Brazil Acts As Portugal’s Colony

     Brazil Acts As Portugal's Colony

    Brazil’s TV Record
    coverage of the European football championship
    was unacceptable. For this reason, it was good to see Greece beat
    Portugal in the final even though one could share the disappointment
    of the Portuguese fans. TV Record closed its transmission fast
    and we did not see the Greek team receiving its trophy.
    by: John
    Fitzpatrick

    Brazil declared its independence from Portugal in 1822 but if you had watched
    the television coverage of the European football championship you would have
    thought Brazil was still under the Portuguese heel.

    Only one non-subscription
    station, TV Record, showed the games and the commentary when Portugal was
    playing was scandalously biased. The commentator made no attempt to hide his
    support, urging the team on—"vai, vai, Portugal!! (go, go,
    Portugal)—and stretching his vocal cords to the limit with exaggerated
    "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOl" calls whenever the team
    scored.

    Not only this, but he
    kept making cozy references to the Portuguese "colony" (colônia)
    not community (comunidade) in Brazil as though we were still living
    in colonial times.

    The fact that several
    of the teams Portugal faced, such as Spain, England and Holland, also have
    substantial communities here was barely mentioned. The Dutch even colonized
    a part of the Northeast for about 30 years and left their mark on places like
    Recife, while it was the English who brought the Portuguese crown to Brazil
    to flee Napoleon’s armies.

    This biased coverage assumed
    that Brazilians should automatically be supporting Portugal even though few
    people have any direct relationship with Portugal and many other nationalities,
    including Italians, Germans, Russians, Japanese, Lebanese, Armenians have
    done more to develop Brazil than the Portuguese ever did.

    Greeks are not thick on
    the ground here but there is a Greek community—and Brazilians of Greek
    descent—whose feelings were totally swept aside in an insulting manner.

    One understandable reason
    why many Brazilians were rooting for Portugal was the fact that the Portuguese
    manager, Felipe Scolari, and one of the team’s top players, Deco, are Brazilian.
    Scolari led Brazil to its World Cup triumph in 2002, but headed off to Europe
    immediately afterwards.

    Another reason was that
    one of Portugal’s top player, Figo, plays alongside Brazilian idols, Ronaldo
    and Roberto Carlos, as well as English superstar, David Beckham, for Real
    Madrid.

    Despite these points,
    TV Record coverage was unacceptable. For this reason, it was good to see Greece
    beat Portugal in the final even though one could share the disappointment
    of the Portuguese fans as they watched their team’s hopes fade away in their
    own capital.

    TV Record closed its transmission
    within a minute of the final whistle and we did not see the Greek team receiving
    its trophy. You can be sure this would have been shown in its entirety had
    Portugal won.

    Making Haiti a
    Political Football

    Talking of football, the
    Brazilian national team might be playing in strife-ridden Haiti in August.
    The idea is to try and disarm the gangs and militias which have made this
    poverty-stricken country the poorest in the western hemisphere and an economic
    basket case.

    A contingent of Brazilian
    troops is there at the moment, heading a United Nations peacekeeping force,
    and if stars like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho Gaúcho and Kaká could
    help bring about an end to violence then they would make the troops’ tasks
    easier.

    However, there are already
    reports that Brazilian diplomats are worried that instead of promoting peace
    and love the match could lead to the opposite, with rival gangs fighting to
    get admittance.


    John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish journalist who first visited Brazil in 1987
    and has lived in São Paulo since 1995. He writes on politics and
    finance and runs his own company, Celtic Comunicações – www.celt.com.br
    – which specializes in editorial and translation services for Brazilian
    and foreign clients. You can reach him at jf@celt.com.br.

    © John Fitzpatrick
    2004

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