By Ricky Skelton
Barbara Woodhouse, a famous British dog trainer, once said that there was no such thing as bad dogs, just bad owners. Brazilians seem to love their dogs, much as Gringos do, but I think the relationship is somewhat different. In Britain, a dog is usually treated like an extra, junior, member of the family. In Brazil, there are essentially two types of dogs, having different places within the family. The first, and most obvious, is the pet that is really a guard dog. They come in various sizes of large, from Alsatian to Rotweiler to Great Dane. They live in an outside yard about the size of a tiger’s cage and they behave in much the same way as a caged tiger. They can smell you coming for miles and the first bark alerts every neighbouring dog, which join in the chorus for hundreds of yards ahead of you up the road. Something similar happens with the automatic lights in office buildings. (This makes it impossible for the straying Brasileiro to sneak home late at night.) These dogs are not ones to make friends with, even if the owner introduces you. The introduction serves more as a warning to behave yourself. If staying at somebody’s house, it is best not to get too drunk and stumble into the dog’s area by accident. They’ve been waiting for that moment for years.

The other type is epitomised by the ubiquitous Poodle: Yap-dogs. In cities with many apartment blocks, dogs aren’t required for security, so people can keep the breeds that aren’t trained to kill. Their function is somewhere between a stress-ball and an earring, only for higher maintenance. Especially when the dog is taken to one of the many grooming salons for a shampoo and set plus coloured ribbons (green and yellow ribbons were very popular during the World Cup.) It is very thought-provoking seeing somebody carrying an expensively laundered dog from the salon having spent more money on it than most people earn in a week, especially in São Paulo if they have to carry the dog past people with little food and no home or money. I find it quite obscene but it’s not my place to point out these things.

What never fails to make me laugh is seeing these over-pampered dogs wearing t-shirts. As if having fur wasn’t enough in such a hot climate. The four little booties covering the paws is an occasional treat to see, but even better was the dog I saw walking the streets of Higienopolis wearing a frilly mini-skirt. Seriously. On a larger scale, it would have been the type of Lycra outfit worn by an older woman while doing gentle aerobic classes. I wish I’d had my phone to take a photo for the Photo of the Week”.

I have experience of dealing with this type of dog while house-sitting one of those breeds with no nose (very difficult to smack when the dog barks all night…). In a house of lazy students, the dog didn’t get out much so I decided to give her some proper exercise. I’d asked the owner if she liked going for walks. ‘Sim! Ela adora caminhar!’. Twenty minutes in, the dog collapsed on the path and flatly refused to go any further. I wasn’t going to drag it, and no way was I ever going to carry it, so after a few minutes of stand-off, we headed for home. Next day, she came back from the salon (carried, as it was raining) with two little pink bows on her head. That was the end of our walking relationship. Never again.

Somewhere between these two types are the biggest losers of them all. The Huskies. These noble blue-eyed beasts have enough energy (& fur) to pull sleds thousands of miles across arctic tundra through snowdrifts without complaining. Yet here they are cooped up inside small apartments, sometimes also having to suffer the heat and the ignominy of a t-shirt. People sounds surprised when they hear that a Husky left alone in a flat destroyed all the furniture. I might start a Free The Huskies campaign. Feel free to join in. And if you find you’ve released a killer by mistake, worry not. Just run. The dog will collapse panting long before it gets its claws into you.

Previous articles by Ricky:

Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

By Jose Santiago
Brazilian Law describes the way by which one can acquire the title to land. One of the methods is the usucapião”, known as adverse possession or squatter rights. The current legislation allows a person to get title to land from the actual owner simply by using the land publicly and in a peaceful way, meaning, without the intervention of the actual owner. If this occurs for a specific and continued period of time, this person, know as the possessor, may be able to claim this property as his/her own trough a lawsuit called “Aão de Usucapião” and acquire the title. The theory is that by not disputing someone else’s usage of your property, you, as the owner have abandoned your rights to the property which could be then forfeited/transferred to the possessor.

It is important for all foreigners who are purchasing real estate in Brazil to first, make sure that the property hasn’t already been taken by a possessor. Even if the broker verbalizes in that way, and the seller shows a valid and legal public deed drafted by a public notary at a “Cartorio” nearby, a careful and professional analysis of this document is necessary. In some cases there can be a public deed of conveyance, but the deed will only transfer possession rights, giving the impression to the unaware foreigner that the property is titled, when is not and worse, it belongs to someone else.

Secondly, it is never recommended to purchase these possession rights, although they are quite cheap when compared to regular real estate prices. A buyer has no guarantees that later on a Court Summons won’t be delivered at his doorsteps demanding them to leave the premises immediately, thus losing the land and everything that was built on top of it.

Finally, after purchasing real estate, those who have second homes in Brazil must be able to keep property from being abandoned. Also, make sure that all utility bills and property tax bills are in your name and are paid by you, if these steps are followed; “usucapião” can never happen to you.

Should you need further information about “usucapiao”, feel free to email me at jsantiago@eliteinternational.com.

