Love in Rio: The Best of Brazil !

Enjoy what we have for many years. The best of Brazil: Wine, Women, Dance, and more. Write Busta Back and let us know your thoughts: bmcharlotte@yahoo.com. Visit bustaback.com for the views from "Behind" Brazil !

Thursday, October 27, 2005

ll I Need to Feel at Home in Brazil Is a Face Overhaul Print E-mail
Wednesday, 19 October 2005

MakeupHere in Brazil, I see so many natural looking, attractive, fit people. So, I guess that I shouldn't be surprised to read that there are twice as many plastic surgery operations than five years ago. One of Carnaval's nicknames is "Silicone Carnaval" because so many people get chest and or derrière implants for the occasion, (which has even led to silicone shortages!).

Miss Brazil 2001 supposedly had 23 cosmetic treatments before her 22nd birthday, beating Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers, and Cat Lady.

Driving back from a social event, my fellow, ex-pat friend, Wendy, exclaimed, "Golly! Does everyone get plastic surgery once they move to Brazil? Am I going to be expected to get surgery too, along with doing my weekly manicure, pedicure, facial, and waxings?"

"Well, I haven't anything done (yet). And, it wouldn't surprise me if I'm not alone." (I didn't have the heart to tell Wendy about my plastic surgeon consultation scheduled for later that afternoon).

"Well," Wendy replied, "Out of the thirty some, middle aged women that I met at the art show this morning, I tallied seven tummy tucks, sixteen implants, ten nose jobs, and three face lifts - not to their mention chemical peels, dyed hair, botox, and acrylic nails. And, I'm sure those were just the ladies who were open about their work done or whose bandages were showing."

"Where do these women think they are, LA or Hollywood?" Wendy ranted, disgustedly. "I had a friend who got silicone boobs and got breast cancer, another one got fat and divorced after her liposuction, and another one got old and croaked anyway. I'm not going to let that happen to me!"

To my own surprise, after moving to Brazil, I've considered plastic surgery. First of all, I can never resist a bargain. Plastic surgery here is like a going-out-of-business sale, compared to US prices. Once you have surgery, it's done, except for the bruises, hospital stay, bill, and having to reintroduce yourself to people who knew the "before" you, like an identical twin. Lastly, the medical care in Brazil is superb!

During my consultation with Doctor Faca, he recommended a major overhaul for my face. My non-beauty pageant beak, cheekbones, and chin would require a major fashion overhaul. He included the skin damage from the tanning salon, the scar under my lip from blowing out a flaming marshmallow, and the scar over my left eyebrow that I got from accidentally hitting myself with a hammer. There would also be aging wrinkles to snip, nip, and tuck. He would assess below my neck during another visit.

I started to worry. What if Dr. Faca pulled too much skin back on my face, making me look terminally surprised, and requiring me to dine through a straw? What if he slipped with the scalpel, and snipped off my Cindy Crawford burnt sienna, fuzzy mole that my botanist aunt admires so much?

Would I loose my physical identity that took me all of these years to acquire? Well, I guess if that were to happen I could express my physical uniqueness in other ways. Then, I could always opt for tattoos, body piercings, and perhaps, even be a little less careful with our power tools.

This article was written in a humorous vein and should not be taken seriously.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Slavery in BrazilDependency and Development in Latin America, the book many consider to be Fernando Henrique Cardoso's most important academic legacy, was first circulated in mimeographed form in 1967.

It was then published in Spanish two years later as Dependencia y Desarrollo en America Latina (1969), and is as much a reflection on the times it was written as it is the quintessential statement on dependency theory.

The 1979 English revision came after it had been published repeatedly in Spanish, Italian, German, and French.

"Só é possível entender o que eu disse sobre dependência se você remontar a análise da escravidão, o que ninguém faz. Pouca gente lê."(2)

Here, Cardoso states that it is only possible to understand what he said about dependency by resurrecting his analysis of slavery, which few people ever do or care to read.

Co-authored with Enzo Faletto, Dependency and Development in Latin America is listed 41st on the International Sociological Association's ranking of the 100 most important books of the 20th century; yet is clearly out of date considering the political and technological changes that have taken place over the past 25 years.(3)

The end of the Cold War, technological advance, globalization, terrorism and security have profoundly altered the course Latin American development has taken since Dependency and Development in Latin America was written.

Still, the historical roots of Latin American economic development remain, and in the case of Brazil these roots are inexorably linked to slavery.

Destroying the Myth of the Brazilian Melting Pot

Cardoso states that for him it was the Negro question which connected empirical studies to national issues.(1)

As Cardoso recalls, Florestan Fernandes and Roger Bastide sought to demonstrate that UNESCO was wrong in its assumption that Brazil was a melting pot society without racial problems, and that the Negro was not, in fact, equal in Brazil.

As a student, Cardoso studied some aspects of this problem jointly with an anthropology student who later became his wife. Together, with Bastide and Florestan, they interviewed Negroes at the University and visited them in the favelas of São Paulo, where what Cardoso saw of poverty and prejudice had a radicalizing effect on him.(1)

This effect is easily understandable if one considers that the social distance between the poverty-stricken world that exists upon crossing the threshold into a Brazilian favela and the middle and upper class worlds they surround is more extreme than most North Americans could ever begin to imagine.

According to Cardoso, Florestan emphasized the historical perspective, so they read old newspapers and anything Negros had written about former times. They took many notes, developed systematic files, and tried to be very empirical in their approach.(1)

The Roots of Cardoso's Methodology

Cardoso, however, soon began to refocus his perspective on the Negro from interpersonal relations to the historical-structural framework particular to the Negro's position in Brazilian society.

For this reason, Brazil's colonial and imperial past had to be considered because it is the context in which slavery and abolition took place.

Cardoso describes the economic system in colonial Brazil as a plantation system based on slavery, but integrated into the expansion of mercantile capitalism, within a competitive international framework.(2)


In Capitalismo e Escravidão no Brasil Meridional, Cardoso (1962) emphasizes that slavery and abolition in Brazil need to be understood in reference to the broader expansion of global capitalism.(5)

Portuguese Navigation

With regard to the beginnings of this expansion for Brazil, Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral was in search of a trade route to India when he accidentally landed on Brazil's coast in the year 1500.

Cabral's landing in Porto Seguro marked the beginning of the Portuguese colonization of Brazil and enslavement of its indigenous populations.

The enslavement of indigenous people was attempted since a reliable source of labor was needed to obtain Portuguese commercial objectives.

It became apparent, however, due to the Indians' periodic rebelliousness, susceptibility to European disease and complete incomprehension as to what the notion of productivity was - combined with a corresponding aversion to hard labor - that Negro slaves imported from West Africa were much more valuable.

"Hell on Earth"

Tobacco was the main product exchanged for African slave cargoes. Plantation life was comparable to hell, wrote a Jesuit Father trying to convert African and Indian slaves to Christianity in 1627, but it was from land worked by slaves that the economy and society of Brazil unfolded.(4)

Slave desertions among Indians were regular since they were relatively familiar with the territory and able to communicate amongst themselves about how best to flee.

Negro slaves, on the other hand, frequently came from diverse regions of Africa and were of many different ethnicities.

As a result, many African slaves were unable to communicate with each other, let alone the Indians or Portuguese they encountered in Africa or Brazil. African slaves were completely ignorant as to how to survive in the countryside or jungles of Brazil.

They had neither a historical, linguistic, nor genealogical basis on which to unite, so their potential for collective rebellion was all but nonexistent.

For better or worse, Negroes adapted to the brutal system of forced labor over time. Unlike Brazilian Indians, Africans had been uprooted, arbitrarily separated and brought in successive waves to an alien land.

Thus, the plight of the African slave was in many ways even more hopeless than that of the Brazilian Indian, which was at best doomed.

Development, Portuguese Style

The notion of development is contradictory during Brazil's colonial period (1500-1822) because, as in Spanish America, the Portuguese crown neither encouraged nor permitted the growth of industry.(4)

The economic activity that did take place was based entirely on extractive wealth from the land.(4) This wealth was appropriated by the crown in large measure and deposited into the Portuguese royal treasury in Lisbon.

