Postcards from Rio de Janeiro
Then there is a third "click", much closer to my
temple, a little louder, and a sound I have heard many times on the movies but never
experienced in real life. I just freeze for a second, and gradually turn my head to see
the end of the barrel (God, it’s dark inside).
By Brazzil Magazine
The 23.º Anuário de Criação (23rd Creation Yearbook) contains
the best publicity pieces Brazilian admen created in 1998 as chosen by a jury from the
900-member-strong Clube de Criação de São Paulo (São Paulo Creation Club), an
association reuniting professionals who work in publicity, including writers and art
directors. The 785 ads chosen among 5,000 or so that were shown in newspapers, magazines,
and billboards recently are also a portrait of the thriving advertising business across
the country, since all states outside of São Paulo are invited to send their entries.
Despite its small circulation (2,000 copies) the Anuárioan endeavor believed to
be taken only in a couple of other countries besides Brazilis a vital publication.
Its latest incarnation brings 345 ads published in magazines, 145 in newspapers, 130 in
cinemas, and 22 in billboards, with space for other media too. The yearbook, which has
been published uninterruptedly since 1975, also extends its kudos to the best
professionals in the areas of art, creation and writing.
To arrive at the final selection, the special jury went through a grueling effort that
included six full hours watching TV and cinema ads and three more listening to radio
commercials. They also had to leaf through some 4,000 printed pieces that appeared in the
press and on billboards.
In an interview with São Paulo daily Jornal da Tarde, Creation Club
vice-president Eugênio Mohallem, who is creation director and writer for Agência Almap,
talked about the importance of the effort: "The yearbook is the best historic report
to preserve the creation of Brazilian admen. It contains excellent pieces that would
disappear with the time in case there wasn’t a specific publication like this one."
Whoever expected radical changes in the Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s second four-year
term was bitterly disappointed. Maybe Cardoso once dreamed of a cabinet that would mirror
the social theories favoring the less privileged he concocted in the past. Faced with
reality, however, and increasingly pressured by his more practical (some would say
cynical) side, polyglot, sociologist, former theoretician for the left, President Cardoso
in forming his new cabinet seemed resigned to political arrangements that would guarantee
him the votes in the legislative mainly to secure a fiscal plan that would make possible
an International Monetary Fund loan.
He ended up acting more like a prime minister distributing posts as if taking bids from
the parties who offered or threatened him most. There were very few changes. Nineteen of
23 ministers from his first term of office were kept. The operational control of the
government was also kept under Clóvis Carvalho, the Palácio da Alvorada’s chief of
staff. Despite the creation of the Production Ministry renamed to Development, Industry
and Commerce and given to respected intellectual, Celso Lafer, there is no hint there will
be any change in the political or economic path.
Cardoso has threatened to fire those ministers whose parties do not align with the
government in Congress when there are crucial matter being voted. But he cannot hide the
fact that he had to swallow some frogs, as the expression goes in Brazil, to line up his
cabinet. Even before the carping started coming in from his critics, Cardoso conceded,
"In a complex society like the Brazilian, you cannot advance without a system of
alliances, which sometimes might even be contradictory."
Buried is the dream of a new economic model. Cardoso once planned to have his friend
and Communications Minister Sérgio Motta leading the newly-created Development, Industry
and Commerce Ministry. With the death of Motta in April of 1998, Luiz Carlos Mendonça de
Barros, the new Communications minister became the heir apparent to the post. But this was
before the November 1998 scandal in which Mendonça de Barros was caught in tape candidly
talking on the phone about his preferences on the Telebrás (the state-owned telephone
holding company) privatization auction.
As expected the PFL (Partido da Frente LiberalLiberal Front Party) got the lion’s
share with Antônio Carlos Magalhães, president of the Senate and the PFL leader being
able to keep his protégés Rodolfo Tourinho (Mines and Energy) and Waldeck Ornelas
(Social Security) in their posts. They are both from Bahia, homestate of Magalhães. The
Ministry of Sport and Tourism was created to admit PFL Representative Rafael Grecca from
Paraná. There was also the Magalhães’s hand behind senator Élcio Álvares choice for
the Defense Ministry and Zequinha Sarney (son of former President José Sarney) for the
The PMDB (Partido do Movimento Democrático BrasileiroBrazilian Democratic
Movement Party), the party with the most members in Congress, grumbled, even though they
got two important posts in the cabinet: the Justice Ministry for Renan Calheiros and the
Transportation Ministry for Eliseu Padilha. They were also able to get status of minister
for Regional Policies secretary Ovídio de Angelis.
