RAPIDINHAS

    RAPIDINHAS

    It’s important to note that by and large, Brazilians weren’t exactly
    enthralled by their nation’s 500th birthday. To say Brazilians celebrated would be an
    overstatement—observed pretty well describes what happened on April 22nd and the days
    leading up to it.
    By Brazzil Magazine

    The latest Brazilian sex symbol is 92 years old. She is
    Dercy Gonçalves who started her career as a vaudeville actress playing foul-mouthed
    naughty girls and has been playing variations of this character on stage, big screen and
    TV for some seven decades now. In June, the nonagenarian entertainer, who is considered by
    some a cult figure, will be shown in magazine spreads across the country in Marilyn
    Monro-esque poses modeling a red bodice for women’s underwear manufacturer Du Loren.

    Always the provocateur, the actress asked photographers—the
    picture session became a media show—while photos were being taken: "Should I
    make a whore-like face?" After seeing the result of her efforts, she commented:
    "That was beautiful. I am convinced that I am still sexy."

    The actress said that she accepted the invitation to pose for the
    risqué pics because she wanted to show that older women are also full of life: "I
    decided to expose myself not for the sake of showing off or for sex, but to make the
    statement that life starts at 60. It is at this age that people feel free from any
    criticism. I had this change at age 80 when I stopped dating."

    And she added: "At my age I don’t care about showing my
    underwear. The problem is showing my dentures, wig and artificial eyelashes. I had never
    made a work like this. I only accepted to make these pictures because they were in good
    taste, well produced."

    Du Loren is investing $170,000 in this ad campaign. The company
    has a mere 15 percent share of Brazil’s women’s underwear market. Compared to previous ads
    from the firm this is very tame. In a previous ad campaign that became worldwide infamous,
    the company at the end of 1995 showed First Lady Hilary revealing more than a little of
    her yellow panties during a visit to Brazil. The two-page magazine ad came with a message
    for Bill Clinton: "Mr. President of the United States of America: Your Excellency
    can’t imagine what a Du Loren is capable of." At the bottom, in smaller letters,
    there was this caption: "A Du Loren’s homage to one of this decade’s most important
    women."

    In 1998, the Catholic Church became enraged and made a public
    appeal for a boycott of the lingerie manufacturer when another publicity piece from the
    company showed a young woman dressed in a lacy bra and panties being raped. The ad was
    accompanied by this caption: "Legalize abortion fast. I don’t want to wait."

    Du Loren’s owner himself, Roni Argalji, was the one who chose
    Dercy as the new Du Loren’ girl. He met her when flying from São Paulo to Rio in
    February. Denise Areal, Du Loren’s marketing director, has only praise for the actress:
    "She is the true woman of the century. She always had pioneer attitudes without
    forgetting the respect. She represents the woman that seduces and not the one that stays
    awaiting to be seduced."

    Dercy let it be known that she is ready to pose in the nude. She
    is taking offers right now.

    Brazil 500
    No Indians Allowed

    It wasn’t a flattering scene for Brazil while celebrating its 500
    years. Far from it. There it was on TV all over the world the military police violently
    repressing with tear gas and rubber bullets a peaceful march by some 2000 Brazilian
    Indians representing more than 200 different peoples and sympathizers with their cause, in
    Porto Seguro, state of Bahia. That on April 22, the same day Brazil was celebrating the
    arrival of the Portuguese to the land, 500 years ago and in the same area Pedro Álvares
    Cabral’s ships are believed to have arrived.

    In a dramatic picture published on the newspapers and on the
    Internet, a bare-chested Indian, wearing only swimming shorts, is seen lying down on the
    road trying to prevent the advance of the police that just walked over his body. The
    police action left dozens slightly injured. Several people including a Xukuru Kariri
    Indian, who had both legs burnt, had to be hospitalized.

    A meeting between the President and the Indian leadership,
    scheduled for Coroa Vermelha on April 22, never happened. President Fernando Henrique
    Cardoso accused the Indians of "throwing the President’s invitation back in his
    face". The Indians backed out after considering that a meeting with Cardoso, on that
    symbolic date, could be misinterpreted. They did not want to be seen as supporting the
    celebrations they are against. Instead the Indian movement chose to prepare a document
    denouncing the government and the violence they were subjected to by the Bahia police.

