Many in Brazil felt impunity had taken a major hit back in 1992,
    when President Fernando Collor de Mello was forced out of office.
    Unfortunately, since Collor, far too many cases
    have managed to escape unpunished.
    By Brazzil Magazine

    Gisele and the President

    Naughty Überbelle

    Despite repeated statements by the supermodel herself about how ephemeral her career
    would be, Brazilian Gisele Caroline Bündchen, 20, continues to shine in the rarefied
    firmament of super stardom. After gracing hundreds of magazine covers and appearing in
    fashion shows and ads, the model, who leapt to international fame in 1999, was chosen as
    the entrée for the 2001 Pirelli calendar, a free, limited edition publication (40,000
    copies) that is sought after the world over. Giselle was chosen for the month of January.
    Having started as a staple of greasy auto shops, the Pirelli calendar today is a luxury
    item, an object of desire that few people ever acquire.

    Gisele needs no introduction. She is the world’s most famous übermodel today. The
    beauty, who won Vogue’s Model of the Year Award last year, was discovered at the
    age of 14. She was born July 20, 1980, in the little town of Nova Horizontina (pop.
    17,000), in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of Brazil. She told French
    magazine Paris Match: "I was called Olive Toothpick, after Popeye’s wife, or
    even The Skeleton. I looked like a little mosquito. My legs were the same size as my arms.
    And I was never allowed into the group of girls who tarted themselves up to go dancing and
    entice the boys."

    Gisele has been the talk of the world: dozens of websites with her pictures
    have sprouted and magazines write about her romance with Titanic’s Leonardo Di
    Caprio. One of her latest assignments was to model in provocative poses for lingerie maker
    Victoria’s Secret. The Brazilian president received her at the end of November and Globo
    TV wants her in the cast of Porto dos Milagres (Miracles Port), a new novela
    (soap opera) on the dominant network TV in Brazil, which is rumored to be the most
    expensive serial Globo has ever produced. Each half-hour episode is expected to cost
    $100,000 compared to today’s per episode cost of $75,000.

    Four months ago the model went through a screen test for the leading role of Jacobina,
    a movie by director Fábio Barreto, whose O Quatrilho (1995) was nominated for an
    Oscar as Best Foreign Movie. Gisele never thought she would become famous for her beauty.
    Now British tabloids say that the Brazilian model is the first name on Revlon’s list to
    replace Cindy Crawford, 34, who was fired after being the symbol for the cosmetics company
    for 11 years.

    Gisele was the target of criticism recently for having posed for the British men’s
    magazine Arena. Controversial American photographer David LaChapelle took the
    pictures that some people called "depraved." While the model is not shown
    totally undressed in the 25-page photo essay, her poses have provoked furor. In one of the
    pictures Gisele is shown lying on a kitchen table with her right leg raised as she holds a
    rolling pin in her left hand touching her black panties. On the table there are an empty
    egg carton, a pan with flour on it and a just baked phallic-shaped cookie. Standing on a
    chair facing Gisele is a child with closed eyes and raised arms.

    In another picture she holds a nightstick while wearing a police cap, black bra and
    panties. Another page shows her holding a green snake while gardening on all fours. On the
    cover of Arena, in which the model appears for the third time since 1998, she is
    washing a red car. Once again the image recalls sexual fantasies with the Brazilian belle
    clutching a water hose with one hand while holding a sponge full of soap in the other.

    Brazil’s bevy of beauties doesn’t stop with La Bündchen. The Pirelli
    calendar itself has three other belles in its pages, all of them (including Gisele) shot
    by Peruvian photographer Mario Testino in Naples, Italy. They are Ana Cláudia Michels,
    Fernanda Tavares and Mariana Weickert. Four nods from Pirelli to Brazilian charm and good
    looks. While only 40,000 privileged individuals throughout the world will get the calendar
    everybody is able to see the four Brazilian beauties at http://www.pirelli.com.

    They are all there together with beauties of other countries: January: Gisele
    ; February: Aurelle Claudel; March: Karen Elson; April: Rhea Durham; May: Mariana
    ; June: Fernanda Tavares; July: Angela Lindvall; August: Ana
    Cláudia Michels
    ; September: Liisa Winkler; October: Noemie Lenoir; November: Frankie
    Rayder; December: Carmen Kass.