Jose C. Santiago
Multinvest / Elite International
Licensed Attorney – Brazil
Licensed Real Estate Agent – USA
Phones: (55-11) 9348-5729 – São Paulo, Brazil
(800) 983-7060 – Miami, USA
Website: www.josecsantiago.com
Skype: josecsantiago
MSN: josecordeirosantiago@hotmail.com

Previous articles by Jose:

Brazil: Annual Procedures to Keep Your CPF Number Valid
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 3
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 2
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 1
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 4
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 3
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 2
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 1
8 Reasons to Invest in Brazil’s Real Estate
The Brazilian Resident Investor Program for Foreigners
Brazil: Annual Required Procedures to Keep Your CPF Number
Legal Aspects of Acquiring Real Estate in Brazil

By John Fitzpatrick
For better or worse, Brazil can now look forward to four more years with Luis Inacio Lula da Silva as its president. Lula’s overwhelming victory, in the face of hard evidence that the Workers Party (PT) he founded was mired in corrupt practices from day one of his administration, must seem astonishing to foreign observers. However, Brazilian voters are not idealistic and do not expect their political masters to be saints. They know that corruption is endemic and it will take more than one man or one party to end it. Lula won because he convinced most voters that he would serve their interests. Over the years, Lula has changed from a fiery trade union leader to a familiar avuncular figure to a huge section of the population. The main question now is whether he will use his second mandate to concentrate more on social policies at the risk of the economic stability which has marked his first term of office.

Even before voting had ended, one of Lula’s top ministers, Tarso Genro, announced the end of the Palocci era”, a reference to former finance minister, Antonio Palocci, whose stewardship of the economy won him many friends in business and many enemies in the PT and the government in general. Two other heavyweights – Lula’s chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, and the PT president, Marco Aurelio Garcia – made similar comments later in the day and said it was now time to pursue economic development. Reports in the press claim that the Central Bank, which currently enjoys virtual independence, will be brought back under political control. This would mean that the next chairman of the Central Bank would be subordinate to the finance minister. The current chairman, Henrique Meirelles, reports directly to Lula and not to the finance minister, Guido Mantega. Meirelles is unlikely to stay on should his status change.

Observers here believe Mantega has a strong chance of remaining as finance minister in Lula’s next administration. Mantega was often critical of Palocci’s policies and is likely to want to make changes to the economic policy.

There are certainly lots of changes which need to be made, such as tackling the huge deficit caused by the public employee pension scheme, interest rates which are among the highest in the world, an exchange rate which is hitting some sectors while benefiting others, and an inefficient and unfair tax system. It is doubtful whether Mantega is the kind of person who would attempt to tackle issues like this. He simply does not have the conviction or strength of Palocci and is more likely to become a “yes man” for a powerful minister like Rousseff who represents the old-style PT. This wing is in favor of a state intervention in the economy, government spending rather than saving, and is distrustful of the free market, multilateral institutions like the IMF, and anything to do with the United States.

However, at the end of the day it is Lula who makes the decisions and, so far, he has shown no desire to rock the boat. Like everyone of his generation, he still recalls those terrible days when inflation was rampant. Inflation hit the working and middle classes most and was finally defeated by the Real Plan introduced by former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1994 when he was finance minister in the Itamar Franco administration. For the last decade Brazil’s economic policy has focused on keeping inflation at bay. The main instrument to achieve this has been by keeping consumer demand from overheating through high interest rates. An inflation targeting system was introduced in 1999 and Lula has shown no desire to scrap it. The main problem is that this defeat of inflation has not been balanced by strong economic growth and Brazil has lagged behind other developing countries.

There has always been an influential circle within the PT which believed that the monetary policy could be relaxed and bring greater growth, even at the risk of higher inflation. The comments by Genro and Roussef show that this group feels it is time to raise this question once again and push for a change in policy. My belief is that Lula will be very cautious about accepting this kind of pressure. He has shown himself to be his own man and taken some very tough decisions over the last few years. These have included getting rid of trusty advisers, such as Palocci, and his former chief of staff, Jose Dirceu. I believe it is too early to state that the kind of change Genro and Roussef want is on the political agenda. Lula is unlikely to do anything which could reduce the value of people’s incomes and change a system which, while far from perfect, has worked over the last 10 years.

As for the losing candidate, Geraldo Alckmin, the question is whether he has become a player on the national stage or will go back to being a regional player in São Paulo. It is doubtful if the PSDB will choose him as its candidate in four years time, especially as it has two ambitious potential candidates in the wings – Jose Serra and Aecio Neves, the governors of São Paulo and Minas Gerais respectively. However, Alckmin has gained much experience from this campaign and may feel he deserves a second chance. He showed resolve in beating Serra to become candidate and he gave Lula a tough time in the televised debates.

In fact, much of the blame for his failure should be laid at the feet of his PSDB colleagues who did little to help him. Former president Cardoso made a few interventions but these caused more harm than good and, instead of being an asset, he almost became a liability. Serra kept a low profile while Neves, although openly supporting Alckmin, kept his lines open to Lula and the government. It was a sorry affair – a candidate who was let down by his party.

John Fitzpatrick 2006

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes. This article originally appeared on his site http://www.brazilpoliticalcomment.com.br. He can be contacted at jf@celt.com.br.

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on www.gringoes.com:

Brazil: Privatization – Lula and Alckmin Defend the Indefensible
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 2
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin Hits Lula but Lands No Killer Blow
Brazil: Lula Pays the Penalty for Complacency
Brazil: Does Lula Deserve to Win?
Brazil: Cardoso Writes a Poison Pen Letter
Monte Verde – Brazil’s Green Mountain
Brazil’s Gross Disappointing Product
Brazil’s Election – Alckmin Hands Lula Victory on a Plate
Lula Hits Back at Congress
Brazil’s Presidential Election May Not be a Walkover for Lula
Pity the Brazilian Voter
Brazil’s Fainthearts Let the Nation Down
Now is the Winter of Brazil’s Discontent
World Cup brings Out the Best and Worst in Brazil
Brazil’s Big Spender
Brazil: The Dogs of War are Unleashed in São Paulo
Brazil: Self-Righteous Indignation Marks Bolivian Nationalization
Brazil: Lula Still Vulnerable
Brazil: The PSDB Takes the Hard Road
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 3
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 2
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin the Hare Takes on Serra the Tortoise
Patronizing Brazilians the Politically Correct Way
Brazil: Election Gives Voters Chance to Clean Up Congress
Brazil: João Pessoa – a Victim of its Own Success
No Consistency in Brazil’s Foreign Policy
Brazil: Sitting in the Shadow of Sarney and Magalhes
Brazil: Gentrification Creeps Up On São Paulo
Dirt Flies as Brazilian Parties Aim for Presidency
Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love
Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?

