradantes pour notre peuple, pour moi, la démocratie, c’est tout simplement la justice et le parti unique conduit forcément aux injustices. Et quoi, la justice ne serait pas faite pour la Chine ? L’air, l’eau, le ciel ne conviennent pas à la Chine ? L’ordinateur ou le téléphone portable ne sont pas faits pour la Chine? Bao Tong (Ancien bras droit de Zhao Ziyang, le patron du PC au moment de Tiananmen)
Il va sans dire que nombre de pays en développement envient le succès de la Chine. Quel pays pauvre refuserait trois décennies de croissance à 10%? Et quel despote ne voudrait pas d’une croissance à 10%, tout en ayant l’assurance de rester au pouvoir pour longtemps? (…) Par ailleurs, la Chine est parvenue à ce résultat en ignorant délibérément les conseils de l’Occident; elle a su tirer parti des avantages du marché, sans pour autant succomber à l’ensemble de ses charmes. Pendant des années, les banquiers du monde entier se sont rendus à Pékin pour prêcher la bonne parole de la libéralisation financière, conseillant aux dirigeants chinois de laisser flotter leur monnaie et d’ouvrir leur compte de capital. Comment reprocher aux Chinois d’avoir compris que cette recommandation était évidemment motivée par des intérêts personnels? Une théorie à la mode veut que le succès de la Chine ait donné naissance à un nouveau «consensus de Pékin», qui remettrait en cause l’importance de l’économie de marché et de la démocratie —les deux marques de fabrique du «consensus de Washington». Le consensus de Pékin proposerait ainsi un système économique pragmatique et une politique autoritariste prête à l’emploi. Mais observez le modèle chinois de plus près, et vous verrez qu’il n’est pas si simple de le l’imiter. La plupart des pays en développement n’ont pas la tradition et la complexité bureaucratique de la Chine; la structure du parti lui donne une capacité à mobiliser des ressources et à diriger ses fonctionnaires qu’ils ne peuvent égaler. La République démocratique du Congo pourrait-elle établir et administrer un département de l’organisation? En Chine, l’autoritarisme ne pourrait fonctionner sans les ressources du parti. Richard McGregor
Les Chinois ont maintenant assez peu d’illusions par rapport à la France. (…) ils ont été déçus successivement par Jacques Chirac – qui a reconnu l’existence de « valeurs asiatiques » qui seraient différentes des valeurs universelles – et par Nicolas Sarkozy, qui a un petit peu dit tout et le contraire. Et maintenant, j’ai l’impression que l’on n’attend plus grand-chose de François Hollande. (…) La dictature, en Chine, est une dictature assumée. En quelque sorte, ils nous disent : « Oui, nous matraquons, nous tuons, nous emprisonnons. Et alors ! » Et effectivement, quand ils nous disent : « Et alors ! » Qu’est-ce que l’on répond ? Je crois que la seule réponse qu’on puisse apporter, systématiquement, c’est que les valeurs universelles restent universelles. A partir du moment où ils ont accepté d’entrer dans l’Organisation du mondial du commerce (OMC), dans l’Onu et qu’ils font partie de cette planète, ils doivent œuvrer avec nous au bien-être du monde entier. Et pas seulement au bien-être de l’élite dirigeante de la Chine. Marie Holzman
Il y a en Chine un nombre très important de détentions illégales et arbitraires, ainsi que des disparitions forcées. Des centaines de milliers d’autres personnes sont envoyées en « rééducation » dans des camps de travail, qui devaient être abolis en 2013. Là encore, il s’agit de détentions sur décision purement administrative, sans aucune intervention du pouvoir judiciaire. Même si aucune statistique n’est disponible, on sait que la Chine est le « leader mondial » de la peine de mort, avec des milliers d’exécutions chaque année. Des minorités religieuses, comme les catholiques, et des minorités ethniques, les Ouïgours et les Tibétains sont persécutés. Car le régime veut tout contrôler, et donc toute personne, toute institution, qui tente d’échapper à ce contrôle doit être sanctionnée. Des personnes sont régulièrement expulsées de leurs logements et de leurs terres, sans compensation ni cadre juridique, au nom du développement économique. Francis Perrin
Back then in the 1960s, and at least until the late 1980s, it was clear that most regional problems were nested in a global rivalry between Washington and Moscow. Today, however, there is a determined effort to view regional events as divorced from global power politics — an odd formulation, given that almost all social and economic phenomena tend to be seen as linked to globalization-driven trends. Last fall, Mitt Romney performed a signal service in reminding us that, even decades after the Cold War, great geopolitical powers still matter. An awareness of this can inform and should guide grand strategy today. Ignorance of this simple truth is the path to costly ruin. John Arquilla

Golfeur en chef président des bisous, même combat !

A l’heure où le Golfeur en chef et continuateur masqué de l’antiterrorisme bushiste se voit ouvertement défier, tant sur l’espion en fuite Snowden que la Syrie ou l’armement nucléaire, par l’ancien kagébiste du Kremlin …

Et que, de l’Equateur au Vénézuéla, les petits autocrates progressistes se bousculent pour accueillir le dernier martyr en date de la liberté des peuples …

Comment ne pas voir, un mois après sa visite chez l’autre « petite frappe » de la planète actuelle et sous couvert du sacro-saint politiquement correct, la même lâcheté élevée au rang de vertu politique de notre Président des bisous à nous ?

Marie Holzman: « La dictature, en Chine, est une dictature assumée »

RFI

2013-04-25

Pour sa première visite d’Etat en Chine, François Hollande a axé sa visite principalement sur l’économie, écartant, de fait, les aspects plus politiques et les questions des droits de l’homme. Marie Holzman, spécialiste de la Chine contemporaine et présidente de l’association Solidarité Chine, plaide pour un abord franc de ces questions : « Il faut engager la Chine et, en même temps, dire les choses comme elles sont. »

RFI : Le président français a choisi de placer sa visite en Chine sous l’axe économique. En tant que spécialiste de la Chine, cela vous semble être une bonne stratégie, de ne pas froisser d’entrée de jeu les autorités chinoises avec des dossiers qui fâchent ?

Marie Holzman : Oui, évidemment. Nos relations économiques entre la Chine et la France sont très importantes. Entre l’Europe et la Chine encore plus. Donc il ne faut pas se leurrer, la base de cette relation franco-chinoise, c’est quand même l’économie. Nous avons énormément à leur proposer, que ce soit le nucléaire, la gestion de l’eau, les vins de luxe, les parfums, etc.

Donc, nous cherchons des marchés et des débouchés. Les Chinois, eux, cherchent des endroits où s’investir et où vendre leurs produits. C’est ce qui fait la trame de la relation. Cela ne devrait pas empêcher, évidemment, le gouvernement, le président François Hollande et toute sa suite, d’évoquer les problèmes des droits de l’homme, mais je crois qu’aujourd’hui il faut les évoquer en tant que vision du monde.

Qu’est-ce que nous souhaitons pour nos populations ? Qu’est-ce que nous souhaitons en termes de santé alimentaire ? Un air pur ? Une sécurité des citoyens ? Ou acceptons-nous les principes de la violence et de la dictature ? Je crois que c’est en ces termes-là qu’il faut voir les choses.

Sur cette question des droits de l’homme, quel dossier doit, selon vous, aborder François Hollande en priorité ?

Je crois que, fondamentalement, c’est celui de la société civile chinoise. Pour le moment, cette société civile est constamment muselée, massacrée, réprimée, et empêchée de s’exprimer dans sa diversité. C’est aussi dans ce contexte-là que le problème tibétain a pris des proportions épouvantables. Nous avons encore eu trois immolations par le feu dans cette seule semaine.

Cette société civile, et ceux qui luttent pour la démocratie, comment perçoit-elle cette visite, selon vous ?

Je crois que les Chinois ont maintenant assez peu d’illusions par rapport à la France. Je crois qu’ils ont été déçus successivement par Jacques Chirac – qui a reconnu l’existence de « valeurs asiatiques » qui seraient différentes des valeurs universelles – et par Nicolas Sarkozy, qui a un petit peu dit tout et le contraire. Et maintenant, j’ai l’impression que l’on n’attend plus grand-chose de François Hollande. Il faut donc qu’il les surprenne.

Il y a Liu Xiaobo, le Prix Nobel de la Paix, toujours emprisonné. Il y a l’artiste Ai Weiwei, privé de passeport. Comment, selon vous, François Hollande peut-il manœuvrer, sans être accusé d’ingérence ?

Dans ce cas de figure, je crois qu’il faut adopter une attitude relativement naïve. Il faut dire : nous avons beaucoup d’amateurs d’Ai Weiwei dans notre pays. Nous aimerions l’inviter pour une exposition. Voilà. Il faut poser la question comme ça, avec beaucoup de simplicité. Et je crois que ça, ça peut, peut-être, marcher.

Dans le cas de Liu Xiaobo, là, je crois, hélas, qu’il faut faire honte à la Chine. Dire que ce n’est pas en son honneur de garder en prison le seul Prix Nobel du monde emprisonné à l’heure actuelle. Il n’y a pas un seul Prix Nobel nulle part, sauf en Chine, qui soit en prison.

Parmi les autres dossiers qui pèsent également sur la bonne entente bilatérale, il y a la question des visas, et la lenteur dans les procédures pour les étudiants chinois qui souhaitent venir en France. Là-dessus quelle est votre position ?

La question des visas est assez douloureuse, parce qu’effectivement, les étudiants chinois viennent en masse en France. Un grand nombre d’entre eux sont tout à fait légitimes et doivent pouvoir venir. Un petit nombre trichent sur les diplômes, sur l’achat des passe-droits, etc. Je crois que c’est cela qui a rendu, justement, ce processus pénible. Du coup, il y a eu délocalisation de la délivrance des visas, en dehors des consulats. Tout cela donne lieu à des négociations de type plutôt commerciales, qui me paraissent inquiétantes.

Vous parliez tout à l’heure de la répression au Tibet, qui se poursuit. Nicolas Sarkozy, en son temps, avait pris position là-dessus. Finalement, cela n’avait pas été si productif que cela…

Non, parce que je crois que lorsqu’on lance un ultimatum à quelqu’un, en fait on lance un boomerang. Si vous dites : je n’irai pas en Chine avant que vous repreniez les négociations avec le Dalaï Lama – ce qu’avait fait Nicolas Sarkozy – et que vous allez quand même en Chine, alors que les négociations n’ont pas repris, c’est vous qui vous prenez le boomerang dans la tête. C’est un très mauvais langage. Il faut engager la Chine et en même temps dire les choses comme elles sont, sans mettre d’ultimatum.

Le fait que François Hollande arrive peu après un changement d’équipe à la tête du Parti communiste et de l’Etat chinois, cela peut être un atout pour les relations futures entre les deux pays ?

Peut-être. On dit que François Hollande est le premier grand président que rencontre Xi Jinping. C’est peut-être bon signe. C’est qu’effectivement, on accorde quand même à la France une position respectable. Il faut espérer qu’il n’en sorte que de bonnes choses.

Que les questions de droit de l’homme soient abordées ou non, on a un peu l’impression que les autorités chinoises ne bougent pas d’un iota. Comment faire ?

J’avoue que c’est ce qui nous désespère. Malheureusement, cela désespère aussi tous les observateurs chinois qui sont condamnés à l’exil et vivent parmi nous en France, en Allemagne, en Amérique, et qui se posent exactement cette question.

La dictature, en Chine, est une dictature assumée. En quelque sorte, ils nous disent : « Oui, nous matraquons, nous tuons, nous emprisonnons. Et alors ! » Et effectivement, quand ils nous disent : « Et alors ! » Qu’est-ce que l’on répond ?

Je crois que la seule réponse qu’on puisse apporter, systématiquement, c’est que les valeurs universelles restent universelles. A partir du moment où ils ont accepté d’entrer dans l’Organisation du mondial du commerce (OMC), dans l’Onu et qu’ils font partie de cette planète, ils doivent œuvrer avec nous au bien-être du monde entier. Et pas seulement au bien-être de l’élite dirigeante de la Chine.

Voir aussi:

Francis Perrin : « Il faut utiliser tous les canaux possibles pour faire progresser les droits humains en Chine »

Le porte-parole et ancien vice-président d’Amnesty International France déplore que la question du respect des droits humains ne figure pas au cœur de la visite qu’effectue François Hollande en Chine.

La Croix

25/4/13

Qu’attendez-vous de la visite du président Hollande en Chine pour la défense des droits de l’homme ?

Francis Perrin : Une déclaration du président de la République sur les droits humains en Chine aurait du poids et il n’y a pas de raisons que ces sujets soient traités de manière discrète. Des dirigeants américains et allemands n’ont pas évité de les évoquer et je ne crois pas que les firmes américaines et allemandes ont été pénalisées dans la compétition internationale.

Pour Amnesty International, le respect des droits humains devrait occuper une place centrale dans la politique intérieure et extérieure de chaque pays, y compris la France. Il faut utiliser tous les canaux possibles pour faire progresser les droits humains : les Nations unies, les ONG et les médias, mais aussi les relations bilatérales d’État à État.

Comment évolue la situation des droits de l’homme en Chine ?

F. P. : La situation est loin d’être brillante et se caractérise à la fois par la diversité et la gravité des violations des droits humains. À commencer par la liberté d’expression, avec une répression très forte contre les militants et les défenseurs des droits humains. Le prix Nobel de la paix, Liu Xiaobo, y a été condamné à onze ans de prison pour « incitation à la subversion du pouvoir de l’État » parce qu’il était l’auteur principal du manifeste Charte 08. Son épouse est assignée à résidence depuis octobre 2010.

Il y a en Chine un nombre très important de détentions illégales et arbitraires, ainsi que des disparitions forcées. Des centaines de milliers d’autres personnes sont envoyées en « rééducation » dans des camps de travail, qui devaient être abolis en 2013. Là encore, il s’agit de détentions sur décision purement administrative, sans aucune intervention du pouvoir judiciaire.

Même si aucune statistique n’est disponible, on sait que la Chine est le « leader mondial » de la peine de mort, avec des milliers d’exécutions chaque année. Des minorités religieuses, comme les catholiques, et des minorités ethniques, les Ouïgours et les Tibétains sont persécutés. Car le régime veut tout contrôler, et donc toute personne, toute institution, qui tente d’échapper à ce contrôle doit être sanctionnée.

Des personnes sont régulièrement expulsées de leurs logements et de leurs terres, sans compensation ni cadre juridique, au nom du développement économique.

Recueilli par Camille Hamet

Voir également:

Le Tibet vit depuis des mois au rythme des immolations

Plus de 90 Tibétains se sont immolés ou ont tenté de le faire depuis 2009 en demandant une véritable liberté religieuse sans entraves

La Croix

10/12/12

Sous grande tension depuis les manifestations violentes de 2008, toute la région vit sous conrôle policier et militaire chinois

Toute personne qui sera convaincue d’avoir aidé ou incité un Tibétain à s’immoler par le feu sera poursuivie pour « homicide volontaire », a annoncé cette semaine la presse officielle chinoise alors que plus de 90 Tibétains se sont immolés ou ont tenté de le faire depuis 2009. Un avis conjoint de la Cour suprême et des plus hautes instances judiciaires et policières stipule « clairement que ceux qui, en coulisses, organisent, incitent, aident, encouragent ceux qui s’immolent seront poursuivis pour le crime d’homicide volontaire », a souligné le journal officiel Gannan.

« Les récentes immolations dans les régions tibétaines sont liées aux forces hostiles à l’intérieur de la Chine et à l’étranger, organisées et encouragées par des séparatistes et constituent des incidents particulièrement odieux ayant pour but la destruction de l’unité ethnique et le désordre social », selon le journal, publié dans la préfecture de Gannan, qui fait partie de la province de Gansu (nord-ouest) où ont eu lieu plusieurs immolations en novembre. Aux portes de la région autonome chinoise du Tibet, le Gansu a une importante population d’ethnie tibétaine, qui accuse les autorités d’étouffer leur culture et leur religion.

Pékin accuse régulièrement le chef spirituel des Tibétains, le dalaï lama, d’encourager les immolations par le feu. « Le gouvernement chinois devrait enquêter sur la cause (de ces immolations). La Chine ne s’en occupe pas sérieusement (de cette situation) et essaye d’y mettre fin rien qu’en me critiquant », avait répliqué le mois dernier le dirigeant spirituel tibétain. Alors que Pékin ne cesse de défendre sa politique de développement au Tibet et dans les régions frontalières de la Région autonome du Tibet où vivent d’importantes communautés tibétaines.

Pour Robert Barnett, directeur du Département de Tibétologie à l’Université Columbia de New York, grand connaisseur de la situation au Tibet, « la situation au Tibet est une véritable crise pour la Chine qui tient à la cacher au monde extérieur ». Aucun journaliste nep eut entrer dans ces territoires bouclés par la police et l’armée. Certains observateurs et spécialistes iamaginent que la nouvelle équipe chinoise au pouvoir à Pékin pourrait adopter une autre approche à l’avenir dans le dossier tibétain. Pour Robert Barnett, « il faudra un grand courage à Xi Jinping pour changer la politique chinoise à l’égard du Tibet car les résistances internes sont fortes ». Force est de constater que la situation tibétaine est aujourd’hui dans une impasse.

D.M

Voir encore:

L’AFFAIRE SNOWDEN • Moscou, un protecteur opportuniste

Dans le scénario digne de la guerre froide qui se joue entre Washington et Moscou, le jeune informaticien américain est bien utile aux Russes. Mais si un Snowden russe faisait un jour son apparition, le pouvoir n’aurait aucune indulgence à son égard.

Ioulia Kalinina

Moskovski Komsomolets

25 juin 2013

C’est le sujet idéal d’un blockbuster hollywoodien : les services d’espionnage américains ont imaginé de mettre le monde entier sous leur coupe et ont baptisé PRISM leur système de surveillance intégrale. Mais un jeune homme ordinaire, Edward Snowden, informaticien de son état, qui travaillait à la CIA comme administrateur système, apprend l’existence de leur plan et le révèle à la presse. Celle-ci, bien entendu, en informe le monde entier.

Les services américains décident alors de punir le héros. Mais il prend la fuite, direction Moscou. Les principaux évènements se déroulent à l’aéroport de Cheremetievo.

Snowden veut se rendre en Equateur, pays qui envisage de lui offrir l’asile politique. Les quinze heures d’attente pour la correspondance se passent sous haute tension. Les Etats-Unis font pression sur les autorités russes, et exigent son extradition. Les Russes rétorquent que la zone de transit est un territoire neutre.

Et déjà les rumeurs vont bon train : les Américains pourraient faire atterrir l’avion lorsqu’il aura atteint leur espace aérien. Mais les pilotes de l’avion de l’Aeroflot, transportant Snowden, obéiront-ils aux aiguilleurs du ciel américains ? Et s’ils n’obéissent pas, que se passera-t-il ? L’avion sera-t-il abattu ?

Le point culminant (du scénario) n’est pas loin, mais nous n’y sommes pas encore.

Jouer un mauvais tour aux Américains

L’avion devait décoller lundi peu après trois heures. J’ai écrit cette note à une heure alors que les dépêches d’agences laissaient entendre que l’atmosphère chauffait. Leur ton ne laissait aucun doute : « La Maison-Blanche attend du pouvoir russe qu’il étudie toutes les possibilités concernant l’extradition de l’ancien agent de la CIA et de l’Agence de sécurité nationale, Edward Snowden, vers les Etats-Unis, où il risque d’être inculpé pour espionnage », annonce la BBC.

Les autorités américaines exigent du pouvoir russe qu’il leur rende Snowden. Par tous les moyens. Mais la Russie ne le fera pas. Et je m’en réjouis car je le soutiens. Je le défends. Comme lui, je ne veux pas que le monde soit placé sous la surveillance des services secrets. Je ne veux pas que mes conversations téléphoniques, mes messages et mes pensées soient épiés.

Les autorités de mon pays font exactement ce que je souhaite. Pour une fois, nous sommes en phase. La seule chose qui tempère cette harmonie et cette fierté c’est que leurs motivations sont très différentes des miennes. Je suis pour Snowden, parce que je suis opposée à la surveillance massive des individus, quels que soient les buts poursuivis. Les dirigeants russes sont pour Snowden, car ils veulent jouer un mauvais tour aux Américains.

Un Snowden russe ne sera pas épargné

Grâce à lui, nous savons que les services secrets américains ont écouté les conversations téléphoniques de Dmidri Medvedev au sommet du G20. Cela suffit à nos dirigeants pour ne jamais extrader personne vers les Etats-Unis. A cela il faut ajouter la longue liste de griefs qui vont du système de défense antimissile européen à la liste Magnitski.

En ce qui concerne la surveillance massive des individus qui est inacceptable à mes yeux, le pouvoir n’y est justement pas opposé. Et il serait même très satisfait si nos services secrets avaient un projet semblable à PRISM, permettant d’espionner les conversations téléphoniques, les courriers électroniques et les réseaux sociaux du monde entier.

Du reste, peut-être, l’ont-ils déjà. Ou bien ils l’auront bientôt. Et si un jour un Snowden russe fait son apparition, il ne sera pas épargné. Tout comme les Américains ne ménagent pas Snowden.

Le film n’est pas terminé

P. S. Lundi à 14 heures 41 (heure de Moscou), l’avion dans lequel devait se trouver Edward Snowden, roulait vers la piste de décollage de l’aéroport de Cheremetievo. Mais, d’après des journalistes qui avaient acheté un billet pour ce vol, il ne se trouvait pas à bord, ni en classe affaires, ni en classe économique.

Il y a trois possibilités. Ou bien il est tout de même à bord, et on l’aura caché pour que les Américains n’aient pas de raison de contraindre l’avion à atterrir. Ou alors, il a quitté Cheremetievo dans le véhicule de l’ambassadeur de l’Equateur et il vivra dans l’ambassade de ce pays, à Moscou, comme Assange vit à l’ambassade de l’Equateur à Londres. Ou encore, il est resté dans la zone de transit [ce que Vladimir Poutine a confirmé le 25 juin], et va essayer de se rendre en Equateur par d’autres vols aériens.

De toute façon, le film n’est pas terminé. Le dénouement est momentanément différé, le projet PRISM toujours en vigueur, et Snowden toujours vivant. A suivre.

Voir de plus:

Romney right on Russia?

Jennifer Rubin

June 25, 2013

Mitt Romney was mocked in the 2012 election when he named Russia as our biggest foe. Bashing the president for his remark to Dmitry Medvedev, picked up by a hot mic, that he would have more “flexibility” after the 2012 election, Romney asserted: “This is without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe. They fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.” No kidding.

Guffaws followed. But the fear was well-founded (as he was in smelling a rat in the Benghazi debacle).

Today Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on CNN had this exchange with host Chris Cuomo:

MCCAIN: [I]t is well-known that [Snowden’s] in Russia, and it’s reminiscent of the days of the Cold War when you hear a Russian spokesman saying that he’s not in Russia, when every shred of evidence indicates that he is.

Look, we’ve got to start dealing with Vladimir Putin in a realistic fashion for what he is. He’s an old KGB colonel apparatchik that dreams of the days of the Russian empire, and he continues to stick his thumb in our eye in a broad variety of ways, most importantly to me, of course, and should be to the world is their continued support of Bashar al Assad and the massacre taking place in Syria, not to mention a number of other areas that Russia is basically showing us a total lack of respect. By the way, this sends a message to the Iranians that they have to be wondering whether we are very serious about saying that they can’t achieve nuclear weapons status. . .

As you know I spent a lot of time in the Middle East. Every one of these leaders say where is American leadership? Where is American leadership? We need to show more leadership and that does not mean confrontation but it means steadfast adherence to the principles that many presidents since the end of the Cold War and since before have stood for that the rest of the world will respect.

McCain argues that “the problem is that most now especially China and Russia don’t believe we’re serious.” He recommends that we should undertake “a reevaluation of our relations, particularly with Russia and China, a more realistic approach to two nations that are acting in their own spheres of influence in a provocative fashion.” In practical terms this means:

[W]e should stop the sequestration, which is decimating our military to an alarming degree, and we should carry out the promises and commitments that we make. And it doesn’t mean threats, but it means that the United States is still the only nation in the world that the rest of world can depend on, and these — and China and Russia both in their own way are trying to assert spheres of influence which are not good for the things we stand for and believe in. . . .. Putin’s behavior has been with disdain or even contempt of the United States of America so we’ll have to see. But I — he has to understand and we have to be serious that this will affect our relations with Russia in a broad variety of ways, and that does not mean a return to the Cold War. But it means a very realistic approach to our relations with both of those countries.

McCain is not alone in his assessment. John Arquilla writes in a piece entitled “Mitt Romney was right” for Foreign Policy magazine:

Though the current furore over Moscow’s willingness to shelter the fugitive Edward Snowden is eye-catching, the resurgent rivalry is more evident, and more important, in the case of Syria, where Russia can derail any effort to obtain the blessing of the United Nations for military intervention and at the same time shore up the Assad regime with a wide range of weaponry. . . .