As a sociologist, Cardoso highlights the significance of slavery in his research because it illustrates how the Negro's present day position in Brazilian society is a reflection of their heritage, and how this heritage of slavery must be considered when one discusses dependency and development in Latin America.

An external event set into motion a process which would lead first to Brazilian independence and finally to the abolition of slavery by the end of the 19th century.

As we shall see next, this process would have a profound effect on not only Cardoso and his analysis of dependency and development in Latin America, but on the entire course of Brazilian history.

(1) Freire, V.T. 1996. "Para lembrar o que ele escreveu: FHC explica a formação de suas idéias sobre a história brasileira e por que elas não mudaram" (Remembering what he wrote: FHC explains the formation of his ideas about Brazilian history and why they haven't changed). Folha de S. Paulo, October 13, 1996.

(2) Kahl, J.A. 1976. Three Latin American Sociologists: Gino Germani, Pablo Gonzales Casanova, Fernando Henrique Cardoso. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, Inc.

(3) International Sociological Association. 1998. "Books of the Century." ISA XIV World Congress of Sociology (Montréal, 26 July-1 August 1, 1998). Referenced May 20, 2005 (http://www.ucm.es/info/isa/books/vt/bkv_000.htm).

(4) Levine, Robert. 1999. The History of Brazil. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

(5) Cardoso, Fernando Henrique. 1962. Capitalismo e Escravidão no Brasil Meridional (Capitalism and Slavery in Southern Brazil). São Paulo: Difusão Européia do Livro.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Brazilians in America: 1.3 Million and Growing Fast Print E-mail
Written by Émerson Luiz
Sunday, 29 May 2005

Brazilians in Boston, MassachusettsNew data released by the Brazilian government put the number of Brazilians living overseas at between 2.3 and 3 Million. Half of these emigrants have chosen the United States as their temporary or more often as their permanent new land.

Formally, Brazil has 1.8 million emigrants. But this number includes only those Brazilians who took the pain to tell the Brazilian consulates of the countries they moved to about their new address.

Brazilian government's estimates use data from foreign countries and consular services such as power of attorney, certificates and affidavits rendered to Brazilians overseas.

The official estimate is that the Brazilian community in American soil has reached 1.3 million, including legal and illegal emigrants. After the USA, the main concentrations of Brazilians are in Paraguay, Japan and Portugal.

This information was presented May 12 by Manoel Gomes Pereira, the director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Brazilian Communities Abroad, during a briefing of the Senate's Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee. The senators were discussing Brazilian emigration.

From 1996 to 2003, there was an average of 16 thousand new Brazilians entering the United States every year. That means 44 new Brazilians every day, including weekends and holidays. By 1996 the U.S. had less than 600 thousand Brazilians. Seven years later, this number had jumped to 720 thousand.

Illegal Brazilian immigrants have been frequently in the news in recent months due to the record number of those detained by the U.S. immigration police while trying to cross the Mexican border.

While 80% of all those arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol are Mexicans, the number of Brazilians is rising fast. Brazilians are already number 4, after Mexicans, Hondurans and Salvadorans.

Numbers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington D.C., show a considerable growth in the number of illegal Brazilians arrested along Mexico's board. Those detained grew from 3,105 for the whole year of 2001 to 17,445 for just the first four months of 2005.

This sudden jump is worrying authorities in the U.S. and Brazil. So much so that the U.S. Customs and officials from the Brazilian government have joined forces to study the matter.

According to Pereira, Brazil's Foreign Ministry official, the economic crises starting at the beginning of the 1980s were the main reason for Brazilians' exodus.

In spite of revealing underestimated numbers, the 2000 U.S. Census had already shown a jump in the number of Brazilians living in the United States.

According to the American Census, in 1980, there were 47,965 Brazilians in US territory. This number had risen to 247,020, 20 years later.

Dreaming of America

Brazilian sociologist Ana Cristina Braga Martes, of São Paulo's Getúlio Vargas Foundation, has been studying Brazilians' emigration to the United States for more than ten years.

In 1994 she went to Boston for her first research on the subject that would be her thesis. She repeated the same study seven years later and now intends to interview those Brazilians who after living in the US decided to go back to Brazil.

Martes was just interviewed by weekly magazine Isto É (cover date: June 1st, 2005)about her work and drew a profile of the typical Brazilian who emigrates to the United States:

"In 1994, when I arrived in Boston to do my first research, there was a myth that the Brazilian immigrant was man, young, alone and from the city of Governador Valadares, in the state of Minas Gerais. It is possible that at the beginning the profile was like that. But the research showed another scenario: men and women, single and married in the same proportion.

"The majority, 90%, were between 21 and 45 years old. Regarding the origin in Brazil, 47% came from the state of Minas Gerais, 15% from Rio, 12% from São Paulo, 10% from Espírito Santo and 8% from other states. It is a national phenomenon, not limited to Minas.

"The educational profile is the following: people who did not manage to finish college. They entered college, they did not finish it though or they graduated from a school that is not valued by the labor market. Those who do not have much expectations here in Brazil end up going away.

"They are people with a reasonable level of information and with much determination, willing to take risks. Imagine a person who can't say a word in English and who decides to live in the U.S! He all but becomes a child again, he can't speak, can't read, can't make himself understood in the street. You need to have lots of courage."

And what are Brazilians doing in America? "They do not work under a contract, don't have formal benefits, and are poorly paid. They have jobs that the native population mostly does not value. They work as waiter assistants, pizza deliverers, shoeshiners,
maids, in the civil construction. Some enter a life of prostitution."

The sociologist revealed that she made a disturbing discovery: even Brazilians who are illegally in the U.S., without documents, feel that their rights as a citizen are more respected in the U.S. than in Brazil. Her conclusion: because of this more and more Brazilian are willing to try everything to realize their American dream.

Comments

Brazilians in America: 1.3 Million and Growing Fast Print E-mail


Brazilians in Boston, MassachusettsNew data released by the Brazilian government put the number of Brazilians living overseas at between 2.3 and 3 Million. Half of these emigrants have chosen the United States as their temporary or more often as their permanent new land.

Formally, Brazil has 1.8 million emigrants. But this number includes only those Brazilians who took the pain to tell the Brazilian consulates of the countries they moved to about their new address.

Brazilian government's estimates use data from foreign countries and consular services such as power of attorney, certificates and affidavits rendered to Brazilians overseas.

The official estimate is that the Brazilian community in American soil has reached 1.3 million, including legal and illegal emigrants. After the USA, the main concentrations of Brazilians are in Paraguay, Japan and Portugal.

This information was presented May 12 by Manoel Gomes Pereira, the director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Brazilian Communities Abroad, during a briefing of the Senate's Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee. The senators were discussing Brazilian emigration.

From 1996 to 2003, there was an average of 16 thousand new Brazilians entering the United States every year. That means 44 new Brazilians every day, including weekends and holidays. By 1996 the U.S. had less than 600 thousand Brazilians. Seven years later, this number had jumped to 720 thousand.

Illegal Brazilian immigrants have been frequently in the news in recent months due to the record number of those detained by the U.S. immigration police while trying to cross the Mexican border.

While 80% of all those arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol are Mexicans, the number of Brazilians is rising fast. Brazilians are already number 4, after Mexicans, Hondurans and Salvadorans.

Numbers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington D.C., show a considerable growth in the number of illegal Brazilians arrested along Mexico's board. Those detained grew from 3,105 for the whole year of 2001 to 17,445 for just the first four months of 2005.

This sudden jump is worrying authorities in the U.S. and Brazil. So much so that the U.S. Customs and officials from the Brazilian government have joined forces to study the matter.

According to Pereira, Brazil's Foreign Ministry official, the economic crises starting at the beginning of the 1980s were the main reason for Brazilians' exodus.

In spite of revealing underestimated numbers, the 2000 U.S. Census had already shown a jump in the number of Brazilians living in the United States.

According to the American Census, in 1980, there were 47,965 Brazilians in US territory. This number had risen to 247,020, 20 years later.

Dreaming of America

Brazilian sociologist Ana Cristina Braga Martes, of São Paulo's Getúlio Vargas Foundation, has been studying Brazilians' emigration to the United States for more than ten years.