This week’s entertainment guide for São Paulo features a French restaurant in Consolaão, an exhibition in Ibirapuera Park, two recommended films from the International Film Festival, and a roundup of some other upcoming events.

LaThis week’s restaurant recommendation is La Tartine, located in Consolaão. As you may guess from the name, La Tartine is French in style and menu, although somewhat unusual. The restaurant itself is quite small and cosy, with that feel of a French bistro; the walls are full of posters from Paris and various antique items, with candles on the tables. The menu is the most unusual part, with a relatively small fixed menu albeit with some delicious options, such as the famous range of quiches. Along with the fixed menu though there’s a daily specials menu, which offers a range of interesting options such as pepper steak and coq au vin. Expect to pay around R$30 per person excluding drinks. Also book ahead at weekends to avoid the queue, as the restaurant can be busy. Open Monday – Saturday: 7:30pm – 12:30am. Rua Fernando de Albuquerque, 267. Consolaão. Link to approximate location in GoogleMaps.

Afro Brazil MuseumThe Afro Brazil Museum (Museu Afro Brasil) is celebrating its 2 year anniversary with 4 exhibitions. The overall project is titled “Viva Cultura Viva do Povo Brasileiro” (Live the Live Culture of the Brazilian People), with the four exhibitions: “Território Ocupado” (Occupied Territory), “Um Olhar sobre a Arte Brasileira” (A look at Brazilian Art), “O Imaginrio do Povo Brasiliero” (The Imagination of the Brazilian People), and “Os Pontos de Cultura” (The Points of Culture). “Território Ocupado” brings the work of the graffiti artist, including pieces from Speto, Nunca, Ciro, Melim, Kboco and Onesto. “Um Olhar sobre a Arte Brasileira” is a more conservative look at Brazilian art in the 20th century, featuring work from Nelson Leirner, Marcelo Grassmann, Carlos Scilar, Tomie Ohtake, Arcangelo Lanelli, Antonio Maluf and Franz Krajcberg, among other. “O Imaginrio do Povo Brasiliero” is centred around the concepts of ancestry, archaim and permanence in Brazil, and brings work from Lafaiete Rocha, Nino, Noemisa, Sergio Vidal and Ulisses Pereira. The final exhibition “Os Pontos de Cultura” brings together work from various states that has been stimulated by the Culture Ministry. Free entry. Exhibition ends March 31st. Ibirapuera Park. Pavillion Pe. Manoel de Nóbrega. Gate 10. Av. Pedro Alvares Cabral. http://www.museuafrobrasil.prodam.sp.gov.br

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low PriceThere’s nothing particularly good this week in terms of normal film releases, so here are two recommendations from the 30th International Film Festival (30 Mostra Internacional de Cinema). The first is Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (Wal-Mart: O Alto Custo do Preo Baixo). Directed by Robert Greenwald, the film compiles various short documentaries that inevitably relate to the corporate greed of Wal-Mart. Some centre around the smaller family stores that Wal-Mart have put out of business through competition. Others relate to the practices of the corporation, for example understaffing their stores and paying low wages. Recommended for fans of documentary type films. IMDB’s page on Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. The IFF’s page on Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, with showing cinemas and times.

BabelThe second recommendation, part of São Paulo’s 30th International Film Festival is for Babel. The film is directed by the Mexican Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu, and written by the Mexican Guillermo Arriaga. The film is essentially three stories about the problems that can be caused by communication. The first story centres around a married couple in Morocco. When the wife, played by Cate Blanchett, is shot out in the desert, the husband, played by Brad Pitt, is desperate to find help from the locals. The second story starts in California, with a Mexican woman caring for two American children. She needs to attend her son’s wedding, and ends up taking the children with her to Mexico. The third story involves a Japanese deaf-mute Chieko, played by Rinko Kikuchi, living in Tokyo. Despite the city environment Chieko is alone, even more so folllowing the death of her mother, and with little other connection to the people there. Babel is recommended for lovers of art films and those telling powerful stories. IMDB’s page on Babel. The IFF’s page on Babel, with showing cinemas and times.

Other international films to keep an eye out for this week at the festival are: The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Clerks 2, The Bridge, and Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. See the festival web site for more details. Make sure to check the showing times and book tickets well in advance, particularly for evening showings, to avoid disappointment. Note the film festival ends this Thursday (November 2nd).

Here’s a roundup of some other events happening around São Paulo over the coming weeks: The famous musical Sweet Charity is at Citibank Hall until December 17th (tickets R$60 – 120, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). Famous British band New Order are coming to the Via Funchal on November 13th and 14th (tickets R$160, tel. 3089 6999). The festival Nokia Trends brings bands such as 2ManyDJs, We Are Scientists (USA) and Ladytron (UK), along with DJ sets to Anhembi on November 25th (tickets R$120, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). British rock veterans Deep Purple play some of their greatest hits, such as “Smoke on the Water”, at Tom Brasil on November 28th and 29th (tickets R$100 – 200, Ingresso Rpido tel. 2163 2000). Blues guitarist BB King comes to the Bourbon Street Jazz club and the Via Funchal on November 30th and December 2nd (tickets on sale for Bourbon Street in October tel. 3897 4456, for Via Funchal tickets are R$95 – 480, tel. 5095 6100).