    The Indian march should have been a moment of affirmation of the
    Indian culture and their rights. As Maninha Xucuru, a Xucuru-Kariri leader, declared
    before the repressed demonstration, "We hope that, as a result of this process, the
    indigenous movement in Brazil will be consolidated. The March and Conference will be
    moments for reflection on these past 500 years, and they are useful to strengthen the
    ideals and struggles of indigenous peoples. Together we will be building paths to the
    future and writing the first chapter of a new history for our children and the generations
    to come".

    Here is the final document of the Conference of Indigenous People
    and Organizations of Brazil: 

    We arrived in the Pataxó village of Coroa Vermelha, in the
    municipality of Santa Cruz de Cabrália, state of Bahia, on April 17. On our way to the
    village, we have fulfilled the commitment to march on the trail of the great invasion of
    our territories, which has lasted 500 years.

    We are more than 3,000 representatives of 140 indigenous peoples
    from all regions of Brazil. We have crossed lands, rivers, mountains, valleys and plains
    once inhabited by our ancestors. Filled with emotion, we saw the regions where indigenous
    peoples were once the masters of their own future for 40,000 years. Filled with emotion,
    we saw the regions were indigenous people were killed defending the land cut by bandeirantes
    (members of early colonial expeditions called bandeiras), adventurers, miners and,
    later on, by roads, farms, and businesspersons craving for lands, profit and power.

    We marched through these lands in remembrance of our struggle and
    pain to retake history in our own hands and once again point to a positive future for all
    indigenous people.

    Here at this Conference, we have analyzed Brazilian society in
    these 500 years during which it has thrived in our territories. More than ever, we have
    confirmed that this society, whose progress was based on the invasion of our territories
    and on the extermination of the people who once lived here, was built at the expense of
    slavery and of the exploitation of black and low income groups. It’s an infamous and
    undignified history.

    The ones who have really shown dignity are those who have been
    persecuted and exploited during these five centuries. Rebellions, insurrections, political
    and social movements have also marked our history and have established a continuous line
    of resistance.

    For these reasons, we want to recover this remarkable past and
    project it into the future by joining black and popular movements and building a larger
    alliance: the Indigenous, Black and Popular Resistance.

    Our main demands and proposals are the following:

    The main demands and proposals pointed out by indigenous peoples
    for the Brazilian State are the following:

    1. Assurance of the indigenous rights provided for in the Federal
    Constitution:

    a. Demarcation and official confirmation of the bounds of all
    indigenous lands by the year 2000;

    b. Revocation of Decree n. 1,775/96;

    c. Assurance and protection of all indigenous areas;

    d. Return of all territories claimed by different indigenous
    peoples throughout Brazil;

    e. Expansion of the bounds of areas that are not large enough for
    indigenous families to live and grow;

    f. Removal of invaders from all demarcated areas, payment of
    damages for and recovery of all degraded areas and rivers, such as, for example, the São
    Francisco river;

    g. Recognition of peoples that made a resurgence and of their
    territories;

    h. Protection against encroachments upon the territories of
    isolated peoples;

    i. Dissolution of municipalities illegally established within
    indigenous areas;

    j. Respect for the right to exclusive enjoyment of the natural
    resources contained in indigenous areas, paying special attention to biopiracy;

    k. Interruption of the building of power plants, waterways,
    railroads, highways, and gas pipelines under way and indemnification for damages caused by
    projects that have been implemented already;

    l. Allocation of funds to agricultural projects, among others,
    for indigenous communities, so as to ensure their independent subsistence.

    1. Immediate approval of Convention 169 of the International
    Labor Organization (ILO);

    2. Passage of the Statute of Indigenous Peoples being reviewed by
    the National Congress, as approved by indigenous peoples and organizations (Bill
    2,057/91);

    3. The end of discrimination, removal by force of indigenous
    people from their lands, massacres, threats against indigenous leaders, violence and
    impunity in any form. Immediate investigation of all crimes committed against indigenous
    people in the last 20 years and punishment of the guilty ones. We demand respect for our
    culture, traditions, languages, and for the religions of the different indigenous peoples
    of Brazil;

    4. Punishment of the persons responsible for the criminal
    sterilization of indigenous women at the discretion of the community;

    5. Recognition of the true history of this country and its
    inclusion in the curriculum of schools, taking into account the thousands of years during
    which indigenous populations have lived in this land;