Syria is thus something of a lens through which Russian strength, influence, and strategy can be gauged. From political pull in the United Nations to alliance-creation and clientelism among friendly states, and on to nuclear parity and a robust conventional military capability, Russia remains formidable. Moscow has engineered a strong position for itself in the Middle East just as the United States is talking openly about de-emphasizing the region in favor of focusing on the Far East. And the dismissive way in which President Obama’s call for deep reductions in nuclear arms was treated by Russian leaders is yet another sure indication of Moscow’s confidence in its standing in the world.

He concludes that “Mitt Romney performed a signal service in reminding us that, even decades after the Cold War, great geopolitical powers still matter. An awareness of this can inform and should guide grand strategy today. Ignorance of this simple truth is the path to costly ruin.”

It is in this context that we should appreciate how ridiculous is Obama’s proposal for unilateral nuclear arms reduction. That is what Obama foolishly preferred in the original Cold War; in the 21st century version of Russian aggression, it is nearly as preposterous.

A final note: Romney and his foreign policy team were right on a great number of foreign policy issues. But to the dismay of those same advisers, he and his political handlers refused to emphasize these issues. Never can Republicans take this approach again. Foreign policy is the most critical (and generally unchecked) authority the president has. Ignoring it is the height of irresponsibility. And if one wants to command respect and demonstrate fitness for the job, foreign policy prowess is a critical part of any presidential campaign.

Voir enfin:

Mitt Romney Was Right

Russia’s our No. 1 enemy — and Snowden’s just the tip of the iceberg.

John Arquilla

Foreign policy

June 24, 2013

Back in the late 18th century, when Adam Smith wrote that « there is much ruin in a nation, » he was referring generally to the resiliency of countries under conditions of great adversity. Today, his words seem especially well tailored to Russia. Its 20th century history was bookended by problematic social revolutions (the first destroyed the Russian Empire, the second dissolved the Soviet Union) and was replete with military defeats (to Japan in 1905, in World War I a decade later, and then again in Afghanistan in the 1980s). Forced collectivization of farms caused the starvation of millions in the 1930s, and even victory over the Nazis cost tens of millions more lives. It is a wonder that Russia has survived and even more astonishing that it thrives, both economically and as a key player in the high politics of world affairs.

Mitt Romney suffered much unfair criticism last fall when he called Russia « our number one geopolitical foe. » Russia remains a country of vast natural resources, much military capability — including parity with the United States in nuclear arms — and human capital of the very highest quality. These classic geopolitical indicators of inherent strength aside, Romney noted, the leaders of Russia have also made it clear that their interests often do not coincide with American policy preferences. Though the current furore over Moscow’s willingness to shelter the fugitive Edward Snowden is eye-catching, the resurgent rivalry is more evident, and more important, in the case of Syria, where Russia can derail any effort to obtain the blessing of the United Nations for military intervention and at the same time shore up the Assad regime with a wide range of weaponry.

A determined effort to understand Russian strategic thinking about the Syrian situation could pay real dividends in terms of pointing out Moscow’s true geopolitical strength on the world stage. In my view, Russian reasoning and aims regarding Syria are nested — in a manner somewhat like their many-in-one matryoshka dolls. The first layer of motivation must certainly be defined by a determination to avoid being snookered into giving even tacit permission — as happened in the case of Libya — for international military action against the Assad regime. Yet another concern must be about maintaining a naval toehold in the Mediterranean, as is provided for the Russians by the Syrian port of Tartous.

But in a larger strategic sense, Moscow may be looking at Syria as the western anchor of an anti-Sunni arc of friendly countries in what is — the American pivot to the Pacific notwithstanding — the most important region in the world. This point may do the most to explain both the importance to Moscow of avoiding an outright insurgent victory in Syria and steadfast Russian support for Iran in the current proliferation crisis. Of course, Tehran’s influence with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad ensures that the eastern and western ends of this geostrategic arc of friendly states are connected, with Iraq serving as bridge between the two. And, as the Russians have keen insight into the ethnic fissures in the Muslim world, it is not at all surprising that Moscow is also sensitive to the needs and concerns of the sizeable Christian population of Syria — some two million in number, most of them Orthodox.

Syria is thus something of a lens through which Russian strength, influence, and strategy can be gauged. From political pull in the United Nations to alliance-creation and clientelism among friendly states, and on to nuclear parity and a robust conventional military capability, Russia remains formidable. Moscow has engineered a strong position for itself in the Middle East just as the United States is talking openly about de-emphasizing the region in favor of focusing on the Far East. And the dismissive way in which President Obama’s call for deep reductions in nuclear arms was treated by Russian leaders is yet another sure indication of Moscow’s confidence in its standing in the world.

It is tempting to ask what Mitt Romney would do — and I invite him to weigh in on this matter — given that the concerns he expressed about Russian opposition to American interests during last fall’s presidential campaign have been largely borne out. For my part, geostrategic thinking leads me to three pretty straightforward conclusions. First, there is the need to keep Russia from « winning » in Syria. This can be achieved either by escalating support for the anti-Assad insurgency or ratcheting up a peace process — the aims of which are to put Syria on a path to a post-Assad, democratic future. Perhaps both approaches can be simultaneously pursued. Either way, Russian influence will wane, and the western linchpin of its anti-Sunni arc would become unhinged.

The second country of geostrategic importance in the region is Iraq, and any fruitful initiative here may require some truly perverse thinking. Basically, the implication is to support the Sunnis who are currently resisting Shiite, Tehran-friendly rule in Baghdad — perverse given that this is an al Qaeda aim as well. But the end of Assad in Syria, something that the Obama administration has repeatedly demanded, also aligns us with al Qaeda’s aims. Yes, refraining from toppling Saddam Hussein in the first place would have avoided this mess — but that was then; this is now. And a consistent strategy, one that would thwart larger Russian geostrategic aims, means siding with the Sunnis in Iraq.

As for Iran, the third link in the Middle Eastern anti-Sunni arc, the solution is far simpler: Offer the mullahs a guarantee that the United States will not plump for regime change in return for Tehran’s absolutely verifiable abandonment of its nuclear weapons development program. This solution is quite like the deal that President John F. Kennedy cut with Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev to end the Cuban Missile Crisis some 50 years ago.

Back then in the 1960s, and at least until the late 1980s, it was clear that most regional problems were nested in a global rivalry between Washington and Moscow. Today, however, there is a determined effort to view regional events as divorced from global power politics — an odd formulation, given that almost all social and economic phenomena tend to be seen as linked to globalization-driven trends. Last fall, Mitt Romney performed a signal service in reminding us that, even decades after the Cold War, great geopolitical powers still matter. An awareness of this can inform and should guide grand strategy today. Ignorance of this simple truth is the path to costly ruin.

Arquilla is professor of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, author of « Insurgents, Raiders, and Bandits: How Masters of Irregular Warfare Have Shaped Our World, » and co-editor of Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America’s Longest War.


Argentine: Attention, une dictature peut en cacher une autre (Who will even mention Argentina’s forgotten terror victims ?)

23 mars, 2013
http://lapoliticaonline.com/data/img_cont/img_imagenes/img_gr/11391.jpghttp://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/kirchnerchavezmorales_300.jpghttp://elsolonline.com/archivos/imagenes/2013/03/pagina12_2628963-240.jpgDurant les années 1970, Horacio Verbitsky fut membre des Montoneros, une organisation péroniste pour laquelle il porta les armes. En 1976, quelques mois après le coup d’état militaire, il fut inculpé avec 6 autres Montoneros pour avoir été impliqué dans la planification et l’exécution d’un attentat contre la police fédérale faisant 21 morts parmi les agents du renseignement. La procédure judiciaire sera finalement close en 2007 en raison de la loi de prescription. Dans les années 90, à la direction de Pagina 12, il contribue à révéler plusieurs affaires de corruption et de pot de vins touchant le gouvernement ou la famille du président Carlos Menem puis apporte dans les années 2000 et 2010 un soutien appuyé à la politique menée par les gouvernements de Nestor et Cristina Kirchner. Wikipedia
Les anciens Montoneros, coupables d’attentats sanglants, d’assassinats, d’enlèvements et de tortures, grouillent à la tête de l’Etat à Buenos Aires depuis la présidence des Kirchner, et l’un d’entre eux, Carlos Bettini, est même ambassadeur en Espagne. Eduardo Luis Duhalde, secrétaire aux Droits de l’homme, Miguel Bonasso, député et conseiller présidentiel, Carlos Kunkel, porte-parole de la présidence (amnistié de ses crimes en 1984 par la loi Punto final dont les militaires ont été écartés), Rafael Bielsa, ex-ministre des Affaires étrangères qui a travaillé en exil pour Pinochet, Horacio Verbitsky, conseiller présidentiel, Anibal Fernandez, chef du cabinet présidentiel, Julio Cesar Urien, capitaine de frégate auteur de tortures dans les « prisons du peuple » et du « manuel d’instruction des milices montoneras », réhabilité par Kirchner en 2006 avec paiement rétroactif de sa solde depuis 1972, et surtout Nilda Garré, ex-ministre de la Défense de Nestor Kirchner, devenue ministre de la Sécurité (police et gendarmerie) en décembre dernier sous la présidence de Cristina de Kirchner. « Comandante Teresa » dans la guérilla des Montoneros, elle a été complice de crimes, commis notamment par son mari Juan Manuel Abal Medina et le frère de celui-ci, contre le général Aramburu en 1970 et l’ex-ministre de l’Intérieur Arturo Mor Roig en 1974 (qui avait légalisé les partis politiques et contribué au retour de la démocratie en 1973 avec l’élection de Juan Peron). Quant à Carlos Bettini, impliqué dans le meurtre du capitaine Jorge Bigliardi en 1975, donc en pleine période constitutionnelle sous la présidence d’Isabel Peron, il pourrait quitter incessamment son poste d’ambassadeur à Madrid pour devenir l’éminence grise de Cristina Kirchner, son ancienne petite amie… Jacques Thomet
Chacun sait comment la junte militaire renversa le gouvernement en 1976 et écrasa ensuite sans pitié les mouvements de subversion. Ses abus de pouvoir furent légion et, en 1983, elle quitta le pouvoir dans un pays plongé dans une hyper inflation et le chaos économique. Mais l’Argentine avait vécu une autre tragédie antérieure, et pendant quelque temps après que les militaires eurent saisi le pouvoir. Ce fut une vague de carnage et de destruction déclenchée par des bandes de guérillas s’inspirant de Castro, pour tenter de prendre le pouvoir en terrorisant la nation. Leurs actions provoquèrent le chaos à l’échelle nationale, puis le coup d’Etat militaire. Pourtant, à cause de la fin honteuse de la junte militaire, les terroristes et leurs sympathisants réussirent à réécrire l’histoire en ne relatant que les seuls crimes de leur ennemi en uniforme. D’ex-membres ou membres actuels du gouvernement Kirchner, d’autres du Congrès et d’autres travaillant dans les média furent des membres bien connus d’organisations subversives. . Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Patagonian roots aside, the president’s main interest in escalating the Falklands row may be to deflect looming domestic difficulties. The government is attempting to untangle expensive state subsidies which will hurt its blue-collar base. Analysts say inflation is more than double the official figure. The government is so desperate to massage the numbers it has prohibited economic consultancy firms publishing private inflation estimates. Compounding that unease, a constitutional ban on a third term means Fernández could soon be embroiled in a fraught effort to change the constitution so she can run again. The alternative will be to watch her authority gradually ebb. « A Peronist president without the chance of re-election becomes a lame duck. Once the Malvinas issue fades back into the background, the fight of succession will come to the fore and her monolithic power could reduce her flexibility when it comes to dealing with the Peronists, » said Romer, the analyst. « Her great strength could become her greatest weakness. » Tapping semi-dormant passions over the Falklands is a largely cost-free way to consolidate her base and deter would-be successors from moving too soon. Fernández has also been emboldened by the zeitgeist: South America has discovered it can, perhaps for the first time in its history, safely challenge the old colonial powers. A « pink tide » of nationalistic leftwing governments senses the region’s time has come after centuries of marginalisation. China’s rapid rise as a trading partner has further weakened European leverage. « South America doesn’t have the respect it used to have for Europe. It feels it is on top now and is flexing its new muscles, » said a senior European diplomat. Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made a global splash railing against western bankers, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez did the same railing against western imperialism and the Falklands gave Fernández her own cause, said Romer. « She is using Malvinas to expand her visibility on the international arena. » Lucrative fishing concessions have made the Falklands wealthy, and when in 2010 four British companies announced they were going to search for an estimated 8.3bn barrels of oil in Falkland waters, it added resource nationalism to the combustible mix of history and wounded pride. London’s blunt dismissal of Argentinian concerns over financial and environmental implications aggravated Fernández all the more. Rio Gallegos remains cold and windy but nobody expects to see a new generation of conscripts tramping aboard Falkland-bound planes. Fernández is not desperate or stupid. She is simply extracting advantage from a clump of islands her compatriots consider unfinished business. And in the process becoming, for many, Argentina’s own iron lady. The Guardian
Wrapping himself in the mantle of Simon Bolivar, the revolutionary leader of the early 19th century who led the fight for independence from the Spanish empire, Chavez led his own battle to free his country and region from what he saw as the hegemony of the neo-liberal, neo-colonalist superpower north of the Gulf of Mexico. (…) His politics, a blend of socialism, populism, authoritarianism and nationalism, became known as ‘Chavismo,’ his followers were ‘Chavistas.’ His goal was what he called the ‘Bolivarian revolution.’ In foreign policy terms, that meant a dual strategy, of ‘Latin America first’ and “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” (the enemy of course being the Yanqui imperialist.) To advance this strategy, he used Venezuela’s greatest source of wealth and power, its oil. That second rule of thumb basically explained Chavez’ forays outside the Americas: his establishment of an anti-US ‘Axis of Unity’ with Iran, his support for the Gaddafi dictatorship in Libya and most recently for Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. Anti-Americanism drew Venezuela close to Moscow, and led him to denounce Israel – with whom Chavez broke off diplomatic relations after the 2008/9 war in Gaza – as a “genocidal state” and the “assassin arm of the United States.”(…) And it was over Cuba where Chavez’ impact was greatest. The billions of dollars of aid he gave the island, much in the form of heavily subsidized oil, may have been the difference between survival and collapse for the Communist regime. Over time a pattern developed, as oil-rich Venezuela under Chavez emerged as the leader of the poorer and more leftist countries of region: not just Cuba, but Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and some Caribbean island nations. The bloc took formal economic shape in 2004 with the creation of ALBA, the ‘Alternativa Bolivariana para las Americas,’ set up to as a rival to the orthodox, free trade areas in the hemisphere. But it wasn’t just the ALBA members who didn’t want to offend Chavez: his wont to give contracts to non-US companies won him a hearing with the region’s richer countries too. By the time of his illness, however, his influence even in Latin America had waned. One reason was the decline in his physical powers. Another was the arrival of a new administration in Washington: Despite evidence that Venezuela was even abetting drugs trafficking into the US, Barack Obama struck a less confrontational note than his predecessor. For much the same reason, US relations with Brazil and Argentina have been smoother, offering Chavez less leverage. At the same time, left wing governments aligned with Venezuela have run into difficulties. And not least, the regional economic climate has changed. The appeal of ‘Chavismo’ was never greater than after the Latin American financial crises of the late 90s, culminating in Argentina’s 2001 default, seeming proof of the failure of the Western-style capitalism excoriated by Chavez. As it is, the last remotely ‘Chavista’ leader elected was Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner in 2007. The Independent
This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s « holiday home ». This has been corrected. The Guardian
Rien de tout cela n’est important pour ceux qui tentent de faire de l’Argentine le prochain Venezuela. Ce qui les fâche, c’est que le père Bergoglio croyait que le marxisme (et la « théologie de la libération » qu’il avait inspirée) était antithétiques au christianisme et qu’il avait refusé de l’adopter dans les années 1970. D’où les désaccords tant avec ceux à l’intérieur de l’ordre des Jésuites de l’époque qui croyaient à la révolution qu’avec les Montoneros qui multipliaient les mutilations, enlèvements et assassinats de civils pour terroriser la population. Criminels dont un bon nombre sont toujours là aujourd’hui et n’ont toujours pas abandonné leurs rêves de révolution. Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Mr. Treviño’s site mainly went after the opposition leader for anti-Semitic remarks and his alliance with the Islamist party PAS, and even accused him of links to terrorists through the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mr. Anwar has made anti-Semitic comments—though that’s in part to fend off domestic accusations that he’s too cozy with Zionists. He also has ties to organizations that have taken Saudi money, but the suggestion that he somehow has « ties to terrorism » is preposterous. (…) Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It’s not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think- tankers to write favorable coverage, as the Jack Abramoff case in the mid-2000s showed. The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times. Mr. Najib’s falling popularity at home suggests his days as Prime Minister could be numbered. The irony is that he was more democratic and played a more responsible role in the region than his predecessors. Even opposition figures have quietly admitted to us that he has steered Malaysia in the right direction. That should have been more than enough for a legitimate public relations operation to work with. Resorting to underhanded tactics to undermine the opposition has only backfired for Mr. Najib, at home and abroad. The WSJ

Attention: une dictature peut en cacher une autre !

 A l’heure où, ne reculant devant aucune démagogie, la nouvelle Evita argentine (ou Chavista – merci les valises de billets de Chavez !) est en train apparemment de nous refaire le coup des Malouines …

Et que nos médias pressés se font les courroies de transmission, plus ou moins volontaires et des deux côtés de l’Atlantique ou de la Manche (voire jusqu’en Malaisie !), des campagnes de calomnie du moment …

Qui rappellera, hormis un bien solitaire WSJ derrière l’omerta politiquement correcte actuelle, que ceux qui alimentent la pompe à calomnies contre un nouveau pape ayant le tort de penser, sans compter les Malouines ou le mariage homo, que « le marxisme comme la ‘théologie de la libération’ qu’il avait inspirée sont antithétiques au christianisme » …

Sont les mêmes qui,  outre les milliers de victimes commodément oubliées du terrorisme d’extrême-gauche, ont précipité le putsch militaire de 1976 et réécrivent aujourd’hui l’histoire au profit de l’actuel pouvoir argentin en place ?

 

LES VICTIMES OUBLIEES DU TERRORISME EN ARGENTINE

Maria Anastasia O’Grady

The WSJ

3 janvier 2011

traduction Yves/jacqus Thomet

Des milliers de personnes ont souffert du déchaînement de la gauche qui précipita le putsch militaire de 1976.

“Ceux qui contrôlent le passé contrôlent le futur, celui qui contrôle le présent contrôle le passé.”

- Parti slogan de Big Brother, “1984,” par George Orwell

La Justice ne s’installe pas facilement partout dans le monde. Mais dans l’Argentine d’aujourd’hui, il est périlleux de seulement mentionner en public les victimes du terrorisme de la gauche du pays, sans parler de les amener à se présenter eux ou leurs proches parents survivants devant une Cour [pour témoigner]. Essayez et vous serez probablement tancé par la Gauche argentine comme un ami fasciste de l’ex-régime militaire. Les [gens] du “politiquement correct” savent que ceux qui furent brutalisés par les guérillas, que Juan Peron (ex-président) désigna une fois de “jeunesse merveilleuse”, sont censés être effacés de la mémoire nationale.

L’avocate argentine Victoria Villaruel, 35 ans, défenseur des Droits de l’Homme, s’y refuse. Elle a fondé le “Centre Argentin d’Etudes Légales du Terrorisme et de ses Victimes”, avec pour objectif de lister les milliers de crimes terroristes commis entre 1969 et 1979.

Elle pense qu’apporter la lumière sur cette sombre décennie aidera à fournir un meilleur et juste futur à tous les Argentins. Chacun sait comment la junte militaire renversa le gouvernement en 1976 et écrasa ensuite sans pitié les mouvements de subversion. Ses abus de pouvoir furent légion et, en 1983, elle quitta le pouvoir dans un pays plongé dans une hyper inflation et le chaos économique.

Mais l’Argentine avait vécu une autre tragédie antérieure, et pendant quelque temps après que les militaires eurent saisi le pouvoir. Ce fut une vague de carnage et de destruction déclenchée par des bandes de guérillas s’inspirant de Castro, pour tenter de prendre le pouvoir en terrorisant la nation. Leurs actions provoquèrent le chaos à l’échelle nationale, puis le coup d’Etat militaire. Pourtant, à cause de la fin honteuse de la junte militaire, les terroristes et leurs sympathisants réussirent à réécrire l’histoire en ne relatant que les seuls crimes de leur ennemi en uniforme. D’ex-membres ou membres actuels du gouvernement Kirchner, d’autres du Congrès et d’autres travaillant dans les média furent des membres bien connus d’organisations subversives.

Lors d’une interview à Buenos Aires en novembre 2010, Mme Villaruel m’a raconté que même les politiciens de l’opposition ne parlent pas des victimes du terrorisme car cela est devenu “tabou” de le faire. L’Etat, dit-elle, les traite comme s’ils n’étaient jamais nés.”

Le résultat est qu’une génération d’Argentins a grandi sans aucune conscience de la vraie histoire de cette époque de terreur. Mme Villaruel est de l’opinion que la “Vérité et la Justice” requiert que ces victimes soient reconnues. Son livre, “Ils s’Appelaient Les Jeunes Idéalistes”, de 2009, est un pas en avant vers ce but. Dans celui-ci, elle documente avec des photographies et des coupures de presse la dévastation que ces terroristes ont infligé à leur propre peuple. “Vaincre ou mourir”, le slogan de l’Armée Révolutionnaire du Peuple (ERP), apparaît en graffiti sur un camion dans un cliché. Ce livre comprend les photos de quelques milliers de victimes : des bébés, des adolescents, des diplomates, des businessmen, des juges, des policiers.

Les uns furent enlevés et assassinés. D’autres furent tués ou mutilés simplement parce qu’ils se trouvèrent à proximité d’une bombe qui venait d’exploser. Les mineurs (d’âge) furent enrôlés dans les armées révolutionnaires. Tous furent considérés comme du simple gibier par les rebelles qui cherchaient à refaire le monde à travers la violence. Dans cette même interview de novembre 2010, Mme Villaruel décrit le travail de son centre sur le terrorisme : consultation des archives de journaux et dialogue avec les membres des familles et les témoins quand ils y sont disposés. Beaucoup d’entre eux vivent dans la peur de représailles, dit-elle.

Elle m’a appris que le Centre est parvenu à identifier par leur nom 13.074 victimes du terrorisme. Ce sont des bilans préliminaires. Mme Villaruel est tellement soucieuse de la justesse de son travail qu’elle a fait faire un audit indépendant à deux reprises. Elle espère que les décomptes définitifs seront prêts pour le milieu de cette année 2011. Il est intéressant de noter que le nombre de procès contre la junte militaire pour abus de pouvoir totalise moins de 9.000 cas. Pendant ce temps, la justification du gouvernement Kirchner pour nier l’existence des victimes de ce terrorisme de gauche consiste à les considérer comme des victimes de crimes ordinaires, leurs auteurs étant désormais exempts de poursuites de par la loi Statut des Limitations (NDLR : sorte d’amnistie).

Mais Mme Villaruel affirme démontrer que les victimes ont été des civils attaqués par des mouvements de guérilla dans leur quête sans merci pour le pouvoir. Si ce qu’elle avance se confirme, il ne s’agirait plus en l’occurrence de Statut de Limitations, en vertu de la Convention de Genève de 1949 ratifiée par l’Argentine. Dans son étude du terrorisme des années 70, elle n’a jamais “compris les raisons pour lesquelles un groupe, s’attribuant [arbitrairement] la représentation du peuple, a décidé d’assassiner son propre peuple.

Voir aussi:

Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope

Argentines who want their country to be the next Venezuela see Francis as an obstacle.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady

The WSJ

March 17, 2013

Argentines celebrated last week when one of their own was chosen as the new pope. But they also suffered a loss of sorts. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a tireless advocate of the poor and outspoken critic of corruption, will no longer be on hand locally to push back against the malfeasance of the government of President Cristina Kirchner.

Argentines not aligned with the regime hope that the arrival of Francis on the world stage at least will draw attention to this issue. Heaven knows the situation is growing dire.

One might have expected a swell of pride from Argentine officialdom when the news broke that the nation has produced a man so highly esteemed around the world. Instead the Kirchner government’s pit bulls in journalism—men such as Horacio Verbitsky, a former member of the guerrilla group known as the Montoneros and now an editor at the pro-government newspaper Pagina 12—immediately began a campaign to smear the new pontiff’s character and reputation at home and in the international news media.

The calumny is not new. Former members of terrorist groups like Mr. Verbitsky, and their modern-day fellow travelers in the Argentine government, have used the same tactics for years to try to destroy their enemies—anyone who doesn’t endorse their brand of authoritarianism. In this case they allege that as the Jesuits’ provincial superior in Argentina in the late 1970s, then-Father Bergoglio had links to the military government.

