Tony Newcomb
October 27, 2009

The complaint one hears most commonly about Brazil from both Brazilians and outsiders regards the country’s bureaucracy and burdensome laws and regulations. At first glance, the statutory burdens appear unnecessary at best, and wasteful at worse. But further review reveals the law’s apparent intended purposes, and further scrutiny identifies their unintended consequences. The Brazilian marketing and media industries provide a good example of this pattern. The laws regulating the financial relationship between advertiser, advertising agency and media provider date to 1965 (Law n. 4.680/65).

First, some background on Law n. 4.680/65. The regulations specify:

  • The services the agency must provide. For example, the agency that produces the advertisement for the client must buy the media. The requirement essentially bans media buying companies from operating in the market.
  • That agency remuneration must range from 15% to 20% on gross media costs.
  • The discounts the media provider must grant the advertising agency. The media provider is to offer a 20% trade discount to the agency.
  • That the additional financial incentives received by the agency from the media provider are not to be shared with the agency’s clients. Nor are these incentives to be disclosed to the clients. This law makes it legal for the agency to maintain a conflict of interest between its client and its media provider. The law also makes it illegal for the agency to be transparent with its client.

    The law effectively cuts off

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    October 7, 2009

    Meet Aaron Sundquist who spent the last few months in Brazil, and hopes to be returning again soon. Read the following interview in which he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

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

    My story is a brief one. I grew up all over the western United States moving, on average, every couple of years. At university I studied abroad for a year in Chile in 2004 and I fell in love with the challenges of living and learning abroad. I had hoped to make a visit to Brazil while in the region but it wasn’t financially feasible at the time. After graduating with degrees in Economics and International Studies I moved to Washington, DC in 2007 and began work as a cost-benefit analyst on a team of economists at a public policy research institute. After about a year in Washington, the dream to spend time in Brazil was still strong. But I had a slew of serious challenges-I had no knowledge of Portuguese, no savings and no way to earn income while in Brazil. I began to take steps to resolve those problems by enrolling in Portuguese courses and taking on independent consulting. A year later I spoke decent Portuguese, had a nice chunk of savings and a couple of freelance consulting contracts I could work on from Brazil.

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

    I arrived in Rio de Janeiro in April 2009. Rio offered the opportunity to pursue several different goals at the same time. First, I considered the opportunity to become fluent in Portuguese a valuable personal and professional investment. Very few Americans speak the language fluently even as Brazil’s role in the global economy continues to rapidly grow. Second, Rio allowed me to pursue my athletic aspirations to continue training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and, for the first time, to train in the sport’s global capital. Last, the decision to move to Brazil represented the first step in making a professional transition from public policy to the private sector. Naturally, the city’s reputation for fantastic climate, culture and people was a motivating factor as well.

    Unfortunately, my tourist visa expired in late September so I’ve been back in Washington, DC for a couple weeks at the time of this interview. I’m working on a few projects here for now, though I intend to return to Brazil in five to six months.

    3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

    Hospitality and kindness – an instant shock coming from Washington, DC. During the flight down to Brazil I met a Brazilian my age who was sitting next to me on the plane. Halfway through the flight he mentioned his father was picking him up from the airport and that they would be happy to give me a ride to where I was staying. They gave me a ride to Ipanema, even making a detour to have coconut water at the mirante (lookout), which offers a fantastic view of Rio’s Zona Sul. All of this despite the fact they lived in Niterói, an entirely different city located the opposite direction from Ipanema when leaving the airport. A week later I went to a soccer game with the guy’s family and his girlfriend. To this day he is still a close friend.

    More first impressions-the urban cityscape of Rio’s Zona Sul backed by its natural landscape is a visually breathtaking phenomenon that will never be done justice by any photo. Also, Brazilians greatly appreciated and supported any efforts to learn Portuguese (Really, you studied Portuguese for a year before coming to Brazil?). This greatly facilitated my transition into a new culture, a new city and new friendships.