    6. Restructuring and empowerment of the official indigenous
    agency and measures to link it to the Office of the President of the Republic through a
    Secretariat for Indigenous Affairs, whose secretaries would only be appointed after the
    organizations concerned are heard;

    7. Election of the president of Funai by indigenous peoples from
    among names suggested by the different regions of Brazil;

    8. Education has to be placed at the service of the indigenous
    struggle and should be aimed at strengthening our culture;

    9. Assured access of indigenous students to federal universities
    without any competitive university entrance examination;

    10. Reform, expansion and construction of indigenous schools and
    provision of education at all levels to indigenous communities, with measures to ensure
    the training of indigenous teachers and the provision of a professionalizing secondary
    education;

    11. Inspection of the application of funds ear-marked for
    indigenous schools by an Indigenous Council to be set up;

    12. Indigenous education and health care should be placed under
    the responsibility of the federal administration. We reject all attempts to promote
    state-level administration of the school system or its municipalization;

    13. Enforcement of the Arouca Law, which provides for the
    establishment of a health care subsystem for indigenous people;

    14. Empowerment and expansion of the participation of indigenous
    communities and leaders in decision-making processes related to the definition of public
    policies for indigenous people. In particular, the Special Indigenous Sanitary Districts
    should have full autonomy in their deliberations;

    15. The health care system should take into account and respect
    the culture of indigenous people. Traditional approaches to health care should be prized
    and strengthened;

    16. Specific quality training for teachers, health agents and
    other indigenous professionals working in indigenous communities;

    17. Formulation of a specific policy for each region of Brazil
    with broad participation of indigenous people and of all segments of society, based on the
    existing knowledge and projects;

    18. Better means to prevent the military and civil police from
    entering indigenous areas without the permission of indigenous leaders;

    19. Annulment of judicial actions against the demarcation of
    lands traditionally occupied by indigenous people;

    We, indigenous people of Brazil, have gone a long way to rebuild
    our territories and communities. By firmly taking this history into our own collective
    hands, we are sure that we will break away from a sad past and will confidently move ahead
    toward a brighter future.

    Despite the weight of the old history written by the dominant
    classes of this country though their culture, political and economic practices and State
    institutions, we have launched our war cry and set the cornerstone for the beginning of a
    new history, the great history of the "Other 500 years".

    Our indigenous struggle is a tribute to the many heroes who have
    died in war during these five centuries. Our struggle is for our children and
    grandchildren, so that they can be free people in a free land.

    Coroa Vermelha, Bahia, 21 April 2000.

    Brazil 500
    Cheers to the Killed

    BRAZIL 500th ANNIVERSARY

    CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU!

    This work is in honor of 500 Brazilians who were
    assassinated or disappeared in the course of 500 years of Brazilian political history. The
    list of names was created entirely based on sources from human rights movements and
    organizations. All of those selected were activists, who, in one way or another, were
    leaders in the struggle for a more just, humane, and equal Brazil. I did not judge these
    individuals by their political beliefs, but rather by the causes that led to their
    assassination or disappearance.

    By means of this project I do not mean to judge or simply revisit
    the history of Brazil, but to shed light on the memory of those who were killed for their
    beliefs. As a human rights activist and a sociologist, I have always based my convictions
    on concrete facts and alternative approaches for my own life. I was never one to spend
    time philosophizing upon the capitalist spirit, but rather on those living spirits who are
    crushed daily in urban jungles like Rio de Janeiro. And furthermore, as a critical
    analyst, I do not think that it makes sense to celebrate 500 years of Brazilian history,
    but instead we should account for those who paid, with their own lives, to build the
    Brazilian nation.

    A still vivid example was the death of Galdino, an Indian, who
    was burned alive in Brasília in 1997. His death confirms my belief that the Brazilian
    elite destroyed, in this act, our last opportunity to create a nation for all. Just as he
    died, over 4 million Indians also perished. Afro-Brazilians, who were once slaves, are
    still slaves today. Even if they do represent half of the Brazilian population, they have
    never been able to fully participate in the nation we call Brazil.

    If it were not for my conviction that the Brazilian elite is one
    of the most perverse and cynical in the contemporary world, it would give me tremendous
    pleasure to congratulate Brazil. But, as a political exile who cannot return freely to my
    own country, I ask myself, what are we really celebrating?

