Brazil declared its independence from Portugal in 1822 but if you had watched
the television coverage of the European football championship you would have
thought Brazil was still under the Portuguese heel.
Only one non-subscription
station, TV Record, showed the games and the commentary when Portugal was
playing was scandalously biased. The commentator made no attempt to hide his
support, urging the team on"vai, vai, Portugal!! (go, go,
Portugal)and stretching his vocal cords to the limit with exaggerated
"GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOl" calls whenever the team
Not only this, but he
kept making cozy references to the Portuguese "colony" (colônia)
not community (comunidade) in Brazil as though we were still living
in colonial times.
The fact that several
of the teams Portugal faced, such as Spain, England and Holland, also have
substantial communities here was barely mentioned. The Dutch even colonized
a part of the Northeast for about 30 years and left their mark on places like
Recife, while it was the English who brought the Portuguese crown to Brazil
to flee Napoleon's armies.
This biased coverage assumed
that Brazilians should automatically be supporting Portugal even though few
people have any direct relationship with Portugal and many other nationalities,
including Italians, Germans, Russians, Japanese, Lebanese, Armenians have
done more to develop Brazil than the Portuguese ever did.
Greeks are not thick on
the ground here but there is a Greek communityand Brazilians of Greek
descentwhose feelings were totally swept aside in an insulting manner.
One understandable reason
why many Brazilians were rooting for Portugal was the fact that the Portuguese
manager, Felipe Scolari, and one of the team's top players, Deco, are Brazilian.
Scolari led Brazil to its World Cup triumph in 2002, but headed off to Europe
Another reason was that
one of Portugal's top player, Figo, plays alongside Brazilian idols, Ronaldo
and Roberto Carlos, as well as English superstar, David Beckham, for Real
Despite these points,
TV Record coverage was unacceptable. For this reason, it was good to see Greece
beat Portugal in the final even though one could share the disappointment
of the Portuguese fans as they watched their team's hopes fade away in their
TV Record closed its transmission
within a minute of the final whistle and we did not see the Greek team receiving
its trophy. You can be sure this would have been shown in its entirety had
Making Haiti a
Talking of football, the
Brazilian national team might be playing in strife-ridden Haiti in August.
The idea is to try and disarm the gangs and militias which have made this
poverty-stricken country the poorest in the western hemisphere and an economic
A contingent of Brazilian
troops is there at the moment, heading a United Nations peacekeeping force,
and if stars like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho Gaúcho and Kaká could
help bring about an end to violence then they would make the troops' tasks
However, there are already
reports that Brazilian diplomats are worried that instead of promoting peace
and love the match could lead to the opposite, with rival gangs fighting to
John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish journalist who first visited Brazil in 1987
and has lived in São Paulo since 1995. He writes on politics and
finance and runs his own company, Celtic Comunicações - www.celt.com.br
- which specializes in editorial and translation services for Brazilian
and foreign clients. You can reach him at email@example.com.
© John Fitzpatrick