    Fernanda, 20, also started early as a fashion model. She was still 13 when she starred
    in her first TV commercial. Born in Natal, capital of Rio Grande do Norte, the model moved
    to São Paulo with her family when she was 14. She got her big break three years ago when
    she went to work for the Marilyn Agency, which invited her to live in Paris. Within a few
    weeks her career took off. Soon she was modeling for Chanel and Chloé and appearing in
    Europe’s main fashion magazines.

    Ana Cláudia, 19, is from Blumenau, state of Santa Catarina. Her face and body should
    be recognized everywhere since she is starring in the new Calvin Klein’s jeans campaign.
    She’s being called the new Twiggy by fashion writers for the way she looks at you. She
    became well known in Brazil after appearing on billboards for M. Officer, a clothes

    Mariana, 20, has been called Barbra Streisand due to her likeness to the American
    actress and singer. She is what can be called an exotic beauty with freckles and a not
    very appealing nose. In a recent ad campaign for Ellus she appeared as one Charlie’s
    Angels—or Ellus Angels as they are called in the promotion of the Brazilian clothes
    manufacturer. Mariana has been living in New York City for the past three years.

    Cold Empire of Law

    João Herbert, 22, has been in Brazil since November 16. Although he doesn’t speak any
    Portuguese and has lived 15 years in the United States as the adopted son of an American
    couple, Jim Herbert and Nancy Saunders, being deported to his native Brazil was the only
    way he found to get out of jail. Despite being legally adopted, Herbert was considered a
    foreigner because his parents never applied for his naturalization. Herbert, who lived in
    a Brazilian orphanage his adoption, was imprisoned after falling into a police sting while
    trying to sell 200 grams of marijuana to a plain-clothes policeman from Ohio.

    The youngster’s case became a cause célèbre because the Brazilian government, on
    humanitarian grounds, argued that he shouldn’t be returned to Brazil as he was not a
    Brazilian anymore, didn’t speak the language and had no family to go home to. Brazil—together with his adoptive parents—also claimed Herbert didn’t come to the U.S. of his
    own volition and that adoption is an irrevocable act. Useless arguments. The Yankee
    intransigence won and again, on humanitarian grounds, the Brazilian government granted him
    a Brazilian passport. The only alternative left was for Herbert to spend the rest of his
    life in American prisons.

    The return of Herbert moved Brazilians and after staying a few days in a São Paulo
    shelter for the poor he accepted an invitation from a pastor to live with him and his
    family in the interior of São Paulo. On his first day in the streets of São Paulo,
    Herbert said that he was feeling like a foreigner. "I feel moved and confused,"
    he told reporters: "I studied about Brazil in school. Everything seems very different
    from the time I left. But I think this is a beautiful and kind country. As for my
    situation, many other people in the United States are suffering the same thing I did and
    unfairly as it happened to me." His priority now, he said, is to learn Portuguese. He
    is already saying some words like muito obrigado (thanks a lot).

    The youngster also confided that he wants to study law and become an attorney
    specializing in International Law. His intention, he says, is to be able one day to show
    Americans the need to change their immigration laws and the way they treat immigrants in
    the United States: "There are some laws that are being changed, but this is not
    enough. The way they do things there hurts not only the immigrant, but also the whole

    While not as dramatically as Herbert, Brazilians are increasingly being rejected and
    deported all around the world. According to a story published at the end of November by
    daily O Estado de S. Paulo, there was a dramatic 667% increase in deportation of
    Brazilians this year compared to 1999. Numbers from the Federal Police show that from
    January to October 1,359 Brazilians were barred from entering other countries and were
    returned home from the foreign airport. By comparison, for the whole year of 1999 there
    were 177 cases of deportation of Brazilians.

    In a single day in November there were 20 instances of banishment. There is an average
    of six such occurrences a day. Most times the customs people suspect that the person with
    a tourist visa wishes to remain in the country. Most of the deported come from the states
    of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. The United States leads the countries that
    send more Brazilians back, followed by England, Portugal, and more recently, Mexico.

    Not every one that is sent back was thinking about living illegally in the foreign
    country, but the deportation experience is always humiliating and many times cruel. Some
    are kept incommunicado for hours or days in the airport and are taken in handcuffs to the
    plane. Their passport is confiscated by the police and given to the plane crew who gives
    it then to the Brazilian federal police.

    Better than Thou

    Like the rest of the world, Brazilians had a raucous and a mirthful time following the
    post-election fiasco conducted by its northern neighbors in the United States of America.
    Besides repeating jokes told around the world Brazilians had a chance to deal with their
    own inferiority complex and for a change felt superior to the Americans.

