Episode 02 Carlos Latuff

Coffee and Radio Listen 
Martín Butera 
(Carlos Latuff)

Brazil is the leading coffee export country thanks to the more than 2000 municipalities distributed in 16 regions throughout the national territory where the blessed beans are harvested. Brazil's coffee sector generates more than 8 million direct jobs.

The value chain that coffee cultivation brings in this South American country is that generation after generation, the technique and a tradition full of care have been perfected. This exquisite treatment adds to the perfect climate, with mild and arid winters, and hot and humid summers. In addition, indoor crops are beyond the reach of oceanic phenomena. The uniformity of the soils also contributes to the production of amazing coffee.

I like to drink coffee and meet people, chat a little about everything. I invite you to learn more about different passionate people on the radio from this part of the continent.

Foto: Reception report: Radio Ndarason International, broadcasting in Kanuri language, 
listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil By Carlos Latuff

Carlos Henrique Latuff de Sousa or simply "Carlos Latuff", for friends, (born in Rio de Janeiro, November 30, 1968) is a famous Brazilian cartoonist and political activist. Latuff began his career as an illustrator in 1989 at a small advertising agency in downtown Rio de Janeiro. He became a cartoonist after publishing his first cartoon in a newsletter of the Stevadores Union in 1990 and continues to work for the trade union press to this day.

With the advent of the Internet, Latuff began his artistic activism, producing copyleft designs for the Zapatista movement. After a trip to the occupied territories of the West Bank in 1999, he became a sympathizer for the Palestinian cause in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and devoted much of his work to it. He became an anti-Zionist during this trip and today helps spread anti-Zionist ideals.

His page of Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/carloslatuff/) currently has more than 50 thousand followers, where of course, you can see his work as a cartoonist and also shows his passion on the radio.

Political cartoon, by Carlos Latuff 
(President of Brazil Bolsonaro - dismantling and exploitation of the Amazon)

Martin Butera and Carlos Latuff (hotel Porto Alegre - Lima e Silva), southern Brazil 2019, photo by Ligia Katze.

In an adult and in-depth talk of more than an hour and of course more than one coffee, with Carlos Latuff we talked about radio, local and international politics, leaving his gaze on how he sees the world in every word.

Here is a summary and adaptation in English of an interview that completed an hour of recording.

You can also listen to the interview in its original language (Portuguese) from the following link: 

MB: How was your first approach with the radio?
It was from an early age. My parents remember they had a very old wooden radio device with 2 buttons. We listened to many police programs and especially services where people call the radio and leave a message asking for something. Of course, it was in AM. I remember that I looked behind the radio and saw the valves turned on and was delighted with that. I even imagined that there were little dwarf people inside the radio, that the voices were of these little people who were talking to us.

Then my parents bought another radio that had short waves. It was there that I began my first contact with the shortwaves.

MB: Do you remember how old you were?
It would be the beginning of the 80s, I would be about 12 years old. I remember starting to make contacts with Radio Moscow, and Swiss Radio International. It was during the Cold War, and I remember that my mother was afraid to write letters to Russia ...

I remember hearing something that made a mark on me. I listened to the service in Portuguese from Radio Moscow and there I heard that the Brazilian government of that time was using Agent Orange gas to cut down trees in the Amazon. It had been left over from the Vietnam War. 

I was never a 100% dedicated to shortwave radios. I remember that my father had a Philco Ford Radio and liked to listen to a radio station in Rio de Janeiro called "Clock Radio". At that time it was directed by a Canadian Protestant minister named Robert McAlister, who really was very intelligent because the station was very different. It was a station that broadcast the time, music, and curiosities, every hour with the phrase: "Did you know?", For example that if a fly flies straight, it would go around the world in I don't know how many days ...

Things like that fascinated me. I spent hours sitting listening to the radio to write down those messages.

I have a very emotional and historical connection with radio. I should have worked on the radio and not be a cartoonist (laughs).

MB: Well, and since we talk about design, when you draw do you like to listen to the radio?
Yes, but I only listen to music from a very good Web radio that I recommend is from the United States of the town of San Francisco called "Soma FM". It is an independent internet radio, without commercials, with 28 music channels offering lists with varied styles such as underground electronics, chillout, ambient, lounge, indie rock and many more styles—all hand-selected by the famous DJs and music selectors.

That Radio is excellent because it does not deconcentrate me when designing, I leave it in the background and accompanies me while I draw.

I leave here the link https://somafm.com/

MB: Many say that the radio is running out. What do you think about that?
I would not say that it is ending. I think it is going through a process of transformation. We are talking about technology, for example, the DRM (World Digital Radio) is developing more and more.

