MARCH
2003

BRAZZIL - News from Brazil cover
Cover 
by
Salvino
Campos

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cover

 

CONTENTS:

Where Did All the Blacks Go?
When I asked in Bahia a group of Brazilian school kids what race they considered me to be, they all simultaneously yelled "MORENO!!" I would say my own complexion is similar to that of actor Denzel Washington. What do these results tell me? For many Brazilians, a person cannot be attractive and black at the same time.
by Mark Wells

Domino - In Portuguese
The girls gathered by Madam Neuza for the red light district made up a mosaic of races and types that befuddled the clients: blondes, redheads, brunettes, mulatas in all colors, sararás, blacks and deep blacks. They varied generously in the distribution of bones, meat and fat on the bodies for rental.
by Júlio César Monteiro Martins

Brazil's Black Guerrillas
After the abolition of slavery in Brazil, well up into the 1930's, there were protests against capoeira by politicians and intellectuals. For some time capoeiristas became the fastest growing group of criminals. The police were always chasing after capoeiristas and capoeira in those days can be compared to a guerrilla movement.
by Jihan Abdalla

Petrobras? That's PTbras for You
Lula's party, the PT, cannot re-nationalize those areas and companies privatized during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administrations, but it is determined to retain state control even if this means undermining them. The prime targets are the regulatory watchdogs set up to prevent abuse and formation of monopolies.
by John Fitzpatrick

The Reserve Cowbell Player
It was a stirring piece that soon had us all dancing. Painfully trapped in my own Britishness, I needed to be encouraged, nay invited, to get up and dance. I did not have to wait long before one of the elder dancers beckoned me into the fold with an accompanying smile.
by David Alexander Robert

The Discarded Kids of Brazil
What would a UK Social Services department make of all this? I guess all the children would be immediately rounded up and shunted off into care, and there would be calls for a Royal Commission to be set up…but we are in Brazil. According to Unicef, there are from seven to eight million kids in worse shape, living or working on the streets.
by Mark Ereira

War? We Already Have Ours in
Federal troops have been called to maintain order in Rio. In São Paulo, car thieves stole an auto belonging to the Minister of Justice. The Landless movement has declared that the truce with Lula's government is over. They occupied federal offices as well as several farms and ranches around the country.
by Richard Hayes

Dream  on. This  is  not  Brazil!
For dreamers, fantasists, fanatics or just bores, Brazil has become a blank page on which they can scribble and doodle as they wish. I cannot think of any other country which has this fascination for foreigners. It is as though Brazil were a drug. For your information, Brazilian women should come with the kind of health warning found on cigarette packets.
by John Fitzpatrick


Requiem for a Bubble
Globo Group and the Folha Group, two giants of the media, who had wrangled for some years, reconciled and announced a public feast which pièce de resistance would be the tasty economic daily Gazeta Mercantil. They came up with the luminous idea of joining forces—divide the cake, i.e., the Brazilian market.
by Alberto Dines

When in Brazil...
Doing business in Brazil requires an understanding of that country's differing work ethics. There are even regional differences. You should wear a suit and necktie in the south region of São Paulo at a business meeting, but not in the north. And don't forget: meals are for socializing not for doing business.
by Kim Huggett

A Time Bomb for Lula
Brazil's debt burden expanded dramatically in terms of the national currency due to a significant drop in the international value of the Real before Lula took office. The impending U.S. war with Iraq will only deepen these problems. It has already upset Brazil's financial markets.
by Roger Burbach

When Lover Is a Four-Letter Word
A hit new TV show in Brazil compares women to mares. Meanwhile the mainstream press has become suddenly bashful and has been using boyfriend and girlfriend when the appropriate term would be lover or concubine.
by Janer Cristaldo

Lula as Pontius Pilate
Colombia wants Brazil to classify the FARC as a terrorist group, freeze its bank accounts in Brazil and detain any of its members or supporters in Brazilian territory. In a recent meeting between the two governments, though, this topic was not even raised.
by John Fitzpatrick

Brazil's Black Memories Become Lighter
Brazil is now paying more attention to the contribution which blacks and people of mixed race have made to the country's cultural and artistic development. Five hundred years' history cannot be wiped out overnight, but changes are taking place.
by John Fitzpatrick

Women's Blues
Once again Brazilians are commemorating International Women's Day. There isn't that much to celebrate though. Among the problems plaguing women are high unemployment, low wages, gender inequality, machismo, violence, and prostitution.
by Joanne Blaney

The Brazil Risk and Brazil at Risk
In Brazil, crime has become a political party that runs not for elections, but for power. As opposed to the FARC, in Colombia, our narcoterrorists do not aspire to regional autonomy. They want the entire country and they chose Rio to flaunt their power when the city is at the center of the world's attention.
by Alberto Dines