    TSE’s (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral—Electoral Supreme Tribunal) Information
    Secretary, Paulo César Camarão, called the American model for voting archaic. "The
    U.S. electronic ballot box is the size of a refrigerator," he said, amused. "Our
    system, besides being uniform across the country, is also inviolable, fraud proof, and we
    are able to announce the results faster." We can almost see him laughing while saying
    this. After all, Brazil has just had national elections in which every vote—around
    110 million of them—was cast electronically in a computer terminal a little bigger
    than a shoebox, which showed the pictures of the candidates so voters could confirm he or
    she was the correct person before casting their votes. In less than six hours (5 hours and
    42 minutes to be precise) after the end of the elections the TSE already had the official
    results from 325,000 ballot boxes throughout the nation. For the president of TSE,
    minister Néri da Silveira, it’s amazing that the U.S. doesn’t have a national roster of
    voters and its system has no antifraud security.

    Forums on the Internet opened their pages so people could talk about the U.S. election.
    Hundreds of messages were posted at the Globo portal. "Do you see what happens when
    you are outdated technologically?," asked Celso Poletto
    "Not only in elections but also in their banking system Americans are behind compared
    to Brazilians. Contrary to what happens in the U.S., the Finance Ministry, for example,
    accepts tax returns via the Internet." Lúcia Maria de Lima
    wrote that Brazilians could teach something to Americans regarding voting: "When the
    subject is elections the U.S. is a Third World country. It’s unacceptable that a country
    that exercises its power over the world, that goes to space, that keeps secrets, bungles
    it so terribly when it’s time to elect the planet’s ‘most powerful’ man."

    Some people were mad to see their fellow Brazilians so worried with what was happening
    up north. "I think this discussion is a total waste of time," wrote Eric Souza
    dos Santos (orubronegro@bol.com.br). "I’d like to know if these two American citizens
    are going to be elected president of the world or of a single country? I can’t understand
    why Brazilians are so worried with an election in which whoever wins will not change at
    all the imperialistic relation of the U.S. towards the rest of the underdeveloped world.
    Do you think they discuss the fights between our Rio Governor Garotinho with mayor César
    Maia? Or the fights between senator Antônio Carlos Magalhães and President Fernando
    Henrique Cardoso? They don’t even know what the capital of Brazil is. Stop this buffoonery
    and come back to reality. Beware Uncle Sam."

    Elói Teixeira (eloi_vicente@hotmail.com) says that Brazilians should pity the American
    people for having such an outdated way of voting and invites Brazilians to be solidarity:
    "Besides the huge fiasco of showing the rest of the world an election in which the
    results came so late and which was subject to mistakes and fraud, there is something even
    worse: the indirect election, which can elevate to the presidency a candidate who the
    majority has not elected. In face of all of this, we Brazilians, who recently got rid of a
    regime of oppression, have to offer our solidarity to the American people. Let’s lend them
    our slogans: "The people united, will never be defeated! Democracy in the USA! Direct
    (elections) now!""

    For Christiana Bueno
    (christianabueno@ig.com.br) the American embarrassment and
    humiliation is a good lesson for the country: "They are finally tasting what it is to
    be underdeveloped with their primitive system of elections. We should send a committee of
    observers and share with them our technology in electronic ballot boxes, which is perfect
    for the exercise of a true and fair popular election by direct vote." And Ismenia
    Albuquerque (ismenia_albuquerque@hotmail.com) went a little further: "The mask has
    fallen. The U.S. has shown what in fact it is: a fraud." "The problem is that
    Americans are too dumb," concluded Ronaldo Fontoura

    Echoing the feeling of other quarters, Mauro Simões
    (divcil@rffsa.gov.br) made fun of
    the U.S.: "Due do our interests in that country, I think Brazil should send observers
    to follow the ballot counting. Is this a new idea or have I heard it before in a reversed
    way?" To which Wilmor Henrique (whenriqu@brasilnet.net) added: "The U.S. is
    having the election it deserves. This way Americans will learn they are not superior to
    anything or anyone. They are always interfering in questions of other countries but are
    unable to hold an election with openness and competence. Don’t you think there ought to be
    an international intervention in the American elections? Didn’t it happen in Peru,

    Concurring with many of these opinions and pointing to the good example of Brazil, The
    New York Times wrote in its op-ed page on November 24: "One very important lesson
    of the 2000 presidential election, regardless of its outcome, is already clear—you
    get what you pay for when it comes to tabulating ballots. America’s unwillingness to
    invest in a reliable, up-to-date system for casting and counting votes has helped produce
    the chaos that now clouds the outcome of the presidential election.