Besides being assailed by political leaders trying to secure some turf for themselves,
Cardoso had also his hands tied by the IMF, which wouldn’t let him exonerate Finance
minister Pedro Malan and Central Bank president, Gustavo Franco, without a good fight.
The choice of ambassador Celso Lafer to oversee the Ministry of Development, Industry
and Commerce, was an attempt to please international and domestic investors and
businesspeople. He is expected to be a mild counterpoint to the Cardoso pragmatism.
According to former Finance minister and current House representative Antônio Delfim
Netto from São Paulo, Lafer "is well prepared, is connected with the Paulista
(from São Paulo) business sector, but he is not a belligerent man, he will offer no
resistance to the economic team."
The Pleased and
Despite all the fretting, most of the allies seemed to be happy with the final cabinet
composition. Senator José Sarney, one of those directly benefited by the parceling out of
power echoed the opinion of many of his colleagues: "This is a very good team. The
President assembled a political cabinet."
"We are satisfied with our share," said Geddel Vieira Lima, the Baiano (from
Bahia) leader of the PMDB in the House. Besides getting the Justice and Transportation
ministries, Lima’s party was also able to win the Regional Policies Department, which is
now responsible for Water Resources, a bureau that belonged before to the Environment
A PTB (Partido Trabalhista BrasileiroBrazilian Labor Party) threatened rebellion
never occurred, since the threat that Paulo Paivaa PTB choice would be removed
from the Planning Ministry never happened. Some criticism came from some members of the
President’s party, the PSDB, even though most seemed happy with their lot in the bargain.
"It was the feasible reform, but we are happy with it, anyway," said Aécio
Neves, the party’s leader in the House. Representative Alberto Goldman, from São Paulo,
disagreed, criticizing the selection of PSDB’s Pimenta da Veiga for the Communications
Department, seeing it as a victory for the PFL. Goldman would rather have Veiga in a more
prominent political post. He also didn’t like to see Francisco Dornelles from the PPB
(Partido Progressista BrasileiroBrazilian Progressive Party) as the minister of Work
and Employment, dismissing it with a, "The PPB resembles more finances than
The PT (Partido dos TrabalhadoresWorkers’s Party), the main opposition party,
seemed totally unimpressed with the new cabinet. "There was no change," said
José Dirceu, the party’s president, echoed by another PT heavyweight, the former Porto
Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul) mayor, Tarso Genro: "The cabinet accommodates
the government basis, now with an intellectual relish, Celso Lafer."
In Pernambuco some PFL politicians want to rebel against the government and their party
leadership. They cannot accept the fact that they lost the decades-old control over the
water resources sector. "The President knows that he needs to massage the ego of the
parliamentary basis, so they will approve the proposals he sends to Congress. He didn’t do
this giving irrigation to the PMDB and he will be sorry," threatened PFL
representative Osvaldo Coelho from Pernambuco.
Development, Industry and Commerce – Celso Lafer. The Brazilian ambassador to
the World Trade Organization is highly respected by the government economic team as well
as the Brazilian business community.
Agriculture – Francisco Turra (PPB)
Culture – Francisco Weffort. He continues in his post.
Finance – Pedro Malan. One of the most respected ministers from the first four
years, Malan was the first to have his post guaranteed for a second term.
Budget and Management – Paulo Paiva (PTB). Stayed heeding an appeal by Malan.
Foreign Relations – Luiz Felipe Lampreia
Education – Paulo Renato de Souza. Like Malan and Lampreia he’s been is his post
since the beginning of the Cardoso first term of office.
Health – José Serra. Cardoso’s personal friend, he was Planning minister at the
beginning of the Cardoso administration.
Science and Technology _ Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira (PSDB)
Mines and Energy – Rodolpho Tourinho (PFL). An Antônio Carlos Magalhães
protégé, he replaces Raimundo Brito.
Social Security – Waldeck Ornelas (PFL). He asked senator Antônio Carlos
Magalhães, his friend, to be maintained in the little popular post.
Labor and Employment – Francisco Dornelles (PPB). Former Industry and Commerce
minister, he would rather get the Communications post.
Environment – José Sarney Filho (PFL) The PV (Partido VerdeGreen Party)
rightfully wanted the post. It became his Christmas gift from his father, ex-president
José Sarney (PMDB).
Sports and Tourism _ Raphael Grecca (PFL). He wanted the Urban Development
ministry, which never left the drawing board
Defense – Élcio Álvares (PFL). The new ministry reunites formers military
ministries (Army, Navy and Air Force). Álvares failed to get reelected to the senate in
the October 1998 national elections.