This is propaganda. Mrs. Kirchner and her friends aren’t yet living in the equivalent of a totalitarian state where there is no free press to counter their lies. That day may come soon. The government is now pressuring merchants, under threat of reprisals, not to buy advertising in newspapers. The only newspapers that aren’t on track to be financially ruined by this intimidation are those that the government controls and finances through official advertising, like Mr. Verbitsky’s Pagina 12. Argentines refer to the paper as « the official gazette » because it so reliably prints the government’s line.

Intellectually honest observers with firsthand knowledge of Argentina under military rule (1976-1983) are telling a much different story than the one pushed by Mr. Verbitsky and his ilk. One of those observers is Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, winner of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize. Last week he told BBC Mundo that « there were bishops that were complicit with the dictatorship, but Bergoglio, no. » As to the charge that the priest didn’t do enough to free junta prisoners, Mr. Pérez Esquivel said: « I know personally that many bishops who asked the military government for the liberation of prisoners and priests and it was not granted. »

Former Judge Alicia Oliveira, who was herself fired by the military government and forced into hiding to avoid arrest, told the Argentine newspaper Perfil last week that during those dark days she knew Father Bergoglio well and that « he helped many people get out of the country. » In one case, she says there was a young man on the run who happened to look like the Jesuit. « He gave him his identification card and his [clergy attire] so that he could escape. »

Ms. Oliveira also told Perfil that when she was in hiding at the home of the current minister of security, Nilda Garré, the two of them « ate with Bergoglio. » As Ms. Oliveira pointed out, Ms. Garré « therefore knows all that he did. »

Graciela Fernández Meijide, a human-rights activist and former member of the national commission on the disappearance of persons, told the Argentine press last week that « of all the testimony I received, never did I receive any testimony that Bergoglio was connected to the dictatorship. »

None of this matters to those trying to turn Argentina into the next Venezuela. What embitters them is that Father Bergoglio believed that Marxism (and the related « liberation theology ») was antithetical to Christianity and refused to embrace it in the 1970s. That put him in the way of those inside the Jesuit order at the time who believed in revolution. It also put him at odds with the Montoneros, who were maiming, kidnapping and killing civilians in order to terrorize the population. Many of those criminals are still around and hold fast to their revolutionary dreams.

For them, the new pope remains a meddlesome priest. In the slums where the populist Mrs. Kirchner claims to be a champion of the poor, Francis is truly beloved because he lives the gospel. From the pulpit, with the Kirchners in the pews, he famously complained of self-absorbed politicians. He didn’t name names, but the shoe fit. Nestór Kirchner, the late president and Cristina’s husband, responded by naming him « the head of the opposition. »

As Ms. Fernández Meijide observed last week, « I have the impression that what bothers the current president is that Bergoglio would not get in line, that he denounces the continuation of extreme poverty. » That’s not the regime’s approved narrative.

Voir aussi:

Le pape et les « années de plomb » en Argentine

Christine Legrand

Le Monde

16.03.2013

Le rôle de Jorge Mario Bergoglio, le pape François, pendant la dictature militaire (1976-1983) fait l’objet de controverse depuis plusieurs années à Buenos Aires. A l’origine, le directeur du quotidien progouvernemental Pagina 12, Horacio Verbitsky, avait publié, en 2005, un livre polémique, El Silencio (non traduit), où il dénonce la complicité de l’Eglise catholique argentine avec les militaires.

Le journaliste accuse en particulier Jorge Bergoglio, qui était à l’époque responsable de la Compagnie de Jésus en Argentine, d’être impliqué dans l’enlèvement de deux jeunes prêtres jésuites qui travaillaient dans un bidonville, en 1976. Torturés pendant cinq mois, Orlando Yorio et Francisco Jalics avaient été remis en liberté et s’étaient exilés. Le premier est mort en 2000, le second vit en Allemagne. Dans un communiqué publié, vendredi 15 mars, sur le site Internet des jésuites en Allemagne, ce dernier déclare qu’il ne peut « prononcer sur le rôle du père Bergoglio dans ces événements ». Il indique aussi avoir eu « l’occasion de discuter des événements avec le père Bergoglio qui était entre-temps devenu archevêque de Buenos Aires. Nous avons ensemble célébré une messe publique (…). Je considère l’histoire comme close », a-t-il précisé.

De son côté, le porte-parole du Vatican, le Père Federico Lombardi, a dénoncé « le caractère anticlérical de ces attaques, allant jusqu’à la calomnie et la diffamation des personnes ». « La justice l’a entendu une fois et à simple titre de témoin et le père Bergoglio n’a jamais été suspecté ou accusé ». « Dans l’élaboration de la demande de pardon, Mgr Bergoglio a déploré les défaillances de l’Eglise argentine face à la dictature », souligne le Vatican.

« TALENTS D’ACTEUR »

Dans un article publié au lendemain de l’élection du pape François, M. Verbitsky, qui est également directeur du Centre d’études légales et sociales, une organisation non gouvernementale de défense des droits de l’homme, a renouvelé ses attaques, qualifiant le nouveau pontife de « populiste conservateur », qui introduira « des changements cosmétiques » au Vatican, « avec ses talents d’acteur ». Le même jour, M. Verbitsky publie un courrier électronique de Graciela Yorio dans lequel la sœur du prêtre décédé exprime « son angoisse et sa colère ». Selon elle, il aurait « laissé sans protection » les deux prêtres, adeptes de la « théologie de la libération ».

Le dictateur Jorge Rafael Videla reçoit la communion de l’évêque Octavio Derisi, en décembre 1990.

Depuis l’élection surprise d’un pape argentin, une photo montrant un prêtre de dos, donnant l’hostie à l’ancien dictateur Jorge Rafael Videla, circule sur les réseaux sociaux. Cette photo avait fait la « une » de Pagina 12, le 27 mai 2012. Aucune légende ne précisait l’identité du curé de la photo, prise en 1990, au lendemain de la sortie de prison du général Videla, gracié par l’ancien président péroniste Carlos Menem. Le photographe, travaillant pour l’AFP et le quotidien argentin Cronica, l’a identifié : l’évêque Octavio Derisi, mort en 2002.

De leur côté, deux journalistes argentins, Francesca Ambrogetti de l’agence italienne ANSA et Sergio Rubin, spécialiste des affaires religieuses du quotidien Clarin (opposition), ont publié en 2010 l’ouvrage El Jesuita (non traduit), portrait élogieux de Mgr Bergoglio. Les témoignages recueillis, en particulier d’anciennes victimes, démentent toute collaboration avec les militaires, affirmant qu’au contraire il a aidé de nombreuses victimes, dont l’avocate Alicia Oliveira. Juge au moment du coup d’Etat de 1976, elle fut persécutée par les militaires. « Il m’a sauvé la vie », dit-elle. « Il y a eu des évêques complices de la dictature militaire, mais pas Bergoglio », ajoute Adolfo Perez Esquivel, prix Nobel de la paix.

Estela de Carlotto, présidente de l’Association des mères et grands-mères de la Place de Mai, à Buenos Aires, le 15 mars. Elle reproche au pape de n’avoir jamais parlé des personnes disparues pendant la dictature argentine (1976-1983), malgré l’avénement de la démocratie dans ce pays il y a trente ans.

La présidente Cristina Kirchner a salué froidement l’élection du pape. Mais sur les réseaux sociaux, les partisans des Kirchner ont durement critiqué le choix de l’archevêque de Buenos Aires, qui entretenait des rapports tendus avec les gouvernements péronistes du président Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) et aujourd’hui celui de son épouse Cristina. Il avait coutume de centrer ses homélies sur des thèmes brûlants, des inégalités sociales jusqu’à la traite de personnes, en passant par la corruption.

Voir également:

Starting a Papacy, Amid Echoes of a ‘Dirty War’

Simon Romero and William Neuman

The New York Times

March 17, 2013

BUENOS AIRES — One Argentine priest is on trial in Tucumán Province on charges of working closely with torturers in a secret jail during the so-called Dirty War, urging prisoners to hand over information. Another priest was accused of taking a newborn from his mother, one of the many baby thefts from female prisoners who were “disappeared” into a system of clandestine prisons.

Another clergy member offered biblical justification for the military’s death flights, according to an account by one of the pilots anguished about dumping drugged prisoners out of aircraft and into the sea.

As he starts his papacy, Francis, until this month Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, faces his own entanglement with the Dirty War, which unfolded from 1976 to 1983. As the leader of Argentina’s Jesuits for part of that time, he has repeatedly had to dispute claims that he allowed the kidnapping of two priests in his order in 1976, accusations the Vatican is calling a defamation campaign.

Now his election as pope is focusing scrutiny on his role as the most prominent leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina, an institution that remains under withering criticism for its role in failing to publicly resist — and in various instances actively supporting — the military dictatorship during a period when as many as 30,000 people are thought to have been killed or disappeared.

This stance by Argentina’s church stands in contrast to the resistance against dictatorships by Catholic leaders elsewhere in Latin America at the time — notably in Chile and Brazil, two nations where far fewer people were killed. Even as the head of the Argentine Conference of Bishops from 2005 to 2011, Francis resisted issuing a formal apology for the church’s actions during the Dirty War, disappointing human rights campaigners.

“The combination of action and inaction by the church was instrumental in enabling the mass atrocities committed by the junta,” said Federico Finchelstein, an Argentine historian at the New School for Social Research in New York. “Those like Francis that remained in silence during the repression also played by default a central role,” he said. “It was this combination of endorsement and either strategic or willful indifference that created the proper conditions for the state killings.”

Francis, 76, has offered a complex description of his role during the dictatorship, a period officially called the Process of National Reorganization, in which the authorities installed a terrifying campaign against perceived opponents.

While refraining from public criticism of the dictatorship, Francis said in his autobiography that he pressed military officials behind the scenes to free the two priests from his order — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — even meeting with top military officials.

Francis also said that he hid at a Jesuit school several people persecuted by the dictatorship, and even helped one young man who resembled him to flee Argentina, via Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian border, giving him priest’s garb and his own identity documents.

The Rev. Ignacio Pérez del Viso, a Jesuit who is a longtime friend of Francis’, said that a small number of Argentine bishops spoke out against the military dictatorship. But they were clearly in the minority, he said, and others in the Argentine church, including the new pope, who was 39 at the time of the 1976 coup, adopted a far more cautious position.

“When you saw that the majority of the bishops preferred to have a dialogue with the military,” Father Pérez del Viso, 78, said, “it’s not easy to say, ‘We will do something different.’ ” He added: “Many of the bishops opted, rather than to confront the military head on, to try to intercede in private conversations for those they could save.”

“Later the bishops realized this was a mistake,” Father Pérez del Viso said. “But to see the mistake at that moment was difficult.”

Religious scholars attribute such passivity to remarkably close ideological and political links between the church and the armed forces. Some priests have even been forced to stand trial on charges of human rights abuses.

After a previous military coup in Argentina in 1930, the church forged a role as a spiritual guide for the armed forces. By the time military rule was established again in the 1970s, their operations overlapped to the point where some bishops were provided soldiers as personal servants in their palaces, and only a handful of bishops publicly condemned the dictatorship’s repression.

“Of all the national churches in Latin America, Argentina is where ties were closest between the clergy and the military,” said Kenneth P. Serbin, a historian at the University of San Diego.

This legacy presents a challenge to Francis. Last week, a judge who took part in an investigation into a clandestine prison at the Naval Mechanics School said the inquiry uncovered no evidence that Francis was involved in the kidnapping of the Jesuits. “It is totally false to say that Jorge Bergoglio handed over those priests,” the judge, Germán Castelli, was quoted as saying in the newspaper La Nación.

But doubts persist, based on the priests’ own accounts, including a 1977 report by Father Yorio to the Jesuit authorities, obtained by The New York Times, and a 1994 book by Father Jalics.

Father Yorio wrote that Francis, who was then the top Jesuit in Argentina, told them he supported their work even as he sought to undermine it, making negative reports about them to local bishops and claiming they were in the slum without his permission.

“He did nothing to defend us, and we began to question his honesty,” wrote Father Yorio, who died in 2000. Finally, without telling the two priests, Father Yorio wrote, Francis expelled them from the Jesuit order.

Three days later, hundreds of armed men descended on the slum and seized the two priests. Father Yorio was interrogated and accused of being a guerrilla. The priests were kept for five months, chained hand and foot and blindfolded, fearing they would be killed.

Finally, they were dropped off in a drugged state on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

In a statement posted on a Jesuit Web site last week, Father Jalics said he would not comment “on the role of Father Bergoglio in these events.” He said that years after the kidnapping, they celebrated a Mass together and he solemnly embraced him. “I am reconciled to the events and view them from my side as concluded,” Father Jalics wrote.

But in an interview, Father Yorio’s sister, Graciela Yorio, accused Francis of leaving the priests “totally unprotected” and making them an easy target for the military. She said that her brother and Father Jalics, whom she referred to using his name in Spanish, were in agreement about Francis’ role. “My brother was certain,” she said, “And Francisco, too, Francisco Jalics. I have no reason not to believe my brother’s word.”

Still, several prominent leftists here have defended Francis, emphasizing his openness to dialogue and austere habits. “He is questioned for not having done all he could do,” said Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a pacifist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “But he was never an ally of the dictatorship.”

Though Francis has had to respond to doubts about his own past during the Dirty War, he has faced other issues that still haunt the church. He was head of Argentina’s bishops’ conference in 2007, when the Rev. Christian von Wernich, a former police chaplain, was found guilty of complicity in the killing and torture of political prisoners.

Even after his conviction, Father von Wernich was allowed to offer Mass to fellow prison inmates. Other priests have similarly faced charges related to abuses from the dictatorship era. And still there are other priests who have not been charged with a crime, but who face serious accusations about their connection to the armed forces.

The church has tried to account on different occasions for its actions during the dictatorship. In 2000, it apologized for its “silences” that enabled rights abuses. And last November, after the future pope’s tenure as head of the bishops’ conference had ended, the church issued another statement in response to the assertion by Jorge Videla, the former head of the military junta, that Argentine bishops had in effect collaborated with the dictatorship.

The church rejected Mr. Videla’s claim, but said it would “promote a more complete study” of the Dirty War years.

Reporting was contributed by Fabián Werner, Emily Schmall and Jonathan Gilbert from Buenos Aires; Mauricio Rabuffetti from Montevideo, Uruguay; and Nicholas Kulish from Berlin.

Voir encore:

New pope’s role during Argentina’s military era disputed

Accusers draw ties between Catholic church and 70s junta, saying Jorge Bergoglio failed to shield two priests

Jonathan Watts and Uki Goni in Buenos Aires

The Guardian

15 March 2013

JorgeBergoglio

A young Jorge Mario Bergoglio pictured in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Argenpress/Rex Features

Pope Francis is known in his native Argentina as a man of austere habits, long pregnant pauses in conversation and a reticence about discussing himself. For supporters, this is proof of his humility, which was further underlined for them in his first address as pope to the masses in St Peter’s Square, where he eschewed the usual jewelled crucifix in favour of a simple wooden cross.

For critics, however – and there are many in his home country – it may have more to do with allegations that he and the Roman Catholic church were guilty of the sin of omission – and perhaps worse – during the brutal military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

Those dark years cast the longest shadow over the elevation of Jorge Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the new Vicar of Christ, and continues to divide a nation.

While Argentina rang with celebratory church bells at the news of the first Latin American pope, some were seized by doubt and confusion. « I can’t believe it, I don’t know what to do, I’m in so much anguish and so enraged, » wrote Graciela Yorio in an email published in the Argentine press on Thursday morning.

In 1976, her brother, Orlando Yorio, along with another Jesuit priest, Francisco Jalics, were seized by navy troops in the slums of Buenos Aires and held and tortured for five months at the ESMA camp, a navy base in the capital where 5,000 people were murdered by the military junta.

The two priests served under Bergoglio, who is accused in some quarters of abandoning them to the military after they became involved in leftist social movements.

His chief accuser is journalist Horacio Verbitsky, whose book El Silencio paints a disquieting picture of Bergoglio’s relationship with the priests who sought his protection when they felt their lives were in danger from the military because of their social work in the slums.

Verbitsky believes the then chief of the Jesuits in Argentina played a double game, aiding Yorio and Jalics while expressing concern about their activities to military officers.

But Verbitsky’s views are seen as overly simplistic by other observers of that era. « Verbitsky is not wrong, but he doesn’t understand the complexity of Bergoglio’s position back then when things were so dangerous, » said Robert Cox, a British journalist and former editor of the Buenos Aires Herald, the only newspaper in Argentina that reported the murders as they happened. « He can’t see how difficult it was to operate under those circumstances. »

But Cox, who moved to North Carolina after death threats against his family in 1979, suggests Bergoglio could have done more. « I don’t think he gave them in, » he said. « But Bergoglio didn’t protect them, he didn’t speak out. »

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the 1980 Nobel peace prize for documenting the junta’s atrocities, takes a similar view. « Perhaps he didn’t have the courage of other priests, but he never collaborated with the dictatorship, » he told the Associated Press. « Bergoglio was no accomplice of the dictatorship. He can’t be accused of that. » The vast majority of Argentinians view the dictatorship era as appalling.

Others suggest that Bergoglio was actually a hero. Francesca Ambrogetti, co-author of The Jesuit – a flattering biography of the new pope – says Bergoglio told her he met the dictator Jose Rafael Videla and Eduardo Massera, the head of the navy which was in charge of some concentration camps, to try and intercede on behalf of the priests.

She said he took great risks to save others. « I believe he did all he could at that time, » she said. « It’s a complex issue that is very difficult to explain after so many years. »

In a 2005 interview Bergoglio himself said he moved fast to save their lives. « That same night when I heard of the kidnappings I started to move. In one of my attempts to meet Videla I found out who the military chaplain was who gave mass to Videla and convinced that priest to call in sick and I managed to be named to replace him. »

Bergoglio said that after the mass he managed to speak to Videla about the case, which would not have been an easy task at the time, given the climate of fear that reigned over these issues in Argentina then.

That era continues to polarise Argentina, where the current left-leaning government has reopened several prominent cases in the past decade. Details are murky. Few from that era can escape with entirely clear consciences. Many turned a blind eye and kept silent. Accusations of this sin of omission have been levelled at Bergoglio.

Myriam Bregman, an Argentine lawyer in the continuing trials of crimes at the ESMA death camp, says Bergoglio’s appointment to the papacy left her confused. « It gave me a feeling of amazement and impotence, » said Bregman, who took Bergoglio’s declaration regarding Jalics and Yorio in 2010.

« Bergoglio refused to come [and] testify in court, » she recalled, making use of Argentine legislation that permits ministers of the church to choose where to declare.

« He finally accepted to see us in an office alongside Buenos Aires cathedral sitting underneath a tapestry of the Virgin Mary. It was an intimidating experience, we were very uncomfortable intruding in a religious building. »

Bregman says that Bergoglio did not provide any significant information on the two priests. « He seemed reticent, I left with a bitter taste, » she said.

Estela de la Cuadra’s mother co-founded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo activist group during the dictatorship to search for missing family members. She was at first astonished, then appalled when a friend texted the news that Bergoglio had been chosen as the new pope.

« It is unthinkable, horrifying given what I know about his history, » she said, recalling the disappearance of her sister.

The last time they saw each other was in January 1977 when they were members of leftwing groups formed among the students at La Plata University, then one of the most radical in Argentina.

Her sister, Elena, was three months pregnant and in hiding in Buenos Aires from military snatch squads that had already seized her husband. She « disappeared » a month later and was later seen by survivors in a concentration camp run by the navy.

Desperate, the family used a connection with the global head of the Jesuit order – the « black pope », Pedro Arrupe – to lobby for her release. He put them on to Bergoglio, who provided a letter of introduction to a bishop with connections to the military dictator.

The only answer that came back, said Estela, was that her sister’s baby was now « in the hands of a good family. It was irreversible. » Neither mother nor child were heard from again.

For Estela, Bergoglio did the bare minimum he had to do to keep in line with the black pope. She says the story underlines the close connections between the Catholic church and the military junta, as well as what she sees as lies and hypocrisy of a new pope who once claimed to have no knowledge of the adoptions of babies being born in concentration camps and then adopted by families close to the regime.

« I’ve testified in court that Bergoglio knew everything, that he wasn’t – despite what he says – uninvolved, » said Estela, who believes the church worked with the military to gather intelligence on the families of the missing.

She is also furious that Bergoglio refused to defrock another priest, Christian von Wernich, who was jailed for life in 2007 for seven killings, 42 abductions and 34 cases of torture, in which he told victims: « God wants to know where your friends are. »

She is now requesting classified documents from the episcopal and Vatican archives, which would shed more light on the issues.

That is unlikely to be approved in Rome, though it would – until Wednesday at least – have probably gone down well in the government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

The Argentine president is a staunch advocate of taking to court not only military officers responsible for the killing of thousands of young activists, but also civilians who may have played a role back then.

Fernández has an icy relationship with Bergoglio – who is seen as a conservative – and has studiously avoided him over the last years, moving out of the city every 25 May when Bergoglio gave his annual mass at Buenos Aires Cathedral.

As he has shown by rising through the ranks of the church Bergoglio is an extremely astute politician, who uses the sparseness of words and space to press home his considerable influence on government and legislature.

« He is a participant in Argentine politics, but in his own way – very low profile. More politicians pass through his office than either the opposition or the government would care to admit, » said Washington Uranga, social science professor at the University of Buenos Aires.

« People go in search of coverage, to ask him to use his influence. In other cases, he calls on them to come, but it is always in his territory. It’s always in his office. »

When Bergoglio does occasionally speak out in public, it tends to be with allusions rather than direct references to Argentina’s darkest era. When trials reopened in 2006, he suggested it was not a good idea to churn up the problems of the past, although this was seen as a comment on the rise in the number of trials.

« We are happy to reject anger and endless conflict, because we don’t believe in chaos and disorder … Wretched are those who are vindictive and spiteful, » he said in a public sermon.

Additional reporting by Sebastián Lacunza

Voir aussi:

The sins of the Argentinian church

The Catholic church was complicit in dreadful crimes in Argentina. Now it has a chance to repent

Hugh O’Shaughnessy

The Guardian

4 January 2011

Benedict XVI gave us words of great comfort and encouragement in the message he delivered on Christmas Eve.

« God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways, » the pope said. « He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us ».

If these words comforted and encouraged me they will surely have done the same for leaders of the church in Argentina, among many others. To the judicious and fair-minded outsider it has been clear for years that the upper reaches of the Argentinian church contained many « lost sheep in the wilderness », men who had communed and supported the unspeakably brutal western-supported military dictatorship that seized power in that country in 1976 and battened on it for years. Not only did the generals slaughter thousands unjustly, often dropping them out of aeroplanes over the River Plate and selling off their orphan children to the highest bidder, they also murdered at least two bishops and many priests. Yet even the execution of other men of the cloth did nothing to shake the support of senior clerics, including representatives of the Holy See, for the criminality of their leader General Jorge Rafael Videla and his minions.

As it happens, in the week before Christmas in the city of Córdoba Videla and some of his military and police cohorts were convicted by their country’s courts of the murder of 31 people between April and October 1976, a small fraction of the killings they were responsible for. The convictions brought life sentences for some of the military. These were not to be served, as has often been the case in Argentina and neighbouring Chile, in comfy armed forces retirement homes but in common prisons. Unsurprisingly there was dancing in the city’s streets when the judge announced the sentences.

What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentinian hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church’s collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentinian navy hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners on an island linked to senior clerics.

One would have thought that the Argentinian bishops would have seized the opportunity to call for pardon for themselves and put on sackcloth and ashes as the sentences were announced in Córdoba but that has not so far happened.

But happily Their Eminences have just been given another chance to express contrition. Next month the convicted murderer Videla will be arraigned for his part in the killing of Enrique Angelelli, bishop of the Andean diocese of La Rioja and a supporter of the cause of poorer Argentinians. He was run off the highway by a hit squad of the Videla régime and killed on 4th August 1976 shortly after Videla’s putsch.

• This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s « holiday home ». This has been corrected.

Voir par ailleurs:

Is Celibacy a Sin? The NYT Has a View

Walter Russell Mead
The Americain interest
March 3, 2013

Over at the New York Times where hostility to all things Roman Catholic is a longstanding tradition, Frank Bruni has mixed a unique cocktail of one part sharp observation, two parts confusion about Christian teaching, a dash of schadenfreude and splash of scandal. It is, in other words, business as usual at the newspaper of record, where passionate disagreement verging into bitter resentment at the sexual teachings of the Catholic Church (that homosexuals can’t marry, heterosexuals can’t divorce, and that abortion is the willful destruction of innocent human life) is almost as widespread as hatred of the KKK.

(I say almost, noting Ross Douthat’s piece this morning. Maureen Dowd, however, proudly upholds the paper’s traditional foam-flecked hatred of Rome, with the difference that loathing and contempt for Catholic ideas is expressed in our more democratic era by the Catholic or ex-Catholic children of Eire rather than toffee nosed WASPs. In the old days, hatred of Rome was a bond in New York journalistic and intellectual circles between nativist Protestants and aspiring Jewish intellectuals remembering centuries of Catholic persecution. These days everybody is in on the Church-hating.)

