The Democratic presidential candidate senator Barack Obama won his 11th consecutive victory in a primary since Super Tuesday with a little help from Americans living in Brazil. Obama won the Global primary elections organized by the Democrats abroad group with 65% of the votes, while his opponent, senator Hillary Clinton got 32%.
In Brazil, where voters used the Internet to cast their ballots, only 46 people took the trouble to vote. The result: 32 votes for Obama, which got 69.6% of the nods while Clinton received the remaining 14, or 30.4% of the total.
The more than 20,000 American Democrats who live abroad were able to vote by the Internet and mail in 164 countries, between February 5 and 12. Another 30 countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Japan and Russia had also electoral precincts.
During Super Tuesday, on February 5, Framingham, in Massachusetts, the most Brazilian town in the United States, gave 60% of its votes to senator Clinton. It's believed that one third of Framingham's residents are Brazilians or second generation Brazilians. Barack won only 38% of the votes in the city.Â
It's believed, however, that the vast majority of the Brazilian population in Framingham is illegal and ended up not voting. Those on the known estimate that a mere 15% of the Brazilian in that town have proper documentation as immigrant. Not more than half of these are American citizens with right to vote.
Most of them, however, legal or illegal, according to community leaders, were rooting for the former first lady. Talking to Brazilian reporters, the owner of the Brasil Bakery, Elias Fernandes, who is very popular among Brazilians, confirmed Mrs Clinton's favoritism:
"The vast majority of Brazilians wishes for Hillary to be chosen. They all know that if she is the winner Bill Clinton will be the real president."
For the Brazilian consul in Boston (Framingham is just 20 miles west of Boston), Mário Ernane Saade, former president Clinton has a good reputation among Brazilians in the US: "Actually, the Brazilian community and Latinos in general have a very favorable image of the Bill Clinton administration."
According to him, this image was helped by the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act also known as Life Act or Law 245-I, which helped immigrants in 2001. And he adds: "The selection of the next American president is going to directly influence the immigrants' life. This makes the community highly interested in the subject."
There are about 300 evangelical churches frequented by Brazilians in the state of Massachusetts. The pastors of these churches pushed Republican Mike Huckabee's candidacy.
The Brazilian community has sponsored several "house parties," small family dinners in which guests make a contribution in cash, which is then donated to their candidate's campaign.
The 2000 US Census counted 3,453 Brazilians in Framingham, population 65,000. Immigrant groups and the local City Hall, however, estimate that the Brazilian community in town is at least 18,000 strong.
Great number of them work in civil construction as helpers, painters and carpenters. Another large contingent makes a living as gardeners, cleaners and waiters.
Why has Framingham become a magnet for Brazilian immigrants? The most likely version is that a town company opened a branch in Governador Valadares, in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, to explore strategic minerals during the Second World War. When the war ended the company brought some Brazilians to work in Framingham. These pioneers then started bringing family and friends from Brazil.