Brazilian expats living in several countries around the world participated in elections to choose the first Council of Representatives of Brazilians Abroad. There were 18,500 votes that elected 16 councilors and 16 substitutes for four regions: South and Central America, North America and Caribbean, Europe and Asia, Africa, Middle East and Oceania.
In the latter region, the Lebanese representative, Siham Hussein Harati, was the most voted councilor among the candidates. “The surprise was that in Lebanon, where the size of the Brazilian community is the smallest, she got an expressive number of votes, more expressive than the number of votes received by the second place candidate, in Japan, where we expected most of the positions to be taken, due to the number of Brazilians,” said ambassador Eduardo Gradilone, undersecretary general of the Brazilian Communities Abroad.
The vote was on the Internet, between November 1st and 9th. To vote, Brazilians viewed an on-line form, where they identified themselves according to their official documents, and chose the representative for their region. In all, 298 expatriates ran for the post of councilor.
One of the main functions of the new council will be the assistance in organization of the Brazilians Worldwide Conference, which has already taken place twice over the last two years, in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
“Once the councilors have been nominated, we are going to start dialogue with them and promote meetings prior to the conference, giving our ideas and, more importantly in this respect, discussing the list of requests,” said Gradilone.
According to the ambassador, there are minutes with hundreds of requests by Brazilians over the last fifteen years. “Now, we have established a system for accountancy. Each of these requests will be turned to the ministry responsible, most to the Foreign Office, but many to the ministries of Education, Health and Labor. The council’s work for verifying these minutes is very important, seeing what is and what is not being complied with, seeing what may improve.”
Gradilone explained that the council will have a term of two years and that each group of councilors will have to establish his own work structure, organizing the meetings between members and activities in the region.
The activity of a councilor is voluntary and receives no funding from the government of Brazil. Members of the Foreign Office should meet with the councilors at least once a year.
According to the ambassador, the council should also promote the positive image of Brazil abroad. “We have as principles for this policy the appreciation of Brazilians abroad, the use of Brazilians abroad for preservation and promotion of our culture, to show Brazil abroad, including Brazilian products”.
Those are the Brazilian expats chosen to represent the several regions ordered by number of votes:
South and Central America
1. Marilene Sguarizi (Attorney Sguarizi, Paraguay)
2. Romildo Antônio de Souza (Romildo Maia, Paraguay);
3. José Paulo Ribeiro (Suriname);
4. Ari Sordi (Padre Ari, Paraguay).
North America and Caribbean
1. Fausto Mendes da Rocha (US);
2. Silair de Almeida (US);
3. Ester Sanchez-Naek (US);
4. Ronney Roger Molinari Oliveira (US).
1. Laércio Ribeiro da Silva (Laércio from ABRAS, UK);
2. Mônica da Cunha Cruz Pereira (Belgium);
3. Carlos Mellinger (UK);
4. Flávio Carvalho (Spain).
Asia, Africa, Middle East, Oceania
1. Siham Hussein Harati (Lebanon);
2. Ângelo Akimitsu Ishi (Japan);
3. Carlos Sussumo Shinoda (Japan);
4. Newton Takahiro Sonoki (Sonoki, Japan).