According  to the  Music
Since the beginning of the twentieth century Brazilian popular music has reflected the social and political changes that the nation has experienced. More recently, rap groups such as Racionais Mc's and Planet Hemp have used their music in order to convey messages with explicitly social or political messages.
by Tom Phillips

Cracking  MTV's  Cliché
Never cowering to commerce, Pato Fu stuffs a live recording with subversive seasoning, lyrical sentiment, and monumental scenography. They can take something familiar and do something unprecedented. They are independent, uncensored, unfettered, irreverent, and beholden to no special interests.
by Bruce Gilman
 

A Pipa Dream
Pipa was the first city in Brazil where people used ketchup, chewing gum, and blue jeans. The 3000-residents little town, however, has much more than that to its credit. Its charm comes from its natural beauty combined with its colorful international population.
by Zoltan Horvath

What's There to Celebrate, Black Brazil?
In the 1970s, Brazilian blacks delved into history and rediscovered black resistance leader Zumbi of Palmares, a black hero who fled captivity and created a rebel black community. Since then, many blacks don't want to celebrate May 13, the day Brazilian slaves were freed.
by Efu Nyaki

Over Easy
The five of us burst into laughter, a hearty, communal laughter that not only welcomed me into this group of workers, but welcomed me back to Brazil, my home. I bade my colleagues farewell and took that laughter across the road with me to the bus stop and onto a bus.
by David Alexander Robert

The Love Visa
Are you thinking about bringing your beloved from Brazil? Chance meetings through the Internet will not do! The intending spouses are supposed to have met in person within the past two years of the filing of fiancée visa. It does not mean, however, that the couple is required to have had sex.
by Edgardo Quintanilla

Green over Green in Brazil's Amazon
Officially, Sivam, the Amazonian Surveillance System intends to monitor the Brazilian Amazon. The Brazilian Missionary Indigenist Council, however, fears that the surveillance system might violate the rights of the Indians in the area.

Keep Up the Dream, Mr. Lula
Health and education, the PT's highest priorities, even Lula's prized "Hunger Zero" program, have had to bite the bullet so that 'global' finance may rest assured. How to jump-start job creation with banks refusing to take even the slightest risk has become a mystery to all who still believe in the "bigger plan".
by Norman Madarasz

After Carnaval, We'll Do
There seems to be very little tangible evidence of progress on vital reforms in pension, labor, tax and politics. Democracy takes time in the tropics especially when Congress works only from Tuesday afternoon until Thursday noon.
by Richard Hayes

Carnaval Capers
Over 40,000 members of the security forces are patrolling the streets of Rio this Carnaval to make sure that while the merrymaking goes with a bang, it is the right kind of bang. Compared with events in Rio, Salvador, and Recife the São Paulo Carnaval is a feeble affair.
by John Fitzpatrick

The Big Media Abhors Criticism
In the '90s, "giftomania" led the biggest Brazilian newspapers to the pinnacles of circulation and, on the following decade, to the discomfort of severe hangovers. Newspapers were actually being distributed for free, which subverted the sacred principle that the reader needs to pay for information in order to respect it.
by Alberto Dines

No More Tapes, No More "Off"
Brazilian politicians have forever used and abused confidential information without the source being credited. They got used to fill the ears of journalists with the worst stories of intrigue, provided that their names were preserved intact. Brazilian political journalism subjects itself to off-ism.
by Alberto Dines

Brazil's Theme Song
The seeds of bossa nova began with the music and movies of the United States of the 1940's. But the new sound would come back to haunt American musicians who would in turn be inspired by the Brazilian sound and the girl from Ipanema.
by Steven Byrd

The Pinga Triumvirate
I ask the reader to bear in mind that I am dealing with the three characters at one and the same time. Answering The Inquisitor, correcting The Know-All and bringing The One-Worder's seeds to some sort of fruition. It is no wonder that I break into a sweat and start to stumble over my Portuguese.
by David Alexander Robert

Carioca by Accident
Brazil's most respected weekly magazine says that I'm a Carioca. Let me be honest: I'm about as Carioca as a jar of Marmite. It's a testament to journalists' creativity, and the fact that they leave everything to the last minute, that I managed to slip in between those pages.
by David Alexander Robert

The Foolishness of Being Pro-American
Any anti-American lie, in Brazil, even an absurd one, is immediately taken as pure truth. Any pro-American word I write is at once explained as the work of a professional liar "sponsored by Wall Street". Can't Americans say a single word in defense of themselves in the Brazilian press?
by Olavo de Carvalho

Shooting Is All I Know - Talking to City of God's Brazilian Director
Social exclusion and injustice are fundamental questions that led me to make City of God. As long as the same level of socio-economic inequality continues to exist within Brazil, we will never be taken seriously as a country. The time to tackle the problem is now.
by Tutu Lombardi