In 1994 she went to Boston for her first research on the subject that would be her thesis. She repeated the same study seven years later and now intends to interview those Brazilians who after living in the US decided to go back to Brazil.

Martes was just interviewed by weekly magazine Isto É (cover date: June 1st, 2005)about her work and drew a profile of the typical Brazilian who emigrates to the United States:

"In 1994, when I arrived in Boston to do my first research, there was a myth that the Brazilian immigrant was man, young, alone and from the city of Governador Valadares, in the state of Minas Gerais. It is possible that at the beginning the profile was like that. But the research showed another scenario: men and women, single and married in the same proportion.

"The majority, 90%, were between 21 and 45 years old. Regarding the origin in Brazil, 47% came from the state of Minas Gerais, 15% from Rio, 12% from São Paulo, 10% from Espírito Santo and 8% from other states. It is a national phenomenon, not limited to Minas.

"The educational profile is the following: people who did not manage to finish college. They entered college, they did not finish it though or they graduated from a school that is not valued by the labor market. Those who do not have much expectations here in Brazil end up going away.

"They are people with a reasonable level of information and with much determination, willing to take risks. Imagine a person who can't say a word in English and who decides to live in the U.S! He all but becomes a child again, he can't speak, can't read, can't make himself understood in the street. You need to have lots of courage."

And what are Brazilians doing in America? "They do not work under a contract, don't have formal benefits, and are poorly paid. They have jobs that the native population mostly does not value. They work as waiter assistants, pizza deliverers, shoeshiners,
maids, in the civil construction. Some enter a life of prostitution."

The sociologist revealed that she made a disturbing discovery: even Brazilians who are illegally in the U.S., without documents, feel that their rights as a citizen are more respected in the U.S. than in Brazil. Her conclusion: because of this more and more Brazilian are willing to try everything to realize their American dream.

Comments

Brazilians in America: 1.3 Million and Growing Fast Print E-mail

Sunday, 29 May 2005

New data released by the Brazilian government put the number of Brazilians living overseas at between 2.3 and 3 Million. Half of these emigrants have chosen the United States as their temporary or more often as their permanent new land.

Formally, Brazil has 1.8 million emigrants. But this number includes only those Brazilians who took the pain to tell the Brazilian consulates of the countries they moved to about their new address.

Brazilian government's estimates use data from foreign countries and consular services such as power of attorney, certificates and affidavits rendered to Brazilians overseas.

The official estimate is that the Brazilian community in American soil has reached 1.3 million, including legal and illegal emigrants. After the USA, the main concentrations of Brazilians are in Paraguay, Japan and Portugal.

This information was presented May 12 by Manoel Gomes Pereira, the director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Brazilian Communities Abroad, during a briefing of the Senate's Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee. The senators were discussing Brazilian emigration.

From 1996 to 2003, there was an average of 16 thousand new Brazilians entering the United States every year. That means 44 new Brazilians every day, including weekends and holidays. By 1996 the U.S. had less than 600 thousand Brazilians. Seven years later, this number had jumped to 720 thousand.

Illegal Brazilian immigrants have been frequently in the news in recent months due to the record number of those detained by the U.S. immigration police while trying to cross the Mexican border.

While 80% of all those arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol are Mexicans, the number of Brazilians is rising fast. Brazilians are already number 4, after Mexicans, Hondurans and Salvadorans.

Numbers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington D.C., show a considerable growth in the number of illegal Brazilians arrested along Mexico's board. Those detained grew from 3,105 for the whole year of 2001 to 17,445 for just the first four months of 2005.

This sudden jump is worrying authorities in the U.S. and Brazil. So much so that the U.S. Customs and officials from the Brazilian government have joined forces to study the matter.

According to Pereira, Brazil's Foreign Ministry official, the economic crises starting at the beginning of the 1980s were the main reason for Brazilians' exodus.

In spite of revealing underestimated numbers, the 2000 U.S. Census had already shown a jump in the number of Brazilians living in the United States.

According to the American Census, in 1980, there were 47,965 Brazilians in US territory. This number had risen to 247,020, 20 years later.

Dreaming of America

Brazilian sociologist Ana Cristina Braga Martes, of São Paulo's Getúlio Vargas Foundation, has been studying Brazilians' emigration to the United States for more than ten years.

In 1994 she went to Boston for her first research on the subject that would be her thesis. She repeated the same study seven years later and now intends to interview those Brazilians who after living in the US decided to go back to Brazil.

Martes was just interviewed by weekly magazine Isto É (cover date: June 1st, 2005)about her work and drew a profile of the typical Brazilian who emigrates to the United States:

"In 1994, when I arrived in Boston to do my first research, there was a myth that the Brazilian immigrant was man, young, alone and from the city of Governador Valadares, in the state of Minas Gerais. It is possible that at the beginning the profile was like that. But the research showed another scenario: men and women, single and married in the same proportion.

"The majority, 90%, were between 21 and 45 years old. Regarding the origin in Brazil, 47% came from the state of Minas Gerais, 15% from Rio, 12% from São Paulo, 10% from Espírito Santo and 8% from other states. It is a national phenomenon, not limited to Minas.

"The educational profile is the following: people who did not manage to finish college. They entered college, they did not finish it though or they graduated from a school that is not valued by the labor market. Those who do not have much expectations here in Brazil end up going away.

"They are people with a reasonable level of information and with much determination, willing to take risks. Imagine a person who can't say a word in English and who decides to live in the U.S! He all but becomes a child again, he can't speak, can't read, can't make himself understood in the street. You need to have lots of courage."

And what are Brazilians doing in America? "They do not work under a contract, don't have formal benefits, and are poorly paid. They have jobs that the native population mostly does not value. They work as waiter assistants, pizza deliverers, shoeshiners,
maids, in the civil construction. Some enter a life of prostitution."

The sociologist revealed that she made a disturbing discovery: even Brazilians who are illegally in the U.S., without documents, feel that their rights as a citizen are more respected in the U.S. than in Brazil. Her conclusion: because of this more and more Brazilian are willing to try everything to realize their American dream.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Brazil: Sao Paulo Entertainment Guide

This week‘s entertainment guide is dedicated to Mother's Day. a few options for looking after your Mother on this special day (despite the overbearing commercialism). We feature a Spanish buffet in Brooklin, a restaurant which includes three floors of shopping for the ladies in Jardins, a night club that will transform you to the heady days of the 1980's, the latest movie release - an epic tackling the thorny issues of kings and queens, forbidden love and the forces of evil, starring Orlando Bloom and a exhibition where you can chill out in comfy couches listening to you favorite music.

GoyaAre you looking for somewhere to go for Mothers Day on Sunday 5 May, 2005? Goya restaurant, of Gran Meliá WTC in Brooklin with beautiful panoramic views of Sao Paulo is a place worth considering. To celebrate Mother's Day the restaurant is offering a traditional brunch. Goya draws its name for the painter Francisco Goya, however the menu is not only Spanish. Chef Francisco Frasson rotates new dishes each hour such as pastas, risottos and paella. There are other diverse dishes to choose from such as the North American t-bone steak and feijoada. The special Mothers Day brunch also includes shrimps, "paella Valencian" and seafood. For dessert how about waffles and genuine Canadian maple syrup? Brunch will be served from 12:30 to 5pm. Cost R$65,00. Address: Avenida das Nações Unidas, 12559 Gran Meliá WTC, Brooklin Novo. Phone: 3055-8000.



Clube Chocolate Another option for Mothers Day is Clube Chocolate, a contemporary French Restaurant, which serves brunch on the weekends. Divided over four levels, with sophisticated architecture, Clube Chocolate is more than just a restaurant. On the first three levels you can shop for lingerie, jewelry and clothes amongst coconut palms and a sandy beach, in the style of Rio De Janeiro. The restaurant is under the command of chef Paschal Jolly, as most of the clientele is chic female plates tend towards being on the light side. Lobster risotto and cheese ravioli are two of the more popular dishes. For dessert, there is a tremendous array of fruits, ice cream and Pavlov candy. The family can arrive between 10h and 17h. Cost: R$65. Address: Rua Oscar Freire, 913 Jardim Paulista. Phone: 3084-1500.