If you have been to a restaurant, club, park, museum, or anywhere else in São Paulo that you would like to recommend to other readers in future Entertainment Guides then don’t hesitate to contact us!

Also if you are a bar, restaurant , or night club owner (or hosting any other form of event that might be of interest to foreigners) that would like to be reviewed by www.gringoes.com, as well as appearing in our entertainment guide, please contact us to arrange a visit. If you would like to submit a weekly entertainment guide for your city we’d be interested to hear from you also.

What’s On Guide, October 23 – October 29 2006
What’s On Guide, October 16 – October 22 2006
What’s On Guide, October 9 – October 15 2006
What’s On Guide, September 25 – October 1 2006
What’s On Guide, September 18 – September 24 2006
What’s On Guide, September 11 – September 17 2006
What’s On Guide, September 4 – September 10 2006
What’s On Guide, September 4 – September 10 2006
What’s On Guide, August 28 – September 3 2006
What’s On Guide, August 21 – August 27 2006
What’s On Guide, August 14 – August 20 2006
What’s On Guide, August 8 – August 13 2006
What’s On Guide, August 1 – August 7 2006
What’s On Guide, July 24 – July 31 2006
What’s On Guide, July 17 – July 23 2006
What’s On Guide, July 10 – July 16 2006
What’s On Guide, July 3 – July 9 2006
What’s On Guide, June 26 – July 2 2006
What’s On Guide, June 19 – June 25 2006
What’s On Guide, June 12 – June 18 2006
What’s On Guide, June 5 – June 11 2006
What’s On Guide, May 29 – June 4 2006
What’s On Guide, May 22 – May 28 2006
What’s On Guide, May 15 – May 21 2006
What’s On Guide, May 8 – May 14 2006
What’s On Guide, May 1 – May 7 2006
What’s On Guide, April 24 – April 30 2006
What’s On Guide, March 27 – April 2 2006
What’s On Guide, March 20 – March 26 2006
What’s On Guide, March 13 – March 19 2006
What’s On Guide, March 6 – March 12 2006
What’s On Guide, February 20 – March 5 2006
What’s On Guide, February 13 – February 19 2006
What’s On Guide, February 13 – February 19 2006
What’s On Guide, February 06 – February 12 2006
What’s On Guide, January 30 – February 05 2006
What’s On Guide, January 23 – January 29 2006
What’s On Guide, January 16 – January 22 2006

By John Fitzpatrick
For every 100 Brazilians, there are now 51 mobile phones and there are expected to be 100 million cellular phones in operation by the end of the year. The mobile telephony revolution has given most of the population access to a means of communication which was unthinkable 10 years ago when telecommunications was the monopoly of the inefficient state-owned concern Telebras. In those days subscribers had to wait years to get a landline, with the result that a black market sprung up with lines being sold for thousands of Reais. However, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has made privatization a campaign issue and used it to attack his rival, Geraldo Alckmin of the PSDB. Instead of seizing this advantage, Alckmin has been intimidated and is ruling out the privatization of companies like Petrobras, the Post Office, Banco do Brasil and the Caixa Economica Federal (CEF).

The privatization campaign was one of the driving forces of the first mandate of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Utilities like telecommunications, gas and electricity and water treatment were sold off, along with state-owned banks, steel and mining companies. The privatization of Telebras and other public companies like the mining concern, CVRD, the regional jet manufacturer, Embraer, the steel manufacturer, CSN, and a number of banks has resulted in companies which are now much more efficient and profitable.

CVRD, for example, has just acquired the Canadian company, Inco, at a cost of US$18 billion and become the second-largest mining group in the world. Since it was privatized 10 years ago, after a furious opposition campaign by Lula’s PT, reactionary nationalists and even Catholic bishops, CVRD has increased its direct workforce from around 11,000 to 44,000. It has invested billions of dollars not only to boost production and improve efficiency but also in initiatives related to environmental protection and social responsibility.

Steel companies like CSN and Cosipa have also flourished under private ownership. The former CEO of CSN, Maria Silva Bastos Marques, pointed out in an article published in the Estado de São Paulo” on October 25, 2006, that the consolidated losses of the state-owned steel companies in 1992 came to US$260 million whereas by 2005 this figure had become a profit of US$4 billion.

These profits have been channeled back into the economy not only in dividends to shareholders but also in taxes. Instead of being a drag on the taxpayer the companies have become a regular source of revenues. However, none of this seems to have changed Lula’s attitude. He claims that Alckmin intends privatizing some sacred cows like Banco do Brasil, Petrobras and CEF. Regardless of Alckmin’s denials, Lula repeated these charges and they stuck. Alckmin was unwilling to fight back on this issue and eventually caved in. To show his support for continuing state control of these companies, he was photographed wearing a jacket emblazoned with their names. He ended up looking more like a Formula One driver covered in the advertising logos of his sponsors than a presidential candidate.

This is a good example of how genuine debate over issues has been absent from this campaign. Not once did Lula give any reason for being against privatization. Not once did he attempt to show the benefits of having Petrobras or Banco do Brasil under state control. Alckmin also refused to go into detail on issues, such as how to handle the gaping hole in the public accounts caused by Brazil’s absurdly generous pension scheme for public employees.

He has concentrated on corruption and the bad news and failed to convince the electorate while Lula has dodged the issue of corruption and concentrated on the new good news about the economy. The electorate obviously prefers Lula’s message. The latest opinion poll by Datafolha, published four days ahead of voting, gives him 61% compared with 39% for Alckmin. Lula now seems unbeatable.