    The only thing I want to do at this moment is to pay respect to
    all of those who longed for a Brazil that belongs to the majority, that is, the excluded.
    These Brazilian citizens should be remembered as the fortress of this country, which is
    still so entirely void of ethics. I am certain that if they were living today, they would
    be fighting against corruption, death squads, social and political apartheid, and
    massacres like the one carried out by the Brazilian State Police in 1993 in my own
    community, Vigário Geral.

    And to finish, let me ask: who would allow me to return freely to
    my country? The President? As I am not crazy and I have two precious daughters to care
    for, I would rather be in the US alive than be dead in Brazil.

    Brazil, in spite of your stupid elite, I LOVE YOU!!!

    Caio Ferraz
    Brazilian Sociologist
    Human Rights Activist
    Founder of the NGO House of Peace, Vigário Geral, Rio de Janeiro
    acferraz@aol.com 

    Life
    Living Less

    Due to an increase in violent death victimizing youngsters and
    children, men in Brazil, according to the latest data from the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro
    de Geografia e Estatística—Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) have
    lost three years in their life expectancy. This information is revealed in the 1999 Social
    Indicators Synthesis. While life expectancy is 68.1 years for the population in general,
    women should expect to live 72.1 years compared to the 64.3 years for men.

    The good news is that life expectancy has increased for six years
    since 1980 when Brazilians were expected to live 62 years. But such results have also to
    do with where Brazilians live. While southern Brazilians can expect to live up to 70.6
    percent, those born in the Northeast shouldn’t expect more than 65.1. Even here there is
    some good news when we know that the gap between North and South used to be larger in the
    past.

    The IBGE study reveals that in 1998 around 70 percent of the
    deaths of youngsters aged 15 to 19 were not natural. In the Midwest, 49.3 percent of the
    kids who died between the ages of 5 and 9 had violent death. In the state of Roraima the
    percentage of kids who suffered violent death was 54.5 percent, the highest rate in the
    country for children 5 to 9 years old.

    The rate of demographic increase has stabilized around 1.3
    percent, the same it was in 1997, with projections that this rate will continually fall to
    1.1 percent in 2010 and then 0.8 percent in 2020. The fecundity rate (there are now 2.4
    children per woman nationwide) has declined dramatically from the 60s and 70s when every
    Brazilian woman had an average of six kids. The numbers also show that the more educated
    the woman the less children she has. The lowest fecundity rate was registered in Rio;
    where there is in average 1.9 kids for every mother.

    After decades dealing with the challenges of educating and
    offering jobs to its youth, Brazil will more and more will face the problem of the growing
    number of elderly. While there are 13.2 million people over the age of 60 today (7.8
    percent of the population), this contingent should grow to 30 million by 2025, according
    to IBGE’s projections.

    Finding jobs will continue to be a challenge in 2025, instead of
    104.5 million people looking for jobs, Brazil will have 138 million searching. Just
    getting a job would not be enough for those who are trying to find a place to work today.
    That is because 30 million who have a job are making less than the monthly minimum wage,
    which is $84 today. The average income for the upper 10 percent of workers today (7.6
    million Brazilians) is $1378. 40 percent workers on the bottom level make an average of
    $70 a month.

    The color factor is also more than evident in income
    distribution. Twelve percent of families whose head of household is white survive with
    half of the monthly minimum wage per capita. In families headed by blacks there are 30.4
    percent of them that have to live on the same amount. The IBGE data also reveal that the
    illiteracy rate for whites (8.8 percent) in Brazil is almost three times larger for blacks
    (21.5 percent).

    According to Sérgio Besserman Vianna, IBGE’s president, "
    The inequality is apparent in any aspect that we observe: income, region, sex, race.
    Several social indicators improve but the inequality does not decrease. This is a constant
    trait of the Brazilian society, which is not the result of the present circumstances but
    of 500 years of an unjust history."

    Among the positive data revealed by the new IBGE report is the
    fact that 94.7 percent of children between the ages of 7 and 14 are in schools today. This
    does not hide the fact that 30.5 percent of Brazilians who are 15 or older are
    functionally illiterate, incapable of understanding simple forms or medicine information,
    as an example.