Justice – Renan Calheiros (PMDB). He is maintained in the post from the previous
term of office despite some grumbling from other allied parties.
Transportation – Eliseu Padilha (PMDB). He also kept his post.
Agrarian Reform – Raul Jungmann. Being able to arrange a $800,000 foreign loan
helped him keep his job.
Civilian Staff – Clóvis Carvalho
Military Staff – General Alberto Cardoso
Communications – Pimenta da Veiga. Representing the PSDB from Minas Gerais.
Social Action (linked to the Social Security Ministry) _ Wanda Hengel was the
secretary of Social Development in the city of Rio
Administration and Patrimony (linked to the Budget and Management Ministry –
Regional Policies – Ovídio de Angelis (PMDB).
Foreign Commerce Chamber – José Botafogo Gonçalves
Institutional Relations – Eduardo Graeff
Government Communication – Andrea Matarazzo. He almost resigned before starting
the new job. The ex-president of CESP (Companhia Energética de São Paulo) and former
Energy secretary of São Paulo Governor, Mário Covas, will be in charge of the government
Human Rights (linked to the Justice Ministry) – José Gregori
Planning and Evaluation, in charge of IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e
EstatísticaBrazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics) – Edward Amadeo
Special Projects – Ronaldo Sardenberg. He was in charge of the extinct
Department of Strategic Affairs.
It was on Friday 13 of December 1968 that the military dictatorship that took over
Brazil from ’64 to `85 started its most somber period through the introduction of the
infamous Institutional Act No 5, better known as AI-5. It makes sense to call attention to
the date charged with superstition when it was recently revealed that it was on
superstition grounds that the ’64 military coup occurred on March 31.
While some officers thought that middle April would be a better timing, general Carlos
Luís Guedes made it clear he didn’t want any part of it, and presented a convincing
argument: "I never start anything serious when we have crescent moon." The
dreaded moon phase was to start on April 2. AI-5’s 30th anniversary has produced plenty of
reflections, specials and testimonials in the Brazilian media. The measure that closed
Congress and suspended all individual rights was signed by then President Marshall Arthur
da Costa e Silva and was in force until January 1, 1979.
During the AI-5 the dictatorship developed some of its most creative and cruel forms of
torture and the number of disappearedthose secretly killed by the
statemultiplied. Among the favorite methods of torture there were the coroa-de-Cristo
(Christ’s crown) and the pau-de-arara (macaw’s stick). Coroa-de-Cristo was
a metal hoop attached to the victim’s head that kept being pressed by a wicket until it
smashed the skull. A Brazilian invention, the pau-de-arara is a monument to the
national sadistic impulses. The technique still used nowadays around the country to
torture common prisoners consists of a metal bar placed over two wooden horses. The victim
is tied to the bar by the wrists or the kneecap. After being immobilized the prisoner used
to get hit over the kidney with a broom or receive electrical shocks. Other simpler
methods used consisted in introducing a broom stick in the prisoner’s anus or throwing
cold water on the victim keeping him or her awake for days or simply taking someone in a
car to a deserted area and threatening to kill him there.
In what is believed to be a first in Brazil, one of the torturers, former lieutenant
Marcelo Paixão de Araújo, came forward and gave a lengthy account to weekly magazine Veja
(circulation: 1.26 million) about his own participation in the state-sponsored torture
rites. The confession, which was the December 9 issue’s cover story, presents the portrait
of an unrepentant and cold man who doesn’t seem ashamed or even disturbed when telling in
details the barbaric methods of persuasion he used to obtain confessions by alleged
After revealing that he learned all he knew by watching his colleagues in action,
Araújo told the magazine:
"The first thing I used to do was to throw the guy in the middle of a room, take
off his clothes and start screaming so he would reveal the ponto (spot, meeting
place) and the activists in the group. This was the first stage. If he resisted there was
a second stage, which was, let’s put it this way, more whacks. One slapped his face.
Another applied a blow to his abdomen. A third, a sock to his kidney. All to see if he
would talk. If he didn’t, there were two routes. It depended a lot on who was applying the
torture. I really enjoyed using something to strike their hands. It’s very painful, but it
makes people talk."
Araújo also talked about some of his other favorite torture methods: the telephone (a
device used to apply electrical shocks), the drowning (the individual had his head
continually placed under water to the point of almost drowning), and the can dance.
