President Donald Trump has become one of the new stars of Brazil’s Carnaval, with masks of his face on sale in the costume stores in São Paulo and appearing everywhere at the street fetes preceding the “world’s biggest party,” which starts this weekend.
Trump masks are one of the new – and very popular – attractions along March 25 Street in downtown Sao Paulo, full of costume stores and where each day hundreds, flock to purchase items for their Carnaval outfits.
With his blond hair and his orange-tinted face, a Trump mask is prominently featured in the display window of an enormous store selling all sorts of costumes, alongside those of other important politicians like his predecessor, Barack Obama, and former Brazilian President Lula da Silva.
“We’ve already done other presidents like (Bill) Clinton, Barack Obama and now we’re also including Trump because he’s one of the most controversial,” said the owner of the Festas e Fantasias store, Pierre Sfeir, a Lebanese resident.
There are also masks of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro and other even more controversial figures like former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but the one Brazilians seem to prefer this year is that of the 45th US president.
The store ordered a mold of Trump’s face to be made in the US and using it produced about 20,000 masks of the president, which have also been selling like hotcakes at other festivals, like Halloween.
Sfeir said that it’s more economical to make the rubberized masks in his Sao Paulo store than to import them from other countries like China due to customs duties. The plastic masks are being sold in Brazil for about 7 reais (about US$2.30).
Some Brazilians used their creativity and wrote on their costumes some of the more controversial proposals of the US President, including the plan to build a wall separating Mexico and the United States.
On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, a group of young people, wearing Mexican hats, came out on the streets holding a screen with bricks, while one of them, well-dressed and with a yellow wig, imitated the American leader.
In Olinda, in Brazil’s Northeast, Trump will be on the streets of the city during Carnaval in the shape of a giant doll, alongside other politicians and familiar faces from the Carwash corruption scandal, such as the young prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol.
About 77 million condoms will be distributed throughout Brazil during Carnaval as part of a campaign to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, official sources said.
The distribution will be done by health authorities during the five days that festivities will last. Even though Brazilians have already been celebrating for weeks, Carnaval officially begins on Friday.
“We make an appeal especially to young people so that they wear a condom. There is a very large increase of HIV infection among young people, particularly between the ages 15 to 24”, said Minister Ricardo Barros.
According to several studies, Brazil recorded in recent years a decline in regular use of condoms among young people during casual sex, which went from 58.4% in 2004 to 56.6% in 2013.