    4. What do you miss most about home?

    Family and friends, of course. At times I also missed the speed and ease with which products and services could be purchased and, if necessary, refunds sought. It once took me twenty minutes of convincing to get a refund for something I had purchased at a hardware store the previous day in Rio. Even then I was probably lucky I received the refund. Also, I missed American-style clothes washers and dryers and it came to me as a surprise that I missed the happy hour social scene we have in the U.S. too.

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

    All of them stem from frustrations with Brazilian bureaucracy. The renewal of my tourist visa at three months was a headache. I followed the directions on their website and went to the Polcia Federal downtown. It turned out the website hadn’t been updated, and I was directed to the office at the international airport. Upon arriving I was informed the quota for visa renewals had already been filled and that I was to return the following day at 7AM. After waiting for several hours I was given a fine for not having my entry document with me. I had to cross the entire airport to pay the fine and the renewal fee at a different office that accepted cash only. The ATM network in the airport was down. I waited for it to come back online, paid the fine, took the proof of payment back to the Polcia Federal and finally received my renewed visa. The thought of purchasing property or starting a company in Brazil is, quite frankly, frightening.

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

    During a six-week vacation from Rio I traveled in North and Northeastern Brazil. I was in the Lenois Maranhenses area of the state of Maranhão and I needed to travel from the tiny fishing village of Atins to the resort town of Jericoacoara in the state of Cear. Rather than backtracking to major cities I decided to travel down the coast from village to village, a venture that eventually involved at least eight different modes of transportation and two full days of travel. During one leg of my journey I hitchhiked in the back of a truck with seven other Brazilians local to the area. The only way to navigate a vehicle was on the hardened sand during low tide. The tide coincided with the setting sun as we stuck to the temporary highway between the ocean and the sand dunes characteristic of the area. Regional music blasted from the truck and I laughed and joked with the Brazilians as we sped across the sand and swerved to avoid driftwood. It was a surreal moment, one of perfect beauty and of simple humanity.

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

    People are remarkably positive, open and friendly. I love the ease with which one can meet new people in almost any setting. Most of them will be just acquaintances. Some of them will be friends. And a few of them will change your life.

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

    I have a strong affinity for sushi and Rio has an abundance of sushi restaurants. But my favorite is Sushi Leblon located, not surprisingly, in Leblon. The Brazilian-Japanese fusion is well balanced – the restaurant is one of the few in the area that serve sake in the traditional boxes rather than cups. The quality and presentation of the dishes are fantastic and the ambience is cosmopolitan and trendy without being over-pretentious. Also, during the weekends I’m drawn to roughly the halfway point between post 9 and post 10 at Ipanema beach. Friends and acquaintances are always coming and going and it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet new people.

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

    As I was going through security to leave Brazil I greeted the airport security guard. He asked me to remove the laptop from my backpack. I told him I also had a large camera if he would like to inspect that as well. As I struggled to remove the items from my bag we made small talk. When I walked through the metal detector he casually noted that he nearly spoke English to me when I approached because he thought I was a foreigner (i.e. a non-Brazilian). I smiled and said, I am, sir, I am”. It wasn’t the first time I was mistaken for Brazilian despite my blonde hair and blue eyes. But as I left the surprised security guard behind I knew I had come a long way in six months, I knew I had achieved my goal.

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

    Respect and common decency, especially among strangers. This might sound ironic given Rio’s reputation for violence but existing alongside that violence is a culture of respect. Strangers say good morning to one another and people are generally helpful. I was never mugged in Rio and I think that was due largely to respect by association. The would-be muggers knew I had several friends and acquaintances throughout several neighborhoods and, as a result, they left me alone. Brazilians are remarkably observant. In contrast, respect among strangers seems rare on the East coast in the U.S. My first day back in Washington two strangers boarded the bus and promptly began screaming expletives at one another.

    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?

    My Portuguese is coming along very well. A year of formal study before moving to Brazil helped tremendously to form a foundation in the language. When I eventually arrived in Brazil it was just a matter of inserting new words and working to diminish my accent. Obviously, I can’t list the parts of a car or all of the human organs in Portuguese and I also still occasionally confuse words in Portuguese with their Spanish counterparts.