For those looking to cast stones at the Vatican there is no shortage of ammunition at hand, and Bruni’s piece, entitled “The Wages of Celibacy,” gives us a full measure of Catholic woe: tortured, self-rejecting gay priests and maybe cardinals and archbishops, ‘elite’ rings of transsexual prostitutes, hints of Vatican blackmail, pedophilia and tragic isolation. (Dowd takes it closer to the bone in a column dripping with juicy innuendoes about the Pope Emeritus’ relationship with his private secretary.)

All these troubles, Bruni maintains, spring from priestly celibacy and homosexual repression. Bruni’s core message is that celibacy is a “trap,” a bad idea all round:

No matter what a person’s sexual orientation, the celibate culture runs the risk of stunting its development and turning sexual impulses into furtive, tortured gestures. It downplays a fundamental and maybe irresistible human connection. Is it any wonder that some priests try to make that connection nonetheless, in surreptitious, imprudent and occasionally destructive ways?

Now I’m no Roman Catholic and my father is a happily married Episcopal priest; after 61 plus years of marriage my parents have four children, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and over the decades their home has been a warm and welcoming place, a visible sign of God’s love for friends, family and strangers alike. It’s not for me to advise a religious body to which I don’t belong how to manage its affairs, but if I were designing a new Church of St. Mead from the ground up, I’d have no problem with married priests.

There are good arguments against a celibate priesthood, even in the special context of Roman Catholic doctrine about the nature and function of priests. It’s not, however, clear that these arguments are as strong as Bruni and many others assume. The last time I looked, college football coaches, BBC celebrities, public school teachers and scout leaders weren’t required to be celibate, but we’ve seen high profile sexual scandals in these fields—complete with coverups. Horatio Alger was a Unitarian minister when he was fired for “unnatural familiarity” with boys, and there have been some recent high profile cases of married Jewish and Protestant religious leaders involved in inappropriate sex with young people.

Human sexuality is tricky ground; many married people have from time to time resorted to exactly the kind of “furtive, tortured gestures” that Bruni thinks characterize celibacy. Few of us live up to our own sexual ideals or standards; gay or straight, single or married, drunk or sober, large numbers of human beings look back on certain incidents with sadness and regret. Not even Maureen Dowd can believe that America’s burgeoning porn industry survives on the patronage of furtive and twisted celibates alone. Celibacy, like monogamy, is a sexual ideal. Not many people live up to either ideal fully, and many fall sadly, woefully, and even horrifically short of the standards their own consciences declare.

But ideals, even unattainable ones, are often there for a reason. The Christian ideal of celibacy wasn’t invented by the Catholic hierarchy and didn’t originate as a tool to capture and repress homosexual men. Nor was it rooted in either Jewish or Roman antiquity. Caesar Augustus passed laws to penalize bachelors, and while Rome had its Vestal Virgins, they had no male counterparts. While ancient Greek culture celebrated many forms of what we today would call pedophilia, it strongly condemned adult men who engaged in passive homosexual intercourse and placed strong social pressure on men to marry women even as they continued to accost high school age boys. The closest thing to the Christian ideal of celibacy was found among some Middle Eastern cults and mystery religions, but the voluntary castration among some devotees of these cults never really caught on among the followers of Christ (Origen excepted).

The Christian ideal of celibacy comes straight from the source: Jesus, despite repeated attempts by later writers to whomp up romances with everyone from Mary Magdalene to St. John the Divine, never married. (I’m waiting for the Maureen Dowd column on Jesus the pedophile: What can we expect from a man who hung around playgrounds saying “Suffer the little children to come unto me?” Sounds pretty suspicious and, of course, he was celibate.)

Jesus’ example got a powerful boost and some theological buttressing from the life and writings of Christianity’s greatest early leader and thinker, St. Paul. So far as we know, Paul never married in the years before his conversion; certainly, he remained single during his life as the first Christian missionary.

Neither Jesus nor Paul demanded celibacy of their followers. We know that St. Peter had a mother-in-law and St. Paul said that bishops should have no more than one wife. If Jesus ever said anything about his decision to remain unmarried, the Gospels don’t report it, and his recorded teaching on marriage is largely confined to an absolute prohibition on divorce. But Paul was more forthcoming. In his first letter to the Christian community in the Greek city of Corinth, the apostle wrote that while ideally both women and men should remain unmarried, not everybody had the ability. For those who could not, ahem, contain themselves in the single life, he wrote, there was a less demanding if perhaps less noble course. “It is better to marry than to burn.

The examples of Jesus and Paul’s celibacy have resonated since the early centuries of Christian life, but choosing the celibate life was also often mixed up with pragmatic considerations. Centuries of persecution reinforced the idea that the leaders of the Christian community, bishops and priests for whom martyrdom was in the job description, should avoid earthly entanglements. One can sympathize with their point of view. It is bad enough being fed to the lions without worrying about the hungry family you are leaving behind.

When the persecutions ended with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, Christians had a new reason to want celibate bishops and priests. The Church became one of the wealthiest institutions in the Empire, and its officials controlled great resources and had immense political power. That power only grew when the Empire fell and feudalism appeared. In an era of weak states and institutions, powerful families constantly sought to appropriate ‘common’ property; much like oligarchs pillaging state property after the fall of the Soviet Union, people sought to ‘privatize’ both church and state property when opportunities rose.

Without celibacy, clerical dynasties would surely have emerged, and lucrative offices would almost inevitably become hereditary. Even humble parish priests would try to ensure that their sons followed them in their calling and, in a period of weak institutions and little central authority, the positions and the possessions of the Church were all too likely to fall under private control. Celibacy ensured that priests had no children, or that, if they did (and there have never been many illusions in the Church about the weakness of the flesh and the powers of temptation), those children would at least be illegitimate and unable to claim a right of succession.

Even with celibacy, life in the Church got pretty corrupt. Clerics high and low struggled to make careers for their illegitimate children or their nephews (the word ‘nepotism’ comes from the Latin word for nephew); powerful families intrigued to control the more lucrative posts. But while the ban on clerical marriage didn’t necessarily make the clergy more moral, it helped assure the independence of the Church and kept its property and offices from falling completely and irrevocably into the hands of church dynasties. From this point of view the discipline of celibacy was less a means to sanctify priests than to protect the institutional integrity of the Church.

In the West today these dangers have receded, but in much of the world they remain real. Many African and Asian believers remain very poor, and priests would face overwhelming temptations to, for example, ensure that their own kids received whatever educational opportunities were on offer. A wealthy and well connected archbishop in a non-democratic developing country would have powerful reasons to make sure his kids were plugged into the power system—and also have powerful reasons to keep his mouth shut about corruption and the abuses of human rights. Moral heroes might stand up against the pressure, but not every archbishop is going to be that kind of person. A perennial problem for Rome is that it must legislate for Catholics throughout the world; a system that allowed priests to marry in rich countries but demanded celibacy of priests from poor countries would not go over well.

Even so, there are real questions about requiring celibacy of all clergy. The priesthood is a less economically and socially attractive profession today, but in past centuries (and still in many poor countries) choosing a career in the Church was the only avenue for kids without wealthy parents to get a good education or a job that didn’t involve digging ditches. A hunger for education, a desire to see the wider world, and the hope of a brilliant career are not the same things as a religious vocation, much less a divine call to the single life, but the Church insisted on a package deal. Some young people honored the bargain, many found it beyond their power or were cynics from the start.

More recently, many women faced a similar choice. For poor girls in much of Europe and North America, entry into a religious order was their only way into professional life and their only chance for a college education. As Bruni and others note, the celibate priesthood also provided an honorable exit for another group: young homosexual men. If you told your mother that you weren’t getting married because you liked guys, you got one reaction. If you said God was calling you to the priesthood, you got something else. This doesn’t require conscious hypocrisy; sexual identity and spiritual yearning are both complicated things, and young people in the throes of adolescence jump to lots of conclusions.

It seems pretty clear that many people in religious orders and the priesthood didn’t have a true calling to the celibate life, and one reason that tens of thousands of people left the orders and the priesthood after Vatican II was that in a changing world they had other options. Young Catholic women, whatever their sexual orientation, and young Catholic gay men now have more choices, and the Church seems to be finding that while there are fewer young people entering orders and the priesthood, those who come are better suited to the calling.

I don’t know that it’s fair to blame all the resulting problems on either the Church or on celibacy. One can say that it was less than fair of the Church to offer education and careers to the poor, to women and to homosexuals with such difficult conditions attached—but then nobody else was offering them anything at all. Surely some of the blame has to fall on societies and cultures that consigned whole swathes of their population to ignorance and oppression, leaving the Church to deal with the results as best it could. Within the framework of its doctrinal structures and its institutional requirements, the Church opened a door of opportunity for people who the rest of the world rejected. Surely even the Rhadamanthine judges at the New York Times can give it a few points for trying?

But many critics of the Church, and, unless I am misreading him, Bruni is one of these, don’t just think that the Church has misused the discipline of celibacy. They want to say that celibacy doesn’t even make sense as a religious ideal. One doesn’t want to judge a person’s entire world view on the basis of a single newspaper column, but Bruni seems to make the argument that celibacy is an unnatural state that involves a crippling loss of human connection. As Auden once put it: “Envy warps the virgin as she dries.”

The critique is not new; the belief that the Catholic view of celibacy leads either to futile isolation or to sexual deviance and depravity or both was one of the core arguments that the Reformers made against the Church. Lurid ‘confessions’ of nuns allegedly seduced by priests and darker rumors were widely disseminated during and after the wars of religion. As late as the 1830s a Protestant mob in Boston burned an Ursuline convent after reports of wicked goings on got into the press.

In Victorian times Protestants frequently contrasted what they saw as the healthy, masculine and extroverted nature of the Protestant clergy and its spirituality and the ‘diseased’, ‘feminine’ and introverted qualities they claimed to see among Catholics. Homophobia and anti-Catholicism ran together in 19th century England, and the Protestant cult of ‘muscular Christianity’ claiming that Jesus was an extroverted jock rather than a sensitive momma’s boy was particularly popular among the headmasters of boys’ boarding schools. In the minds of people like Charles Kingsley, tutor of the Prince of Wales, chaplain to Queen Victoria and the man whose attack prompted Cardinal Newman to write his great autobiography, suspiciously celibate Catholic priests with their crafty ways, lace gowns and aversion to marriage were exactly the sort of person one kept away from the vulnerable young.

Today the attack on celibacy, at least in elite circles, cannot base itself on overt homophobia any longer, although it was not all that long ago that the New York Times led the charge against gays and their wicked agenda. Where the Victorians attacked the celibate priesthood because they believed it sheltered homosexual men and gave them social position and power they could never otherwise have, our contemporaries attack priestly celibacy because it warps homosexual men, steeping them in self-hatred, twisting their desires, and forcing the natural healthy channel of their sexuality into at best sordid and furtive affairs and at worst leading otherwise normal gay men into the horrors of pedophilia.

Charles Kingsley would have interpreted the current avalanche of stories about pedophile priests and the rumors of gay sex rings in the Vatican as clear proof that Catholicism was rotten to the core and that a hierarchical culture resting on priestly celibacy was a big part of the problem. That is not as far from the Bruni position as either Kingsley or Bruni would like, but where Kingsley saw celibacy as tailor-made cover for insidious homosexuals and sexual predators, Bruni sees it as an instrument of homophobia and sexual repression.

From my wretchedly Anglican standpoint, I can only say that the problem seems less about celibacy as a sexual ideal than about the attempt, intrinsic to Catholicism, to embody the ideal Kingdom of God in a human institution. Priests, nuns, bishops and monks are not going to be perfect. They are going to abuse their power; they are going to misread the will of God even on those occasions when they summon up the fortitude to try to follow it. Catholics believe that even so the purposes of God are being worked out through the visible Church on earth, and that the institution, however weighed down with crooked bankers, bent priests, conniving bishops and hypocritical pedophiles really is the primary channel of grace into this fallen world, and the place par excellence where God’s perfect love meets human failure.

That Catholic approach to the institutionalization of the ineffable has led to great triumphs of the human spirit and nourished extraordinary saints down through the ages, but there is a darker side too. The attempt to bond a high and difficult sexual ideal to the routine business of running a global institution is bound to create some big problems; I wish the next pope every success in managing this great institution in tumultuous times, but I don’t have a lot of advice to offer.

There is a final point to make. It’s striking that Bruni’s discussion of celibacy omits any possible benefits that might flow from this way of life. Proponents of celibacy have often spoken of a closer union with God as both the motive and the consequence of their choice. Pastor Rick Warren tells the story of the bride who insisted that as she came down the aisle to meet her future husband the choir sing the old hymn “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” For millions of Catholic and Orthodox monks, priests and nuns down through the centuries, that was a choice that they consciously made. They felt called to sacrifice earthly ties to deepen their relationship with God and to focus exclusively on serving him rather than tending families on earth.

Bruni doesn’t even think this idea is worth discussing; as far as I can tell, there are no ‘brides of Christ’ in his world view, only delusional and embittered old maids.  The argument boils down to this: since human beings can’t be satisfied or fulfilled by relationships with God, celibacy has no point. It subtracts but it does not add. The celibate priest or nun is running away from normal human life and running toward… nothing.

Bruni is of course entitled to his opinion, and it’s one that many great scholars and philosophers have held. God either doesn’t exist or is so much in the background of things that he might as well not be there at all. Satisfaction is to be sought in the here and now; this life on earth offers all we need and in any case is all we have. Forget all this talk of mystical unions with Christ, forget the ecstasies of the saints, the Beatific Vision, the dream of fulfilling your life by picking up your cross and following Christ as closely as you can. Find an age-appropriate spouse of whatever gender works for you, and lead the rich and satisfying life of an upper middle class professional who enjoys the newspaper of record, and try not to think about old age, death, or anything else that suggests that the natural order is either incomplete or flawed.

This is a perfectly coherent point of view, but it is not very rational to suggest it to the Catholic Church. Bruni’s argument against celibacy is predicated on the disappearance of God; he is giving the Church advice on how to organize its affairs in the absence of Christ.

If Bruni is right, we shouldn’t just get rid of priestly celibacy. We should get rid of priests. We should turn our churches into art museums. Perhaps a few should stay open for the old people and the poor people and the semi-literate immigrants still bitterly clinging to their missals and their rosaries, but the Catholic Church is of value only insofar as it adds texture and color to the wonderful pageant of civilized modern life.

A lot of modern and progressive thinking people think this way in America and beyond; it’s a safe bet that the new pope, whoever he is, won’t agree.

Voir aussi:

LE CASTRISTE HUGO CHAVEZ A FINANCE SECRETEMENT LA CAMPAGNE EN 2007 DE LA PRESIDENTE ARGENTINE AVEC 6 MILLIONS $

Auteur jacquesthomet

25 septembre 2008

Un document tendant à le prouver a été présenté jeudi par l’homme d’affaires américano-vénézuélien Guido Antonini Wilson, cité comme témoin à Miami dans le procès sur le transfert illégal de 800.000 dollars du Venezuela vers l’Argentine.

Guido Antonini Wilson avait été intercepté le 4 août 2007 par la douane argentine en provenance de Caracas, avec une mallette contenant 800.000 dollars.

Selon l’accusation, il s’agissait d’argent destiné à la campagne présidentielle de la candidate Cristina Kirchner, qui a ensuite remporté les élections en octobre 2007. Mme Kirchner a nié avoir reçu des fonds provenant du Venezuela.

Guido Antonini Wilson est un témoin clé dans ce procès de trois Vénézuéliens et un Uruguayen –Moises Maionica, Franklin Duran, Carlos Kauffmann, Rodolfo Edgardo Wanseele Paciello– que les Etats-Unis soupçonnent d’avoir agi en tant qu’agents du Venezuela à Miami. Ils sont accusés d’avoir fait pression sur M. Antonini Wilson, qui avait introduit des fonds non déclarés en Argentine en août 2007, pour cacher la provenance et la destination de cet argent. Antonini Wilson a présenté un document, que lui avait remis Franklin Durán, dans lequel ce dernier détaillait les points importants concernant le supposé transfert de fonds.

« D’où vient l’argent: PDVSA (la compagnie pétrolière publique du Venezuela). A qui est-il destiné: à la campagne (de Cristina Kirchner) (…) deux mallettes (…) 6 millions de dollars… », indique notamment le document.

L’homme d’affaires américano-vénézuelien a affirmé avoir rencontré dans un hôtel le vice-président pour l’Argentine de PDVSA, Diego Uzcategui, peu de temps après avoir été appréhendé. « L’argent venait de PDVSA, ce n’était pas le mien », a-t-il expliqué. « J’ai demandé (à M. Uzcategui) pourquoi il m’avait placé dans une telle situation, et il m’a répondu: +où est le reste de l’argent ?+ Je lui ai dit: +De quoi est-ce que tu me parles ?+ Et il m’a dit: +Il y avait une autre valise avec 4,2 millions+ », avait-t-il raconté devant la cour.

M. Antonini Wilson a aussi révélé mercredi s’être entretenu à deux reprises au téléphone avec le chef des renseignements du Venezuela, Henry Rangel Silva, qui tentait de le convaincre d’occulter le scandale.

Voir enfin:

Malaysia’s U.S. Propaganda

Kuala Lumpur paid American conservative journalists to smear an opposition leader.

The WSJ

March 8, 2013

A general election is expected next month in the Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia, and that usually means political shenanigans—abuse of national security laws, media manipulation and character assassination. After the last election in 2008, when the ruling coalition barely held on to power, public anger at such practices prompted Prime Minister Najib Razak to redraft laws and reform the electoral system. However, new revelations that his government paid American journalists to attack opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim raise questions whether those changes went far enough.

In January, conservative American blogger Joshua Treviño belatedly registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, revealing that from 2008-2011 he was paid $389,724.70, as well as a free trip to Malaysia, to provide « public relations and media consultancy » services to the Malaysian government.

These consisted of writing for a website called Malaysia Matters, now defunct, as well as channeling $130,950 to other conservative writers who wrote pro-government pieces for other newspapers and websites. When questioned in 2011 by the Politico website about whether Malaysian interests funded his activities, Mr. Treviño flatly denied it: « I was never on any ‘Malaysian entity’s payroll,’ and I resent your assumption that I was. »

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim

The campaign was more targeted than the Malaysian ruling coalition’s domestic attacks on Mr. Anwar. Mr. Treviño’s site mainly went after the opposition leader for anti-Semitic remarks and his alliance with the Islamist party PAS, and even accused him of links to terrorists through the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mr. Anwar has made anti-Semitic comments—though that’s in part to fend off domestic accusations that he’s too cozy with Zionists. He also has ties to organizations that have taken Saudi money, but the suggestion that he somehow has « ties to terrorism » is preposterous.

The site also defended an outrageous charge of sodomy brought against Mr. Anwar from 2008- 2012, and it criticized the U.S. State Department and The Wall Street Journal for taking Mr. Anwar’s side. These postings were clearly aimed at sowing doubt among other would-be Anwar defenders in the U.S., especially on the right of the U.S. political spectrum.

Mr. Treviño paid other writers who know almost nothing about Malaysia but mimicked his propaganda. The New Ledger, edited by Ben Domenech, was even more vociferous, calling Mr. Anwar a « vile anti-Semite and cowardly woman-abuser. » One posting was entitled, « Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist money flowing to Anwar Ibrahim. » According to Mr. Treviño’s filing, he paid Mr. Domenech $36,000 for « opinion writing. » Three contributors of anti-Anwar items to the New Ledger—Rachel Motte, Christopher Badeaux and Brad Jackson—were paid $9,500, $11,000 and $24,700 respectively.

Mr. Treviño was initially paid by public relations multinational APCO Worldwide, which had a longstanding contract with the Malaysian government. APCO’s Kuala Lumpur representative through 2010, Paul Stadlen, now works in Prime Minister Najib’s office. David All, who at the time ran his own PR firm and collaborated on Malaysia Matters, also provided cash.

But from 2009-11, the Malaysian money came through Fact-Based Communications, which under the leadership of journalist John Defterios produced programs on client countries for CNN, CNBC and the BBC. After this was revealed in 2011, the three networks dropped all FBC programs, and Atlantic Media Company President Justin Smith resigned from its board.

Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It’s not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think- tankers to write favorable coverage, as the Jack Abramoff case in the mid-2000s showed.

The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times.

Mr. Najib’s falling popularity at home suggests his days as Prime Minister could be numbered. The irony is that he was more democratic and played a more responsible role in the region than his predecessors. Even opposition figures have quietly admitted to us that he has steered Malaysia in the right direction. That should have been more than enough for a legitimate public relations operation to work with. Resorting to underhanded tactics to undermine the opposition has only backfired for Mr. Najib, at home and abroad.


Girl from Ipanema/50e: La mariée était trop jeune (Girl from Ipanema was just too young)

7 mars, 2013
But each day when she walks to the sea, she looks straight ahead, not at me. The Girl from Ipanema
C’est la plus vieille histoire du monde. La jolie fille passe et les hommes surgissent de partout, tombent des arbres, sifflent et deviennent fous, et elle, elle passe tranquillement son chemin. C’est universel. Norman Gimbel
Il m’aimait et m’a causé beaucoup de confusion, mais finalement nous nous sommes retrouvés comme amis dans une relation pleine d’affection et de gratitude. (…) Ma vie a changé quand ils ont révélé que j’étais leur inspiration. Je ne les croyais pas, mais ça m’a fait quelque chose émotionnellement et il m’a fallu un certain temps pour en comprendre l’importance.  (…) J’étais très timide, je n’ai jamais répondu à ses compliments. J’allais au bar juste pour acheter des cigarettes pour mes parents ou je passais devant pour profiter de mes jours de repos au soleil. (…) J’avais été élevée dans une famille très stricte et traditionaliste. Mon père était militaire et ça ne lui plaisait pas que je sois devenue le point de mire de la presse mondiale et des hommes mûrs.  Helô Pinheiro
Même la fameuse « fille d’Ipanema »,  immortalisée dans la chanson de bossa nova, écrite en 1962, illustre les différences culturelles qui prévalaient alors : il n’y a que dans les paroles en anglais qu’elle est « grande et bronzée et jeune et belle ».  Dans la version originale portugaise, l’accent est mis sur « le doux swing » de ses hanches et de ses fesses alors qu’elle se promène en un balancement décrit comme « plus qu’un poème, la plus belle chose que j’ai jamais vu ». Le New York Times
Helô était à l’époque l’une des très rares filles de la plage d’Ipanema à porter un maillot de bain deux pièces. De nos jours, quand on pense aux plages de Rio, on pense aux « fils dentaires » ou aux « sparadraps« , il est difficile d’imaginer qu’il fut un temps où un maillot de bain deux pièces modeste qui exposait à peine le nombril était considéré comme audacieux. Mais Rio était alors différent et c’était certainement pas la Côte d’Azur où le bikini était à la mode. Lorsque, malgré l’opposition de de Moraes,  les concours de la « Girl from Ipanema » ont continué, les filles qui y participaient savaient qu’elles étaient comparées à une jeune fille qui portait un maillot de bain deux pièces. Alors elles savaient qu’elles devaient faire preuve d’audace. La même audace dont avait fait preuve une première fois Helô, puis, comme les concours continuaient, plus d’audace encore que la gagnante de l’année précédente. Et plus les filles étaient audacieuses, plus les maillots rétrécissaient. Ainsi, l’évolution du bikini brésilien et du string remonte-t-elle directement à ce concours et donc à nouveau à la jeune Heloísa. (…) En 2001, Helô Pinheiro ouvrit sa boutique « Garota de Ipanema » à Sao Paolo, destinée principalement aux femmes et offrant une variété de maillots de bain. Un des produits qu’elle proposait était un tee-shirt imprimé avec la musique et les paroles de la chanson. Comme il s’agissait d’une copie de la partition originale, il comportait également les signatures de Vinicius de Moraes et de A. C. Jobim. Les héritiers portèrent plainte arguant du fait que les paroles et la musique appartenaient à la succession et que tout l’argent de la vente de ces tee-shirts appartenaient aux familles de Moraes et de Jobim. Heureusement pour nous, les romantiques, les tribunaux brésiliens prirent la bonne décision. En février 2004, la Cour statua en faveur de Helô Pinheiro indiquant .. « sans elle il n’y aurait pas eu de chanson ». Sran Shepkowski

La mariée était tout simplement trop jeune.