Finally, one of the reasons why Lula is so keen on keeping big companies like Petrobras and Banco do Brasil under control is that they provide great opportunities for political patronage. People can be appointed to the board of directors and to executive management positions on political not technical grounds. Once these politicians are in place, they can hire and fire who they want and provide sinecures for their allies, friends and relatives. More importantly, they have access to the company’s cash. State-owned companies were at the heart of the “bribes for votes” and have been linked to the “bloodsuckers” scandal and its latest development, the alleged attempt by the PT to buy information from corrupt businessmen to smear the PSDB’s Jose Serra, recently elected governor of São Paulo.

John Fitzpatrick 2006

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes. This article originally appeared on his site http://www.brazilpoliticalcomment.com.br. He can be contacted at jf@celt.com.br.

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on www.gringoes.com:

Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 2
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin Hits Lula but Lands No Killer Blow
Brazil: Lula Pays the Penalty for Complacency
Brazil: Does Lula Deserve to Win?
Brazil: Cardoso Writes a Poison Pen Letter
Monte Verde – Brazil’s Green Mountain
Brazil’s Gross Disappointing Product
Brazil’s Election – Alckmin Hands Lula Victory on a Plate
Lula Hits Back at Congress
Brazil’s Presidential Election May Not be a Walkover for Lula
Pity the Brazilian Voter
Brazil’s Fainthearts Let the Nation Down
Now is the Winter of Brazil’s Discontent
World Cup brings Out the Best and Worst in Brazil
Brazil’s Big Spender
Brazil: The Dogs of War are Unleashed in São Paulo
Brazil: Self-Righteous Indignation Marks Bolivian Nationalization
Brazil: Lula Still Vulnerable
Brazil: The PSDB Takes the Hard Road
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 3
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 2
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin the Hare Takes on Serra the Tortoise
Patronizing Brazilians the Politically Correct Way
Brazil: Election Gives Voters Chance to Clean Up Congress
Brazil: João Pessoa – a Victim of its Own Success
No Consistency in Brazil’s Foreign Policy
Brazil: Sitting in the Shadow of Sarney and Magalhes
Brazil: Gentrification Creeps Up On São Paulo
Dirt Flies as Brazilian Parties Aim for Presidency
Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love
Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?

Meet Atlanta Foresyth, from the USA, who has travelled to Brazil many times, works with Brazilian music, and is opening a pousada in Brazil. Read the following interview where she tells us about her most memorable experiences from Brazil and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I’m a vocalist, dancer and actress currently living in New York, but slowly making the move to Brazil. I grew up in a small town in northwest Florida, and my mother is a Cape Verdean American, so I always felt a strong connection with Brazilians and Brazil. Many people aren’t aware that Cape Verde even exists, so I’ve always told people that my heritage is Brazilian. I’ve never been to Cape Verde and I travel to Brazil about twice a year.

Here in New York, I work with an ensemble of dancers called Brasilierando (the act of being Brazilian), DJs who love Brazilian music or Brazilian musicians. In Brazil, I’m opening a pousada.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

I first came to Brazil in 2002, a few months after Sept 11 happened in New York City. I was in the building, and after a few months of just feeling disconnected to all the things I thought meant so much (work, money, the city), I escaped to the beaches of Rio and Salvador to re-evaluate my life.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

I knew of the beauty, but actually seeing it with my own eyes was an experience that chokes me up, even now. During my first flight, descending through the mountains and clouds in Rio, I cried because it felt like I was coming home. The poverty is staggering, even compared to the homeless problem we have here in New York City, but the spirit of the people, no matter what their financial situation, is inspiring.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Different kinds of hip hop, whole wheat bagels, tofu cream cheese, top notch vegetarian food, the whole foods market, The New York Times in print, pomegranate martinis and the FoodTV network.

5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

Seeing kids who still seem to have little more to do than stand on street corners and ask for money because it’s really the only way they know. It’s heartbreaking.

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

People in Brazil have SUCH big hearts. Little things like the fact that one lady who used to make these meals outside the pousada where we stay in Bahia, she found out that we really like coconut, so the next day she must have shown up with 6 or 8 different desserts with coconut!

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

The alegria (happiness) of the people. The spirit of their hearts that always has a smile, always is ready to welcome you to a dance. It’s the way people don’t have much, but they know the value of having their lives, and live them with FULL thanksgiving.

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

I’m a huge fan of a little place called Toca de Siri. It’s on a side street in Copacabana, doesn’t really have an address, but it is SO much fun! Great food, nice friendly atmosphere, and really it is the embodiment of what Brazil is truly about.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

(Not answered)

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

People in the USA live to work. They haven’t grasped that the reasons Brazilians are so happy is that they LIVE TO LIVE. it’s a huge difference, and as Americans, most are conditioned to think that 2 weeks vacation each year is enough time to reclaim your sanity after the rat race of the entire year. That’s the fast track to a heart attack.

11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?

Eu falo bem portugues ;o) com sotaque carioca! Honestly, often times locals will come ask me a question and I have a tendency to run out of vocabulary. They’re perplexed by this, because my accent and appearance are so authentic, that they cant believe I wasn’t born and bred there in Brazil.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil? Relax & have an open mind.

Brazilians are some of the most wonderful people on earth…

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

São Paulo is a shoppers paradise. Antiques, furniture, art, jewellery, Japanese artifacts, it’s a DREAM!

Are you a foreigner who has lived in, or is living or travelling in Brazil? Are you a Brazilian who has a lot of contact with foreigners and/or lived outside of Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer for our interview series, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send a blank email to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email.

To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:

Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

By Joe Lopes
Here is part 3 of Joe’s article about two of Brazil’s most famous characters. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the end of the article.