    12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

    Invest some time in studying the language before you go. You will be rewarded no matter your aspirations in Brazil or how long you intend to stay. You simply can’t go wrong. Brazilians feel respected when you try to learn their language before visiting and respect begets respect.

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

    I’m more familiar with Rio de Janeiro, so I’ll stick to what I know. Find a nice place to stay in the Zona Sul that isn’t Copacabana. Visit the seriously underrated Parque Lage in the Jardim Botnico neighborhood. Take a trip up to Pão de Aucar (Sugarloaf) a couple hours before sunset on a clear day. And, last, if you happen to be in Rio on the first Friday of the month don’t miss the live jazz and the beautiful view at The Maze, located in the (safe) favela behind the Catete neighborhood.

    You can contact Aaron via

    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 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:

    Jay Bauman – USA
    Alan Williams – USA
    Derek Booth – UK
    Jim Shattuck – USA
    Ruby Souza – Hawaii
    Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
    Louis van der Wiele – Holland
    Drew Glaser – USA
    Barry Elliott – Canada
    Joel Barsky – USA
    David Drummond – Canada
    Liam Porisse – France
    Jim Kelley – USA
    Max Ray – USA
    Jeremy Clark – Canada
    Don Fredrick – USA
    Jase Ramsey – USA
    Ben Pearce – UK
    Nitai Panchmatia – India
    Johnnie Kashat – USA
    Jeni Bonorino – USA
    Eric Jones – USA
    Bill Martin – UK
    Bernard Morris – USA
    John Graves – USA
    Deepak Sapra – India
    Alison McGowan – UK
    Brent Gregory – USA
    R Dub – USA
    Tara Bianca – USA
    Jack Hurley – USA
    James Woodward – Canada
    Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
    Anna Belavina – Russia
    Jim Kirby – USA
    Linda Halverstadt – USA
    Michelle Monteiro – USA
    Chris Mensah – UK
    David Sundin – USA
    Stephanie Glennon – USA
    Julien Porisse – France
    Hans Keeling – USA
    Jim Adams – USA
    Richard Murison – USA
    Will Periam – UK
    Jan Sandbert – Sweden
    Jim Jones – USA
    Mike Stricklin – USA
    Edward Gowing – Australia
    Adrian Woods – USA
    Kevin Raub – USA
    Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
    Zachary Heilman – USA
    David Johnson – Bermuda
    Cipriana Leme – Argentina
    Timothy Bell – USA
    Patti Beckert – USA
    Timothy Bell – USA
    Paul James – USA
    David McLoughlin – Ireland
    Pat Moraes – USA
    Richard Dougherty – USA
    James Weeds – USA
    Tom Sluberski – USA
    Peter Kefalas – USA
    Sylvie Campbell – UK
    Kathleen Haynes – USA
    Matt Bowlby – USA
    Alan Longbottom – UK
    Eric Karukin – USA
    Eddie Soto – USA
    Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
    Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
    Emile Myburgh – South Africa
    Bob Chapman – USA
    David Barnes – USA
    John Milan – USA
    Chris Coates – UK
    Matthew Ward – UK
    Allison Glick – USA
    Drake Smith – USA
    Jim Jones – USA
    Philip Wigan – UK
    Atlanta Foresyth – USA
    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

    October 7, 2009
    By John Fitzpatrick

    President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is becoming an international superstar. He turned up in Copenhagen on October 2 and oversaw Rio de Janeiro’s victory in hosting the 2016 Olympic Games. To mark the occasion, he pulled out a huge handkerchief and blubbered like a baby, something it is impossible to imagine any other world leader doing. Even Barack Obama, who also made the trip to Copenhagen for the occasion, was unable to outshine Lula whom he once famously described as my man”.

    Lula has become a familiar face at practically every major international and regional summit. He is almost an official representative of the developing world even though China and India are far more populous and influential than Brazil. The G20 now seems to have installed itself as a replacement for the G7 and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are to be reformed to take account of the new world order. Brazil is even about to lend the IMF US$10 billion, something unimaginable a few years ago. Lula now has his eyes fixed on getting Brazil a permanent place on the UN Security Council.