    Life in Brazil
    Uneasy Rider

    Thanks in great part to globalization and the entrance of Brazil
    into the freetraders club, tens of thousands of foreigners, most of them executives, have
    descended into the country to work for companies back home. These are people who know the
    stay in Brazil will only be a passage, a brief interlude before getting a promotion or
    flying to the next country. Right now there are 30,000 Americans in this situation,
    besides 35,000 Germans, 12,000 French, 3000 Canadians, 150,000 Spaniards plus thousands
    more from all over the world. It’s believed that in the last two years at least 28,000 new
    foreigners arrived to work for multinationals. The Labor Ministry informs that these
    workers stay from one to three years in the country.

    Weekly newsmagazine Veja (circulation 1,500,000) has
    published a short piece on the subject recently interviewing some of these executives and
    their wives, who seem to be ones who get more involved with peculiarities of Brazilian
    life while their husbands mostly spend their time at the protected environment of their
    jobs. Most of these people will never learn much about their host country. Only 10 percent
    of them are able to communicate in the country’s language, the Portuguese.

    Among the most visible new "colonies" is the American
    one in the northern state of Bahia where Ford is building a new assembly plant. The large
    influx of Spaniards to São Paulo has to do with the presence in the country of
    Telefonica, a Spanish company with massive interests in telecommunications in Brazil. The
    Renault factory on the other hand brought scores of Frenchmen and women to the southern
    state of Paraná.

    Veja talks about the phases these executives go through.
    At the start they get excited about the weather and the distance a little dollar can go in
    the country. For many women it is the first time they can afford what would be a luxury in
    their home country: a maid.

    In a second phase, starting in the second month, uneasiness or
    even despair begins to creep in. They feel they would never be able to live and cannot
    understand how people survive and thrive in what they see as unmistakable chaos amid
    rampant corruption, ever present misery and violence, and unmanageable traffic.

    To make life a little easier, these executives and their spouses
    join one of the several clubs and associations that cater to them. Places like the Clube
    Internacional das Mulheres de Executivos (International Club for Women of Executives) in
    Curitiba, capital of Paraná state. For most foreigners it’s very hard to make Brazilian
    friends and many first contacts go nowhere fast. As Celina Sampaio, the Brazilian who
    leads the American Society, a club for American executives: "In the beginning
    Brazilians invite foreigners to visit them, go out with them, but by and large this does
    not last long."

    Behavior
    Cooled Down

    Taken two youngsters in love who would you think would be the
    more impulsive, ready to jump head first in a love relationship oblivious of the
    consequences? The Brazilian or the Swiss? If you answered Brazilian, as most people with
    some familiarity of both countries would probably do, you are dead wrong. That is, if the
    conclusions of a new study are right. Brazilian and Swiss professors and psychologists
    conducted the survey. The study was done among middle and upper-middle class college
    students in Switzerland and Brazil. The researchers — University of Lausanne’s
    Jean-Claude Deschamps, Universidade Federal da Paraíba’s Leôncio Camino and Universidade
    Estadual Paulista’s Celso Zonta — say the results were a big surprise for them.

    Almost 400 students were surveyed. This included one hundred and
    forty two in Switzerland, and 240 in Brazil. While Brazilians are more interested in a
    relationship as a step to marriage and social climbing, Swiss students are searching for
    intense relationships that have little or nothing to do with professional success. Why the
    pragmatism of the Brazilian upscale youth?

    The researchers believe that this caution adopted in Brazil and
    the desire to start a family early in life has to do with the economic instability
    Brazilians have been enduring for generations. The search for lasting and solid
    relationships serves as a counterbalance to the economic insecurity.

    In an interview with Rio’s daily O Globo, Celso Zonta
    raised the hypothesis that the Brazilian behavior can be explained by the role families
    play in intimate relationships in Brazil: "Here, the social relationships are valued
    above individual feelings."

    For psychologist Suzanna Schreiber from Universidade Estadual do
    Rio de Janeiro who was also heard by O Globo, "In Switzerland the youngsters
    have a more isolated life and this can contribute to the immediacy in the relationship and
    possessive love. In Brazil we have the opposite. Social conditions favor the encounter of
    generations and contacts are easier to make, There are more opportunities for
    choice."

    The Catholic Church and its omnipresent influence might be
    another important factor in this mix. In Switzerland, Protestantism is the main religious
    force. And as some experts point out, Brazilians for the most part like to stress the
    notion of romantic love, which ideally is also eternal.

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