Prima Donna Par Excellence
With the death of De Reszke in 1925, and Theodorini’s own passing the following year, Bidu was forced to seek assistance elsewhere in planning for her operatic future. She journeyed to Italy for the express purpose of establishing contact with former diva Emma Carelli and her husband, the noted impresario Walter Mocchi, whom she had previously heard about while living in Brazil.

Together, the couple ran the Teatro Costanzi (later called the Teatro Reale) in Rome, and, since 1910, Mocchi had also been responsible for the opera performances at Rio’s Teatro Municipal, as well as the summer seasons at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

Mocchi took quite a fancy to the young Brazilian beauty, as did his soprano wife. Suitably impressed by the little songbird’s talents, Signora Carelli referred her to maestro Luigi Ricci for training in operatic repertoire; and, on March 25, 1926, Bidu Sayão made her European debut at the Costanzi as Rosina in The Barber of Seville, later adding Gilda in Rigoletto, and Carolina in Il Matrimonio Segreto, to her growing list of stage roles.

Her success in the Italian capital soon paved the way for Bidu’s triumphant return to the Brazilian one: she reappeared in Rio de Janeiro, as Rosina, in June of that year. In the meantime, Mocchi had gone ahead and booked her for several more seasons at the Teatro Municipal in São Paulo, where he had previously accepted the management’s offer of a full-time directorship.

Bidu went on to perform there in a wide variety of works, including the opera Sister Madalena by, of all people, her uncle Alberto, a sentimental payback of sorts for his having served as the family intermediary ten years prior.

How much Mocchi’s new position had to do with the singer’s extended local engagement, however, is not known, but it soon became a situation ripe with romantic speculation. Irrespective of the rumors that might have been generated by the proximity of these two individuals, fate would inevitably thrust them even closer together, for, in 1928, Emma Carelli was involved in a fatal car accident in Italy. Her sudden death left a personal void in the busy professional life of Walter Mocchi, who now looked to Bidu for consolation.

It would be easy to suggest that her subsequent marriage to the much older Mocchi was a relatively stable one, but the enormous 40-year difference in their ages proved a difficult gap for Bidu to close. She later admitted her mistake, claiming: I have always searched for my father in the husbands that I married.” They separated after a time, and were finally divorced in 1934.

The following year, Bidu would at last meet her prospective soul-mate in the person of Italian opera star Giuseppe Danise. It was during a 1935 performance of Rigoletto in Naples, quite possibly in one of the many moving numbers they had so often sung together at rehearsal, that soprano and baritone decided to transform their budding emotional relationship into a permanent love duet.

They officially tied the knot in 1947, and would remain constantly devoted to one another until Danise’s own departure from this world in 1963. He was 19 years her senior.

Part 4 next week…

Copyright 2006 by Josmar F. Lopes

A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.

To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

Two Brazilian Charmers Part 2
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 21
Teaching English In Brazil Part 20
Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 4
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 3
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil’s Gerald Thomas
A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?

By Gringo Blogger
By way of introduction I’m a foreigner who’s lived in São Paulo city for a few years. I came here for romantic reasons with the hopes of finding a job, like many gringos (only to find out that getting work in Brazil is a near impossible task). So I’m not your typical wealthy gringo. Thankfully I am now working part time in a great job, but am still on the Holy Grail-like quest of finding full time work. I married my girlfriend early last year, so have some idea of the highs and lows of a multicultural relationship.

In my blog I’m just documenting some of the day-to-day events that happen to me, amusing or not, to give an impression of what it’s like for a gringo living in the bustling metropolis of São Paulo, and Brazil in general. It’s at times also meant as a tongue in cheek look at gringo life, so shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

So a couple of months ago I decided that enough was enough and I ought to make some better use of my spare time, having done little practical with it for a year or two. Brazil is on some levels a paradise for a student who wants to study any type of course, as so many people here study, for their whole lives it seems! Whether it means taking a degree, a second degree, a masters, a PhD, or any other possibility of full or part time study. It’s almost as if people work to study. Here in São Paulo there’s an arguably even greater focus, with so many courses available in the city.

I decided to opt for an MCSA, a Microsoft certification and associated course that I had meant to get in the UK but had never been in a good position to obtain. The course wasn’t extortionate, and I certainly felt it was value for money in terms of the number of hours training versus the cost. I didn’t have the money to finance the course, but thankfully my parents helped me out, what with it being towards a productive goal for once. Also the MCSA certification is internationally recognised, so there wouldn’t be any issue of getting this recognised again elsewhere in the world.

One aspect that had me somewhat worried was the course being wholly in Portuguese. I’d never been fully immersed” in the language, that is I’d never had to try and understand what someone was saying to me for more than an hour or two. The idea of being blasted with Portuguese for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week was going to be interesting. You never know until you try, but I had to commit to paying the course to try (a free lesson to check wasn’t possible unfortunately).

So when the first day arrived I was nervous as to whether my head would be spinning after five minutes, as is often the case when chatting with Brazilian people at parties (or perhaps the head spinning is caused by too many Chopps?). The instructor was half an hour late to the first lesson, a trend that I soon learned was the norm, both before and after lunch. I was surprised that the classroom wasn’t abuzz with chatter. In fact it was much like a classroom in the UK, with everyone a bit nervous and quiet.