Trash 80‘sMothers who were children of the 80's that can still find the time and energy for a bit of dancing will be keen on Trash 80‘s. This club which has largely gained popularity via word of mouth is a Mecca for those wanting to re-live those crazy days of the 1980's. You can expect to hear some of the best and worse music of the era all designed to get you working the dance floor. Each night Trash presents a different theme with tributes to some of the 80s icons such as Brazilian Genghis Khan, Radio Taxi, Madonna and Massita & Uras. Some of the invited DJs include Leo Jaime, Zé Peter and Kid Vinyl. Thursday and Sunday cost R$15 and Friday and Saturday cost R$20. Address: Rua Álvaro de Carvalho, 40 Centro. Phone (11)3259-6586. Check the website: www.trash80s.com.br



Kingdom of HeavenKingdom of Heaven is an action/adventure starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons amongst others. A lowborn commoner finds himself thrust into a decades-long war. A stranger in a strange land, he serves a doomed king, falls in love with an exotic and forbidden queen, and rises to knighthood. Ultimately, he must protect the people of Jerusalem from the overwhelming forces while striving to keep a fragile peace. Opens in Brazil on 6 May, 2005l. Rated R for strong violence and epic warfare. Length 2hrs and 25 mins.



 Itaú Cultural After a long lunch you might consider visiting Itaú Cultural to chill out. Inaugurated in 2002 this exhibition centre promotes Brazilian culture, offering the public a diverse programme including theater, music, dance, debates and many other activities. One of the most popular features is Digital Point, which is a cybernet space that unites the comfort of lounge chairs and hi-tech. The space is the only one of its type in Brazil and is where people can enjoy a calm environment for surfing the Internet, watching TV and videos and listen to good music. The centre also shelters Herculano Pires Museum which includes exhibitions of currencies, medals and artifacts from King Pedro I. Visitors can also consult the Reference Library, which offers a wealth of information in a range of formats such as audio. Cost: free. Address: Avenida Paulista, 149, Bela Vista. Phone: (11) 2168-1777. www.itaucultural.org.br

Bianca Biaggi

Bianca BiaggiBorn: ?

Gender: Female
Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Pornstar

Level of fame: Niche
Executive summary: Reportedly infected Darren James with HIV

According to AVN, Bianca Biaggi is the Brazilian adult film performer who infected veteran pornstar Darren James during a non-condom shoot in Rio de Janeiro sometime around 10-Mar-2004. James subsequently returned to America and unwittingly infected at least three other actors.

Slept with: Darren James

Risk Factors: AIDS

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Voy Pictures' Film Debut, 'FAVELA RISING,' Wins Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award

                   NEW YORK, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary, who
directed and produced VOY Pictures' film debut FAVELA RISING, were honored
with the much-coveted "Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award" last night at the
Tribeca Film Festival.
The award was accompanied by a $25,000 check from American Express to
Zimbalist and Mochary. Judges of the category included Whoopi Goldberg, Diane
von Furstenberg, Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) and Mort Zuckerman.
More than 250 films were shown during the 13-day festival.
FAVELA RISING (http://www.favelarising.com) is the electrifying story of a
man and a movement, a city deeply divided and a vision for a community finally
united. Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends, the film
follows Anderson Sa, a former drug-trafficker who turns social revolutionary
in Rio de Janeiro's most feared slum, the favela Vigario Geral. Sa inspires
his fellow citizens with a new vision for a better life. AfroReggae, the
grassroots cultural movement founded by Sa and fellow favela resident Josi
Junior to connect and inspire people through music and dance, combines the
sounds of hip-hop, street rhythms and Afro-Brazilian themes. Through the
movement, Sa rallies his community to counteract the violent oppression
enforced by teenage drug armies and sustained by corrupt police.
Zimbalist and Mochary traveled back and forth to Brazil for more than two
years, living in the favela while they chronicled the rise of AfroReggae.
After earning the trust and friendship of the soulful and prophetic Sa, they
were permitted unprecedented access and shot astonishing footage of daily life
in the slums. Zimbalist and Mochary also taught favela children to use digital
video cameras so they would be confident and competent enough to document
their own lives. In fact, several remarkable sequences in the film were
captured by local favela youth. The resulting feature documentary is a
gripping story of man's ability to transcend violence, hunger and spiritual
poverty.
VOY Chairman and CEO Fernando Espuelas said, "We could not be more
thrilled for Jeff and Matt. The fact that this is VOY's first production and
theirs as well makes the honor even more meaningful. This is only the
beginning of our partnership with these talented filmmakers."
Espuelas continued, "This is a riveting film that I truly believe will
deeply impact audiences across the world. Jeff and Matt's vision of a society
brought together through the power of art and love is an inspiration in these
times of violence and uncertainty. VOY's mission to create entertainment that
showcases the power of optimism and self-empowerment makes FAVELA RISING the
perfect debut production for VOY Pictures."
Zimbalist said, "We are ecstatic about the award and want to thank
everyone at Tribeca for their amazing support. We are thrilled to be working
with VOY-a company whose mission is to motivate, inspire and educate." Added
Mochary, "We believe that with VOY, FAVELA RISING has the opportunity to have
an important and far-reaching impact. Tonight is just the beginning."
Espuelas said VOY plans several "special" screenings of FAVELA RISING in
the coming weeks and months in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. The exact
dates and locations will be announced soon.

VOY Pictures, the film and television division of VOY, is committed to the
production of Latin themed films that are evocative of the VOY message of
optimism and self-actualization. While VOY Pictures is primarily focused on
creating English-language films, the company also produces films that are
inspirational to global audiences regardless of language.

VOY, LLC (http://www.voygroup.com) is a media company focused on the Latin
market and on those consumers discovering Latin culture. Through a suite of
VOY-branded products and services including television and radio programming,
films, music and publishing, as well as a television network, the company
focuses on helping its consumers achieve their aspirations. VOY donates ten
percent of its profit to the VOY Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization
that awards college scholarships to Hispanic youth. VOY has offices in New
York, Los Angeles and Buenos Aires.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

San Francisco International Film Festival: Three Brazilian Films

The San Francisco International Film Festival kicked off its two-week run here tonight (Thur. 21 April) which will see 185 films shown from 49 countries. The Brazilian and Latin American film industries are strongly represented with three films from Brazil, nine from Argentina. Other Latin American entrants include Cuba (three films), Mexico and Peru (two each), and one film each from Ecuador and Guyana.

The Latin language line-up also includes Portuguese and Spanish language films from Angola and Spain.

The first of the three Brazilian films will come into the festival Sunday with a showing of the powerful Brazilian documentary NELSON FREIRE, a moving portrait of the Brazilian pianist virtuoso's life and art directed by João Moreira Salles. The film has been seen on Brazilian television.

Later in the run will see screening of ALMOST BROTHERS (Brazilian title, QUASE DOIS IRMÕES) directed by Lúcia Murat. And Fernando Roberto Moreira's UP AGAINST THEM ALL (Brazilian title, CONTRA TODOS).

The SFIFF, in its 48th Year, has a long history of featuring Latin American films. For most San Franciscans, this festival is their only opportunity to see such films. films from Brazil or Latin America are few and far between in the dark of American cinemas. But in recent years two Brazilian films have made it big in general release in the United States: Fernando Meirelles' CITY OF GOD and Walter Salles' MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, which was actually Brazilian and Mexican film artists using American money.

The Mexican cinema scored hits here recently with two films: THE CRIME OF PADRE AMARO and Y TU MAMA TAMBIÉN. Outside of that foursome, the ranks of Latin language films seen on U.S. are thin as 35mm film itself.

The situation has everything to do with business and little to do with quality, according to SFIFF Director of Programming Linda Blackaby. "Some of the most creative and inventive filmmaking going on in the world today in happening in Latin America. But European films have an easier time making it into the American market because the European industry is better setup. We see our job here as leveling the cultural playing field." The SFIFF does that by pushing Brazilian and Latin American films year after year.