    He has also just been honored with two prestigious awards – the Woodrow Wilson prize in New York and the Chatham House prize in London. Even the embarrassing setback to Brazil’s international image – the fiasco in Honduras where the ousted president Manuel Zelaya is holed up in the Brazilian embassy – seems to be resolving itself. How has this happened?

    One of the main reasons for the rise of Brazil is the fact that Lula is now a veteran among democratically-elected leaders and has been in the international limelight for almost a decade. He is a man who is quick (perhaps too quick) to make friends and slow to make enemies.
    There are no countries in the world with which Brazil has bad relations despite the calls by many commentators in the domestic media for him to get tough with “troublesome” neighbors like Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.

    Another reason for his popularity is that he is not a threatening figure like some other leaders of developing countries. Brazil has historically not thrown its weight around. Lula has managed to be friends with the US and European countries and kept up links with African, Asian and Middle Eastern states (although he has still not visited Israel). He has cuddled up to dictatorships in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, China and other places but, as he said during his recent visit to the United Nations in New York, he is not obliged to shun Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, because some other states do.

    Unlike the leaders of the other Brics who are rather anonymous, with the exception of Russia’s Vladmir Putin, Lula is a larger-than-life character. His lack of English and finesse does not seem to have prevented him building up good contacts. He is also constantly on the road – domestically and internationally – and has made more of an impact than his sophisticated, multi-lingual predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

    However, the main reason for Lula’s recent success has been the international financial crisis. The fact that the so-called developed countries crashed into recession and had to have their financial and (in some cases) manufacturing systems bailed out by their governments ended the idea that their business-friendly economic model was the best available. Lula has never trusted the free market and used the crisis as an excuse to boost state involvement in Brazil. This was done not only in the banking system but also in the industrial sector through tightening state control over Petrobras, putting pressure on Banco do Brasil and Vale and giving tax breaks to sectors like construction, white-line goods and automobiles.

    Brazil was fortunate in having not only domestic advantages such as a solid banking system, little household debt and controlled inflation but also huge foreign currency reserves and a healthy trade balance, funded not by the developed countries but by China, the world’s new economic superpower.

    The result was that the crisis had little impact on Brazil which was one of the first economies to emerge. Of course things are a lot more complicated than this – and economists are forecasting fiscal problems ahead and most analysts believe that interest rates will start rising again next year – but at the end of the day Lula has emerged as a victor.

    To say that Brazil won the Olympics because of Lula would be overstating the case. The Rio organizers did a splendid job of marketing the city and even managed to overcome fears that the Games could be affected by violence or lack of infrastructure. However, Lula pushed the issue as a political matter and forced the developed world to accept that there was no good reason why a developing country could not take on this task.

    One of the principal reasons why Lula wanted the Games in Brazil was because he knows they will give the economy a massive boost.

    Credit Suisse analysts in São Paulo say could bring a long-term impact of as much as R$90 billion (around US$50 billion) into the Brazilian economy. In a report entitled “Who will get to the podium in Rio 2016?” they said that, although the organizing committee had estimated investments of around R$30 billion in the coming seven years, a preliminary exercise by the Sports Ministry raised this amount to as much as R$90 billion.

    When the Olympic torch is lit in Rio in seven years time there is a fair chance that Lula will be watching the ceremony not as a sport fan but as the re-elected President. He is not allowed to stand in next year’s election but could pop back again in 2014 just in time to oversee the final touches to the Games which he helped bring to Brazil.