Fille de général des quartiers huppés de Rio, épouse et mère modèle convertie par la crise en mannequin puis actrice de soap opera, femme d’affaires, organisatrice de concours de beauté et enfin animatrice d’émission santé pour les seniors, sans compter les photos pour Playboy et le procès (par les héritiers des musiciens) pour utilisation non autorisée de son surnom pour ses boutiques de maillots de bain …

Encore un anniversaire raté (redécouvert seulement aujourd’hui sur le site du WSJ) …

Celui de la fameuse « fille d’Ipanema » qui, à 17 ans à peine, faisait il y a 50 ans déjà tourner les têtes …

Poussant les inventeurs de la bossa nova Jobim et de Moraes (leurs 18 ans d’écart) à écrire la 2e chanson, après « Yesterday » des Beatles, la plus reprise de  l’histoire …

Et, plus récemment, le NYT  à y voir la trace de l’acculturation américaine du Brésil (le « grande et bronzée et jeune et belle » de la version anglaise ayant prétendument déplacé l’accent de la version originale en portugais sur le « doux swing » de ses hanches et de ses fesses ?) …

Sauf que du haut de son 1 m 72 si l’on en croit les photos et même si elle se trouvait trop maigre,  la naïade de l’époque n’avait rien à envier à nos actuelles Gisele Bünchen …

Et que le refus de la belle qui contribua peut-être sans le vouloir au lancement de la mode de la minceur et des micro-bikinis brésiliens que l’on connait ressemblait plus à la compréhensible hésitation, face aux avances d’un homme plus de deux fois son âge (et de surcroit marié avec deux enfants!), d’une très jeune fille de 17 ans …

Girl From Ipanema’ 50 Years Old Today

Brazil Music News

August 2, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO – “Girl From Ipanema” hit the airwaves 50 years ago and the song’s muse, Helô Pinheiro, recalls how the song changed her life. Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes a wrote “Garota de Ipanema,” or “Girl from Ipanema,” in 1962 while drinking whiskey at the Veloso Bar in Ipanema.

‘Girl from Ipanema’ Released 50 Years Ago

Now 67, Pinheiro says that she had to rush her marriage to appease the jealousy of her boyfriend when he heard that she had been the muse for Jobim and de Moraes. The “Girl” of flesh and bone told EFE in a recent interview that her then-boyfriend and current husband wanted to confront the songwriters, although “in the end we all became friends.”

The muse confesses that her boyfriend had reason for jealousy because Tom asked her “several times” for her hand in marriage, despite the 18-year difference between them. “He loved me and caused me a lot of confusion, but eventually we ended up as friends in a relationship filled with affection and gratitude,” she said.

“My life changed when they revealed that I was their inspiration. I didn’t believe them, but it moved me emotionally and it took me some time to understand the significance,” said Helô, who had so dazzled the creators of Bossa Nova.

In 1962, Jobim and Vinicius spent hours as dedicated whiskey refugees in the Veloso Bar, on old Montenegro Street (now Rua Vinicius de Moraes) in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Each day, a sweet, shy 16-year-old girl, who would pass by the bar each day on her way to and from the beach, mesmerized the two songwriters.

Fifty years after that scene in Ipanema, Helô is an entrepreneur and broadcaster who presents a health program for seniors. Five decades on, the Girl from Ipanema still retains the spontaneity and elegance that fascinated the masters of Brazilian music for half a century.

“I was very shy, I never responded to his compliments. I only went into the bar to buy cigarettes for my parents or walked past to enjoy my days off sunning myself,” she said.

“Girl from Ipanema”, released on August 2nd, 1962, was the quintessential Carioca song. It was an instant success and gained true international fame when, three years later, some American artists released an English version.

At the time, many young women appeared and proclaimed themselves the “Girl from Ipanema,” explains Helô. But all that ended when Vinicius published a letter naming the real inspiration for his best known work.

“I was raised in a very strict and conservative family. My father was military and he did not like that I had become a focus of worldwide press and the target of older-men’s eyes,” she recalled.

The Bossa Nova is the soundtrack of her life and “Girl from Ipanema” is now her cellular ring-tone. Eventually, Helô became a soap-opera actress, beauty-pageant organizer and businesswoman.

At the height of her fame, she posed for the magazine “Playboy.” She posed for the magazine again ten years ago, next to her then 24-year-old daughter.

Helô said that the worst moment for her came in 2001, when the heirs of Jobim and Vinicius sued her for commercially exploiting the name “Girl from Ipanema,” which she uses in her clothing store.

The heirs and Helô resolved the conflict last year, but the episode, she says, caused her “an economic and psychological injury.”

Voir aussi:

The Elusive Girl From Ipanema

The endlessly covered Brazilian song turns 50 this year. What explains its quirky endurance?

Thomas Vinciguerra

The Wall Street Journal

July 2, 2012

Before 1962, if John Q. Nobody gave any thought to South America at all, it probably didn’t range much beyond banana republics, fugitive Nazis and Carmen Miranda. That changed 50 years ago this summer when a tall and tan and young and lovely goddess was born.

She was « The Girl From Ipanema. »

Like a handful of other international crossover hits (« Day-O » from Jamaica, « Down Under » from Australia), « The Girl From Ipanema » pretty much put an entire country’s music and ethos on the map. In this case, the land was Brazil, the genre was bossa nova, and the atmosphere was uniquely exotic and elusive—a seductive tropical cocktail « just like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently, » as the lyrics go.

‘The Girl From Ipanema,’ the classic Brazilian bossa sung by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Dionne Warwick, is the second most recorded song in pop music history. It turns 50 this summer, and here is a look back at its history.

At the time, bossa nova wasn’t exactly unknown in the U.S., as shown by the Grammy-winning success of « Desafinado » from the 1962 album « Jazz Samba » by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd. But « The Girl From Ipanema » (« Garota de Ipanema » in the original Portuguese) was something else altogether. Not only was it one of the last great gasps of pre-Beatles easy listening, it was an entire culture in miniature.

« To the layperson, ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ sounds like ‘a nice song,’  » says the Brazilian-American guitarist and musical director Manny Moreira. « But to the trained ear it is perfection. »

In the half-century since its genesis, « The Girl From Ipanema » has become inescapable. According to Performing Songwriter magazine, it is the second-most-recorded pop tune ever, surpassed only by « Yesterday. » Sammy Davis Jr. sang it on « I Dream of Jeannie »; it is part of the repertoire of the Yale Whiffenpoofs.

And, yes, it has become archetypal Muzak. Get put on hold often enough, wander through enough retail stores or tacky cocktail lounges, and sooner or later its limpid strains will caress you. At the climax of the 1980 movie « The Blues Brothers, » hundreds of gun-toting police officers, state troopers and other riotous authority figures scramble after John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as they calmly ride a Chicago City Hall elevator while being soothed by a piped-in instrumental version.

Clearly, this is art for the ages. But why?

One reason is the girl of the title. The embodiment of sultry pulchritude, she is also utterly unobtainable: « But each day when she walks to the sea/She looks straight ahead, not at me. »

« It’s the oldest story in the world, » says Norman Gimbel, who wrote the English lyrics. « The beautiful girl goes by, and men pop out of manholes and fall out of trees and are whistling and going nuts, and she just keeps going by. That’s universal. »

So reasoned composer Antônio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinícius de Moraes five decades ago. Stalled on a number for a musical called « Blimp, » they sought inspiration at the Veloso, a seaside cafe in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. There they remembered a local teenager, the 5-foot-8-inch, dark-haired, green-eyed Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, whom they often saw walking to the beach or entering the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother. And so they penned a paean to a vision.

Originally crooned by the popular Brazilian singer Pery Ribeiro (who died in February), « Garota de Ipanema » went over well enough in its home country. Then the U.S. music publisher Lou Levy asked Mr. Gimbel to devise an English cover. With Mr. Jobim on piano, Stan Getz on sax, João Gilberto on guitar and Portuguese vocals, and Mr. Gilberto’s wife, Astrud, handling English vocals, the U.S. version was cut for the album « Getz/Gilberto » in March 1963.

While Mr. Gilberto’s soft Portuguese sets the tone for the song, it is his wife’s English response that still captivates after all this time. By all rights, it shouldn’t. Although Astrud could speak the language, her delivery was decidedly unpolished. « Before the recording, I had never sung professionally, » she says on her website—and you can hear it. Often she emphasizes the wrong sounds and seems to be enunciating phonetically. Her very first word, « tall, » comes across as « doll. » Contrary to Mr. Gimbel’s lyrics, she sings, « She looks straight ahead not at he. » It was supposed to be « me. »

« I was tearing my hair out when I learned that later, » Mr. Gimbel says. « It upset me no end. »

But when combined with her tentative delivery, Mr. Getz’s breathy sax and Mr. Jobim’s gentle piano, the errors make the result ever so slightly foreign—just out of reach, like the girl herself, and thus irresistible.

« The Girl From Ipanema » went on to win the Grammy for record of the year in 1965 and was guaranteed immortality that same year when Heloísa was revealed as its inspiration. Today, as Helo Pinheiro, still stunning at 66, she is a local celebrity, happy to give interviews and pose for photos. Unlike her ethereal counterpart, she is personable indeed.

And that, perhaps, is ultimate reason why the song endures: The remote, mythic beauty—the impossible dream—turned out to be as real as you or me.

—Mr. Vinciguerra is the editor of « Backward Ran Sentences: The Best of Wolcott Gibbs From the New Yorker. »

Voir encore:

The Girl From Ipanema

Sran Shepkowski

2005

It’s a song of sensuality that entices men everywhere to dream. It evokes the fantasy of an exotic beach where warm waves kiss the shore, where breezes whisper through the palms, and where there is a woman, a dream woman, an ideal woman who embodies the elusive essence of everything that is desirable.

The Girl from Ipanema was awarded the 1964 Grammy as Best Song of the Year, it ranks 21st on BMI’s list of most performed songs of all time, and is one of the most recorded songs in history, having been vocalized by Astrid Gilberto, Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Madonna, Cher, and many others. While its credentials are impressive, the real fascination is the story behind the song and the girl who inspired it.

The year 1962 was a banner year for Antonio Carlos « Tom » Jobim. The Brazilian songwriter’s tune, Desafinado, had just been recorded by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd and the attention of the Jazz world shifted to the 35 year old Jobim, who, at the end of the year, was invited to perform his music at Carnegie Hall with Byrd, Getz, Dizzy Gillespie and Joao Gilberto. This was the latest achievement in a career that took shape in 1958 when Jobim collaborated with guitarist/vocalist Joao Gilberto, vocalist Elizete Cardoso and lyricist Vinicius de Moraes to produce a set of recordings, one of which was Chega de Saudade, which proved to be the beginning of the « Bossa Nova » (« New Trend ») movement.

1962 was also the year that Jobim saw the girl.

Ipanema is a trendy, rather artsy neighborhood in south Rio de Janeiro. To the west is the upscale area of Leblon and to the east is Aproador and Copacabana. A block off Ipanema Beach, on the northwest corner of Rua Montenegro and Rua Prudente de Moraes was Tom Jobim’s favorite hang-out, the Bar Veloso. A veranda-style, open-air cafe, this was the place to drink beer, smoke cigarettes, read the paper, chat with friends, and watch the pretty girls.

Almost every day a certain girl passed by the Veloso. Often in her school uniform, sometimes in her two-piece bathing suit she was, of course, tall, and tan, and young and lovely with long brown hair and green eyes and a rather sensual way of swaying her hips. She did not go unnoticed by Jobim and friends who often greeted her with whistles and cat-calls. The girl, however, never responded to the men. Never did she stop to talk; indeed never did she even make eye contact with bar’s patrons. Each day when she walked to the sea, she looked straight ahead, not at anyone else. And Jobim was in love.

Basically a shy man, Jobim was afraid to approach the girl. At the time he was married with two children and knew he had to be at least twice her age, but that did not prevent a budding infatuation. Eventually he convinced his old lyricist buddy Vinicius de Moraes to come by the Veloso to see this girl. After several days of waiting the girl finally walked past. Jobim remarked “ »Nao a coisa mais linda? » (Isn’t she the prettiest thing?), to which de Moraes replied, « E a coisa cheia de gracia. » (She’s full of grace.). This sparked the creativity in de Moraes who wrote those two lines on a napkin. The lines provided the basis for the opening two lines of the original, Portuguese version of A Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema).

Jobim and de Moraes were, at the time, collaborating on the music and lyrics for a play entitled “Blimp” so it took some time to complete the song. Originally titled Menina que Passa (Girl Who Passes), Jobim first performed the song in Rio on August 12, 1962. It was a shoo-in to be part of a Jazz album being put together by Verve Records with Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto featuring some of Jobim’s music. In March, 1963, Tom and Joao flew up to New York to record the album. They also took along Joao’s wife Astrid because she was the only one who spoke any English.

At the recording studio it was decided that Menina que Passa needed a more Rio sounding title so it was changed to A Garota de Ipanema. Also, producer Creed Taylor felt the song should have English lyrics. Fortunately, the group had met lyricist Norman Gimbel from BMI several months before when they played Carnegie Hall and it was Gimbel who wrote the English lyrics. The next task was to find someone to sing those English lyrics. There is some dispute as to how it was decided, but Joao’s wife, Astrid, was selected to sing because, although she never sang professionally, she had a soft sexy voice, she could hold a tune, and at least she could pronounce the English words.

When the album was released in 1964 under the title “Getz/Gilberto” by Verve Records the first cut on the album was “The Girl from Ipanema”. It featured Joao Gilberto strumming his guitar and singing the original Portuguese lyrics followed by Astrid Gilberto with the English lyrics. Track 9 was the 45 rpm release of the Astrid Gilberto English version and track 10 was the flip-side of the 45; another of Jobim’s music entitled “Corcovada”.

Back home in Rio, the song was an instant success. Brazil was the midst of an economic recovery and, having won the last two World Cups, the country was riding high. The international success of “The Girl from Ipanema” was another example of the miracle that was Brazil. That miracle was to end two years later when economic mismanagement, corruption, and a military dictatorship took over, but in the meantime Brazil was young and hopeful.

As can be imagined, the big question in Ipanema was the identity of the inspiration for the song. Jobim and de Moraes remained mysterious on the subject. Some people believed there was no real girl, only the creation of a poet’s imagination. Others thought they knew better; many women flattered themselves, claiming to be THE GIRL. A cottage industry even grew. All you had to do was take some pictures of a pretty girl and sell them to dumb tourists claiming the girl in the picture was THE GIRL.

Heloísa Eneida de Menezes Paes Pinto was a born and raised Rio de Janeiro girl – a true carioca. The daughter of an army general from whom her mother divorced when Helô was 4, she grew up on the Rua Montenegro, some blocks up from the Bar Veloso. At age 17 she was shy and quite self-conscious: she had crooked teeth, she felt she was too skinny, she suffered from frequent asthma attacks, and she had an allergy that reddened her face. And on her way to and from school and on her treks to the beach, she had to walk by the Bar Veloso.

Although the song had been around since 1962, it wasn’t until 1964 that Helô learned the truth. Friends introduced her to Tom Jobim, who still hadn’t worked up the courage to talk with her. But with the ice finally broken, he set out to win her heart. On their second date, he stated his love for her and asked her to marry him. But she turned him down. Two things got in the way. Helô knew Tom was married and that he was “experienced”, whereas she was inexperienced and would not make him a good wife. The other was that she had been dating a handsome young lad named Fernando Pinheiro from a prosperous family in Leblon since she was 15. Undaunted by her refusal, Tom told her that she was the inspiration for the song. This confirmed the rumors she had heard from others and, of course, thrilled her beyond imagination, but she still turned him down.

The world would not learn the truth until 1965. Tired of all the gossip and particularly concerned that a contest was going to be held to select “the girl from Ipanema” Vinicius de Moraes held a press conference. In a detoxification clinic in Rio where he was undergoing treatment (you’ve got to love poets), and with Helô at his side, de Moraes told the world. And he offered her one more testament:

« She is a golden girl, a mixture of flowers and mermaids, full of light and full of grace, but whose character is also sad with the feeling that youth passes and that beauty isn’t ours to keep. She is the gift of life with its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow. »

Immediately she became a sensation. Offers of movie stardom, modeling contracts, and trips around the world came. Unfortunately for her, however, this was the sixties, this was macho Brazil, and she was a good girl.

In her 1996 autobiography, “Por Causa do Amor”, she writes: “The middle class philosophy was to discourage and even repress any attempts to do anything other than bringing up children and being the perfect housewife”. Fernando, to whom she was recently engaged, and her army general father refused to allow her, at age 21, to leave home. Being a loving fiancée and an obedient daughter she had no choice. She had to turn down all offers.

It may be difficult today to believe that someone would turn down certain fame and fortune to be a housewife, but times were different. In 1960 less than 12% of all jobs in Brazil were held by women and only 20% of all college students were women. The machismo rule was in effect. Remember, this is the country where, until 1991, it was legal for a man to kill his wife if he thought she was cheating on him.

So Helô married Fernando Pinheiro in 1966 and settled in to live the life of the perfect housewife. Twelve years later, however, things changed.

1978 was the pivotal year for Helô Pinheiro and her family because of two misfortunes. The first was that because the military government relaxed its trade laws causing increased foreign imports, her husband’s iron and steel business failed, the family lost its money, and Fernando was without a job. The second was the birth of her fourth child, Fernando Jr. who suffered from numerous medical problems.

Realizing her financial obligations, she turned to the only asset she had. “I never wanted to use it that way”, she said. “It was a romantic thing, a gift of love. I never wanted to commercialize it. Out of respect I didn’t want to exploit it”. But she had no choice. The girl from Ipanema was back.

The modeling assignments and TV appearances soon came. She became a radio talk-show host and a gossip columnist. Soon she opened her own modeling agency, began organizing beauty pageants, and attached her endorsement to over 100 different products.

Her name, her charm, and her hard work eventually gained her success. “You move mountains”, she said, “…when it comes to providing for your children”.

She has relaxed a bit now that her children are grown. Helô and Fernando live in Sao Paolo with their son Fernando Jr who suffers from serious learning difficulties. Her daughter Kiki is a former model turned business-woman, daughter Georgiani is a psychologist, and daughter Ticiane is a very successful super-model. Helô’s main occupation these days centers on her Garota de Ipanema boutiques in Sao Paolo and Rio where she sells a variety a women’s beachwear. And at the age of “you do the math” Helô is still a looker. She and Ticiane appeared in a photo shoot in the March 2003 issue of the Brazilian Playboy magazine.

In the sixties, Helô was the icon of Brazilian femininity. Today she is an example of it. Whereas in 1960 when less than 12% of the workforce was female, today it is over 40%, and 2/5s of those women earn more than their spouses. Of course, the typical Brazilian woman earns only 66% that of her male counterpart (in the US that average is 76%). A full 50% of Brazilian women have jobs today. Both Brazil and Helô Paes Pinto have come a long way since those innocent days back in the early sixties.

Interesting Sidelights:

Helô was one of the very few girls on Ipanema beach to wear a two-piece swimsuit. Nowadays, when we think of the beaches of Rio we think of butt-floss and band-aids so it is difficult to think there was a time when a modest two-piece swimsuit that barely exposed the navel was considered daring. But Rio was different then, and it certainly was not the French Riviera where the bikini was in style. When the “Girl from Ipanema” contests that de Moraes reacted against continued, the girls who took part knew they were being compared to a girl who wore a two-piece swimsuit. So they knew they had to become daring. As daring as Helô at first, then more daring than the previous year’s winner as the contests continued. The more daring the girls became, the skimpier the swimsuits became. The evolution of the Brazilian bikini and the string bikini is traced directly back to this contest and therefore back to the youthful Heloísa.

The 45 rpm release of The Girl from Ipanema was, according to Billboard, the fifth best selling song in the world in 1964 (the other four were Beatle songs) and was awarded the Grammy as best song of the year. According to a 1996 United Kingdom Channel 4 production “Without Walls: The Girl from Ipanema” that recording is the fifth most played record in the history of the world.

There are various stories as to how Astrid Gilberto was selected to sing the English version. One is that Astrid claims it was her husband, Joao, who argued that she should sing the English version because he was singing the Portuguese version, another story is that it was Stan Getz’s wife Monica who convinced Joao, Getz, and Jobim to let Astrid to sing it, and a third story is that Stan Getz himself insisted on Astrid over everybody else’s objections. It is interesting to note that because she was a non-professional and, therefore, not under any contract, Astrid Gilberto was never paid for this recording. She did not receive one red cent, nor, I guess, was she entitled to any payment. This recording did launch her successful career as a singer, but still, you’d think she should get something for being the vocalist for one of the most popular songs of all time.

The Getz / Gilberto album released by Verve Records stayed on the pop charts for 96 weeks and won four Grammys.

The very first performance of A Garota de Ipanema (then named Menina que Passa) was on August 12, 1962 at the Au Bon Gourmet restaurant on the Avenida Nossa Senhora in Copacabana and featured Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Joao Gilberto, Otavio Bailly, Milton Banana, and the vocal group Os Cariocas.

The Bossa Nova craze that began in the late fifties ended rather quickly in the middle sixties. In the atmosphere of a military coup in Brazil and the war in Viet Nam, its light, lyrical and melodic sounds lost out to hard driving beats and the sounds of protest. Perhaps the downfall of the Bossa Nova began when it came to the United States. In the early sixties record companies were looking for the latest dance craze. The Twist, the Watusi, and other fads were making money for the record industry. When the Bossa Nova came, the thought was to make it into another dance fad. So songs like Blame It On The Bossa Nova by Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme and Bossa Nova Baby by Elvis Presley were produced. These were not Bossa Nova. Bossa Nova is a soft sophisticated sound meant for vocal and instrumental interpretations, not for Las Vegas lounge acts. You listen to the Bossa Nova sound, you don’t rock to it on a dance floor. American commercialism miss-named its songs and in doing so relegated a new Jazz form to realm of the lounge-lizards.

The Bar Veloso has since changed its name to “A Garota de Ipanema”. The name of the North/South street the café is on has also changed from the Rua Montenegro to the Rua Vinicius de Moraes. Consequently the bar Garota de Ipanema is on the corner of Rua Vinicius de Moraes and Rua Prudente de Moraes. Helô’s store is to the north, next door on the Rua Vinicius de Moraes. Also, extensive construction on the Rua Prudente de Moraes took place in the seventies and early eighties so you can no longer see the beach from the bar.

The 1958 album made by Jobim, de Moraes, and Joao Gilberto that launched the Bossa Nova movement was released on the old 78 rpm records.

Tom Jobim’s full name is Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim.

Joao Gilberto’s full name is João Gilberto do Prado Pereira de Oliveira.

Stan Getz’s real name is Stanley Gayetsky.

Vinicius de Moraes full name is Marcus Vinicius da Cruz de Mello Moraes.

In 1966, Frank Sinatra came up with the idea of recording an album with Tom Jobim. To get a hold of Jobim to talk about it, the first place he called was the Bar Veloso. Tom was there. The result of their collaboration was the 1967 release of “Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim”.

Tom Jobim served as best man when Helô married Fernando Pinheiro.

In 1976, at age 49, Tom Jobim took up with a 19 year old photographer named Ana Beatriz Lontra who he married in 1986. It has been strongly suggested that Ana, at age 19, looked an awful lot like the young Helô. (I wish I could find a picture)

Norman Gimbel (born 1927 in Brooklyn) is a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame who has Grammys for the lyrics to The Girl From Ipanema and Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly. In 1979 he and David Shire won an Academy Award for Best Song for It Goes Like It Goes from the movie Norma Rae. He has three songs in the BMI list of Top 100 Songs of the Century, The Girl From Ipanema, Killing Me Softly, and Canadian Sunset. A very prolific writer, he is responsible for the theme music to many TV shows including Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Wonder Woman, and The Paper Chase. His movie credits include Norma Rae, Goodfellas, Johnny Dangerously, Crimes of Passion, Meatballs, and Chisum.

It has been said that there are two types of Brazilian music, Before Jobim and After Jobim. Born on January 25, 1927 Tom Jobim did not start studying music until 1941 and originally went to school to become an architect. In 1953 his first album was published. Before he died on December 8, 1994 he had written the songs for 28 individual albums, the scores for eight movies, and a number of single releases that appeared on other albums. After he died of a heart attack at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, his body was flown back to Rio where it was draped in a Brazilian flag and carried through the streets of Rio. He is buried in a tomb at the Sao Joao Batista Cemetery near his old friend Vinicius de Moraes.

Tom Jobim was married twice, Thereza Hermanny in 1949 and Ana Lontra in 1986. Vinicius de Moraes was officially married nine times. Once, Jobim asked of his friend, “After all, little poet, how many times do you have to be married?” Vinicius answered, “As many times as necessary”.

Born October 19, 1913 and died July 9, 1980, Vinicius de Moraes was a man of many interests. He was a poet, a writer, a lyricist, a musician, a film critic, a career diplomat, and a lawyer who studied English at Oxford University in Cambridge. As a diplomat he served in France, Uruguay, and the United States. In the US he was Consular at the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles and while in LA he took the opportunity to study film under the tutelage of Orson Welles. He too is buried in the Sao Joao Batista Cemetery.

In 2001, Helô Pinheiro opened her “Garota de Ipanema” boutique in Sao Paolo catering mostly to women and offering a variety of beachwear. One of the products she offers is a T-shirt imprinted with the music and lyrics from the song. Since this is a copy of the original sheet music, it also contains the signatures of Vinicius de Moraes and A. C. Jobim. The estates of de Moraes and Jobim filed suit arguing that the words and music belong to the estates and that all monies made from the sale of those T-shirts belong to the families of de Moraes and Jobim. Fortunately for us romantics, the Brazilian courts acted properly. In February, 2004, the court ruled in favor of Helô Pinheiro stating “…without her there would not have been the song”.