    "Brazil, a country larger than the continental United States, held the first
    national election conducted entirely on an A.T.M. system, with resounding success. More
    than 100 million people voted on 186,000 machines. Alas, in America, the land of rapid
    technological change, the act of voting remains a nostalgic one. In New York, we use the
    same machines our grandparents did, and a third of Americans attempt to punch out chads
    that were state of the art the year the Beatles appeared on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’"


    Luís Fernando Veríssimo, who lived and studied in the United States and is one of the
    most respected writers in Brazil, couldn’t resist going back again and again to the
    American fiasco in his daily column in the dailies O Globo (from Rio) and O
    Estado de S. Paulo. In one of them, after explaining the reason for the electoral
    college (it was created to maintain the balance between the agrarian Southern states and
    the North that was growing demographically) he concluded: "With the present mix-up it
    is even possible that the Americans may reform the Constitution and put an end to the
    electoral college, and the popular vote—preferably registered on trustworthy
    machines, as it happens in developed places like Caruaru (a little town in the
    backlands)—becomes decisive. And, more than 200 years afterwards, the spirit of the
    admirable document in which for the first time it was put on paper that common men are
    equal to kings, will prevail over their hypocrisies."

    Veríssimo returned again to the same topic on November 15 in a piece called
    "Disillusion, Disillusion": "Nothing else was serious; we couldn’t trust
    anything else but the American democracy. There it was a society that, say what they
    might, could give the world lessons of how an electoral system of free choice by direct
    suffrage works, and frequently gave. Now we find out that all the recent American
    elections, done with the same confusing methods and obsolete mechanisms as this last one
    are under suspicion—and that the suffrage, after all, was never direct. Nothing is
    serious anymore, there’s nothing we can trust."

    And when Florida had already certified the victory of Bush, Veríssimo came once again
    to the theme writing: "The United States should propose a UN emergency meeting to
    discuss sanctions against Florida, that weird place in the shape of an appendix in which
    the presidential elections were defrauded more shamefully than in Yugoslavia. An armed
    intervention by the NATO forces to end the ethnic cleansing of votes for Gore wouldn’t be
    advisable, since there would always be the possibility of the bombs missing their target
    and killing Mickey Mouse, with international repercussions, but an economic blockade like
    the one they have against Cuba and Iraq would be justifiable. In the recent unacceptable
    elections in Yugoslavia the fraud was more discreet. At least the authority in charge of
    saying if the votes could be counted or not had not participated actively in Milosevic’s
    campaign, as the State secretary of Florida did in Bush’s campaign."

    Writing at Folha de São Paulo, Ricardo Freire had a good time making fun of the
    U.S. in an article entitled, ‘America Doesn’t Know how to Vote.’ "The United States
    might have asked for help from their technologically advanced neighbors like Brazil. We
    would send immediately a load of electronic ballot boxes—used ones for sure but in
    perfect working condition. The Quixeramobim (a funny-named village in the interior of
    backward Ceará state) ballot boxes for example. Our election ended and they are there,
    inactive, waiting for the next. This way the Palm Beach folks could vote without any
    mistakes. Because all they had to do was to punch a number, wait for the picture of George
    W. Bush or Al Gore to appear and then press the CONFIRMA key.

    "To make things easier, instead of the candidates’ pictures, the electronic ballot
    boxes loaned to the Americans could show little drawings of the running parties’ symbols.
    If the Palm Beach voter punched the Republican candidate’s number, the image of an
    elephant would appear. If the Palm Beach voter punched the Democrat candidate’s number,
    the image of a little donkey would appear. I know that by now you don’t believe anything I
    write, but I SWEAR the Republican Party symbol is an elephant, and that the Democrat Party
    symbol is a little donkey. A little don-key!!!!! It is obvious that a country that allows
    the alternating of power between little elephants and little donkeys can’t really go far
    in life…

    "How long will our brothers from the North put up with being at the technological
    rear end of the continent? How long will they allow their elites to shroud themselves in
    their own backwardness, boycotting high-end technology developed overseas? The United
    States cannot insist anymore in its provincialism, in the illusion that they will be able
    to continue immune to globalization. Fat chance. Sooner or later the free market will take
    care of bringing to the Americans technological innovations from the outside world. Things
    like direct elections, the metric system, football (soccer), sunga (short swim
    trunks), avocado with sugar."

