Wandering around the
streets of Lisbon, you will eventually bump
into a Brazilian. It might be a waiter at the neighborhood café or
one of the 700 thousand Brazilian tourists who visit Portugal
every year. Portugal breathes Brazil. Portugal is, by far, the
country where Brazilian culture is consumed the most.
According to the latest statistics, there are now 100,000 Brazilians living
legally in Portugal. This is due, mostly, to a new law signed July 2003 by
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Portuguese Prime
Minister José Manuel Durão Barroso, during Lula’s first trip
to European countries.
For many Brazilians, Portugal
has become a new America, in fact, some say that this new vague of migrants
towards the terrinha, as Brazilians like to call Portugal, is connected
to the strong barriers imposed by the US government, in recent years, to Brazilian
citizens willing to enter the United States and to the rippling tide of anti-American
feeling in Brazil, right now.
Apart from some sporadic
cases, most Brazilians actually make it in Portugal and adapt to the Portuguese
society. Many Brazilian are actually very successful, as the following names
can attest to: Ed Mota (publicity), Cardoso e Cunha (president of TAP-Air
Portugal), Scolari (soccer coach), and Deco (soccer player), amongst many
Wandering around the streets
of Lisbon, you will eventually bump into a Brazilian. It might be someone
working at a shoe-store or the waiter at the neighborhood café. It
might also be one of the 700 thousand Brazilian tourists who visit Portugal
every year. Portugal breathes Brazil. In fact, I daresay Portugal is, by far,
the country where Brazilian culture is consumed the most.
The Portuguese are very
receptive to Brazilian culture, mostly due to Brazilian soap-operas being
played in Portugal. This telenovela phenomenon is quite big and the
audience rates are extremely high. Oporto’s daily Jornal de Notícia
even published a story called "Portugal Clonizado" making the obvious
jeu-de-mots: clonizado = colonizado = colonized. (O
Clone is a recent and very famous Brazilian soap-opera).
Is this true? Is Portugal
being "clonized" by Brazil? Looking at the latest Portuguese Top
Charts, we can find many Brazilian artists making it to the Top 10. 90 percent
of these artists have already given at least one concert in Portugal and many
have made tours around the country. Very recently, even Maria Rita, who is
at the beginning of her (hopefully very long) career, gave two magnificent
concerts in Portugal to public and critics acclaim.
But this "clonization"
process doesn’t stop here. The streets are also full of billboards announcing
Brazilian Concerts and even Brazilian Theatre plays. Brazilian TV entertainer
Jô Soares was recently at the CCB (Centro Cultural de Belém)
in Lisbon, and his show was sold out soon after tickets went on sale.
Even Brazilian movies
started to make its way into the Portuguese mainstream, with films such as
Cidade de Deus (City of God) and Deus É Brasileiro
(God Is Brazilian) competing side-by-side with American films in many of the
most important theatres of the country.
This new re-approximation
of both countries, however, is not just one-way. Figures show that there are
4 million Portuguese Internet users, as opposed to "just" 13 million
Brazilians. This apparently uninteresting and irrelevant fact has helped bringing
Portugal into Brazilian homes. Many of the web’s main search engines put the
Portuguese and the Brazilian websites in the same bag.
A Brazilian will very
likely browse through Portuguese websites, Internet Forums or Portuguese online
newspapers. As the Portuguese/Brazilian rate is much, much higher on the Web
than in "real life", Portuguese lifestyle and Portuguese ways and
more importantly, Portuguese culture are more exposed and visible to Brazilian
No wonder there has been
a lot of interchange between Brazilians and Portuguese on the Web. One has
just to browse through the Portuguese or Brazilian blogosphere to see how
participative Brazilians are in the Portuguese blogs, and vice-versa. The
most famous Portuguese blogger of all times Omeupipi – http://omeupipi.blogspot.com/
– is read and enjoyed by many Brazilians, and thousands of them have left
messages and comments in this blog.
Air Portugal is now the
European company with more daily flights to Brazil. This is what they say
in their Brazilian webpage. However truthful or not this information might
be, the fact is many Portuguese now choose Brazil as their main tourist destination.
Recently, many flights to Brazil have to be booked with at least two or three
months in advance to get a reasonable price. During the holiday periods (Christmas
and Easter, for example) most of the flights are completely full.
Many Portuguese choose
the regions of the Nordeste (Northeast) for their summer holidays and a lot
of Portuguese tourist agencies are now opening new branches in this region
and operating from Brazil rather than from Portugal. A lot of Brazilian hotels
have also been bought by Portuguese entrepreneurs. As a consequence , many
upper-middle class Portuguese now have a beach house in Brazil. These figures
seem to be growing every year.
Maybe Portugal is too
small when compared to Brazil. Nevertheless, Brazilians are actually beginning
to notice the Portuguese, to consume their culture and to see them besides
the rural, ignorant and laid-back rude people, an image that persisted in
the country for so many years.
People say globalization
has brought too many bad and good things. Its contribution to the development
of our societies is, of course, arguable. However, it has, for sure, re-approximated
the Portuguese and the Brazilians a lot more and a lot faster than the many
unsuccessful government fiats during decades of mutual oblivion.
Not all is wonderful though.
Figures show that the trade between the two nations is quite ridiculous. Brazilians
tend to forget that Portugal is a natural consuming market of their products.
A good example of Brazilian exports that worked is guaraná,
the soft drink, which is now sold virtually everywhere in Portugal.
Earlier this month, during
the VII Luso-Brazilian Summit, Prime Minister Durão Barroso urged Brazilian
companies to invest in Portugal. Only the future will tell it they are going
to heed his appeal.
Portuguese-born Pedro Cid likes to picture himself as a multifaceted citizen
of the world. He is currently living between Paris (France) and Oporto (Portugal),
desperately trying to finish his PhD. Contact him at email@example.com