Whatever difficulties Brazilian films have in capturing a place in the American entertainment marketplace, they are heavy world film festival players. Said Blackaby, "I see Brazilian films at festivals everywhere around the world. The Brazilian film industry is very visible. People pay attention. The Brazilians must be putting money into the drive into the commercial markets."

Besides having a keeping a keen eye on Latin American cinema, the SFIFF has an eye on innovation as well. Besides the main-line films playing at four locations in San Francisco, across-the-Bay Berkeley and in nearby Palo Alto, there are late night Midnight Madness screenings for the dedicated cinemaniacs featuring plenty of slashes and crashes.

For stay-at-home film buffs this year features a video--on-demand (VOD) service delivering festival films into San Francisco living rooms via the internet.

There is a "Sneak Peaks" series on three weekend mornings where those addicted to, in the words of festival literature, "the holiday grab bag, mystery record packs and blind dates," can take their chances on unannounced films allegedly about to go into general theatrical release.

Perhaps inadvertently, the SFIFF has something for the legions of homeless people who circulate after dark around Union Square, San Francisco's action-packed concrete park in the heart of the downtown area. There, from 8 P.M. to midnight, a 220 square ft. outdoor video screen shows festival film trailers and "special highlights," to anybody sober enough on the Square at that hour to focus on the screen through the haze of smouldering pot.

The serious prize-awarding comes at the end of the festival. The major two awards concentrate on recognizing emerging directorial talent from around the globe. The SKYY Prize (named for a locally brewed vodka--No samples appearing at the press hospitality room, however!) a debut international filmmaker. 11 films representing 14 countries--several co-production, obviously-- are competing. They include one Argentine and one Mexican film. No Brazilian films is eligible.

The International Federation of Film Critics Award (FIPRESCI)has its critical eyes cast toward emerging talent as well. The FIPRESCI goes to a first OR second feature. The panel of jurors includes Jornal do Brasil film critic, MARCELO JANOT.

The oldest of the awards at the SFIFF, with it since the beginning in l957, are the Golden Gate Awards which honor innovation in documentary, animation, shorts, experimental television and works by youth.

While none of the Brazilian films here will be in competition for the awards, a warm reception from the public and some good reviews in the local and national press could open the arms of American film distributors. It could happened in this town that calls itself the "City By The Bay" and could be a sister to Rio de Janeiro in topography and philosophy. Fans of Brazilian cinema here--homesick Brazilian "expats" and nostalgic American "repats" hope it will happen.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Hipocrisy of Brazil's Anti-Racism Fever Print E-mail


São Paulo Futebol Clube player GrafiteAt the worst times of repression during the military regime, in the 70s, "tudo bem" (all right) was greeting, salutation, slogan, comma, ellipsis. A one-size-fits-all expression, spontaneous answer of a cordial society to the moment's ordeal.

Now, in the other side of the Atlantic we finally discover the source of such benevolence - or resignation - when President Lula in his visit to Ghana was received by the "Tabom".

They are not a tribe, but our fellow citizens, descendant of the slaves who were enfranchised or liberated by the Abolition, who at the end of the 19th century returned to the fatherland.

As they only spoke Portuguese and were intrinsically happy despite having left a merciless prison, they used the 'tá-bom? (are you OK?) as "how do you do?" or "tá-bom" to express their conformity with life and the world.

One "tabom" here, another "tabom" there and the name caught: it turned into a group identification, a Brazilian contribution to the African civilization.

Our "cordial society" was not invented by Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, but by a friend, melancholic poet generally angry, Ribeiro Couto. The historian-philosopher ended up resigned not without before yelling to death the explanation that such cordiality was not personal behavior, but characteristic of a social relation that occurs afar from laws, codes, institutions.

From his brief contact with the Tabom, President Lula brought, besides the valuable and colorful manta, an undisguisable baggage of happiness. He felt like a king, he declared that politics is done in the "tête-à-tête," he hugged and was hugged, he considered himself a legitimate member of the Tabom nation and the highest exponent of the Tudo Bem community.

The so-called self-esteem produced in the laboratories of conceitedness is extraordinary, contagious. Thanks to it we are immune to defeatism, we disguise anguishes and hide indignations.

We distract ourselves with the blah-blah-blah of nepotism and forget that employing relatives without submitting them to a test is not only a functional aberration but also injustice, immorality and truculence.

Nepotism thwarts the principle of isonomy that should govern the rule of law, it represents embezzlement of public resources and can be seen as gang formation.

A few more speeches in an empty Congress and a few more headlines and we will be all persuaded that we definitively extirpated this kind of corruption from public life.

Built-in Offense

In another sleight-of-hand trick our equalitarian and libertarian sense of dignity was instantly satisfied by the arrest of Argentinean back Leandro Desábato, who offended the Brazilian striker Grafite (Graffito). And we do not realize that we abandon ourselves consciously to a xenophobe impulse as serious as the impulsive racist offense.

The Argentinean insulted and committed unbailable crime, contemplated in the Constitution, an inquiry was initiated. A fine or alternative punishment should be handed out, the athlete might be suspended for a few games and we even might get offended and offender together in a world campaign against racism in sports.

This arrest personally ordered by São Paulo state's Public Security Secretary and endorsed by a media thirsty for a lynching is a mockery in a country where people responsible for vile crimes walk free in the streets and judges are imprisoned as thieves and murderers.

President Lula acted correctly apologizing to the African peoples who were here enslaved and humiliated for four centuries. But in this great circus mounted ironically because of the Libertadores (Liberators) Cup, nobody thought about something so simple: as criminal as the Argentinean player was the person who rebaptized the player Edinaldo Batista Libânio, of the São Paulo team, as Grafite.

It is not an affectionate nickname, it is an offense embedded in the name, something perennial, indelible, a pejorative tattoo: synonymous with graffito, black mark, dirty stigma.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

White Lie: Poverty in Brazil Has No Color Print E-mail

Monday, 18 April 2005

Brazilian family living in a favela - shantytownA little more than a century after the abolition of black slavery in the Americas, economic and other forms of racial discrimination remain its dismal legacy. In Brazil , the black civil rights movement barely began to get underway in the 1990s.

Its delay is due to repression of anyone who rejected the carefully nurtured myth of the existence of racial justice. But with a long history of black resistance and with global solidarity, activists have broken the institutional barrier to achieving affirmative action measures and agencies in a matter of years.

Nongovernmental organizations are pointing the way toward better access for black constituents in health care, housing, crime protection, education, and career fields. As black equality proponents impact policy, their agenda strengthens the broader platform supporting social equity in the hemisphere, but they have a lot more work cut out for them.

March 21, 2005: It was just another day for Brazilian media. The local papers published their usual articles on crimes, corruption, human interest, and political rhetoric, all as if it were really news. An article mentioned that this was the Day for Elimination of All Forms of Segregation.

The lack of fanfare for the unique commemoration that was widely publicized when it was proclaimed exactly two years earlier demonstrated the gaping fissure separating present reality from the noble cause of the proclamation. Sparse coverage reflected under-representation of blacks in newsrooms.

The absence of speeches and marches belied officialdom's commitment to desegregation. Yet it was a landmark occasion when on that date in 2003, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva solemnly declared the creation of the Secretariat for Racial Equality.

That meant Brazil's Black African Movement had gained a place within the country's political administration for the first time ever. Its minister, Matilde Ribeiro, is militant, black, and feminist.

What's more, she is not the only activist in the secretariat; other members come from organizations, such as Geledes and Fala Preta!, that fight against prolonging historical racism and marginalization.

History of Oppression, Resistance

Slavery in Brazil, like in other parts of the Americas, was horrendous and brutal. As an act of resistance to forced labor and mistreatment, slaves who fled plantations and mines established liberated communities, known as quilombos.

"Afro-Brazilians have a strong tradition of political mobilization that dates back to colonial times, which has helped them develop their own identity and craft strategies to combat white oppression and discrimination," explains Raquel de Souza, an Afro-Brazilian researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, who is an activist affiliated with the Race and Democracy in the Americas project.

Blacks no longer had to flee from forced labor after Brazil legally ended race slavery in 1888, the last country in the Americas to do so. But society shunned them, and official policies subsidized European immigration to hinder their economic integration. These policies aimed at diluting the strength of the African and Afro-Brazilian majority.