    John Fitzpatrick 2009

    John Fitzpatrick is a Scotsman who first visited Brazil more than 20 years ago and has been based in São Paulo since 1995. He is a journalist by profession and runs his own company, Celtic Comunicaes, which provides corporate communications and consultancy services. He can be contacted at

    Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on

    A Life in the Day of São Paulo
    Brazil: The Plot Thickens as Lula’s Presidential Candidate Faces Health Crisis
    Congress Still Tramples on Brazilians Rights 25 Years After the “Direct Elections Now” Campaign
    Hold the Front Page – Brazil’s Interest Rates Head for Single Digits
    Around Brazil: The Many Faces of São Paulo – Tips for Newcomers
    Brazil: Will Obama Mention the “Brics” or just the “Rics”?
    Brazil 2009 – The Year of Living Dangerously
    Brazil: São Paulo Mayoral Election – a Foretaste of the Presidential Race?
    Looking for Brazil’s Moon Under Water
    Brazil’s Lula Finally Stops Playing the Blame Game
    Brazil: Coming Up – Serra versus Dilma?
    Brazil Becomes Middle Class but Not Bourgeois
    Where is Brazil’s Barack Obama?
    Brazil: Lula Loses Some of His Moral Luster
    Lost Your Job on Wall Street? Head for Brazil!
    Brazil: Lula Loves Investment Grade – Whatever That Is
    There’s No Business Like Oil Business – in Brazil Anyway
    Benefits of Brazil’s Growth Start to Spread
    Let Brazilians Sort Out the Problems of the Amazon
    Brazil’s Politicians Set to Cash in on Oil and Gas Discoveries
    Brazil: Lula Learns the Lesson of Not Planning Ahead
    Cops and Robbers Brazilian Style
    Brazil: Oscar Freire – São Paulo’s Street of Dreams
    Brazil: Lula Called to Account on Tax
    Will Lula Leave Brazil in Safe or Unsafe Hands?
    Senate Spits in the Face of the Brazilian People
    The Lord Mayor Goes Zapping the NYSE in Brazil
    Brazil: Economic Boom – Political Gloom
    Around Brazil: Natal – Sun, Sand Dunes and Solitude or Hassle, Hustlers and Hookers
    ACM – Brazil Will Never See His Like Again
    Brazilians Let Politicians Treat Them as Doormats
    Senate Chairman Upholds Tradition of Treating Brazil with Contempt
    Brits Turn Their Backs on Brazil
    Look Out for the New BBC – the Brazilian Broadcasting Corporation
    Navel Gazing in Brasilia – Largesse in São Paulo
    Brazil’s Politicians Share the Spoils
    Cida – A Brazilian Entrepreneur
    Ten Top Brazilian Songs to Download on Your iPod
    Lula Lets Brazilians Down by Failing to Exercise His Authority
    Brazil: Laid Back Lula Finally Gets His Team (Almost) Together
    The George W. Bush PR Show Comes to Brazil
    Briefing Bush on Brazil the CIA Way
    US Authorities Tackle Brazil’s White Collar Criminals
    Brazil’s Opposition Parties Try to End Disarray
    Lula Faces Arm-Wrestling Contest with New Congress
    Brazil Waits for Lula to Return from Holiday
    Around Brazil: Santana de Parnaiba
    Brazilians Start to Stand Up for Their Rights
    Darfur – Brazil’s African Side Show
    Economics and Politics in Brazil – a Tangled Web
    Brazil’s Strange Idea of Democracy
    Brazil: John Pizzarelli – the Boy from Ipanema
    Brazil’s Stock Market: the Path to Riches or Rags?
    Brazil: Lula Unlikely to Change Course after His Massive Victory
    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?

    By Rosngela Portella & Simone Costa Eriksson
    October 7, 2009

    At first sight, Brazilian culture can easily be seen as one. However, the complexity of the cultural aspects involved makes it difficult for most expatriates to pinpoint the direct cultural origin of typical social behaviors. Let’s take, for instance, the tendency to mix up professional and social relationships at the workplace, and try to explain this common behavior which can often challenge foreign professionals’ doing business in Brazil. As a Swedish executive once told me Brazilians at work usually value how friendly they are with someone than how professional that person is; in other words, relationships are extremely important compared to other cultures. Our attempt to explain such behavior must explore the unique aspects of Brazilian culture.