When the teacher did arrive he handed out two thick volumes, our apostilas (handouts) which I was amazed to hear were only for the first week. My rucksack, and unfit body, were going to be tested to the limits! I started to leaf through them, and was glad to see that I could actually read and understand most of it, which partly quoshed my worries about the language barrier. The teacher was a little rapid in his conversation, but again I could understand most of what was being said. It’s hard to describe how you understand a language that you’re semi-fluent in. Perhaps a good metaphor is that it’s like seeing a picture in jigsaw form, with most of the pieces intact. Most of the time you can understand the whole picture with those few pieces missing, but not always. In fact the only parts I had a hard time understanding were when we inevitably slipped off-topic, typically football as it was a 95% male class. Part of the understanding issue with any language is vocabulary, and if a topic is moved onto that you aren’t familiar with it gets tricky!

Another worry had been about the quality of the course. São Paulo is flooded with IT courses and it’s hard to judge the standard without actually trying. As the course progressed though I was glad to see the quality was excellent. Both the handouts and the quality of the teachers were fantastic, even if their timekeeping skills and ability to follow the actual notes weren’t. I suspect the course had a little extra time factored into it, over and above the English version, because the software itself was in English. So the Brazilian students needed to have that part explained, and I was able to relax a little, for that part at least. In fact I got to help on occasion when dealing with an awkward translation, and was complimented several times on my Portuguese.

So now I’m left with one module to go, and then the course is finished, although I still have to take several difficult exams. Half the exams have been translated to Portuguese, but I won’t hedge my bets as I’ll be taking them in English!

Do you have any comments on Gringo Blogger’s blog? If so send them to mark@www.gringoes.com and we’ll add them to the article.

Previous articles by Gringo Blogger:

Brazil Blog: The Cleaner
Brazil Blog: Dealing With Doctors
Brazil Blog: Showers
Brazil Blog: Dia Dos Namorados
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 3
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 2
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 1
Brazil Blog: Feira Frustration

By Mark Taylor
One of my enduring loves is that of films/movies, which started way back as a child. Generally speaking Brazil’s not the best place for a lover of films, as many international offerings inevitably have release dates several months after the US and Europe, although thankfully not all. Brazil does have a relatively busy film industry itself, but it’s rare for a title to make it to the international scene, perhaps once or twice a year on average. Even though many of the home grown titles released each year are inevitably still very popular at the cinema here, so perhaps it can be equated with say France on that level.

When it comes to watching films, most cinemas here still have a lesson to learn with regards to ticket booking and seat allocation. I’m fairly patient, but I’m still not quite patient enough to endure the typical long weekend queues to buy a ticket, followed by a second long queue to have a chance of getting a good seat. In fact several times I’ve got to the cinema to see the queue, and turned around and gone home again.

Anyway, enough of my personal frustrations. I’m very glad to see the return of the annual film festival to São Paulo, this being its 30th appearance. The film festival is locally known as the Mostra”, that is “the show”, although its full title in Portuguese is “30 Mostra Internacional de Cinema São Paulo”.

I still haven’t learned my lesson, as each of the 3 years I’ve been here I intend to buy the pass for the entire festival, and don’t. The pass allows you to see any of the films on show, and despite its relatively high cost of R$340, it’s value for money for film buffs considering there are 420 films on offer (plus my understanding is that it lets you bypass the queue). There’s a special reduced cost pass for the festival as well for R$90, but this only allows you to see films up to 5:55pm. You may also need a relatively sturdy pair of walking shoes if you intend to see most of the festival, as well as taxi fares and Metr/bus tickets to rapidly travel from cinema to cinema (a total of 14 are involved all over the city). For those lucky enough, a car would also suffice. You can also buy tickets in “packets” of 20 or 40 (R$120 or R$240), or simply turn up on the day and buy. Be prepared for queues both to buy and get a seat, particularly with the more popular films (just in case I hadn’t reinforced the queue point sufficiently!).

Although international films are the flavour of the festival, with 44 countries involved, the Brazilian aspect has not been forgotten. This year, to celebrate the 30th anniversary, Petrobras are giving the biggest prize to date of R$400,000/US$200,000 for the best feature length Brazilian film, and R$200,000/US$100,000 for the best feature length Brazilian documentary. Rather than choosing a panel of “stuffy” judges to award the prize, each film will be voted for during each showing by the audience (each audience member is given a voting slip when they enter the theatre).

In terms of other foci within the festival, to-date there has always been a look at one particular film-maker, with most if not all of their work being shown. This year though things are different, and this particular focus has been changed to Italian political cinema of the 60s and 70s. This parallels the release of a book on the same theme, “O Cinema Poltico Italiano – anos 60 e 70”, by lvaro Machado and Leon Cakoff, edited by Cosac Naify. Along with this there’s also the launch of a book celebrating the 30th annviersay of the festival, Cinema Sem Fim (Cinema Without End).

Combining the above with some of the other events in the festival, including some important international releases and pre-releases, special presentations (such as the showing of a restored copy of the 1914 Italian classic Cabiria, by Giovanni Pastrone. Also a showing titled “Silent Shakespeare”, with seven diverse shorts based around Shakespeare’s work dating from 1899 – 1911, as well as other presentations), and free sessions for students (linked with “o 7 ano do Festival da Juventude”, the 7th Youth Festival), it’s promising to be a worthy celebration of the 30th anniversay of the festival.