Promises Not Kept
It didn't take long. The PT is in crisis having failed in its role of critical conscience of the country. The appointment of Senator José Sarney to the senate's presidency is the resurrection of the old Nordeste with all the vicious practices of the coronéis. It is the consecration of the cynicism.
by Alberto Dines

The Last of the "Colonels"
Senator Antonio Carlos Magalhães and Senate president José Sarney represent a dying species. President Lula has four, maybe eight years to give Brazil a stable democratic foundation. In this new Brazil, "colonels" like ACM and Sarney will be relegated to the history books, just as the military, which are back in their barracks.
by John Fitzpatrick

Brazil's Five-Star Jail
Under Brazil's quaint penal code, criminals and suspected criminals with a higher education qualification are segregated from the unwashed in special prisons or separate wings. It is obviously an unfair law. For those without a diploma, though, a cell is hell.
by John Fitzpatrick

The Media Barons
Senators Antonio Carlos Magalhães (picture) and José Sarney are the longest-living Brazilian oligarchs. What differentiates them from their predecessors and ancestors is the control they exercise over the local and the national media.
by Alberto Dines

Fruits of the Land
As part of a new national strategy, Brazil's Landless Movement is now taking over unproductive lands close to metropolitan areas. In one such example hundreds of families, who lived in shanty towns, rundown apartments or the street, occupied a land from São Paulo's water company.
by Juçara Terezinha Zotts

Spare Me the Quotas and Other American Oddities
It has been revealed that two very white female candidates increased eightfold their chances of being admitted into a Rio university by stating they were black. And Lula is selling the expedient idea that Brazil is a country with a black majority.
by Janer Cristaldo

Begging for a Job
It is very common in Brazil that a job candidate will have the final interview in the same room with all the other finalists. There will be the noble lord or lady and their council of advisors. The ambience is not unlike a death-match among gladiators in the arena.
by John Roscoe

Eating Brazil
For those who live in the New York-Newark neighborhood Brazil is never too far away. The sounds, smells and tastes of the land of samba, joy of living and cachaça can be found all over the place. You don't even have to look for it.
by Ernest Barteldes

Brazil Can't Wait, Mr. Lula
President Lula has gone back to being a timid tortoise. Style and not substance is marking his government. His showpiece Zero Hunger campaign, for example, is losing its impetus. The President is showing that he is prepared to listen, but leadership demands action.
by John Fitzpatrick

Only the Best from Brazil
In a display of excellent shape the Brazilian Chamber of Books has announced its nominees for best literary productions of 2002. The close to 200 works are running for a few coveted Jabutis.

 

He Was the Samba
The success of the Zicartola bar was a rediscovery of talent for the world. At 65 years old, with a new nose, Cartola recorded his first LP. That was 1974 and the record won all the musical awards at the time in Brazil.
by Arthur de Faria

Sorry, That's War
Katia Lund, co-director of City of God, sounds out: "Damn, I am talking about my country, about what I want to talk about! We speak as if there were two societies but it is just one body! What good is it if your head is good but your leg is sick?"

by Clarissa Beretz

Romancing the IMF
Brazilian Finance Minister, Antônio Palocci, the former Trotskyist,  is saying the right things. He is honest and sincere, although his successor as mayor of Ribeirão Preto has discovered plenty of unpaid bills from Palocci's administration.
by Richard Hayes

What's Splitting the PT
It would be wise for Lula to try and push for the urgent reforms Brazil needs, before his popularity erodes because of inflation. He is still riding a crest of popularity due to his homey style and the Zero Hunger program that helps a few in Piauí state.
by Richard Hayes

The Ghost That Haunts Brazil
Auguste Comte's positivist ideas have shown their greatest impact in economic policy. Economic policy in  Brazil has been marked by an interventionist frenzy that affects all aspects of public life. The consequences of positivism in the country have been devastating.
by Antony P. Mueller
 

Brazil Sweet Home
First things first. And the first thing to have when you want to get a piece of the Brazilian dream is a CPF. If you don't have one there is no sense in proceeding with your purchasing plans. The CPF is a magic and indispensable key.
by Boris Goldshmit

The Bluff Is Back
There was a clandestine recording of a Lula minister's meeting. Chicanery and surprise attacks are part of the political game, but the contract between society and press presupposes a critical distance from these methods, not their reinforcement.
by Alberto Dines

For Bush to Read in Bed
Report from Brazil, the most democratic country on the planet. A few modest suggestions on giving Bush a way out: last-ditch reverse bridge-building and contingency plans. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Rice, Fleischer and Wolfowitz are in a corner. Politically, they've lost the battle.
by Norman Madarasz


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