"I used the can dance a lot. I took two little pea cans and opened them. After that I
would place the guy standing over them." It used to bleed?", the reporter asked.
"No, he would talk before that (belly laughs). Lighter people could stand
Why did he do what he did? "The index of utilization is over 90%." Why did he
participate as a torturer? "I thought there was the need to destroy the leftist
organizations in the country…. I always was viscerally anti-Marxist."
The year of 1968 showed an increase of action from the opposition and the truculent
reaction by the military. On March 28 the police in Rio killed student Édson Luís
provoking students street protest across the country. On June 26, Cariocas (from
Rio) took to the streets in what would be known as the Passeata dos Cem Mil (The March of
the 100,000). That same day a car bomb exploded outside the São Paulo’s Army headquarters
killing a private. On October 12, the police busted a clandestine meeting of UNE (União
Nacional dos EstudantesStudents National Association) in Ibiúna, in the interior of
São Paulo state, detaining 1,240 students. It was also in the same day in October that
leftist guerrillas killed Charles Chandler, a captain from the American Army.
The military seemed to be looking for a pretext to take the draconian measures they
took. On September 3, 1968, Rio representative Márcio Moreira Alves made a speech in
Congress accusing the Armed Forces of having become a "refuge of torturers". He
even suggested in jest that the wives of military men started a sex strike to show their
distaste with the regime. Enraged, President Costa e Silva demanded that Alves be tried by
the Supreme Court. On December 12, 1968, however, the House by 216 to 141 votes defeated
the government proposal and refused to strip the congressman from his parliamentary
"They will get their answer. Now they are going to see," said Costa e Silva.
The answer, the AI-5 came the next day. Among the measures adopted by the authoritarian
act were the temporary closure of Congress, power to annul political rights, intervention
in the states and some key cities, media censorship, and suspension of habeas corpus for
During the decade it was in force the AI-5 annulled the political rights of 1,607
citizens, including six senators, 110 House representatives (deputados federais),
161 state assemblymen (deputados estaduais) and 22 mayors. Around 500 movies, 500
songs, 450 plays and 200 books had cuts or were not allowed to be shown in the country
during the AI-5 era. The act was also responsible for an unknown number of kidnappings,
tortures, disappearances, and assassinations.
Since December 1st, foreigners or Brazilians arriving in Brazil by air, sea
or land will need to declare what they bring in their luggage. For those who come by plane
the limit of purchases exempt from taxes is $500. All others have a limit of only $150.
The new procedure, created to curb smuggling, is called DBA (Declaração de Bagagem
AcompanhadaDeclaration of Carried Luggage) and asks the traveler to describe what he
brings including prescription medicines. Weapons, plants and animals, as well as more than
$8,000 in cash. Books, periodicals and clothes for own use are exempt. The measure intends
to end a practice by the so-called sacoleiros (bag carriers), those travelers who
frequently go overseasmainly to Paraguay, Miami and New Yorkto buy electronic
and other products, which are then resold in Brazil
The need to pay taxes on goods that go over a limit is not new, but there was no form
to fill out before, and control was entirely random depending on a system of green and red
lights that would turn on when people passed the custom’s gate. The traveler would only be
stopped if the light turned out green. According to Peter Tofte, from the Federal Revenue
Service, the new procedure will also be helpful in containing excessive foreign purchases
by Brazilian tourist. He informed that Brazilian travelers in 1997 spent $5 billion,
"something incompatible with the country’s situation."
Foreigners and Brazilians living overseas for more than one year will need only to
declare the cash they carry. This is to avoid that foreigners bring big amounts of cash to
be laundered. They will also be able to enter with appliances, furniture, computers and
any tool necessary for their work. There will be taxes and fines up to 50% of the value of
the merchandise when the Customs Bureau catches somebody cheating. Most people however,
will be taken on their word.
As for pets they will need to have vaccination certificates from the countries they are
coming from. Other animals as well as plants and seeds might need special authorization
from the Agriculture Ministry to get into the country.
Travel agents are worried that the new bureaucratic measures will cause
up-to-five-hour-long delays to travelers during holidays and other busy periods. "We
are afraid that during the high season, when several flights arrive almost at the same
time, each one with 270 passengers in average, people will spend around five hours to pass
through all the bureaucracy," told daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo,
Goiaci Alves Guimarães, president of ABAV (Associação Brasileira dos Agentes de
ViagensBrazilian Association of Travel Agents). And added: "It’s going to be
The latest NBC heartthrob is Bruno Campos, 25, a Carioca (from Rio) who was
discovered by Hollywood as the character who runs away with the wife of his best friend in
Brazilian director Fábio Barreto’s movie O Quatrilho, which in 1996 was an Oscar
contender for best foreign movie. That same year the blue-eyed actor came to Los Angeles
on a tourist visa and was lucky enough to sign a contract with Warner Brothers before his
time was up. Later he joined NBC where he appeared as guest star is such series as Cybill,
Chicago Sons, and Suddenly Susan, playing a Cuban gay character.
