The US Department of Justice revealed that Iranian spies conspired in a plot aimed at luring an Iranian-American journalist to Venezuela, then kidnapping her and sending her to account for her crimes under the laws of the ayatollahs. The “crime” of 44-year-old Masih Alinejad is to denounce the long list of human rights violations by the Iranian government, especially those concerning women – the biggest victims of that theocracy. The plan was discovered, denounced, and the FBI identified agents operating inside and outside the United States to make the regime’s authoritarian plans take effect thousands of miles from Tehran, more specifically in New York, where Masih lives and bothers so much.
In Brazil, no less than twenty states already use or are deploying cameras capable of doing facial recognition. A technology marvel that promises to revolutionize public safety. The PT governor Rui Costa, from Bahia, is one of the biggest enthusiasts of the system. In 2019, he went to china thank you for the ingenuity and advertise your results. That moment, more than 100 criminals had already been captured thanks to equipment manufactured by the controversial Huawei.
Suspicions of espionage and violation of privacy are weighing on Huawei – and not only on it. In addition to her, the Chinese are also under suspicion Hikvision and Dahua who are accused of providing the technology that allows the Chinese Communist Party persecuting ethnic minorities like Uighurs.
What do Chinese systems have to do with the Masih Alinejad case?
Here’s an exercise. Can you imagine a Chinese opponent wanted by Beijing who has just landed at São Paulo International Airport and, while carrying out his immigration procedures, has his biometric data captured, stolen and transmitted to his executioners in Beijing? Or an independent journalist who makes the Chinese very angry, who happens to choose to live in São Paulo or Salvador and use the subway to get around, being identified by the regime led by Xi Jinping?
While it is true that some Chinese companies, whose private print is a facade to hide the regime’s strategic interests, allowing them to act in countries like Brazil is the same as amplifying the power of their eyes and arms, giving them the chance to reach anyone anywhere.
It may seem absurd. Even dystopian. But unfortunately it isn’t. Such data would not only give away the presence of the human rights activist in Brazil, but would also make it possible to track him and even his kidnapping in Brazil. If Iran, which is the Iran with less resources and capabilities, dared to try to capture a journalist that bothers them from the United States, what to think of China that discovered that in Brazil they can do anything?
Facial recognition systems showed their strength in the anti-China protests in Hong Kong in 2019. Spotted protesters were arrested at home hours or days after the protests. Nobody was safe and the regime wanted to say “I know and I will always know who you are and what you have done”. Which is why these companies have been targeted by US sanctions.
Dictatorships have no limits, even they don’t even respect the rules and borders to try to impose their will.
Brazil is completely unguarded for the simple fact that any mature discussion on the subject is aborted by those who take out of the hat the three basic arguments that impede the discussion: “it’s a trade dispute”, “China is the main partner” and “it’s theory of the conspiracy”.
And so Brazil goes, bovinely, giving space so that the long arms of the Chinese dictatorship can reach whoever they want in Brazil.
Not long ago, the PT governments of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff gave lessons on how their governments voluntarily increased the reach of these friendly dictatorships. In 2007, Lula ordered the arrest and deportation (without any legal basis) of Cuban boxers Guillermo Rigondeaux and Erislandy. The two, who went to Brazil to participate in the Pan American Games, left the Cuban delegation and planned to leave Brazil. All it took was a request by Fidel Castro for the Brazilian authorities to act as if they were an annex to those in Havana.
Dilma went beyond. When it created the Mais Médicos Program, with the aim of sending billions of reais to Cuba, it subjected more than 15,000 Cuban doctors to an unusual situation. They lived in Brazil but were subject to Cuban rules. Salaries were confiscated for more than 75% of the total, and anyone who even suspected that they could drop out of the program, seek asylum or flee to the United States or elsewhere was immediately disconnected from the program and returned to Cuba. There is no lack of reports from victims to confirm the abuses.
Speaking of Cuba, the island is experiencing an insurgency. The people, tired of misery and oppression, decided to stop. He went to the streets to face rubber bullets and live ammunition to denounce the continent’s longest-lived dictatorship and overthrow the mask of cuteness that so many supporters cultivate.
The efficiency with which the regime has been able to identify demonstrators has drawn attention in Cuba. He’s picking them up at home. Beating them up and making them disappear. The lists of human rights defense organizations list more than a hundred of them.
The culture of denunciation introduced by Castroites since the beginning of the dictatorship is famous. People are encouraged to give even the mother if she demonstrates anti-revolutionary behavior. “If you don’t speak, someone will go and you will go with them.” A recipe whose main ingredient is fear and which has always worked. But something has changed.
Suspicions begin to surface that Cuba has received a Chinese gift. Those face recognition cameras. They are suspicious. Just suspicions. But nothing would sound absurd given the fact that Beijing is Cuba’s new umbrella dictatorship.
In Brazil, Cubans living in exile went to the doors of the Cuban Embassy, in Brasília, and the Consulate, in São Paulo, to protest. They joined, in a way, with their friends and relatives who were taking blows with a truncheon in the streets of Santo Antonio de Los Baños, Havana and many other cities in Cuba.
To their surprise, the long arms of the Cuban regime were there. Little dresses in their indefectible basic red, militants of the Movimento dos Sem Terra, PCdoB, Psol, PT, PCO played bass drum (literally). And not only manifest themselves. Repress. Threat. They amplify the violence of their idols against those who sought freedom far from the regime.
The arms of dictatorships are getting longer and longer. It has never been more obvious.