    Brazil’s geographic dimensions, its multiethnic origins, as well as its educational and social-economic history contribute to the diversity found within this continental-sized country. To show how complex Brazilian culture is, we could draw a sort of ‘Brazilian Cultural Matrix’. On one axis there would be 3 main cultural aspects: ethnic, regional, and social-educational classes. To make things even more complicated, each of these cultural aspects would be further divided: the ethnic aspect, for example, could be explored by the two main waves of immigration which had major influence in Brazilian culture: the first wave would be the Portuguese and Africans (who met the Indians already here!) as being the first ethnic mix, the basis of Brazilian culture, followed by the three unique mixes between these three main ethnic groups, the ‘mulatos’, ‘caboclos’, e mamelucos. The second wave of immigration occurred in the 19th century with the Europeans (mostly Germans & Italians) and, from the beginning of the 20th century, the Japanese. Recently, there has even been an increase in immigration from other Latin America countries.

    So, how can the Brazilian ethnic origin explain the social behavior of favoring relationships at work? In the Iberian region of Europe (Portugal & Spain) in the 15th and 16th century, as opposed to the French and English, the major traders, and navigators, while they were away conquering new lands always left their business in the hands of trustful family members. There was even a saying Friends get everything, while enemies follow the Law. All the money and social status achieved by this new bourgeoisie class allowed them to buy social titles (and marriages) in order to move up the social ladder into the aristocracy and noble classes. The Portuguese cultural characteristic of mixing between the public and private, business and friendship remained. In order for foreign professionals to succeed and lead in a typical Brazilian working environment, they must understand and deal with the fragile borderline between the private and professional work relationships.

    Simone T. Costa Eriksson, MBA, Psychologist and Intercultural Coach is a Brazilian with 13 years experience living abroad (USA, Sweden, Poland, and Italy), mostly as an expatriate mother of two, and currently living in Campinas. She holds seminars and workshops for HR professionals, expatriate families & children, international schools and Brazilians working abroad. More information can be seen at her website

    Previous articles by Simone:

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    By John Gamble
    October 2, 2009

    Today in Copenhagen, Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics by the International Olympic Committee.

    Rio de Janeiro and Madrid survived the shocking first round which saw Chicago eliminated.

    Tokyo was the next to bow out in round 2.

    Then, the hour-long wait between the initial rounds and the final vote tally seemed interminable.

    Huge crowds gathered in both Rio and Madrid watched on giant screens with a festive sense of anticipation.

    Finally, it was the Cariocas who exulted when they were announced as the hosts of the 2016 Summer Games.

    In the final round, the tally was Rio de Janeiro 66 – Madrid 32.

    After today’s celebrations fade (all right this weekend’s celebrations), then comes the work ahead. Delivering on the promise of offering a world-class Olympic Games to the world.

    With Brazil already working on infrastructure and security improvements for the 2014 World Cup, Rio seems about to get an extreme makeover.

    This city which was once the belle of the ball, so to speak, until the capital was moved to Brasilia in 1960, is again set to emerge into an exciting period of growth and prosperity.

    Pres. Lula da Silva can be thanked, in large part, for winning this Olympic bid for
    Rio and all of Brazil. He spearheaded the effort with conviction and confidence. A confidence he hopes to imbue throughout Brazil as his legacy.

    Tearing a page from the Obama playbook, on Thursday in Copenhagen, Lula publicly declared Yes we can.”

    And they did win the bid. Congratulations to Lula, the bid committee, Rio and all of Brazil on bringing the first-ever Olympic Games to South America.

    Let the makeover begin.

    You can read more about Rio de Janeiro on John’s blog at Brazil: 2016 Olympics Down to Rio de Janeiro or Chicago

    By John Gamble
    October 2, 2009

    It’s widely believed the 2016 Olympics will be awarded this Friday to one of two cities, Rio de Janeiro or Chicago.

    Currently, Rio is considered a slight favorite to win the bid. The finalists in the competition are Rio de Janeiro, Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid.

    Tokyo and Madrid are considered longshots at this point because the IOC likes to diversify geographically. London will host in 2012. Beijing recently hosted the 2008 Games.