Campos, who as the son of a Banco do Brasil banker spent his childhood and teen years
in some 20 countries, including Canada and the U.S, is the leading man in the just-started
show Jesse. He plays Diego, the Chilean love interest of the character that
gives name to the series, the single mother interpreted by Married….with Children star
Christina Applegate. Campos has recently also made People’s magazine list as one of
the sexiest foreign actors working in the U.S..
High cost of living, growing unemployment, and stress seem to be taking a heavy toll on
Brazilian executive men’s libido. The result is more than just a little annoyance.
According to sex experts, Brazilians are getting their penises reduced up to 2 centimeters
(three quarters of an inch). The phenomenon was denounced by Paulista (from São Paulo)
urologist Roberto Tullii.
"The average size of a penis in flaccid state, which was seven cm. is now five
cm," told Tullii to Rio’s daily newspaper O Dia. According to Tullii, there
was last year a 32% increase in the number of penis retraction cases, a problem that can
lead to a reduction of sexual desire and even impotency. The doctor also noticed that
these cases are happening earlier in life. While in 1986 the average age for penis
retraction among his clients was 47, it has fallen to 30 nowadays.
The urologist doesn’t propose surgery to solve the problem, but the daily use on the
sexual organ of prostaglandin gel, the same hormone used in the treatment of impotency. To
other experts, the relations between men and women, which turned sex from a pleasurable
activity into a power game, is at the root of the problem. According to this view, women
should stop testing men in bed and men should get back their self-esteem.
A Jewel for
With the release of two new versions of the Santos jewel-watch the Paris-based Maison
Cartier has once again reignited two historic controversies: of who invented the airplane
and who created the wristwatch. The Santos is an homage to Alberto Santos Dumont, the man
who in Brazil, France, and many other countries in the world is considered the inventor of
the airplane. In 1898 in Paris he became the first man to fly a gas-powered airship.
Americans naturally believe that the Wright brothers, who flew in their machine in 1903,
are the real inventors of the airplane,
The Cartier piece, whose first version appeared in 1911, was originally presented to
the public during a big bash on the same day Santos Dumont in 1906 took off from the
Bagatelle field in Paris in his 14-Bis flying machine. Dumont was a good friend and much
admired by the Cartier clan. The Brazilian inventor, annoyed with the big pocket watches
of the time, which were hard to use during flight, is credited with having also invented
the wristwatch with friend Louis Cartier in 1904. This is however disputed by the Swiss
who say that they invented the wristwatch as early as 1790.
Adding a notch to the Brazilian musical scene steam MTV Brazil has been
exhibiting a video-clip glorifying oral sex. President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky
are some of the characters portrayed in the 4m14s film made to divulge "Boquete"
(Giving Head), a song from Carioca (from Rio) Ivo Meirelles and his Funk’n’Lata
By the way, if it weren’t for Clinton, the song would probably still be in Meirelles’s
drawer gathering dust. The song was made two years ago, but the composer didn’t think the
song would get any airtime due to its risqué lyrics. Then the White House scandal broke
out and oral sex became a subject discussed even in kindergartens.
It’s not the Clinton-Lewinsky duet, though, that’s getting most of the attention,
provoking controversy and enraging the Catholic Church. In the clip there is a
priestMeirelles himselfwho is all smiles and is shown with a very pretty
little devil working under his frock while the lyrics explain what’s going on:
Padre encontra o lenitivo
E a felicidade se repete
Todo dia num boquete
Priest finds lenitive
And happiness repeats itself
Everyday in a cocksucking
In another scene, Meirelles gives oral relief to a plastic doll in a Volkswagen bug.
"This veiled censorship I’ve been facing is a portrait of Brazil’s hypocrisy,"
says the musician. "False morality has to go. The whole world performs oral sex, but
you cannot talk about it. I’ve known priests who were gays, others who were
perverts," he adds.
Prá quem tem inglês fluente
Boquete! Boquete! Boquete! Boquete!
For those who have fluent English
Head! Head! Head! Head!