But I do not think it is ending. For example, the Internet does not reach everywhere. It does not reach deep into Africa or Asia, it does not even arrive in the Amazon in Brazil, nor does a cell phone signal reach the Amazon (Laughter).

When the United States invaded Afghanistan, that occupation was made with the support of radio. They launched from airplanes the Kaito radio, those models with the dynamo handle to send psychological propaganda to the people.

It is curious that the same radio I saw in a photo in the hand of a guerrilla on a website of a Christian radio and it says "I leave terrorism and now choose the word of God" and is using the same Kaito radio but of another color , strange .... Suspicious at least.

MB: So, you think they say the radio is running out, just so we don't pay more attention. Meanwhile, it's still used for political purposes, while we pay attention to something else?
No, I don't think that's it, all new technology always comes to replace the old one a bit, the issue is that this new technology still doesn't have access to all places, on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Where there are more than fifty 50 ethnic groups, who have faced each other for centuries or in Guinea or Benin, nobody talks about the Internet because they simply do not know it because it has not arrived.

Then you listen to the radio, also the internet in a country with conflicts and censorship, it is easier to cut the Internet instead of the radio. North Korea and South Korea, currently dispute jamming (radio interference). The same case of China against Taiwan or in the current conflicts of the Republic of Yemen, and there are many cases across the planet.

MB: Well here in America the case seemed more serious with Radio Marti and Radio Havana Cuba, in the Caribbean?
Of course, practically the same thing, the United States with Radio Martí, sending messages to the Cubans through its radio, recently in El Salvador Central America and arrives very strong, until I get it in AM. So saying that shortwave died or just is an idiot thing.

MB: Tell me about El Salvador, Central America. How is the social climate and tell me a little about radio in El Salvador?
Well, at the radio level, there is nothing interesting like it was before. For example, Venceremos Radio, the official voice of the Farabundo Martí Front guerrillas. There are many religious stations, I would say almost 90%. After the social climate is very hot, I was able to enter the Soyapango community where the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) are from my work and it is tremendous, I never saw so many funeral homes together, side by side.

MB: Business is death?

The business is the drug war, a war that began in Mexico Felipe Calderón, Mexico and that as a result ended with that country, full of end-to-end drug cartels throughout the country and expanded throughout the rest of Central America. Obviously, with great participation of the governments of the United States.

MB: Speaking of religion, do you believe in a single religion as a system, I say for the Pope, for example, joining very often with other faiths. Do you think there are other purposes there, more specifically do you think we are going to a unique religion?
No, dealing with religion is dealing with territory, influence, everyone will always use religion for their own convenience. For example, the president of Turkey "Erdoğan" a politician who plays mystic, says he hears the voice of God, who sends him messages, has visions and with that message he came to power, but he is terribly nationalistic and very dangerous.

MB: Going back to the radio, today are you focused on listening?
I am very focused on Dx in medium wave. I am fascinated that with a two dollar radio bought on the street you can do DX, against a Tecsun PL 660 that here in South America can cost about 100 dollars, which is a lot of money, of course, it is a very good receiver. But with any radio you can hear Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia. Here in Brazil, you go near the sea, and it is feasible that you can capture those countries in AM, of course when the sun goes down. A radio from Morocco in AM, has nothing to do with Brazil and that is fascinating.

Listening to the Koran is very crazy, it is magical. And I am not saying if it is right or wrong, my task as listening is not to say that but to validate the story. It is also not the same as listening on the internet, even the noise is great. It's magic.

I also like to listen to spy radios that there is still a lot of activity, at least for this continent, it is the case of Cuba that still maintains some services.

MB: Do you change QSL, do you send signal reports?
No, I don't have that classic fixation of listening obsessed with QSL cards, it seems fine, but I see it more as a souvenir. I don't find any sense now, maybe the SINPO code was good before. But today I record the radio with a cell phone and I have to demonstrate how it is heard. I don't have to explain through a code, really receiving that is not my goal.

MB: What criticism do you do to the Brazilian Dxsista?
The Brazilian Dxsista, has to think about the radio beyond a technical issue, has to think about the content, nothing is by chance, there is a very strong political weight on the radio, he cannot stay paused, just change one qsl period.

MB: Speaking of Brazil, why you think that the image of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has a negative international image in such a short time?
Because he is stupid and mediocre. He is an average citizen, and he represents the worst thing in Brazilian society, that average citizen who is macho, homophobic, Bolsonaro is all that together he is stupid and has no modesty.