Voir enfin:

Garota d’Ipanema

Olha que coisa mais linda

Mais cheia de graça

É ela menina

Que vem e que passa

Num doce balanço, a caminho do mar

Moça do corpo dourado

Do sol de Ipanema

O seu balançado é mais que um poema

É a coisa mais linda que eu já vi passar

Ah, porque estou tão sozinho

Ah, porque tudo é tão triste

Ah, a beleza que existe

A beleza que não é só minha

Que também passa sozinha

Ah, se ela soubesse

Que quando ela passa

O mundo sorrindo se enche de graça

E fica mais lindo

Por causa do amor

The Girl From Ipanema

Tall and tan and young and lovely

The girl from Ipanema goes walking

And when she passes, each one she passes goes – ah

When she walks, she’s like a samba

That swings so cool and sways so gentle

That when she passes, each one she passes goes – ooh

(Ooh) But I watch her so sadly

How can I tell her I love her

Yes I would give my heart gladly

But each day, when she walks to the sea

She looks straight ahead, not at me

Tall, (and) tan, (and) young, (and) lovely

The girl from Ipanema goes walking

And when she passes, I smile – but she doesn’t see (doesn’t see)

(She just doesn’t see, she never sees me…)

La Fille d’Ipanema

Regarde quelle chose plus belle

Et pleine de grace

Que cette fille

Qui va et vient

Dans un doux balancement, au bord de mer

Demoiselle au corps doré

Par le soleil d’Ipanema

Son déhanchement est plus qu’un poème

C’est la chose la plus belle que j’ai vue passer

Ah, pourquoi suis je si seul

Ah, pourquoi tout est si triste

Ah, la beauté qui existe

La beauté qui n’est pas seulement mienne

Qui aussi passe seule

Ah, si elle savait

Que quand elle passe

Le monde souriant se remplit de grace

Et s’embellit

A cause de l’amour


Brésil/512e: Enfer des Noirs, purgatoire des Blancs et paradis des mulâtres? (Trouble in Brazil’s racial paradise?)

21 avril, 2012
Le Brésil est l’enfer des Noirs, le purgatoire des Blancs et le paradis des mulâtres et des mulâtresses.  Dicton (rapporté par le jésuite Antonil , 1171)
Les Portugais étaient plus humains que les Hollandais, que les Espagnols et que les Anglais : en conséquence, sur la côte brésilienne il était plus facile de se rendre libre et il eut, dans cette région, un plus grand nombre de Noirs libres. Hegel (La Raison dans L’Histoire, 1820)
I am proud of being white. I am in favor of the preservation of the white race. This is not racism. Racism for me is when the blacks create a magazine that only blacks can read (Raça Brasil), a noble award only for blacks (Trófeu Raça Negra) and segregationist racial quotas (the same technique used by Apartheid). Imagine if we whites created a magazine only for whites, a trophy/award only for whites and quotas only for whites…It would be a national scandal. Meilleure réponse (à la question: “Which is more racist?, Yahoo Brazil, traduite en anglais)
Why don’t we have images of black children in one year of Pais & Filhos magazine issues? Because black parents, mothers and children don’t interest the magazine. it simply assumes the racist standard of the desirable white categorically denying Brazilian blackness. The biggest problem of this racist posture is that it perpetuates the denial of the black family that excludes black parents and children; it therefore denies to black mothers (because the magazine is aimed at mothers in spite of the title) feeling themselves part of a maternal dimension – the care of infants. Consequently it denies to black babies the right of belonging to this universe of little angels, of little beings that should receive care and special affection. Encrespo e não aliso!” (blog brésilien, “kinked/napped up and not straight”, in reference to hair texture)
En Argentine, on préfère les gros implants. Au Brésil, les femmes des classes supérieures favorise la réduction des seins – allant jusqu’à offrir cette opération à leurs filles pour leur quinzième anniversaire! Tandis que la Brésilienne qui s’élève dans l’échelle sociale souhaite prendre ses distances avec les gros seins associés à la population noire des classes inférieures, les Argentines – souvent d’origine espagnole, avec des hommes très machos – veulent accentuer à tout prix leur différence sexuelle. Marylin Yalom
La vision d’un Brésil exceptionnellement mélangé et généreux pour les métis repose donc sur une réalité. Encore faut-il bien voir que cette mansuétude n’a touché que certains d’entre eux, les mulâtres. Une situation causée, paradoxalement, par l’importance de la traite et de l’esclavage – contrairement à l’image idéale de Portugais exempts de préjugés raciaux. Luiz Felipe de Alencastro

Attention: un mythe peut en cacher un autre!

2e population d’origine africaine du monde après le Nigéria (90 millions sur 190), revenus des blancs plus de deux fois plus élevé que celui des métis ou noirs,  plus de la moitié des résidents des bidonvilles noirs, seulement 7% dans les quartiers plus riches, un seul ministre noir et un seul membre de la Cour suprême noir pour une population pour plus de la moitié métisse ou noire …

En ce 62e anniversaire de la fondation de Brasilia (mais aussi jour anniversaire de la fondation de Rome et de l’exécution du premier héros de l’indépendance brésilienne, Tiradentes, en 1792) …

Et 512e anniversaire de la découverte (accidentelle) du Brésil par Cabral

Et au lendemain de la Journée nationale de l’Indien (moins de 1% de la population) …

Retour, avec un récent article de the Economist et après l’omerta sur les traites arabe et africaine

Sur l’envers de l’image de paradis du métissage de la première puissance émergente d’Amérique latine…

A savoir un système à plusieurs vitesses dans ce qui fut en réalité le premier pays esclavagiste du Nouveau Monde à la fois par le nombre (5 millions issus principalement des implantations portugaises d’Angola et des comptoirs du golfe de Guinée échangés contre tabac et eau de vie, 40% de la traite atlantique contre seulement 5,5% pour les Etats-Unis, plus grosse concentration urbaine d’esclaves depuis la fin de l’Empire romain au milieu du XIXe siècle dans l’agglomération de Rio avec 41 %) et la durée (300 ans,  abolition, sous la pression de l’Angleterre, la plus tardive du monde occidental en 1888).

Et aujourd’hui la  plus importante population « afro-descendante » en dehors de l’Afrique (plus de la moitié de la population se déclarant, pour la première fois depuis la fin du XIXe siècle, noire ou métisse).

Avec effectivement un plus grand métissage mais dû, comme l’expliquait  le sociologue Luiz Felipe de Alencastro dans un récent numéro spécial de l’Histoire, non pas tant à une soit-disant plus grande mansuétude des Portugais (le mythe encore répandu d’un esclavage plus plus « doux » qu’aux États-Unis ou dans l’Empire espagnol) qu’à justement cette présence massive et véritable omniprésence des esclaves dans toutes les couches de la société et tous les différents secteurs d’activité.

D’où aussi, nouvelle conséquence du caractère massif de la traite, les affranchissements plus nombreux (un affranchi pouvant à l’occasion  hériter de sa mère esclave ou certains affranchis repartis ou déportés en Afrique devenant… négriers!) mais surtout comme soupape, outre  la possibilité de se débarrasser des charges d’entretien d’esclaves vieux ou invalides, aux fréquentes fuites d’esclaves (marronnage) et parfois sanglantes révoltes (Salvador de Bahia, 1835, esclaves islamisés principalement yoroubas, Nigeria actuel), pouvant aboutir à  de véritables communautés durables et structurées (eg. quilombos de Palmares, Pernambouc, nord-est).

Mais aussi, hier comme aujourd’hui et comme en témoigne l’actuelle fortune des produits d’éclaircissement de la peau ou de la chirurgie plastique et l’opposition aux timides contremesures du gouvernement telles que les quotas, toute une hiérarchie sociale fondée sur la couleur de la peau, la forme du visage, la texture des cheveux avec les plus noirs tout en bas de l’échelle en une sorte d’ « épidermisation de l’infériorité »…

Race in Brazil

Affirming a divide

Black Brazilians are much worse off than they should be. But what is the best way to remedy that?

The Economist

Jan 28th 2012

Rio Janeiro

The shadow of the past

IN APRIL 2010, as part of a scheme to beautify the rundown port near the centre of Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic games, workers were replacing the drainage system in a shabby square when they found some old cans. The city called in archaeologists, whose excavations unearthed the ruins of Valongo, once Brazil’s main landing stage for African slaves.

From 1811 to 1843 around 500,000 slaves arrived there, according to Tânia Andrade Lima, the head archaeologist. Valongo was a complex, including warehouses where slaves were sold and a cemetery. Hundreds of plastic bags, stored in shipping containers parked on a corner of the site, hold personal objects lost or hidden by the slaves, or taken from them. They include delicate bracelets and rings woven from vegetable fibre; lumps of amethyst and stones used in African worship; and cowrie shells, a common currency in Africa.

It is a poignant reminder of the scale and duration of the slave trade to Brazil. Of the 10.7m African slaves shipped across the Atlantic between the 16th and 19th centuries, 4.9m landed there. Fewer than 400,000 went to the United States. Brazil was the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, in 1888.

Brazil has long seemed to want to forget this history. In 1843 Valongo was paved over by a grander dock to welcome a Bourbon princess who came to marry Pedro II, the country’s 19th-century emperor. The stone column rising from the square commemorates the empress, not the slaves. Now the city plans to make Valongo an open-air museum of slavery and the African diaspora. “Our work is to give greater visibility to the black community and its ancestors,” says Ms Andrade Lima.

This project is a small example of a much broader re-evaluation of race in Brazil. The pervasiveness of slavery, the lateness of its abolition, and the fact that nothing was done to turn former slaves into citizens all combined to have a profound impact on Brazilian society. They are reasons for the extreme socioeconomic inequality that still scars the country today.

Neither separate nor equal

In the 2010 census some 51% of Brazilians defined themselves as black or brown. On average, the income of whites is slightly more than double that of black or brown Brazilians, according to IPEA, a government-linked think-tank. It finds that blacks are relatively disadvantaged in their level of education and in their access to health and other services. For example, more than half the people in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (slums) are black. The comparable figure in the city’s richer districts is just 7%.

Brazilians have long argued that blacks are poor only because they are at the bottom of the social pyramid—in other words, that society is stratified by class, not race. But a growing number disagree. These “clamorous” differences can only be explained by racism, according to Mário Theodoro of the federal government’s secretariat for racial equality. In a passionate and sometimes angry debate, black Brazilian activists insist that slavery’s legacy of injustice and inequality can only be reversed by affirmative-action policies, of the kind found in the United States.

Their opponents argue that the history of race relations in Brazil is very different, and that such policies risk creating new racial problems. Unlike in the United States, slavery in Brazil never meant segregation. Mixing was the norm, and Brazil had many more free blacks. The result is a spectrum of skin colour rather than a dichotomy.

Few these days still call Brazil a “racial democracy”. As Antonio Riserio, a sociologist from Bahia, put it in a recent book: “It’s clear that racism exists in the US. It’s clear that racism exists in Brazil. But they are different kinds of racism.” In Brazil, he argues, racism is veiled and shamefaced, not open or institutional. Brazil has never had anything like the Ku Klux Klan, or the ban on interracial marriage imposed in 17 American states until 1967.

Importing American-style affirmative action risks forcing Brazilians to place themselves in strict racial categories rather than somewhere along a spectrum, says Peter Fry, a British-born, naturalised-Brazilian anthropologist. Having worked in southern Africa, he says that Brazil’s avoidance of “the crystallising of race as a marker of identity” is a big advantage in creating a democratic society.

But for the proponents of affirmative action, the veiled quality of Brazilian racism explains why racial stratification has been ignored for so long. “In Brazil you have an invisible enemy. Nobody’s racist. But when your daughter goes out with a black, things change,” says Ivanir dos Santos, a black activist in Rio de Janeiro. If black and white youths with equal qualifications apply to be a shop assistant in a Rio mall, the white will get the job, he adds.

The debate over affirmative action splits both left and right. The governments of Dilma Rousseff, the president, and of her two predecessors, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, have all supported such policies. But they have moved cautiously. So far the main battleground has been in universities. Since 2001 more than 70 public universities have introduced racial admissions quotas. In Rio de Janeiro’s state universities, 20% of places are set aside for black students who pass the entrance exam. Another 25% are reserved for a “social quota” of pupils from state schools whose parents’ income is less than twice the minimum wage—who are often black. A big federal programme awards grants to black and brown students at private universities.

These measures are starting to make a difference. Although only 6.3% of black 18- to 24-year-olds were in higher education in 2006, that was double the proportion in 2001, according to IPEA. (The figures for whites were 19.2% in 2006, compared with 14.1% in 2001). “We’re very happy, because in the past five years we’ve placed more blacks in universities than in the previous 500 years,” says Frei David Raimundo dos Santos, a Franciscan friar who runs Educafro, a charity that holds university-entrance classes in poor areas. “Today there’s a revolution in Brazil.”

One of its beneficiaries is Carolina Bras da Silva, a young black woman whose mother was a cleaner. As a teenager she lived for a while on the streets of São Paulo. But she is now in her first year of social sciences at Rio’s Catholic University, on a full grant. “Some of the other students said ‘What are you doing here?’ But it’s getting better,” she says. She wants to study law and become a public prosecutor.

Academics from some of Brazil’s best universities have led a campaign against quotas. They argue firstly that affirmative action starts with an act of racism: the division of a rainbow nation into arbitrary colour categories. Assigning races in Brazil is not always as easy as the activists claim. In 2007 one of two identical twins who both applied to enter the University of Brasília was classified as black, the other as white. All this risks creating racial resentment. Secondly, opponents say affirmative action undermines equality of opportunity and meritocracy—fragile concepts in Brazil, where privilege, nepotism and contacts have long been routes to advancement.

Proponents of affirmative action say these arguments sanctify an unjust status quo. And formally meritocratic university entrance exams have not guaranteed equality of opportunity. A study by Carlos Antonio Costa Ribeiro, a sociologist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, found that the factors most closely correlated to attending university are having rich parents and studying in private school.

In practice, many of the fears surrounding university quotas have not been borne out. Though still preliminary, studies tend to show that cotistas, as they are known, have performed academically as well as or better than their peers. That may be because they have replaced weaker “white” students who got in merely because they had the money to prepare for the exam.

Nelson do Valle Silva, a sociologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, says that the backlash against quotas would have been even stronger if access to universities were not growing so fast. For now, almost everyone who passes the exam gets in somewhere. It also helps, he says, that many universities have adopted less controversial “social quotas”. Mr Fry agrees that affirmative action has “become a fait accompli”. He attributes the declining resistance to guilt, indifference and the fear of being accused of racism.

The battle for jobs

For black activists, the next target is the labour market. “As a black man, when I go for a job I start from a disadvantage,” says Mr Theodoro. He notes that the United States, which is only 12% black, has a black president and numerous black politicians and millionaires. In Brazil, in contrast, “we have nobody”. That is not quite true: apart from footballers and singers, Brazil has a black supreme-court justice (appointed by Lula) and senior military and police officers. But they are exceptional. Only one of the 38 members of Ms Rousseff’s cabinet is black (though ten are women). Stand outside the adjacent headquarters of Petrobras, the state oil company, and the National Development Bank in Rio at lunchtime, and “all the managers are white and the cleaners are black,” says Frei David.

The shadow of the past

Some private-sector bodies are starting to espouse racial diversity in recruitment. The state and city of Rio de Janeiro have both passed laws reserving 20% of posts in civil-service exams for blacks, though they are yet to be implemented. If unemployment rises from today’s record low, job quotas are likely to create even more controversy than university entrance has.

What stands out from a decade of debate about affirmative action is that it is being implemented in a very Brazilian way. Each university has taken its own decisions. The federal government has tried to promote the policy, but not impose it. The supreme court is sitting on three cases addressing racial quotas. Some lawyers suspect it is deliberately dragging its heels in the hope that society can sort the issue out.

Society itself is indeed changing fast. Many of the 30m Brazilians who have left poverty over the past decade are black. Businesses are taking note: many more cosmetics are aimed at blacks, for example. The mix of passengers on internal flights now bears some resemblance to Brazil, rather than Scandinavia. Until recently, the only black actors in television soap operas played maids; now one Globo soap has a black male lead. Much of this might have happened without affirmative action.

The question facing Brazil is whether the best way to repair the legacy of slavery is to give extra rights to darker-skinned Brazilians. Yes, say the government and the black movement. Given the persistence of racial disadvantage that is understandable.

But the approach carries clear risks. Until the invasion of American academic ideas, most Brazilians thought that their country’s racial rainbow was among its main assets. They were not wholly wrong. Mr do Valle Silva, a specialist in social mobility, finds that race affects life chances in Brazil but does not determine them. And if positive discrimination becomes permanent, a publicly funded industry of entitlement may grow up to entrench it and to promote divisive racial politics.

There may be better ways to establish genuine equality of opportunity and rights. Brazil has had anti-discrimination legislation since the 1950s. The 1988 constitution made both racial abuse and racism crimes. But there have been relatively few prosecutions. That is partly because of racism in the judiciary. But it is also because judges and prosecutors think the penalties are too harsh: anyone accused of racism must be held in jail both before and after conviction. And in Rio de Janeiro the black movement’s preference for affirmative action led the state government to lose interest in measures aimed at attacking racial prejudice, according to a study by Fabiano Dias Monteiro, who ran the state’s anti-racist helpline before it was scrapped in 2007.

The hardest task is to change attitudes. Many Brazilians simply assume blacks belong at the bottom of the pile. Supporters of affirmative action are right to say that the country turned its back on the problem. But American-style policies might not be the way to combat Brazil’s specific forms of racism. A combination of stronger legal action against discrimination and quotas for social class in higher education to compensate for weak public schools may work better.

Voir aussi:

Brazil

A great divide

Jack Chang

The Miami Herald

June 17, 2007

Brazil’s public self-image of a ‘racial democracy’ is being challenged as black Brazilians struggle to overturn centuries of racism

RIO DE JANEIRO — Aleixo Joaquim da Silva was working in this city’s famed seaside Copacabana neighborhood, far from the slum where he lives, when he was reminded that racism is alive and well.

While refurbishing the service elevator of a high-rise apartment building, da Silva had to ride the elevator reserved for residents to fetch supplies. A white woman entered and, taken aback, ordered him out.

 » ‘I’m not riding with a black!’ she told me. ‘The place of blacks is in the service elevator!' » da Silva recalled.

Although black Brazilians have long endured such insults, many are deciding that they have had enough. The 50-year-old reported the woman to state authorities and had her convicted for breaking laws prohibiting discrimination.

It was a small victory for da Silva, but he’s part of a growing movement in this country of 190 million people — it has the world’s second-largest black population, behind Nigeria’s — to turn back centuries of pervasive and largely unchallenged racism.

From university classrooms to television airwaves, black Brazilians are fighting for what they say is long-denied space in a society that has kept them on the margins.

They are pushing for two affirmative-action bills in Brazil’s Congress that would open up college enrollment and government payrolls to more Brazilians of African descent. Already, many state universities have implemented their own affirmative-action programs.

In 2005, black entertainer José de Paula Neto launched the country’s first television station aimed at black audiences, TV da Gente. Meanwhile, hundreds of communities founded more than a century ago by escaped slaves and known as quilombos are winning recognition and federal protections.

And Brazilians are finally discussing race after decades of telling themselves and the rest of the world that the country was free from racism, said Sen. Paulo Paim, author of one of the pending affirmative-action bills.

« The Brazilian elite says this is not a racist country, but if you look at whatever social indicator, you’ll see exclusion is endemic, » he said. « We want to open up to more Brazilians the legitimate spaces they deserve. »

Da Silva said outrage over his treatment in the elevator pushed him to fight back.

« I couldn’t let it go, especially since it was done in such a flagrant manner, » he said. « It just hurt too much. It hurt my soul. We can’t go backward. We can’t stay quiet anymore. »

TURNING POINT

The changes mark a dramatic shift in a country that claims more than 90 million people of African descent but looks almost completely white on its TV screens and in its halls of power.

Starting in the 16th century, Portuguese slave traders sent about 5.5 million Africans to Brazil, with more than 3.3 million surviving the journey, according to historians. Brazil abolished slavery in 1888, the last country in the Americas to do so.

That African legacy is clear in census numbers. About half of Brazilians identified themselves in a 2005 survey as black or pardo, meaning a mix of races but predominantly white and black. Another half identified themselves as white, and less than 1 percent were Asian or indigenous.

DISPARITY ENTRENCHED

Despite their numbers, black Brazilians have long been poorer, less educated, less healthy and less powerful than white Brazilians.

And although Brazilians regularly eat foods and use words that originated in Africa, their history books talk almost exclusively about the deeds of white heroes, said Emanoel Araujo, a renowned black sculptor and the curator of the Afro Brasil Museum in Sao Paulo.

« We need to redo the history of this country, » Araujo said, « and work around the premise and the perspective of the African not only as a slave but as the one who changed Brazilian society, the one who constructed Brazilian society, who constructed the wealth of Brazil. »

That day of acknowledgment is still far off, and Brazil, a country with one of the biggest gaps between rich and poor in the world, is sharply divided between its whites and non-whites.

Census figures show that pardos and blacks earned about half of what white Brazilians made last year, with the gap actually widening among more educated Brazilians. In comparison, African-Americans (U.S. blacks) earned 62 percent of white American wages in 2004., and more schooling helped blacks approach white incomes.

A man begs for change outside the Salvador church Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos.(Carl Juste/Miami Herald)

The U.N. Human Development Index, which measures countries based on health, income and other factors, paints an even worse picture. If measured separately, Brazilian whites would be ranked 44th in the world, on par with oil-rich Kuwait, while its blacks and pardos would be ranked 105th, about the same level as El Salvador.

« I have never seen any evidence that suggests anything other than there’s widespread racism in Brazil, » said UCLA sociology professor Edward Telles, who studies race in Brazil. « Racial and social inequality are strongly linked. »

Jailson de Souza e Silva, who runs a Rio de Janeiro anti-violence advocacy group, said the split is stark in his city’s violence-torn slums, where blacks make up the majority of residents. Two-thirds of the country’s homicide victims in 2004 were black.

« The objective here is not to preserve life, and hundreds of black men are dying every year, » de Souza e Silva said. « Meanwhile, in the rich, white parts of the city, every single death is big news. Our lives clearly don’t have equal value. »

Da Silva’s slum has been paralyzed in recent years by gang-related violence, and its middle-class neighbors have erected gated checkpoints around the slum to stop the killing from spilling into their streets.

« It’s another sign of the inequality here, » da Silva said while gesturing to the rutted dirt road running by his house. « The government doesn’t bother to pave the streets here. We’re just totally forgotten. »

A squatter named Beatriz, hanging laundry under the glare of a bare bulb, is one of many who occupy abandoned buildings in Salvador. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald)

GAP IN NORTHEAST

The divisions are felt even in the northeastern Brazilian city of Salvador, where more than three-quarters of the population is black and where African-based culture and religion are the mainstream.

Ivete Sacramento, who became the country’s first black president of a major university in 1998, said she is saddened every day when she looks out the balcony of her upper-middle-class apartment at the sprawling slum that sits just a few dozen yards away.

Except for her family and two other households, every resident in her 64-unit apartment tower is white. In the nearby slum, the racial equation is inverted, and white faces are rare. ‘‘No one has any idea that blacks can be anything more than maids, » said Sacramento, 54.

‘‘The place of blacks in Brazil is still the place of slaves. »

Alberto Borges, a 31-yearold aspiring boxer from the slum, said that just being from his neighborhood is a strike against him.

« If you live in one of these houses, the people outside will call you preto, » Borges said, using a word for black Brazilians that many consider derogatory. « If you try to find a job and tell them where you come from, they won’t call back. »

Despite the disparities, debate about race is rare in Brazil., and problems are more felt than spoken about.

Black Brazilians have never launched a civil-rights movement like that in the United States nor developed national black leaders in the mold of Martin Luther King Jr. or South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

Also non-existent are black civic groups with the power of U.S. institutions such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or financial networks that could spur black entrepreneurship.

A BACKLASH

Those who do speak out about racial disparities, such as TV da Gente, are accused — even by some prominent blacks — of fomenting racial divisions or of outright racism.

‘‘Every time we try to put together a project like this, we’re criticized by the government and everyone else who says there is no racism in Brazil, » said Hasani Damazio, TV da Gente’s director of international programs. « It’s clear that race is treated very differently here than in the U.S. »

A key difference is that Brazil never imposed legal racial segregation like the United States and South Africa, which meant that black Brazilians didn’t have an institutional injustice to rally around.

Black leaders also blame what they describe as decades of self-censorship about race spurred by the « racial democracy » vision of their country, which long defined Brazilian self-identity.

Preached in the early 20th century by sociologist Gilberto Freyre, the vision depicted a Brazil that was freeing itself of racism and even of the concept of race through pervasive mixing of the races.

Opponents of the pending affirmative-action bills have echoed key points of Freyre’s argument, especially those about miscegenation. Census statistics show that about 30 percent of Brazilian households in 2000 were headed by couples from different racial backgrounds — six times the U.S. ratio.