Instead of paying newly freed blacks and stimulating their inclusion in the labor market, coffee plantation owners encouraged migrant workers from Europe to receive wages.

"Here blacks were the last workers employed in the labor market, which forced them to create ways to survive outside the system," says political scientist João Batista Pereira from the University of São Paulo. "That's the case of favelas (shantytowns) in Rio de Janeiro , for example."

Although black slaves formally regained their freedom over a century ago, their descendants have been condemned to the bottom of the wage hierarchy.

Most of the employed are domestic servants in the homes of Brazil's wealthy, middle class and even working class, or they suffer as poor farmers and manual laborers in the countryside.

The largest concentrations of blacks are in northeast and northern Brazil, the poorest area of the country and the very same one where colonial exploitation of slave labor was the most severe.

While many Brazilians attempt to disassociate racism from poverty, government statistics fail them. Almost one third of the population is living under the official poverty line, and blacks account for 70% of the poor, according to the federal research institute IPEA.

Work by economist Marcelo Paixão reveals that the Human Development Index for blacks is 20% lower than it is for whites.

"Poverty has a color in Brazil , and that is our color," says Wania Sant'Anna, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and ex-secretary of state in Rio de Janeiro.

Myth of Racial Democracy

Many factors help explain why the struggle for racial equality in Brazil has lagged behind other countries that also have multiracial populations and histories of slavery, such as the United States.

Historian Thomas Skidmore says belief in the "myth of racial democracy" held by whites also has been assimilated by African descendants in Brazil. The myth undercuts arguments that blame discrimination for inequality.

The first element in the belief is that class weighs heavier than race in determining one's life chances.

Second, believers think the nature of the patrimonial state and patron-client relationships are what vitiate attempts to mobilize for social parity.

Third, the absence of specific laws mandating segregation, such as the so-called Jim Crow laws enforced in the United States until the 1960s, has rendered the race problem more difficult to address.

The invisible rules subtly mitigate against solidarity for the cause of equal opportunities for blacks that otherwise would come from Brazilians of mixed race.

Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freire was at the forefront of developing the concept of racial democracy in the past century. Despite Brazil's racial inequities, rooted in vile slavery, Freire romanticized Brazil's colonial past and portrayed a harmonious coexistence between masters and slaves.

He depicted Brazil as a land of racial harmony in which different races and cultures fused through extensive miscegenation, allegedly eliminating racial tensions and prejudice over time.

When white elites adopted this ideology back in the 1930s, Brazil was neither democratic nor a racial utopia. But by embracing the myth that no racial problem existed, elites could avoid the potentially explosive issue of de facto apartheid.

Another reason why racial issues barely have been addressed is that authoritarian regimes have repressed civil society. Getúlio Vargas, the strongman of Brazil from 1930 to 1945, outlawed black associations as well as other groups concerned with ethnic and immigrant status.

Discourse about the rights of Afro-Brazilians or development of black newspapers was not possible because "everybody was a son of the state," according to Vargas' fascist-influenced ideology. A surge of black militancy occurred after Vargas' death, only to be crushed by the dictatorship that came to power in a 1964 coup.

The kind of civil rights mobilization seen in the United States was not possible in Brazil due to the greater degree of repression faced by all groups demanding racial justice. Because of their skin color, militants for black rights often suffered more at the hands of the military's secret police than white, middle-class communists.

Only with organization of civil society during the democratic opening of the 1980s did the subject of racial equality begin to be addressed in academic circles and the public sector at large. At this time, the Unified Black Movement (Movimento Negro Unificado) started to operate openly.

José Vicente, founder of one organization of the contemporary Afro-Brazilian militancy, Afrobrás, says that incorporation of black people into the political system was significant during the decade but none of the appointed Afro-Brazilian representatives had a discourse explicitly aimed at addressing the black question.

A new beginning for Afro-Brazilian militancy came in the 1990s, especially after the initial success of a new economic plan (Plano Real) when Brazilians started to have more money to support a consumer-based economy.

At this time, the first magazine for a black audience, Raça Brasil, hit the shelves. When Raça appeared on the streets, a new discussion sprang up in Brazil. Many people alleged that a magazine made by and for black people was racist.

Whites accused its publishers and readers of being "black racists." A parallel discussion ensued concerning Brazilian history: Who was black and who had the right to say what was black?

The 1990s witnessed the professionalization of the Black African movement with the creation and proliferation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including Afrobrás and Educafro.

Burgeoning domestic social mobilization and international pressure led the administration of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1994-2002) to admit the fallacy of the racial democracy myth and acknowledge that racism was a social problem worthy of debate.

This was a significant step toward redressing the condition of Afro-Brazilians, since policies focused on the legacy of black people in Brazil could not be achieved while denying the existence of racism.

Political Inclusion, But Little Progress

The reestablishment of democracy in Brazil has led to some advancement in tackling racial disparities but progress has been slow. On a positive note, one of the most important works led by the federal government is to provide land tenure on quilombos to the descendants of escaped slaves. And in government itself, agencies have been established to deal with race issues.

Beyond the federal administration's creation of the Secretariat for Racial Equality, states and cities also are setting up offices to handle race issues. Activists from groups struggling for racial justice are managing them.

"It's a fact with two consequences: One of them is that for the first time, those groups have some kind of voice that can be heard. But on the other hand, the organizations have more patience now to wait for actions on behalf of the government," said anthropologist José Batista Ribeiro, from the University of São Paulo.

Success in establishing government agencies concerned with racial equality is partially attributed to collaborative efforts between Afro-Brazilian militants and international organizations.

The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, is considered a watershed event in forcing Brazil to seriously discuss how to resolve its racial problems.

One important source of information dispelling myths about racial disparities has been the comprehensive studies undertaken by the IPEA research institute.

"This kind of effort - based on hard data, empirical evidence, and serious analysis - has helped provide an invaluable framework for discussions between government officials and civil society, an essential first step in the design and implementation of effective public polices," assert Luiz Barcelos and Rachel Menezes from the Inter-American Dialogue, a U.S. policy analysis center.

While activists' involvement in development policy is a major achievement, some worry that it could result in the movement's cooptation.

"I'm proud in seeing black people involved in politics, and I think it is a great opportunity to be inside the government," says Batista, who recalls the time when only white people developed policies for black people. "But the movement lines cannot be erased because of that."

A major concern is the paucity of resources available for carrying out social programs, as in Ribeiro's case at the Secretariat for Racial Equality.

"A minister without a ministry and a secretariat without budget," Afrobrás' Vicente calls it. "With the budget she has, she will not be able to do anything substantial."

The Folha de S. Paulo newspaper wrote that, after one year in existence, the secretariat had been able only to raise the issue of affirmative action in the country's university system, yet had not taken any steps for it to become a reality.

Finally, in May 2004, a legal measure was approved that allowed federal universities to use a quota system. The irony is that the document outlining the program did not come from the secretariat but rather from the Ministry of Education.

Two criteria can be used in the quota system, skin color and social class. According to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, some universities have worked on a quota system but most have preferred not to implement one. Schools that adopted affirmative action policies have shown positive results.

In the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the students who could afford being in university via the affirmative action program had better grades than those who did not.

In either case, many Afro-Brazilians remain at a disadvantage when taking the entrance exam without having studied in an expensive preparatory course called a cursinho.

An article in the conservative newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo bluntly put it: "The quota system needs a cursinho."

The newfound comprehension of racial problems seems to have divided government representatives and reveals the challenges in promoting other social programs, such as in the area of employment.

Fernando Haddad, a policymaker at the Ministry of Education, said, "We discussed and we cannot construct a quota system based only on race because that will just help the black middle class or rich."

But Ribeiro and most Afro-Brazilians defend the quota system and other affirmative action programs. "Tell me where are the black middle and upper classes?" Sant'Anna demands. "We have one or another exception who has ascended the social ladder because of some special talent, in general linked to sports activity."

Raquel de Souza emphasizes that blacks are entitled to affirmative action and other measures aimed at compensating for years of educational, economic, and political exclusion.

"It is at least ironic that there is so much opposition to these compensatory policies for Afro-Brazilians because the history of Brazil provides evidence of white affirmative action particularly when white immigration to Brazil was being advocated and subsidized by the white Brazilian elite," she says.

