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On Lula's "Gay Kits," Marxist Plots And The Entire Brazilian Fake News Machine

Before Lula's re-election in Brazil, fake news spread widely online about "gay kits" in schools and Marxism in schools. Here's how Brazilians can use the moment to convince moderate voters of the dangers of disinformation.

Photo of Lula holding a religious icon

Despite what fake reports online said, no Christian church has been closed since Lula became president of Brazil once again in January.

Cefas Carvalho


NATAL, Brazil — It’s been two months since the leftist Luiz Lula da Silva returned as president of Brazil. Despite what fake news and reports online said: No Christian church was closed. No religious leader was arrested or suffered. No public school received “gay kits” and no nursery received bottles with dick-shaped spouts.

In these first weeks , the Lula government also has not instituted any Communist dictatorship in the country and no one was forced to read books by Marx and Lenin.

No one was forced to marry a person of the same sex, and no “gay dictatorship” was installed. Likewise, no woman was forced to have an abortion.

Brazil did not “become a Venezuela”, whatever that means. We didn't turn into Cuba either, for better or for worse.

Anyway, none of what I wrote above happened. I made this list in such a tone to emphasize the damage of fake news in WhatsApp groups, in the electorate, in the community, in interpersonal relationships, and in the country.

More than that, to show how urgent it is to fight fake news at the source. Because all of this above was passed on in WhatsApp groups as absolute truths that would happen if Lula were elected.

Squashing lies with reality

Lula was elected, took office and is governing. And then? How about each of us questioning one a supporter of Bolsonaro, Lula's right-wing predecessor, and asking them if the prophecies happened? Openly ask uncles and aunts who spent months sharing fake news if any of them have already materialized.

When I talk about fighting fake news at the source, I ask exactly for this: to replace the empty indignation in WhatsApp groups of progressive colleagues, the endless debates on Twitter, and epic posts on Facebook, and leave in the comfort zone of those who think like us and then, take advantage of the historic moment to confront fake news disseminators with reality.

I do not propose dialogue with fanatics, with members of the Bolsonarist sect who camped in barracks and believe that Jair Bolsonaro is the Messiah, but with swing voters and moderate right-wingers.

Getting the truth (or rather, the confrontation that such information was untrue) to those who need it. To the conservative uncle or to the nice aunt who believes in everything.

Jair Bolsonaro visiting the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 2019

Palácio do Planalto

Money for artists

Recently I did this. In a little bar that I really like, one of the owners, from the right, asked if I was happy because Lula was going to give money to the artists (again fake news).

I replied that I was actually happy because Lula was closing the churches and arresting the pastors. He looked at me seriously and said, "This is not happening." I smiled and replied, "I know." He realized the trap I had prepared and how he had fallen into the fake news of the churches. By the look on his face, he began to wonder if that “money for artists” could also be a lie.

After all, let's ask those who attack Lula with fake news: How many churches has the president closed since he took office?

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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