Ali Kamel, executive director of news for the country’s biggest television network, Globo, said Brazilians don’t think in terms of white and black, and argued that poverty affects all Brazilians. He blamed a collapse in public education and not racism for social disparities.

« Our big problem in Brazil is poverty, not racial discrimination, » Kamel said. « The racism here is at a degree infinitesimally less than in other countries. »

Opposition to the affirmative-action bills also has come from some black leaders such as José Carlos Miranda, coordinator of Brazil’s Black Socialist Movement, who fear that racebased policies could aggravate racism.

« The worst thing we could do is pass laws that deepen divisions that already exist, » Miranda said. « What wounds us the most is class, and the only way to fight racism is to promote more equality. »

Other black activists, however, argue that race is the dividing factor and that racial mixing didn’t eliminate discrimination against nonwhites.

‘PREJUDICE ISSUE’

« The problem of Brazil always was this issue of thinking the mulatto and the pardo are outside of the prejudice issue, » Araujo said. ‘‘Yet, when you want to hit the soul of someone, you call him black.

More Brazilians are coming around to Araujo’s view, polls show, and the timeworn idea of a multi-hued racial democracy is losing its sway, even as the race debate heats up.

In its place has risen the begrudging admittance of a racially segregated country. A 2003 poll showed that more than 90 percent of Brazilians said racism existed here.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former leftist activist and union leader, is credited with helping to spur the changes in attitudes.

Soon after taking office in 2003, he made race a key issue and appointed Brazil’s first black Supreme Court justice, Joaquim Barbosa. Lula da Silva also created a special secretariat for racial equality and launched initiatives such as requiring that Afro-Brazilian history be taught in all primary schools.

Many black leaders are skeptical that the latest changes will have any lasting impact. They point out that although the country’s 1988 constitution criminalized racism, few people have served jail time for breaking the law. The woman who insulted da Silva in the elevator was sentenced to community service but has appealed the ruling.

« Things have gotten worse, » said Antônio Carlos dos Santos, president of Ilê Aiyê, a community group in Salvador known for both its African-influenced Carnaval parades and its consciousness-raising social projects.

« Sure, we have people who are more conscious about the situation, but this is a land that’s stepping backward, » he said. « We are almost 80 percent of this state, but we’re still controlled by the white minority. »

It’s a cynicism shared by ordinary Brazilians such as da Silva, who live every day with the country’s crushing inequalities. But in his case, and for many black Brazilians, cynicism is giving way to action.

 Voir également:

Black Women of Brazil is a photographic and informational blog featuring a diverse array of Brazilian Women of African descent. The women are models, singers, rappers, dancers, actresses as well as politicians, activists, journalists, athletes and common everyday people from the Federative Republic of Brazil. The women range the gamut of phenotypes in terms of skin color, hair texture and facial features.

This blog is a mixture of photos, articles and profiles. For every 3-5 photos posted you will find at least one article or profile

Beauty and Magazine Covers in Brazil: The Overwhelming Dictatorship of Whiteness

Black Women of Brazil

March 28, 2012

afro brazilian women
Sometimes it amazes me when white people look at events or certain media that is aimed at and features specific segments of a population and then proceed to accuse this media or event of being racist. Take the comment I copied below from a Yahoo Brasil questions and responses section for instance. In response to someone’s question that asked, « Which is more racist? », someone posted their response in this way:

« I am proud of being white. I am in favor of the preservation of the white race. This is not racism. Racism for me is when the blacks create a magazine that only blacks can read (Raça Brasil), a noble award only for blacks (Trófeu Raça Negra) and segregationist racial quotas (the same technique used by Apartheid). Imagine if we whites created a magazine only for whites, a trophy/award only for whites and quotas only for whites…It would be a national scandal. »
white women
I see this point of view as a sort of the « fish in water » phenomenon. When someone lives, breathes and experiences something constantly it becomes so normal that it they don’t even recognize that they are immersed in it. This is the case for people who define themselves as white who live in societies dominated white-oriented mass media. Brazil has always had a huge contingent of non-white people in its population, and in 2011, the Brazilian census confirmed something that Afro-Brazilian activists have argued for years: Brazil is a  majority non-white country. But one wouldn’t know this after glancing at magazine stands, beauty contests, top fashion show events and college campuses. For in each of these areas, people who physically look as if the majority of their ancestry is European dominate.
Pais & Filhos magazine, March 2011 to March 2012
In a literal « fish in water » example, if you take a fish out of water, it experiences shock because something that it needs to survive and is accustomed to is suddenly gone. This is the same for the person who responded to the question of  who was more racist (between blacks and whites). As « proof » of reverse racism, he or she points to Brazil’s only magazine devoted to the Afro-Brazilian population (Raça Brasil), an award show dedicated to achievements of black Brazilians (Trófeu Raça Negra) and Brazil’s quota system designed to diversify Brazil’s 85-90% white university student body. This person is so accustomed to looking at magazines, TV shows, and student bodies and seeing people who look like him or her that when these images are reversed he or she is literally shocked. « THAT is racist » is the response. Really? Let’s take a look at this.
Crescer Magazine, March 2011 to March 2012
The top photo of this article was taken from a preview of the 2011 Miss Brasil contest. There are 27 women representing 26 states of the country and 1 federal district. Of the 27, there is not one woman who is of obvious African or indigenous descent. This is not to say that all of these women look purely European, many do, but a few look as if they have at least a little non-European heritage. Even so, none of these women display clearly visible African or indigenous physical characteristics. Even women from states where the population is overwhelmingly Afro-Brazilian like Bahia, Alagoas or Maranhão are represented by white or near white women. The second photo featuring all of the babies I took from a blog called « Encrespo e não aliso! » which loosely means « kinked/napped up and not straight » in reference to hair texture. The writer of this blog analyzed the covers of the Pais e Filhos (Parents and Children) magazine from March of 2011 to March of 2012 and showed that all of the babies presented on the covers were white. The article was entitled « Só os brancos nascem (Only whites were born)? » The same author also analyzed another magazine, Crescer, which is also directed at parents of young children.

In the article, the author goes on to say:

« Why don’t we have images of black children in one year of Pais & Filhos magazine issues? Because black parents, mothers and children don’t interest the magazine. it simply assumes the racist standard of the desirable white categorically denying Brazilian blackness. The biggest problem of this racist posture is that it perpetuates the denial of the black family that excludes black parents and children; it therefore denies to black mothers (because the magazine is aimed at mothers in spite of the title) feeling themselves part of a maternal dimension – the care of infants. Consequently it denies to black babies the right of belonging to this universe of little angels, of little beings that should receive care and special affection. »
In research I conducted of Brazil’s women’s magazines in 2007, I came across some very disturbing statistics. When I looked at the women’s monthly magazine Marie Claire, I found that between February 2001 and October 2004, actress Taís Araújo (issue #158, May 2004) was the only woman with clearly African features that appeared on the magazine’s cover. Continuing my research, I also discovered that in 101 issues (August, 1996 to December 2004) of the magazine Corpo a Corpo, Araújo was again the only woman of clearly African descent.
Actress Taís Araújo
We saw this recently « chosen black woman » routine back in 2009 when singer Beyonce seemed to be on every magazine cover on the stand as entertainment’s « it » black girl; in other words, Beyonce appeared on magazine covers when very few black American women were being featured on mainstream women’s magazines. In the same sense, while black Brazilian women are invisible on mainstream Brazilian women’s magazines, when they did feature a black woman, Taís Araújo, a woman of many firsts, was the one. And to be sure, this Afro-Brazilian invisibility doesn’t apply to only the magazine covers. The inner content of these magazines are also overwhelmingly represented by white women. A study by Erly Guedes Barbosa and Silvano Alves Bezerra da Silva verified this.
In an article from the July-October 2010 issue of the journal Revista da ABPN, Barbosa and Silva analyzed two magazines targeted at Brazilian women, Claudia and Marie Claire. The results were taken from their analysis of the two magazines between the months of October to December of 2007 and January to March of 2008. In these two periods, the authors found 230 materials that referred to white women (104 in Marie Claire and 126 in Claudia), while only 13 (5 in Marie Claire and 8 in Claudia) featured Afro-Brazilian women, a meager 5.35% of the total. And similar to my results, no black women were featured on any of the covers in this period of time. While these magazines normally feature Brazilian women, you will note that one issue of Marie Claire featured American actress Angelina Jolie on its cover.
Covers of Claudia and Marie Claire between October 2007 and March 2008
So what conclusion are we to take from this research? According to Barbosa and Silva, « the representation of these white and successful women is used as a means to sell to the feminine public an ideal of beauty and physical, emotional, social and psychological perfection…This constant flow of white women on the covers reveal the ideal of perfection constructed in women’s magazines. » It is « the adoption of a white standard as the norm, normative whiteness, resulting from the incorporation, by these magazines of the Brazilian myth of racial democracy and the ideology of whitening. » In other words, to be successful, beautiful, intelligent, or the ideal woman, is to be white. This dictatorship of whiteness of Brazil’s magazine covers continues to this day. Some of the magazine collages in this post are actual photos that I took of magazine stands in two Brazilian cities (Belo Horizonte and São Paulo) in June of 2009 and June of 2011 respectively.
Although the comment that the guy or girl wrote in response to the question of who is more racist is only one example of this belief that black-oriented events and media are somehow racist, believe me, over the years I have seen literally hundreds of these types of comments on Brazilian blogs, online comments sections or social networking sites. My question to anyone making this type of comment would be, « Are you serious?!?!? Take a look a around. » What was his comment again? Oh yeah… »Imagine if we whites created a magazine only for whites, a trophy/award only for whites and quotas only for whites…It would be a national scandal. »

The truth of the matter is that the Brazilian media IS created for white consumers and is overwhelmingly represented by white people and this is the case in many areas and genres throughout Brazilian society and in  reality, it is not a scandal because it is the norm thus the vast majority of the society doesn’t even notice. It is for this very obvious fact that magazines, events and programs are necessary for specific audiences, be they black, gay or women, because all of these groups are considered minorities and as such are often invisible. If people really think in the same manner as the person that posted that comment despite all of the overwhelming evidence to contrary, I would suggest that you take a walk to a local magazine stand and start counting. It ain’t hard to tell.

Posted by Gatas Negras at 9:12 PM

Voir encore:

21 avril 1960

Brasilia capitale de l’espoir

Le 21 avril 1960, Brasilia devient officiellement la capitale du Brésil. Ce n’est sans doute pas un hasard si l’événement survient le jour anniversaire de la fondation de Rome !

Quatre ans plus tôt, le président brésilien Juscelino Kubitschek a décidé de construire une nouvelle capitale en plein coeur du pays, dans les steppes de l’État de Goiás, afin de réorienter le développement du Brésil vers l’intérieur.

L’oeuvre de l’urbaniste Lucio Costa et de l’architecte Oscar Niemeyer est fidèle au «style international» inventé par Le Corbusier. Elle ravit les esthètes… mais ne convainc pas ses habitants ni les nostalgiques de l’ancienne capitale, Rio de Janeiro.

Pourquoi une nouvelle capitale ?

La première capitale du Brésil colonial, Salvador de Bahia, a été fondée en 1549 à la pointe orientale du pays. Elle a conservé son statut durant deux siècles avant d’être remplacée par Rio de Janeiro en 1763.

Il apparaît bientôt aux dirigeants du pays que le sud très développé avec São Paulo, Belo Horizonte et Rio, au cœur des régions minières et caféières, risque de phagocyter le reste du Brésil. Comment unifier la nation et exploiter ses possibilités si la capitale est située en marge de ce territoire ? La constitution républicaine de 1891, inspirée de celle des États-Unis, prévoit donc dans son troisième article la construction d’une nouvelle capitale sur le plateau central.

Ce texte reste lettre morte jusqu’à l’entrée en fonction du président Juscelino Kubitschek, en 1956 ! Ce dernier, qui succède à Getúlio Vargas dans des conditions très difficiles, choisit pour renforcer sa légitimité de s’en tenir à la constitution et de créer une nouvelle capitale.

Ce grand projet doit lui assurer de nouveaux soutiens dans le pays. Il en fait donc un argument de campagne électorale et, dès 1957, fixe par décret la date d’inauguration de la nouvelle capitale, le 21 avril 1960, double anniversaire, de la fondation de Rome d’une part, de l’exécution du premier héros de l’indépendance brésilienne, Tiradentes, en 1792, d’autre part.

Le symbole du nouveau Brésil

C’est l’urbaniste Lúcio Costa qui dessine les plans de la nouvelle capitale, avec l’idée très affirmée qu’elle doit symboliser l’extrême modernité du Brésil. Il trace deux axes, l’Axe monumental (est-ouest), le long duquel sont implantés les ministères et bâtiments officiels, mais aussi les activités commerciales, et un deuxième axe, courbe (nord-sud), sur lequel sont implantés les quartiers d’habitation, superquadras. Le tout a la forme d’une croix ou d’un avion, symbole de cette capitale éloignée de tout et tributaire des liaisons aériennes. Au croisement des axes, la gare routière.

L’architecte Oscar Niemeyer est responsable des bâtiments principaux, dont le plus important est sans doute la cathédrale, structure hyperboloïde, avec une base circulaire de 70 mètres de diamètre, dont les piliers convergent avant de s’écarter de nouveau en haut.

Tout est loin d’être achevé lorsque la capitale est inaugurée, puisque la cathédrale n’est consacrée qu’en 1970. Cependant, la date est respectée. Le cardinal archevêque de Lisbonne, dom Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, prononce la messe d’inauguration de la ville avec la croix de fer de Cabral, découvreur du Brésil, qui avait servi lors de la première messe célébrée au Brésil ; symbole du renouveau dans la continuité.

Un bilan contrasté

La fondation de Brasília a incontestablement donné une dynamique nouvelle au Brésil, qui s’est dès lors tourné vers l’intérieur et vers l’exploitation de l’Amazonie, pour le meilleur… et pour le pire, d’un point de vue écologique.

Cependant, certaines des ambitions urbanistiques n’ont pu être réalisées. Le système de quartiers indépendants, les superquadras, regroupant commerces et écoles, tend à isoler leurs habitants et rend indispensable l’utilisation de la voiture, car la rue n’est plus pensée comme un lieu d’interaction sociale : Brasília est une ville conçue pour l’automobile.

Faute d’avoir les moyens d’accéder à ces superquadras, lesquels abritent en tout et pour tout 300.000 habitants, les migrants des régions pauvres du nord-est, attirés par la capitale, se sont entassés dans des villes-satellites chaotiques, séparées du centre par une «ceinture verte» qui doit assurer la préservation de l’écosystème et fournir un espace de détente aux citadins. Au total, deux millions de personnes environ.

Comme Brasília demeure presque exclusivement une ville administrative et n’a pas d’emploi à leur offrir, le taux de chômage y est très élevé.

Politiquement, la construction de la nouvelle capitale a permis à court terme de stabiliser le pouvoir, mais n’a pas empêché le coup d’État militaire de 1964.

fondation d’une république noire au Pernambouc (nord-est du Brésil) : Palmares.


Découverte de l’Amérique/518e: Pire qu’Attila et Hitler réunis! (The trouble with Columbus)

16 octobre, 2010
La manière la plus forte d’adorer Dieu est de lui offrir un sacrifice. […] De plus, la nature nous apprend qu’il est juste d’offrir à Dieu […] les choses précieuses et excellentes, à cause de l’excellence de sa majesté. Or, selon le jugement humain et selon la vérité, rien dans la nature n’est plus grand ni plus précieux que la vie de l’homme ou l’homme lui-même. C’est pourquoi c’est la nature elle-même qui enseigne et apprend à ceux qui n’ont pas la foi, la grâce ou la doctrine […] qu’ils doivent sacrifier des victimes humaines au vrai Dieu ou aux faux dieux qu’ils pensent être le vrai. Bartolomé de las Casas,
Columbus makes Hitler look like a juvenile delinquent. Russell Means
It’s almost obscene to celebrate Columbus because it’s an unmitigated record of horror. We don’t have to celebrate a man who was really — from an Indian point of view — worse than Attila the Hun. Hans Koning
Ce que nous savons c’est que cette folie infantile – détenir des armes nucléaires et menacer de s’en servir – est au cœur de la philosophie politique américaine actuelle. Harold Pinter (2005)
Tout mouvement qui prétendrait transcender (ou reléguer au second plan) le combat pour la souveraineté individuelle, en faisant passer d’abord les intérêts de l’élément collectif – classe, race, genre, nation, sexe, ethnie, Église, vice ou profession -, ressortirait à mes yeux à une conjuration pour brider encore davantage la liberté humaine déjà bien maltraitée. Derrière le patriotisme et le nationalisme flamboie toujours la maligne fiction collectiviste de l’identité, barbelés ontologiques qui prétendent agglutiner en fraternité inébranlable les ‘Péruviens’, les ‘Espagnols’, les ‘Français’, les ‘Chinois’, etc. Vous et moi savons que ces catégories sont autant d’abjects mensonges qui jettent un manteau d’oubli sur des diversités et des incompatibilités multiples, prétendent abolir des siècles d’histoire et faire reculer la civilisation vers ces barbares temps antérieurs à la création de l’individualité, c’est-à-dire de la rationalité et de la liberté: trois choses inséparables, sachez-le.  

On ne sort pas de la pauvreté en redistribuant le peu qui existe, mais en créant plus de richesse. (…) Les économies égalitaristes «n’ont jamais tiré un pays de la pauvreté: elles l’ont toujours appauvri davantage. Et souvent elles ont rogné ou fait disparaître les libertés, du fait que l’égalitarisme exige une planification rigide qui, économique au début, s’étend ensuite à toute la vie sociale. Mario Vargas Llosa

J’étais persuadé qu’un écrivain qui se déclarait libéral n’avait aucune chance de remporter le Nobel. C’est notamment pour cette raison que je pensais que je ne le recevrais jamais, que j’étais trop controversé, mes activités journalistiques et un temps politiques m’ayant entraîné, souvent malgré moi, dans de nombreuses polémiques. Eh bien, je me suis trompé ! {…) J’espère qu’il va encourager les partisans de la démocratie et de la liberté – économique, politique, culturelle… -, ce pour quoi je milite et me bats depuis des décennies dans mes articles de journaux, tous les quinze jours. J’ai toujours combattu l’autoritarisme, de gauche comme de droite. Et je dois dire que malgré des problèmes encore énormes, l’Amérique du Sud est bien orientée, il n’y a plus qu’une dictature – Cuba – et seulement quelques « demi-dictatures » comme le Venezuela de Chavez ou le Nicaragua… La gauche a opéré un tournant démocratique et social-démocrate, ouvert au marché, comme au Chili, au Brésil et en Uruguay, et la droite est elle aussi démocratique, ce qui est nouveau pour le continent sud-américain. Mario Vargas Llosa (prix Nobel de litterature 2010)
Les images du sauvetage des mineurs chiliens ont été sur tous les écrans de télévision. Le récit de leur captivité forcée, puis de leur délivrance, a fait les premières pages. Dans la presse et les médias américains, on en a parlé aussi. Mais on a donné un détail qui semble avoir échappé aux journalistes français (je ne puis imaginer qu’ils l’aient omis volontairement, cela va de soi) : ce sauvetage a été, quasiment de bout en bout, une entreprise américaine.  (…) S’il y avait un Président américain à la Maison blanche, il recevrait Jeff Hart et les autres en héros : mais nous sommes encore en l’ère Obama, hélas. (…) Je dois ajouter à ce que j’ai écrit que, sans l’ouverture et l’esprit d’entreprise du Président du Chili lui-même, Sebastian Piñera, l’action salvatrice du capitalisme américain n’aurait pas été possible. Sebastian Piñera est lui-même un capitaliste qui fait honneur au capitalisme international : si les Etats-Unis étaient gouvernés par un capitaliste, le désastre du golfe du Mexique aurait permis au capitalisme américain de donner sa pleine mesure, mais hélas, disais-je plus haut… Guy Milliere

Suite a l’un de nos derniers billets sur Columbus Day

Cet article sur le site conservateur americain Human events …

Qui, au-dela du bien connu genocide et de la mise en esclavage de peuples entiers, a le merite de rappeler tout ce qu’a rendu possible la decouverte de Colomb

A savoir, pour des peuples qui n’avaient rien demande a personne, non seulement la scandaleuse imposition du port de vetements, de l’ecriture et du christianisme

Mais, ajouterions-nous, l’abjecte privation, par le sanguinaire Cortes et pour des generations de jeunes  esclaves ou prisonners de guerre azteques, de l’insigne privilege d’offrir, par dizaines de milliers annuellement, leurs coeurs encore palpitants a leurs divinites bien-aimees

Ou des joies si delicatement varies et raffinees des differentes formes de combat gladiatorial, éviscération, crémation,  pendaison, coups de flèches ou de javelines, chute dans le vide, enfouissement vivant, coups de la tête contre un rocher, écrasement dans un filet, noyade, décapitation, dépeçage, lapidation , écorchement vivant, cannibalisme postsacrificiel …

Sans compter tout recemment …

Apres les Sartre, Neruda, García Márquez, Paz, Heaney, Fo, Saramago, Grass et autres Pinter …

Et outre, avec leur aventure humaine parfaitement scenarisee, la particulierement arrogante intervention du capitalisme americain en plein coeur du Chili …

L’avenement de cette abomination des abominations

Un prix Nobel de litterature authentiquement liberal !!!

Christopher Columbus: Hero

Daniel J. Flynn

Human events

10/11/2010

Upon returning to Spain, Christopher Columbus wrote of his discovery that “Christendom ought to feel delight and make feasts and give solemn thanks to the Holy Trinity.” Until fairly recently, all of Christendom agreed. Just as much of Christendom now recoils at the term “Christendom,” the “delight” and “thanks” for Columbus’ historic voyage hardly remains universal.

The feast day has been transformed into a day of mourning.

Since Berkeley, Calif., jettisoned Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day almost two decades ago, Brown University, Santa Cruz, Calif., and Venezuela have similarly ditched the holiday.

“Columbus makes Hitler look like a juvenile delinquent,” professional Indian Russell Means once remarked. Faux Indian Ward Churchill, who has been arrested with Means for blocking a Columbus Day parade in Denver, likens the discoverer to Heinrich Himmler and calls the day honoring him “a celebration of genocide”

Granting Columbus’s bravery, James Loewen writes in Lies My Teacher Told Me that the Genoese sailor “left a legacy of genocide and slavery that endures in some degree to this day.” Howard Zinn dismisses Columbus the seaman as “lucky” and condemns Columbus the man as a practitioner of “genocide” upon a people whose “relations among men, women, children, and nature were more beautifully worked out than perhaps any place in the world.”

Indeed, the explorer initially praised the Indians as “gentle,” “full of love,” “without greed,” and “free from wickedness.” He exclaimed, “I believe there is no better race.” Columbus also reported tribal warfare, cannibalism, castration, the exploitation of women, and slavery. The locals slaughtered the dozens of men he left behind in the New World. Put another way, in 1493 the natives conducted genocide on every European in the Americas.

This is not to whitewash Columbus’s crimes, which have not aged well. The explorer kidnapped natives for show in Spain (none of them made it alive) on his first voyage, enslaved several hundred bellicose Indians on his second visit, and after his third trip faced charges back home of governing as a tyrant. At sea, the admiral and his crew also ate a dolphin—another act that offends 21st-Century tastes.

But fixation upon his sins obscures his accomplishment: Columbus discovered the New World.

Any assessment of the admiral that doesn’t lead with this fact misses the forest for the trees. Enslavement and cultural conquest are common. Discovering two continents is unprecedented. Other than Christ, it is difficult to name a person who has changed the world as dramatically as Columbus has.

Unlike the adventurers of today, who climb tall mountains and balloon over oceans, Columbus did not trek across the Atlantic for the hell of it. If his dangerous journey had been a mission to resolve a mid-life crisis, perhaps his modern detractors would understand it better. As it was, Columbus sailed to enrich his adopted country (he naturally got a cut) and spread Catholicism.

Columbus described the Indians as “a people to be delivered and converted to our holy faith rather by love than by force.” He planted a cross on each island he visited and taught the natives Christian prayer. Elsewhere, his journal obsesses over gold, spices, cotton, and other valuables that might uplift Spain. Given the boogeyman status on the Left of both capitalism and Christianity, it is no surprise that Columbus has himself become a boogeyman.

Had Columbus never discovered America, the Indians never would have discovered Europe. Columbus encountered naked natives with neither the iron nor the courage with which to effectively fight. The civilizations peopling the New World possessed no written language and didn’t use the wheel. All of history points to some kind of eventual conquest. Isn’t it worth celebrating that the pope’s mariner, rather than, say, the henchmen of sultans or khans, discovered the Americas?

No, say the critics of America and the West, who, not coincidentally, are also Columbus’s critics. Multiculturalists see Columbus as the symbol for all subsequent atrocities that befell Native Americans.

Couldn’t he be more plausibly viewed as the catalyst for ensuing greatness?