Actions by Nongovernmental Organizations

Many progressive groups have taken the initiative in addressing the gap left unfilled by government initiatives. Batista notes, "In the university, things have also changed, just a little bit, but they have changed. Now we have blacks studying their own problems and trying to find solutions for those issues."

One success has been the establishment of the Zumbi dos Palmares College by Afrobrás. The institution, the first designed to offer bachelor degrees especially for Afro-Brazilians, is named after a hero of the Palmares quilombo who defended it against attacks from colonial forces.

Establishing the university was no easy feat but was in fact easier than implementing quotas, since it did not encroach on the established privileges of whites. Financial backing for the Zumbi dos Palmares College came from state government, Unip (a large private university system in Brazil), and some others sources, including the American Chamber of Commerce.

The key to the success of the program, however, could only come from the Ministry of Education, which had to approve contents linked to black history, identity, and foundations. After convincing the ministry, Vicente from Afrobrás then garnered support from the media.

"The answer was positive because the institutions are controlled by white people and public universities were not the target of this kind of action," says Sant'Anna.

"I'm not saying that what Vicente did is not a big thing. It is a huge thing. He is doing a great work, but the reason why he received such support is clear." Afrobrás is now searching for ways to establish a graduate degree at the school.

Another activist in the area of black education is Frei David. He directs Educafro, which gives cursinhos to prepare black students to enter universities.

One professor of Educafro, Melissa Carnelos, said that "people want to go to the university, but it is too hard to work with them sometimes because there is a kind of inferiority feeling still. After discussing the issue, some students felt encouraged to go to free art exhibitions, as an example. They need to discover themselves; and last week we went to a recently inaugurated black Brazilian museum at the Ibirapuera park. It was our best class to date."

Despite some shining examples of success, more widespread changes remain a distant dream. In the last campus census, the University of São Paulo listed only 9% of its students as blacks, while the official statistics institute IBGE estimates that almost 50% of the Brazilian population is Afro-descendant.

Persisting Issues

The Afro-Brazilian movement continues to struggle against many other impediments. One fundamental concern is health care: Not only do blacks lack the resources to obtain proper care, but they also suffer from deficient research and treatment of diseases prevalent in people of African descent.

Many people, despite their white complexions, have African ancestry and remain susceptible to such diseases. "They took my baby and said they did not know what the problem was. After all the exams, the doctor told me he had falciform anemia, but he doubted the exam results because I'm white, and he said that it is a black people's disease," declared Sheila Onorico, a white woman with black ancestors.

"For the first time in my life, I started to feel outside the system. Almost no one has an idea of my child's problem. Hospitals did not know how to proceed, and sometimes they asked me if my husband was black, but in an invasive way, as if I was breaking a rule."

Onorico eventually did find treatment, but the problem perplexed her. "I asked myself: Why is it that a disease that has been known for some time has not been researched and obtained funding? I cannot help but think that this has something to do with color."

Last year was the first time that a medical congress in São Paulo decided to discuss black people and the public health system.

Organizations such as Fala Preta! and Criola play a very important role in fighting racial oppression and prejudice in Brazil. These organizations focus their efforts on issues that concern black women in particular.

Afro-Brazilian women have to endure discrimination based on their racial ancestry that is further exacerbated by sexism and class differences. These organizations deal with domestic violence, health care, reproductive rights, and related issues.

Another grave problem affecting blacks is violence. In Brazil's poor shantytowns, called favelas, endemic violence results in barely one in three black men reaching the age of 19, according to historian Marcos Alvito.

Media and policymakers discuss the rise of drug traffic and crime resulting from socio-economic exclusion. But the issues' racial dimension gets short shrift.

"The main problem is to admit that this is a racial problem. When black people are murdered by police forces, it is usually framed in the mainstream media, and even in academic and political circles, as violence against the poor or as a form of combating drug trafficking, and not portrayed as violence against blacks," says De Souza.

He adds that official statistics are not concerned with the racial background of those who are victimized by urban violence.

Finally, outside of the favelas, blacks who obtain a degree of social mobility continue to face racism that is passed down from generation to generation. The socio-political and historical configurations of Brazil create a context in which lower class status is directly associated with African ancestry.

The case of Sant'Anna illustrates this problem. Despite living in a wealthy neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Sant'Anna is mistaken as a maid and her children are mistreated by others.

"People say to me that Brazil is not a racist country, but how can those other children offend mine if they did not learn it some place? And more, they see black servants being mistreated and consider this is normal," she said.

After 500 years of white oppression, change should not be expected overnight. Abdias do Nascimento, a former senator who has been an Afro-Brazilian militant for most of his 90 years of life, sums up the continuing struggle.

"Blacks lack everything to obtain equality promised by democracy. Where are the black people? Only in the shantytowns, only in these police shenanigans because they have nothing: no work, no housing, nor effective health care, and no education that equals that of whites," he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

At the forefront of the current struggle of Afro-Brazilians is access to education, one of the main keys to more widespread social, economic, and political inclusion.

Afro-Brazilians have played a major role in establishing Brazil as one of the largest economies in the world; it is only fair that they should equally reap the benefits of their participation in building the Brazilian nation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Brazil: Sao Paulo Entertainment Guide

This week‘s entertainment guide features a Japanese restaurant in Brooklin which has an oriental vibe, a bar in Jardins that specializes in French wine, the queen of Samba who is playing a show in São Paulo, the latest movie release - an action/adventure starring Ethan Hawke and a famous stadium located in São Paulo.

Asia 70Your first impressions of Asia 70 restaurant in Brooklin will be oriental. In keeping with the name the restaurant is decorated with furniture from Indonesia, has an oriental garden and a large open balcony. Chef Ângelo Mamoru prepares classic Japanese culinary such as sushis and sashimis along with some modern choices. For those that like their food fresh and up close and personal you can select seafood straight from the tank, such as eel. There are 30 different types of sake to try. The drinks menu includes seven special recipes; such as Green Saquê (a mixture of mint, green tea, sake and sugar) and a Japanese version of the Blood Mary. Cost R35.00 - R$60.00. Address: Rua Kansas, 1615, Praça Domingos Andrade, Brooklin. Phone (11) 5506-4903. Open for dinner from Monday to Saturday. Check the website: www.asia70.com.br



Bar Du Taste-VinBar Du Taste-Vin located in Jardins was inaugurated with only one intention: to offer Paulistanos the best possible choice of French wines. Bar Du Taste-Vin, was previously limited to only imported wine sold by the bottle, however they now also offer food to compliment their fine wines. Each week a new list of seven different options is offered which can be enjoyed with wine by the glass. Customer have over 100 bottles to choose from. The wines have been sourced from many different regions throughout France. Address: Alameda Itu, 1415, Cerqueira César. Phone (11) 3086-1918. Open for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Monday to Saturday.



Beth CarvalhoThe queen the samba, Beth Carvalho is in São Paulo this week for one show at Tom Brasil. This follows the launch of her new CD and DVD, recorded recently in Rio de Janeiro. The show commemorates a career which now stretches 40 years. She will be accompanied as usual by Arlindo Cruz, Luis Carlos da Vila and Quinteto em Branco e Preto. The repertoire will include crowd favourites such as: Andança, As Rosas Não Falam, Coisinha do Pai, Vou Festejar, Agoniza Mais Não Morre amongst others. Tickets cost from R$30 to R$70. The show is at 10pm, 9 April, 2005. Check the website: www.casatombrasil.com.br


Assault on 13th PrecinctAssault on 13th Precinct is an action/adventure film starring Laurence Fishbone and Ethan Hawke. Set during a snowy New Year's Eve, a mobster is temporarily incarcerated at Precinct 13, the soon-to-close police station. As the sun sets the long night begins, a motley crew of policemen and prisoners reluctantly captained by a cop must band together to fight off a rogue gang that wants to free the mobster. Released in Brazil on 8 April, 2005. Rated R for strong violence and language throughout and for some drug content. Length 1 hr 49 min.



