Bandeirante Borba Gato statue set on fire in São Paulo | Photograph:
Guilherme Boulos of PSOL approved the attack on a monument in São Paulo and even promoted a campaign to free the rioters who focused on the statue of Manuel de Borba Gato. For him, the statue erected in 1962 in honor of the pioneer should be replaced by that of Zumbi dos Palmares – who deserves all the honors for having fought against slavery.
Boulos is only one example chosen among many others which could illustrate the problem which will be treated here. The urge to rewrite history under the allegation of a supposed version of losers causes side effects ranging from hallucinations, blindness, and even the deepest ignorance.
Borba Gato was a guide. He was therefore not an innovating scout. But Borba Gato was never a slave trader or an Indian hunter as the beloved arsonists of Boulos believe. The world he lived in was hostile. Killing so as not to die was almost a constant. Even today, exactly today, the natives of the isolated Indian department of Funai know what risk the crossing of the territories of these Brazilians who have opted for non-contact represents. This is not to relativize violence, but it is absolutely dishonest to measure it without taking into account the historical context.
The “brave Indians,” as they were called and as they are still called in the remote areas of the western border of Brazil, are not in the habit of forgiving. They kill. Times have changed and today they have the right and the protection of the state to live as they see fit, in a very similar way to pre-cabral.
Boulos talks about erecting a statue in honor of Zumbi. I don’t know if Boulos has any idea, but the owner of Quilombo de Palmares had black slaves like him. Had, because it was normal to have. Back in Africa, it was the rule to enslave losing rivals. It was blacks who sold blacks to what was one of the most abject societies in mankind, which was slavery.
The zombie has its historical role, its virtues and its faults. He deserves recognition, study and memory. Just memory, like Borba Gato. Why not? He killed the crown tax collector, fought in the Emboabas war against crown abuse and for Nativist positions, and when he fell out of favor he found protection among the Indians.
In the last century, when rubber was the vegetable gold of the Amazon, the rubber tappers “cleaned” the forest favoring an authentic stampede of the Indians, hit by bullets. Phenomenon that earned it the emblematic name of running. Anyone who takes the time to study the region’s recent history knows that the rush was not stuck in the past. There are reports of contemporary rubber tappers of Chico Mendes who also used gunpowder to protect their rubber plantations or to expand their areas of exploration, not only by expelling the Indians but also killing some or more. . But few people agree to consider these chapters of our history.
When Black Lives Matter threatened to set America on fire like the country was a great Borba Gato, some statues fell to the ground and others were shamefully vilified. In California, idiots painted a bust of Miguel de Cervantes as if he had been a slave “bastard”. The demonstrators, as superficial as the arsonists in São Paulo, did not know that the author of “Don Quixote” not only had never had slaves, but had been one for many years.
The war to build custom versions of a world to your liking no longer respects what happened yesterday. The bravado of justice gained momentum and began to be used as a pretext by corrupt people taken from public coffers to claim to be victims of the state apparatus. Lula, in Brazil; Cristina Kirchner, in Argentina; and Evo Morales in Bolivia have embarked on the same strategy.
In the United States, members of the Democratic Congress are the gateway for PT lobbyists and others to take action. Lula and Morales went knocking on the doors of these parliamentarians to sell false theses. Not satisfied with the destruction of Lava-Jato, Lula and his acolytes abuse the good faith of American politicians to sell smoke. They say the CIA is behind the Lava Jato with information illegally collected by the NSA.
There are those who believe in lies.
Morales imploded the fragile Bolivian democracy, vilified the Constitution he commissioned and rigged the 2019 elections. As punishment, he faced a popular rebellion and ended up fleeing the country. But Morales didn’t give up. Its supporters have commissioned “academic studies” to deny the fraud and counter the views of the OAS and international observers. His group took advantage of the chaos created by the pandemic and the widespread heist of his successors to pave the way for the return of his party, the MAS, in an election held last year.
Back in the game, Morales wants heads. Like Lula, he recruited his gang to deceive a dozen Democrats who ate the version that what happened in Bolivia was a coup with US backing. Immeasurable idiocy that only those who have been on the Moon for four years can believe.
The Americans have been unable to articulate to resolve their main agenda in Latin America, Venezuela, suggesting that Washington is getting involved in a coup in Bolivia. Donald Trump, who was president when Evo Morales was dismissed by the very people who grew weary of his excesses, wanted to make his “America great again”. Bolivia, with all due respect, did not exist.
But it does not matter; from Borba Gato to Bolivia, the facts are only drawbacks. What matters and is really worth is belief. History is being rewritten by corrupters, drug dealers, rioters and thieves while some reckless with their torches think they are the protagonists of this rewrite. This is not the losers’ version. But the version of the opportunists.