America first sending men into flight, over the Atlantic, and to the moon; thwarting tuberculosis, yellow fever, and polio; fighting Nazism, Communism, and al Qaeda; serving as a welcome mat to humanity’s “wretched refuse;” inventing the light blub, the telephone, the computer, and the Internet; and standing as a beacon of freedom in an unfree world all happened in the wake of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

Columbus endured the skepticism of potential patrons, a near mutiny, and more than a month at sea to reach the Americas. His good name can probably withstand the assaults of Ward Churchill, Howard Zinn, and the Berkeley city council.

Mr. Flynn is the author of A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum), and editor of http://www.flynnfiles.com. Mr. Flynn has been interviewed on The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball, Fox & Friends, Donahue, and numerous other public affairs television programs. His articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, The Washington Times, The City Journal, The New Criterion, National Review Online, and The American Enterprise, among other publications.

Voir aussi:

The Trouble With Columbus

Paul Gray;Cathy Booth/Miami, Anne Hopkins and Ratu Kamlani/New York

Time

Oct. 07, 1991

Planned more than a century ago as a tribute to the landfall of Christopher Columbus in 1492, a five-story lighthouse now, finally, thrusts itself into the sky over Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Aggressively supported by the nation’s octogenarian President Joaquin Balaguer, the project will cost, when all the finishing touches are completed, about $20 million. It will also, when the switch is pulled, put on quite a show: 147 giant beams projecting a cross of light 3,000 ft. into the Caribbean night. The lighthouse comes equipped with its own power generators, which was a prudent idea on someone’s part. The Dominican Republic’s electricity system has virtually collapsed for lack of funding. Like the rest of the country, the neighborhoods surrounding this soaring beacon are routinely blacked out 20 hours a day.

The grandiose new lighthouse already looks like an anomaly, while the old poverty huddling at its edges seems all too contemporary. Overarching light and enforced darkness, cheek by jowl. The Manichaean contrast is altogether fitting for this, the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ world-shattering voyage, which is itself increasingly seen in opposing terms of black and white. The Columbus quincentennial officially kicks off this Columbus Day, Oct. 12 — but it has even now generated enough contrast and controversy to outlast its appointed year and, quite possibly, this decade.

At the heart of the hubbub lies a fundamental disagreement, not so much about Columbus himself as about the Columbian legacy. What, in other words, did the enigmatic Genoan set in motion when he first reached the New World? In one version of the story, Columbus and the Europeans who followed him brought civilization to two immense, sparsely populated continents, in the process fundamentally enriching and altering the Old World from which they had themselves come.

Among other things, Columbus’ journey was the first step in a long process that eventually produced the United States of America, a daring experiment in democracy that in turn became a symbol and a haven of individual liberty for people throughout the world. But the revolution that began with his voyages was far greater than that. It altered science, geography, philosophy, agriculture, law, religion, ethics, government — the sum, in other words, of what passed at the time as Western culture.

Increasingly, however, there is a counterchorus, an opposing rendition of the same events that deems Columbus’ first footfall in the New World to be fatal to the world he invaded, and even to the rest of the globe. The indigenous peoples and their cultures were doomed by European arrogance, brutality and infectious diseases. Columbus’ gift was slavery to those who greeted him; his arrival set in motion the ruthless destruction, continuing at this very moment, of the natural world he entered. Genocide, ecocide, exploitation — even the notion of Columbus as a « discoverer » — are deemed to be a form of Eurocentric theft of history from those who watched Columbus’ ships drop anchor off their shores.

Not surprisingly, those who see Columbus’ journey as a triumph of the human progress toward perfection and those who view the same event as a hemispheric rape do not have many kindly things to say to one another. But they are shouting a lot, and this clamor, so far, has defined the ceremonies to come.

Outwardly, at least, the planned hoopla looks much the same as that attending other big-bow-wow anniversaries, such as the bicentennials of the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1976 or of the French Revolution in 1989. Columbus will be given the now obligatory PBS documentary series for important occasions: Columbus and the Age of Discovery will spread seven hours over four nights, beginning Oct. 6, with the whole shebang to be repeated on Columbus Day. Furthermore, those hungering for Columbus T shirts, watches or other memorabilia should not have to search far to satiate themselves. The spirit of good old-fashioned boosterism in pursuit of tourist revenues is alive and well wherever a claim can be laid to Columbus.

Starting next April 20, Spain will stage Expo ’92, billed as the largest World’s Fair in history. The host city is Seville, which is not far from where the explorer set out on the ocean blue, and the extensive plans for the event include three replica ships — of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria — to be moored in a re-creation of a 15th century port. Another set of three replica ships will sail from Spain Oct. 12 and retrace Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. In Columbus, Ohio, « the largest city in the world bearing the explorer’s name, » yet another replica of the Santa Maria will be christened Oct. 11 and then docked on the Scioto River downtown. The city’s year-long schedule of events includes performances of new works by its orchestra, opera, ballet and theater groups, not to mention an educational exhibit called « 500 Years of Accounting » to commemorate the Italian invention of double-entry bookkeeping.

And so it will go, in both hemispheres. A 14 1/2-ft. fiber-glass statue of the explorer has gone up in Columbus, Wis. Club Med is struggling to complete a new getaway retreat on the Bahamian island of San Salvador, one of the many spots that claim to be the place where the explorer first landed. Commercialism does, of course, entail risks. Genoa, Columbus’ birthplace, confidently expects at least 2 million visitors to attend its « Man, the Ship and the Sea » extravaganza, which begins May 15, amid rampant rumors in Italy – of corruption and misuse of funds by the planners.

The grandiloquently named Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commission, established by Congress in 1984, has also run into some fiduciary problems. Its first chairman, Miami developer and Republican fund raiser John Goudie, resigned last year amid complaints of mismanagement. Meanwhile, the U.S. recession has put a crimp in the commission’s ability to obtain public and private donations. In Florida three separate state Columbus commissions have foundered on a lack of money.

This rain on the Columbus parade is nothing, though, compared with the storm of outrage that the prospect of quincentennial partying has unleashed among the anti-Columbians. « Our celebration is to oppose, » says Evaristo Nugkuag, a member of the Aguaruna people, who is president of the Coordinating Body for the Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), an umbrella group in Lima, Peru. On Oct. 7, in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, about 1,000 members of COICA and other groups, representing 24 countries in the Western Hemisphere, will gather at a « Continental Encounter » meeting. One of the purposes is to determine strategies to counter the 1992 Columbus celebrations, including the establishment of an « alternative Seville » at a yet to be chosen site in Mexico. Nugkuag thinks such an antimainstream World’s Fair can be an occasion for reflection rather than celebration: « We want to recover our history to affirm our identity, to achieve true independence from exploitation and aggression and to play a role in determining our future. »

Similar protests have been percolating, or even boiling, for some time. When it opened at the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History two years ago, an exhibit called « First Encounters: Spanish Explorations in the Caribbean and the United States 1492-1570″ drew spirited opposition from Native American activists, including Russell Means of the American Indian Movement. « Columbus makes Hitler look like a juvenile delinquent! » yelled demonstrators. COLUMBUS MURDERED A CONTINENT read one of the placards. Last July a group of protesters dressed as South American Indians appeared unannounced in Spain, wearing loincloths, their faces and bodies painted. The invaders peacefully entered the shrine of the nation’s patron saint at Santiago de Compostela. They left flowers and other offerings and a message to ask « forgiveness for those who used his name to conquer, murder and destroy peoples. »

Anti-Columbus sentiments are by no means restricted to the descendants of those who were on hand when the Genoan first showed up. Last year the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S. adopted a resolution suggesting how 1492 should be commemorated: « For the descendants of the survivors of the subsequent invasion, genocide, slavery, ‘ecocide’ and exploitation of the wealth of the land, a celebration is not an appropriate observance of this anniversary. »

The charge that Columbus’ arrival instigated genocide has become a major weapon in the anti-Columbian arsenal. George Tinker, a Native American who teaches at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, says of the quincentennial plans: « We’re talking about celebrating the great benefit to some people brought by the murder of other people. » Further to Columbus’ discredit, at the bar of contemporary judgment, is his identity as a white European male. Across the U.S., academicians will be jetting to innumerable conferences where they will give papers on the colonial depredations and horrors that Columbus inaugurated. Author Hans Koning, who has written a scathing biography titled Columbus: His Enterprise (Monthly Review Press; $8.95), sums up this school of scandalized thought: « It’s almost obscene to celebrate Columbus because it’s an unmitigated record of horror. We don’t have to celebrate a man who was really — from an Indian point of view — worse than Attila the Hun. »

Granted, as less vitriolic modern historiography makes clear, Columbus was not the gem of the ocean, the flawless hero of so many earlier hagiographies. But was the historic figure whose name was adopted by a South American republic, the District of Columbia and countless other places and entities, really worse than Hitler or Attila the Hun? What in the New World is going on around here?

For all its intensity, the Columbus controversy has very little to do with 1492 and almost everything to do with 1991. The peoples of the New World, the land that Columbus made inevitable, are engaged in another convulsive attempt to reinvent themselves, to conceive a version of the past that will justify the present and, if possible, shape the future. In older, fixed civilizations, this sort of cultural enterprise would be all but inconceivable. History is what happened and what everyone is stuck with — « a nightmare, » as James Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus described it, « from which I am trying to awake. » But bad dreams have never been popular, particularly in the U.S., where it has been assumed they can be erased by a different way of seeing the things that caused them.

Ironically, Columbus drew much of his stature from one such national mind- change. Prior to the War of 1812, he did not figure large in the U.S. imagination. But after that conflict, American patriots felt an urgent need to link the national cause with non-British heroes: the New World needed new ancestors. Washington Irving’s 1828 A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus glorified a commanding character with an Italian name and sailing under a Spanish flag who nonetheless displayed virtues and characteristics that U.S. citizens, most of them from northern Europe, could admire. Thus did the heyday of Columbus idolatry begin — in an early attempt to provide the nation with the icons of multicultural diversity.

That idolatry is now guttering out — inconveniently, by many people’s lights — for several reasons. The U.S. population is not what it was during the first decades of the 19th century; it now includes a higher percentage of people, and a number of far more vocal people, who feel they have a historic grievance against Columbus and the European invasion he represented. These include, most prominently, Native Americans, many of whom have joined hands with their coevals in Latin and South America to take a stand against a long- ago uninvited guest; and African Americans, whose forebears were packed into slave ships and sent across the Atlantic because the Europeans needed their labor to replace that of the decimated indigenous populations. Their toppling of the Columbus icon represents, at its best, a bid to construct a new national mythology — an urge they paradoxically share with the patriots after the War of 1812.

At the same time, what Columbus actually wrought by bringing Europe into the Americas is being assessed with increased historical sophistication. Two worlds collided nearly 500 years ago, and none of the fallout from that impact now seems as simple as it was once portrayed. Textbooks on American history once began with Columbus’ arrival, as if nothing that had happened before bore mentioning. Those careful enough to note that the explorer found people already living where he touched down did not go on to say very much about them.

Yet there is much to say, as archaeologists, anthropologists and ethnographers have known for a long time. The prospect of the Columbus quincentennial not only lent new urgency to scientific research already under way about the land that the Italian encountered, but also suggested an expanded context in which discoveries could be viewed. « The impetus has changed, » says archaeologist Jerald Milanich, « from a celebration of Columbus and the triumph of European civilization to a new theme: the people that discovered Columbus. There’s a huge amount of research focusing on the impact of native Americans. »

It has never been a secret that the Americas and Europe reciprocally influenced each other, although the focus in much traditional history was on how the colonializers tamed — or exterminated — the natives and resettled the land along European models. The process worked both ways. The New World galvanized the European imagination; knowledge of its existence and its peoples was an important factor in the explosion of the Renaissance, which involved not only the reappropriation of classical learning but also the heady sense of a future yet to be discovered. In « To His Mistress Going to Bed, » written roughly a century after Columbus’ landing, the English poet John Donne describes his lover’s disrobing until her final article of clothing is cast off and then exclaims, « O my America! my new-found land. »

In the current politically correct climate, Donne’s rapturous recognition can easily be dismissed as a typically white European male response toward unclaimed territory, combining voyeurism, sex and predatory aggression. This reading filters out all the fun and, more important, the awe and wonder that the Americas sparked in European minds. And the New World fed Europe more than literary tropes, intellectual excitement and a whiff of the exotic. It fed Europe . . . food, stuff that native Americans had been cultivating for thousands of years and that Europeans had never heard of: peppers, paprika, potatoes, corn, tomatoes.

A wider understanding of this transfer of knowledge from the New World to the Old should by fostered by the Smithsonian Institution’s « Seeds of Change, » the largest exhibition ever mounted at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington. Opening Oct. 12 and running through April 1993, the Smithsonian exhibit sets forth five « natural » elements — sugar, disease, maize, the potato and the horse — the exchange of which has profoundly altered both the New and Old Worlds in the 500 years since Columbus’ first voyage.

The Smithsonian show and much of the other serendipitous scholarly digging in preparation for the Columbus quincentennial actually work quietly against the more extreme positions staked out by those who hate or love what transpired 500 years ago. Thank goodness. Because it is impossible, even with the best will in the world, to find a simple common ground between the contending notions of Civilization or Genocide, Progress or the Cyclical Harmony of the Seasons, Mastering the Land or Living with the Bounty That the Land Will Provide on Its Own.

Impossible, because all these abstractions belong more to the world of morality plays than to the messy arena of history as it occurs. The vast amount of new information being discovered about the New World, both before and after 1492, actually points the way toward a genuinely harmonious understanding of the present moment and how it was achieved. The Columbus quincentennial deserves some credit for focusing this energy and attention. But the worry is that if the debate grows louder and more strident, it could obscure this increasing pool of common knowledge in a shouting match of cliches.

If any book can be said to summon up the passions of this moment, it is Kirkpatrick Sale’s The Conquest of Paradise, (Knopf; $24.95). Published last year, the 453-page popular history has become a call to arms for the anti- Columbians; it is also the book the traditional Columbus faction most loves to hate. Sale is a social historian whose research into Columbus’ life and travels and the explorer’s contemporary world is impressive; his narrative, especially when he joins Columbus aboard the Santa Maria, is gripping. Sale persuasively describes what it must have felt like for the explorer to stumble upon an unimagined world, peopled, as the author notes, by the tribe known as the Tainos, a European name attached to them that was taken from their own word for « good. »

Sale goes on to note that « the Tainos’ lives were in many ways as idyllic as their surroundings, into which they fit with such skill and comfort. They were well fed and well housed, without poverty or serious disease. They enjoyed considerable leisure, given over to dancing, singing, ballgames, and sex, and expressed themselves artistically in basketry, woodworking, pottery, and jewelry. They lived in general harmony and peace, without greed or covetousness or theft. »

Never mind the aesthetic objection that Sale makes these people sound ^ suspiciously like a bunch of New Agers vacationing in the Bahamas. Discount the fact that Sale does not mention evidence of the Tainos’ hierarchic social structure, which included, at the bottom level, slaves.

The deepest problem is that Sale, like others who idealize the people whose fate was sealed by the explorer’s arrival, actually does them another kind of injury. The perfect island race of Sale’s imagination is denied its commonality with the rest of humanity. Father Leonid Kishkovsky of the Orthodox Church in America, who chaired the National Council of the Churches meeting at which the controversial Columbus quincentennial resolution was debated, is one of those who question the notion implicit in Sale’s work that evil was something imported exclusively from Europe: « In a certain sense this is patronizing; it’s as if native indigenous people don’t really have a history, which includes civilization, warfare, empires and cruelties, before white people even arrived. »

Lurking behind Sale’s argument and that of many other vociferous critics is a prelapsarian myth: the world was once perfect and now it isn’t, so someone or something must have ruined it. Many cultures possess a form of this myth; it is particularly strong in Western thought because of the Adam and Eve story in the Old Testament. In the 18th century, Jean Jacques Rousseau popularized a secular version of that Eden story with his writings about the Noble Savage. And part of his inspiration for this concept came from his knowledge of the New World. Even Sale’s anti-Columbian ideas, it seems, owe more to Columbus than some of his readers might imagine.

Mythology is a closed system, a revolving circle of self-reinforcing perceptions. The true history of 1492 and ever after occurred in a different plane of existence, where questions like Were Savages Noble? are either meaningless or susceptible to proof. For too long, the American myth demonized or ignored the people whom Columbus encountered on these shores. Must people now replace this with a new myth that simply demonizes Columbus and Europeans? It is easy to see why former victims might like their turn as heroes. But if that is all the quincentennial produces, an important opportunity for self- reflection will have been wasted.

Celebrate Columbus? Not if that simply means backslapping and flag waving. But it can mean more: taking stock of the long, fascinating record, noting that inevitable conflict resulted in losers as well as winners and produced a mixture of races, customs and habits never before seen in the world. Columbus and all he represents may simply provide an excuse for finger shaking. But perhaps it is possible to celebrate Columbus by trying harder to understand each other and ourselves.

Voir par ailleurs:

Mario Vargas Llosa: l’humanisme de droite récompensé

Patrick Leblanc

Cyberpresse.ca

le 12 octobre 2010

Dans l’univers culturel québécois, être un «écrivain engagé» signifie nécessairement militer à gauche. L’attribution du prix Nobel de littérature 2010 à Mario Vargas Llosa provoquera donc sans doute quelques sourcillements. L’auteur péruvien est en effet un vigoureux défenseur du libéralisme politique et économique.

Parmi ses oeuvres de fiction, La fête du bouc (Gallimard, 2002) a été largement citée comme exemple d’un ouvrage dénonçant les méfaits du pouvoir absolu. L’auteur y met en scène les derniers jours de la dictature de Rafael Trujillo en République dominicaine.

Moins connus, Les cahiers de don Rigoberto (Gallimard, 1998) mettent en scène un personnage explicitement libéral, voire libertarien, dont la pensée rejoint celle qui anime Vargas Llosa lui-même.

Ce Don Rigoberto, vendeur d’assurances le jour et écrivain la nuit, écrit notamment dans ses cahiers: «… tout mouvement qui prétendrait transcender (ou reléguer au second plan) le combat pour la souveraineté individuelle, en faisant passer d’abord les intérêts de l’élément collectif – classe, race, genre, nation, sexe, ethnie, Église, vice ou profession -, ressortirait à mes yeux à une conjuration pour brider encore davantage la liberté humaine déjà bien maltraitée.»

Sur le nationalisme plus spécifiquement, Vargas Llosa attribue cette tirade au même personnage: «Derrière le patriotisme et le nationalisme flamboie toujours la maligne fiction collectiviste de l’identité, barbelés ontologiques qui prétendent agglutiner en fraternité inébranlable les ‘Péruviens’, les ‘Espagnols’, les ‘Français’, les ‘Chinois’, etc. Vous et moi savons que ces catégories sont autant d’abjects mensonges qui jettent un manteau d’oubli sur des diversités et des incompatibilités multiples, prétendent abolir des siècles d’histoire et faire reculer la civilisation vers ces barbares temps antérieurs à la création de l’individualité, c’est-à-dire de la rationalité et de la liberté: trois choses inséparables, sachez-le.»

Engagement politique

Au-delà de la fiction, c’est par son action politique que Vargas Llosa a manifesté le plus clairement son engagement envers la liberté.

Préoccupé par l’avenir de son pays, il se porte candidat à l’élection présidentielle de 1990. Dans un Pérou où l’étatisme avait imprégné non seulement la gauche mais aussi le centre et la droite, l’écrivain-politicien proposait un projet de développement économique et social aux antipodes du collectivisme socialiste ou du protectionnisme conservateur. Authentiquement libéral, son programme avait pour objectif de retirer à l’État la responsabilité de la vie économique pour la confier à la société civile et au marché.

«On ne sort pas de la pauvreté en redistribuant le peu qui existe, mais en créant plus de richesse», précise l’écrivain dans ses mémoires politiques (Le Poisson dans l’eau, Gallimard, 1995). Pour lui, les économies égalitaristes «n’ont jamais tiré un pays de la pauvreté: elles l’ont toujours appauvri davantage. Et souvent elles ont rogné ou fait disparaître les libertés, du fait que l’égalitarisme exige une planification rigide qui, économique au début, s’étend ensuite à toute la vie sociale.»

Vargas Llosa n’a pas jeté la serviette après sa défaite électorale. Vingt ans plus tard, il poursuit d’une autre manière son engagement en faveur des libertés économiques et politiques, notamment au sein de l’Atlas Economic Research Foundation, un réseau international auquel est associé l’Institut économique de Montréal et d’autres think tanks canadiens.

En réaction à sa nobélisation, l’écrivain a dit espérer que cette distinction lui était attribuée pour son oeuvre littéraire et non pour ses opinions politiques. N’empêche, on se prend à rêver que l’élite culturelle qui célébrera ce prix saura aussi reconnaître dans l’oeuvre et l’action de Vargas Llosa la possibilité d’un humanisme de droite, un humanisme qu’il devrait être possible de pratiquer dans toutes les cultures et tous les pays, y compris au Québec.

Voir enfin:

« L’impérialisme Américain » au Chili

Guy Millière

Drzz

15 octobre 2010

Les images du sauvetage des mineurs chiliens ont été sur tous les écrans de télévision. Le récit de leur captivité forcée, puis de leur délivrance, a fait les premières pages. Dans la presse et les médias américains, on en a parlé aussi. Mais on a donné un détail qui semble avoir échappé aux journalistes français (je ne puis imaginer qu’ils l’aient omis volontairement, cela va de soi) : ce sauvetage a été, quasiment de bout en bout, une entreprise américaine.

L’entreprise qui a réalisé l’opération, très délicate, et impliquant une extrême précision technologique, est celle d’un homme appelé Jeff Hart. Elle s’appelle Geotech. Elle est basée dans le Colorado. Elle s’est spécialisée dans le forage de puits, et a travaillé sous contrat avec l’armée américaine en Irak, puis en Afghanistan, permettant d’alimenter en eau potable des gens qui n’y avaient pas accès. Jeff Hart et ses équipes ont foré trente trois jours, dans un contexte de risques extrêmes d’éboulement. Le conduit creusé a été équipé de façon à ce que puissent y circuler des capsules conçues sur la base de technologies mises an point par la Nasa. Les mineurs emprisonnés ont bénéficié pendant tout le temps de leur emprisonnement des conseils, méthodes et moyens de la Nasa pour garder leur équilibre physique, sous la supervision du docteur Polk. Ils ont, avant remontée à la surface, absorbé une boisson spécialement conçue par la Nasa encore, destinée à compenser les différences de pression et les risques de vertige et de malaise liés à la remontée.

Jeff Hart, ses équipes, le Dr Polk, la Nasa n’ont fait que leur devoir moral. Ils ont montré que les Etats-Unis restaient une puissance indispensable et généreuse. Même Barack Obama qui, en général, préfère s’excuser pour l’existence des Etats-Unis n’a pu faire autrement que prononcer une phrase : « Nous sommes fiers de tous les américains qui ont travaillé avec nos amis chiliens de façon à tout faire pour que ces mineurs rentrent chez eux ».

S’il y avait un Président américain à la Maison blanche, il recevrait Jeff Hart et les autres en héros : mais nous sommes encore en l’ère Obama, hélas.

Si les journalistes faisaient leur travail d’information, le détail que je viens d’exposer ne leur aurait pas échappé.

Il semble que lorsqu’il s’agit de critiquer les Etats-Unis, de les fustiger, de les traîner dans la boue, il ne manque jamais de bonnes volontés. Lorsqu’il s’agit de donner de simples faits montrant ce que les Etats-Unis sont essentiellement, les bonnes volontés semblent défaillir.

Faut-il le rappeler, en effet ? L’essentiel des technologies qui permettent la mondialisation accélérée dans laquelle nous sommes et contre laquelle certains pestent tout en utilisant en parallèle leur smartphone ou leur ordinateur portable, et internet à très haut débit, sont américaines. Et ce qui en elles n’est pas américain est le plus souvent israélien.

L’essentiel des aides et actions humanitaires sur la planète, quel que soit le continent, sont américaines aussi.

On pourrait ajouter accessoirement que sans les Etats-Unis, l’Europe occidentale aurait connu un tout autre destin à l’issue de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale : cela devrait aller sans dire. Cela va, à mes yeux, beaucoup mieux en le disant.

C’est pour toutes ces raisons et un nombre infini d’autres que j’aime les Etats-Unis d’Amérique et le peuple américain, et que je continuerai à les aimer.

Ceux qui veulent continuer à fustiger « l’impérialisme américain », eux, méritent plus que jamais mon profond mépris.

PS. Je dois ajouter à ce que j’ai écrit que, sans l’ouverture et l’esprit d’entreprise du Président du Chili lui-même, Sebastian Piñera, l’action salvatrice du capitalisme américain n’aurait pas été possible. Sebastian Piñera est lui-même un capitaliste qui fait honneur au capitalisme international : si les Etats-Unis étaient gouvernés par un capitaliste, le désastre du golfe du Mexique aurait permis au capitalisme américain de donner sa pleine mesure, mais hélas, disais-je plus haut…


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