PacaembuInaugurated on 27 April, 1940, the Estádio Municipal Paulo Machado de Carvalho known as Pacaembu, was considered, at the time, the greatest and most modern stadium in South America, with capacity of 70,000. The day after inauguration, the stadium hosted its first soccer game, between Palestra Itália (no known as Palmeiras) and Coritiba. Palmeiras were victors 6 - 2. The first goal was scored after only two minutes by Zequinha, of Coritiba. Completing the double header, Corinthians beat Atlético Mineiro 4 - 2. Today Pacaembu is still considered one of the best stadiums in Brazil hosting other sports such as swimming, boxing, volleyball, basketball, handball, tennis and athletics. Both Palmerias and Corinthians play home match there. For more information on upcoming matches at Pacaembu click here: http://esportenaglobo.globo.com


Monday, April 11, 2005

The Risks and Rewards of Investing in Brazil Print E-mail


São Paulo, Brazil, stock market (Bolsa de Valores Bovespa)Is now the time to invest in Brazil, one of the world's largest developing economies? Investors who were initially scared off by the election of the leftist Lula to the presidency in 2002 are now flocking to Brazil.

The São Paulo bourse (stock market), Latin America's largest with a market value of US$ 363 billion, attracted 1.63 billion reais (US$ 636 million) of foreign investment this year through Feb. 10, almost equal to the total 1.8 billion reais for all of 2004.

The trading volume on Wall Street in Brazilian ADRs (American Depository Receipts - more on these later) rose 79 percent in 2004 compared with 2003 to a US$ 275 million daily average.

Investment banks have also been drawn to invest in the country, notably Goldman Sachs, which recently entered into talks with Rio de Janeiro-based Banco Pactual SA, a major Brazilian investment bank, to create a US$ 2 billion joint venture aimed at opportunities in Brazil.

Earlier this year, New York-based Citigroup announced plans to expand consumer lending outlets fivefold in Brazil by 2008 while adding full-service branches. Last year also saw a wave of dealmaking, as several initial public offerings (IPOs) went to market with predictions of more to come.

And renewed interest on behalf of some Latin American fund managers like T. Rowe Price, as well as individual investors, may be a sign that things are finally looking up again for South America's largest economy.

So how have investors in Brazil done so far? While the U.S. stock market had a respectable 9 percent price gain in 2004, Brazil delivered a gain of over 30 percent last year.

Despite the increased demand and price gains, the Brazilian market still looks attractive to many investors, who believe the low price/earnings valuations are attractive.

While U.S. shares trade at 19 times latest 12-month earnings and European shares at 16 times earnings, the Brazilian market is trading at 7.5 times its companies' 2005 earnings forecasts, which makes it the cheapest among 32 world markets tracked by Rochdale, an investment manager.

So what is driving all this interest? Advisors typically point to a relatively stable political environment coupled with increased growth in the economy.

The economy is being helped by demand for Brazil's agricultural products such as soybeans, and a surge in the price of locally-produced commodities like iron ore.

Such factors led the government to announce on March 1st that the domestic product of the country expanded in 2004 at 5.2 percent, its fastest pace in a decade. Most economists expect growth to continue, albeit at a slower but decent 3.5 percent.

How To

So how should one go about investing in Brazil? If you don't have the opportunity to set up a brokerage account in Brazil, you can still tap into Brazil's potential through your home country stockbroker by investing in American Depository Receipts, or ADRs.

ADRs are negotiable U.S. certificates representing ownership of shares in non-U.S. corporations. And if you feel like trading in stocks in Brazilian companies that don't trade on U.S. markets, or "foreign ordinaries", try setting up an account with Intltrader.com, an online broker offering trading in over 8,000 unlisted ADR's and ordinary stocks in over 20 countries.

Before you start trading, consider some of the risks below, which can be substantially greater than in more developed countries.

Political risk - Any political event, such as the dismissal or appointment of a key government minister, can cause the value of the company's shares to fluctuate up or down.

Exchange Rate Risk - If you're using a foreign currency such as dollars or pounds to purchase shares of Brazilian companies, remember fluctuations in exchange rates can cause sizeable losses when you sell, even if the company had been performing well.

Exchange rates can also affect profits. For example, many Brazilian exporters have been complaining recently that the strength of the real against the dollar has made their goods more expensive in the international marketplace, which may lead to a downturn in export sales.

Inflationary Risk - This is an extension of the exchange rate risk, something of which Brazilians have long experience. Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising, and subsequently, purchasing power is falling.

Inflation can cause a company's services to become too expensive, for instance when oil price inflation leads airlines to raise ticket prices to cover their costs.

So before you invest, try to examine all of the risks thoroughly - or consider retaining a professional financial advisor. Next month, we'll examine some of Brazil's largest companies, including steel giant Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional, mini-mill steel producer Gerdau S.A., mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, and Brazilian state run oil company Petrobras, Petróleo Brasileiro.

All information and content herein is furnished - as is - without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement of third party rights.

In no event will the author or his affiliates be liable for any damages, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising in connection with this article.

Women in Brazil: So Protected Still So Abused Print E-mail


Brazilian mother with her babyWomen are granted by the Brazilian Constitution with an impressive quantity of 'fundamental' rights. The Constitution fully recognizes the equal value of both sexes, manifesting for their equality of basic rights and obligations before the law.

In its Article 5, provision XLI, the Brazilian Constitution says that it is an obligation of the state to promote the welfare of everyone without sexual discrimination.

In relation to matters of labour law, it is good to remember that women have more rights than men, as Article 7 establishes special rights for them, including an earlier retirement and protection at the job market.

Whereas the Brazilian Constitution says that everyone possesses the same legal rights, ordinary legislation has provided penalties of prison and fine against sexist behaviour, including the use of pejorative term against women.

The law has even established special police stations for women, offering them relevant services like psychological counselling for victims of domestic violence, hospital treatment for victims of rape, and investigation of crimes against women.

Thus the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regards the Brazilian model of legislation, particularly in what it says about 'gender-specific police station', as 'unprecedented' and an 'influential model' to be imitated by all other nations.(1)

Despite of what the law describes, everybody knows that violence against women has occurred with an utmost frequency. According to the United Nations (UN), Brazilian women are 'frequently exposed' to sexual victimization.

A document released in 2004 by the UN-Habitat reveals that Brazil has one of the highest levels of incidents described as rape, attempted rape, and indecent assault against women. What is worst, the report suggests that such crimes are normally underreported, with perpetrators unlikely to be punished.(2)

The vast majority of criminal complaints related to violence against women are suspended without their final conclusion.

In 2002, the World Organization Against Torture (WOAT) reported that only 2 percent of all complaints involving acts of violence against women led to any sort of conviction.

For the cases resulting in conviction, the WOAT comments that punishment for heinous crimes like first-degree murder and rape are 'very light'.(3)

In regard to working rights, the Brazilian Constitution has forbidden salary differentiation between both sexes, although, as a matter of legal fact, it actually upholds a 'positive discrimination' in favour of women.

As mentioned earlier, women have been granted with special constitutional rights which include, among others, three months of paid maternity leave and legal protection against dismissal for pregnancy.

In practice, however, the Organization of American States (OAS) has reported that women bearing children can be dismissed regardless of legislation to the contrary.

The same report suggests that some employers have illegally required 'proof of sterilization' as a basic condition for women to be employed.(4)

Finally, the OAS says in its official document that even the government itself recognized that the average salary of women is 54% below of what is normally paid for male counterparts at similar level of education and qualification.(5)

References:

(1) Organization of American States; Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Brazil. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 1997. http://www.cidh.oas.org/countryrep/brazil-eng/index%20-%20brazil.htm

(2) UN-Habitat; State of the World's Cities: Trends in Latin America & the Carribean. 2004. http://www.unhabitat.org/mediacentre/documents/sowc/RegionalLAC.pdf

(3) U.S. Department of State; Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Brazil. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, February 25, 2004. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27888.htm

(4) Organization of American States; Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Brazil. , Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 1997. http://www.cidh.oas.org/countryrep/brazil-eng/index%20-%20brazil.htm

(5) Organization of American States; Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Brazil. , Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 1997. http://www.cidh.oas.org/countryrep/brazil-eng/index%20-%20brazil.htm