So far my attempts at getting to see some of the festival have been relatively pathetic, but I did make the effort to see Darren Aronofsky’s most recent release, The Fountain. 4 years in the making, and with a buzz that’s followed it the whole time, from a young writer/director who has shown a lot of promise in films such as Pi and Requiem for a Dream. The Fountain has already divided critics a little in its showings at festivals in the past month or so. It is due for theatrical release at the end of November first in countries like Brazil and the USA, with a staggered worldwide release (not reaching the UK until February, and Japan in July). Aronofsky, who directed the film and co-wrote the story, tells a classic tale of fated lovers (played by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz) but set against the unusual backdrop of hundreds of years in time. A minor niggle for me is the rather poor translation of the title to Portuguese, poor title translations being somewhat typical in Brazil. The title in Portuguese is Fonte da Vida, that is Fountain of Life. This perhaps gives an unnecessary hint at the story, whereas A Fonte would have been perfectly suitable. Title translations aside, Clint Mansell delivers a beautiful soundtrack that does a perfect job of mirroring some of the exquisite visuals. In summary, although it is unlikely to appeal to mainstream audiences because of the style and story, it may well appeal to those willing to engage with something a little different, artistic and/or intelligent. For me it was a fantastic piece, and I’m glad to see Aronofsky still pushing the boundaries of film and confusing the critics.

There’s still time for those who want to catch some of the festival’s films, as it doesn’t finish until November 2nd (Thursday). Check the festival’s web site for programme details.

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Previous articles by Mark:

Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
Brazil: Film Review
Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

By Volker Ruther
This is the first in a series of helpful articles by Volker which are a collection of information and experiences about how and where to get documents and permissions, or how to resolve bureaucratic subjects and matters in Brazil as a foreigner.

Note that some details may not be 100% correct, as the article is based on personal experiences and information that has been collected from various sources like Internet sites, official documents and an exchange of experiences with other foreigners in Brazil. Always check your own situation via a suitable source e.g. consulate or appropriately qualified laywer, before proceeding.

There are four ways to qualify for a Permanent visa (also known as the Permanency Visa, or Permanncia Definitiva / Visto da Permanncia in Portuguese) for Brazil:

  • to be the spouse of a Brazilian citizen
  • to be the parent of a child with Brazilian citizenship
  • to invest a minimum of US$50,000 in Brazil
  • to be retired with a min. monthly income of US$2,000

The visa application can be made in your country of residence via the local Brazilian Embassy or Consulates or in Brazil via the Federal Police (Polcia Federal).

It’s important to note that a visa gained by investment is only valid for 5 years, after which it must be renewed.

Applying for the Visa Outside of Brazil
You will receive the visa much faster if you apply in the country of your residence. Usually within two or three months the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate will issue the visa if you handed in all necessary documents and the application fee is paid. Once the visa is stamped into your passport you have 90 days to enter Brazil, and then once in Brazil a further 30 days to be registered at the local office of the Federal Police. If you do not register within 30 days you will need to pay a fine. You will find more details about the necessary documents and application fee on the official homepage of the Brazilian Embassy in your country of residence, (e.g. in the USA: http://www.brasilemb.org)

Applying for the Visa within Brazil
If you want to apply for the visa in Brazil you have to file the application at the local office of the Federal Police. The following documents are necessary:

  • passport, along with a photocopy of all pages!!!
  • wedding certificate
  • certificate of criminal records e.g. issued by the FBI in the USA, and often the local Police in other countries (not older than three months)
  • prove of residence in Brazil (usually done with a phone or light bill showing your
    address in Brazil)
  • Application form (available at the Federal Police)
  • Receipt of payment for fee of R$ 53,83 (The voucher for the fee can be printed here: https://www2.dpf.gov.br/gru/gru?nac=1)

With all documents you must present the original and an authenticated photocopy, which will remain together with the application form at the Federal Police. All documents not issued in Portuguese have to be translated by a sworn public translator recognized by the Federal Police. If you do the translation in your country of residence, the documents and translations have to be legalized by the responsible Brazilian Consulate or Embassy.

When you have successfully handed all documents over and paid the fee (R$53,83) you will receive a receipt, the so-called protocolo. The protocolo shows the number of your application (processo) it’s also a kind of temporary foreigner ID and visa, so you should keep it together with your passport.

Now you have to wait for the publication of your application. The decision will be published in the Government’s newspaper (Dirio Oficial da União – DUO). There is an ONLINE-version of the DOU available on the Internet at: www.in.gov.br or www.mj.gov.br [Search in section 1 (SEO 1)] The publication in the DOU will take at least one year, usually more. I waited one year and two months and I’ve heard about cases where people have waited five to six years! Probably the Federal Police will not send you any information about the progress of your application. So you have to check from time to time with the DOU or call the office of the Federal Police to ask about the status of your application.

Also make sure that you inform the Federal Police in case you travel abroad or within Brazil. This is very important in case the Federal Police want to get in contact with you, if you are not at home or they can’t get in touch with you, they can cancel your application.

Once your application is published, you have 90 days to claim your Permanncia at the Federal Police. If you miss the deadline (90 days) to claim your visa, the visa expires and you will have to make a new application with all the paperwork, costs and lost of time. To claim the visa, you have to present the Protocolo and a copy of the DOU that published your visa. You can buy a copy of the DOU at the local office of the Imprensa Nacional or you can buy an authenticated Xerox of the page where your process is published.

You can track the progress of your application ONLINE at: http://www.mj.gov.br/sistemas/EstrangeiroWEB/index.asp

Visa Expiry
By law the Permanent Visa will expire if you leave Brazil for more then two years. Usually there is no problem leaving Brazil for a period of three months or even more. In case you should stay outside Brazil for one year or more, you should check the status of your Permanncia after your return, to avoid any problems in case it has been cancelled.

That means the other parent of the child is a Brazilian citizen (you do not have to be married) or the child is born in Brazil, because everybody born in Brazil automatically has Brazilian citizenship.
You either have to invest US$50,000 into a business or invest less than US$50,000 and employ a minimum of 10 Brazilians for 5 years. In either case the visa is only issued after review and approval of the plan.

To contact Volker, as well as get a copy of his free eBook (PDF) of this information, send an email to mineiro_alemao@hotmail.com.