    The Jungle Is Ours

    Everyone in Brazil independent of political affiliation seems to be interested in the
    defense of the Amazon these days. With American troops training in neighboring Colombia
    fears of an invasion have increased. Villas-Boas Corrêa, a well-known political
    commentator for Rio’s daily Jornal do Brasil has raised the issue recently. In
    Congress, Mozarildo Cavalcanti, senator for the state of Roraima, also touched on the
    matter of a possible American invasion.

    Brazilian borders with Colombia are 1,700 km (1,062 miles) long, an area sparsely
    populated and with an insignificant Brazilian military presence. It is a wide open border
    where guerrillas, drug traffickers, weapon smugglers, and bio-pirates all come and go

    Cavalcanti does not embrace the old idea of massive occupancy of the border by
    stimulating internal migration. Disorderly occupation by crowds of peasants ignorant of
    local cultures and habits is not something he accepts since past experience showed it to
    be predatory. He also has no illusion that it is possible to maintain the Amazon
    untouched. He believes, however, that the Amazon should be occupied according to
    well-prepared ecological projects that have shown viability and efficiency in the past.

    In his own state of Roraima, as well as in the stare of Amapá, self-sustaining
    projects were established with excellent results and were internationally recognized as
    such. Careful occupation does not destroy but protects forest reserves, teaches the

    The senator also warns that the military should modify ancient concepts, abandoning
    their old colonial strategy that concentrates the defense of the country on sea borders as
    if to defend Brazil from foreign invasion by sea. While there is a concentration of 44,000
    military men in Rio, in the Brazilian Amazon, which occupies over two thirds of the
    country’s territory, there are only 22,000.

    Cavalcanti believes that the United States intervention in Colombia will not end soon.
    He says that Brazil has to accept the facts and protect its territory near seven bordering
    South American countries. The geopolitics of the Amazon must change, he argues, pointing
    that natives who live along the border feel more like Bolivians and Venezuelans than

    Among the senator’s solutions are the rearranging of the Brazilian territorial division
    in order to assure more efficient administration, and better territorial defense and
    geographical equilibrium of the country. Cavalcanti is the author of three projects
    proposing a referendum, as the Constitution determines, to create three new states:
    Solimões, on the west side of the Amazonas state; Tapajós, on the west side of the Pará
    State; and Araguaia on the north side of Mato Grosso state.

    Approved with a few changes by a special senate committee, the matter will be voted on
    next year in the Senate and then by the full Congress. The Fernando Henrique Cardoso
    administration likes the idea; the Ministry of Defense approves of it. Despite the odds in
    his favor, Cavalcanti is not overly optimistic. He says, "This is a long and
    difficult struggle, but this is the only way we will be able to prevent the risk of
    foreign interference in the region."

    Sky Cowboy

    Fifty years ago this December 2001, a Brazilian cowboy roped a small plane and almost
    dropped it to a ranch pasture. If his rope had not broken, Euclides Guterres of Arroyo do
    Só, from Santa Maria, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, might have been with the first
    lasso kill of a flying object. As a result, Irineu Noal, a young member of the Santa Maria
    Aero Club, lost his flying license, paid a fine, and was barred from taking up any
    aircraft belonging to the Club.

    The penalty was imposed on Noal for his conduct "unbecoming a gentleman and a
    pilot" by harassing cattle and people with his joy rides—repeated dives and low
    level passes that, according to the Club records, had "jeopardized the plane and
    threatened life and limb of the pilot and of people on the ground.".

    It took international news services some time to find out whether the "COWBOY
    LASSOES PLANE" item was legitimate. Of course, most not even knew where Rio Grande do
    Sul—Brazil’s southernmost State—was located. After verification, Time magazine
    did print a 36-line story in its February 11, 1952 edition.

    Guterres, never known for more than his liking of dark eyes women and his inclination
    to join fist free-for-all, later moved to Uruguay where he traded in cattle. A few years
    later, he returned to his home pagos and sank back into obscurity. Today, nobody
    even knows when he died. As to the foolhardy pilot, Noal—now a seasoned senior member
    of the Santa Maria society—dismisses lightly his adventure: "It was a little
    boy’s joke," he says.





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