MB: You are not camouflaged, you say?
Of course, it is not camouflaged. On the one hand, it is a good thing, because at least the masks in Brazil fell. This country always had a problem with that, and I hide that a lot. Although the problem is not Brazil, it is regional, Trump, the president of Hungary "János Áder", the Philippines "Rodrigo Duterte" or Boris Johnson, some British readers, know what I am talking about.

Bolsonaro did not invent racism, nor homophobia that always existed, only the potency, and now he is freer to do so because he can rely on other presidents.

MB: And on the left or Brazilian socialism do you make a self-criticism, that is because a character like Bolsonaro comes to power in Brazil?
The left and socialism, always in South America, were very fractional movements. The beginning of the end was the fall of the Berlin Wall. There the left step from the revolutionary discourse to the reformist discourse, because it ran out of money to support the revolutions. Without the money of the former Soviet Union, it was over for bullets and began to make alliances even with the right and lost the historical prominence.

After the Berlin Wall, there were no real revolutions, there were socialist experiences, such as in South America at the beginning of the year 2000, in Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and here in Brazil.

MB: And speaking of Brazil, what happened that experience could not be sustained?
Here was called the workers' party and ended up falling into corruption, which they did not invent, here in Brazil there is corruption since the time of the conquest of the year 1,500.

The Labor Party did not invent corruption, but it was part, surely they should not be the most thief government, nor corrupt in the history of Brazil, but they were part, and the media were responsible for generating a very negative look. So people no longer believe in political actors and stop voting for politicians. A businessman appears in the United States who is Trump, camouflaged as a politician and something similar happens here, Bolsonaro, who was former military, then Anti-politics begins.

MB: As you see the media in Brazil, do you feel there is censorship?
Not at the moment no, very relevant media are not closing. Here Bolsonaro is following the Trump line, for example, Trump chose a medium in the United States that is Foxnews, for everything else is garbage, and here something similar happens Bolsonaro chose RecordTV which is of evangelists and the SBT channel (Brazilian Television System), a popular channel, with a somewhat fascist ideology. Then they only give importance to those means disqualifying the rest, ignoring them. At the moment, it is that strategy.

MB: How do you see the future of Brazil?

It worries me a lot; there is a lack of political ability, Brazil does not have a project today; everything is on the path of destruction ... destruction of public education, health, we are heading to scorched earth.

MB: What final messages can you give us, mainly to the reader of the Bulletin, which is mostly a European people?
First congratulate them, the Bulletin is a fantastic newsletter. Then I think that all of us who are the listeners of the radio have the mission of saying that the radio is still alive, it is not something old, it is not "Old School", it is not something late. I have a friend from Japan, who told me the other day that Japan, due to earthquakes and tsunamis, massively manufactured millions of radios, because they understood that it is the only thing that serves to give messages to the population if a catastrophe occurs . Internet or other technology tends to fall quickly.

Then think about the degree of importance it has in other countries. For example, North Korea, if you are listening to the radio, for purposes other than the government, you can even pay a death penalty, that is, it is a very serious issue. Not even in Syria with Bashar al Asad and in many other countries.

The radio is something serious and we must continue defending it.

Listening to Radio by Carlos Latuff (Log)

His radio listeners are mostly hunting for stations with political content, we can find hundreds of them in his film records on his YouTube video channel, currently with more than 7,600 subscribers https://www.youtube.com/user/Latuff

The same explains some of his recruitments, which can go from Radio Ashna, a voa news service, a station funded by the US government, which broadcasts in Pashto and Dari languages ​​for or Afghanistan.

Another favorite may be North Korea Reform Radio, created by North-Korean defectors, which issues destabilizing messages to the Kim Jong Un regime.

We also found the Iran International TV radio, a London-based radio station financed by Saudi Arabia, which broadcasts in the Persian language and intends to destabilize the Iranian regime.

Manara International Radio, which broadcasts in Hausa language for Nigeria, with its transmitter located in France. Nigerian radio of the Izala movement, linked to Salafism, fundamentalist current of Islam.

Carlos Latuff, also followed very closely the latest protests in Hong Kong, through the programming in Spanish of Radio Habana Cubana, of the "Our America" ​​program, of the Guillermo Alvarado coductor.

There are many listeners and in all of them Carlos Latuff, he knows that he listens and does it with a lot of awareness, without a doubt a true shortwave political activist.


Radio man "Carlos Latuff" in the Ninho das Águias Park in Nova Petrópolis (RS), 
southern Brazil, photo by Karin Lu Loo

Special thanks to my friend Rob Wagner (VK3BVW), Mount Evelyn DX Report. https://medxr.blogspot.com/ for support