    If the proximity of those games are the deal-breakers they’re thought to be, then it’s between Rio and Chicago. Although, since Salt Lake City recently hosted the Winter Games and Vancouver will host the 2010 Winter Games, if it does come down to geography, this vote may not be as close as many believe.

    Both Rio and Chicago have put together world-class bids. Both cities would utilize their waterfronts prominently in the games.

    Although the U.S. Olympic Committee has a simmering feud ongoing with the IOC, that could be offset by the popularity of President Barack Obama. Obama is actively lobbying for the games and is widely-liked throughout the world.

    Brazil President Lula da Silva, also actively lobbying for the games, is traveling to Denmark to make a final push. The leaders of Spain and Japan will also be in Copenhagen. At this point, Pres. Obama has not committed to attending, sending first lady Michelle Obama and aide Valerie Jarrett in his stead.

    The Chicago bid may rely on Obama’s showing up in Copenhagen to exert his considerable star power. Without Obama to derail a strong Rio bid, it may be somewhat inevitable.

    Taking all of these factors into consideration, there is one major criteria which could be the tipping point: money.

    Even the best-intentioned and well-run Olympic Games are a financial roll of the dice.

    Lula has guaranteed the Brazilian government will foot the bill for any cost overruns incurred by the Olympic organizing committee. Cost overruns in the Chicago games would not be guaranteed by the U.S. government.

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Olympic games have never been held in South America. Many of the voting members of the IOC would like to rectify that inequity.

    And they’re set to do just that on October 2nd in Copenhagen.

    You can read more about Rio de Janeiro on John’s blog at

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    By Andy Jackson
    October 2, 2009

    Famous for its golden white beaches, carnival and samba, Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and home to more than 6 million people. However, while no trip to the Rio would be complete without sipping a cocktail on Copacabana beach, there is much more to the city once you’ve booked your Rio de Janeiro Hostel.

    1. Take the Corcovado Train to the Christ the Redeemer Statue
    A journey up to the 100 foot tall statue on top of the Corcovado Mountain is an absolute must do activity. It is the iconic monument of Rio and provides stunning views of the city and the sea below.

    2. Go to Carnival
    Carnival is the largest event in Rio and is another must see if you are visiting the city while the event is on. Carnival is a fusion of music, colour and dancing which captures the mind of the whole city. Highlights include the Samba School floats which make their way to the 70,000 Sambadrome Stadium, where they compete to be named King and Queen of Carnival.

    3. Eat Out at a Churrascaria
    Having a meal at a Churrascaria is a dining experience like no other. Churrascarias have massive buffets with a whole host of salads, breads, cheeses and local specialities on offer. However these are only the backdrop to the main event – the meat. Waiters come round with up to a dozen freshly cooked meats on cookers and cut slices directly on to your plate. A card system is used to determine whether you’ve had enough – keep your red card handy or you may bite off a little bit more than you can chew!

    4. Go Exploring in the Parque Nacional and Floresta de Tijuca
    This is the best place to visit to get an idea of what Rio once looked like. Here, you can wonder among 46 miles of untouched rain forest and get lost among the stunning scenery of dense green vegetation and beautiful waterfalls. Serious hikers can climb up to the 3220 foot summit of Pico da Tijuca which provides breathtaking views of the city.

    5. Take a Cable Car Ride to Sugarloaf
    This is a great way to see the city. Pao de Acuar or the ‘Sugarloaf Mountain’ is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The funicular ride provides glorious views of Copacabana beach and the city below while the views from the top are stunning. Vendors are on hand at the summit selling coconuts and a whole host of refreshments.

    6. Sample a Football Game at the Maracana Stadium
    Football is second only to religion for Cariocas (the residents of Rio) and a trip to watch a football game at the Maracana is a truly magical experience. The action starts early at the biggest football stadium in the world, with locals turning up to the stadium hours in advance of the kick-off to get the party started with drums, singing and dancing. No drink is permitted inside the stadium, but there are bars and vendors aplenty around the stadium for an obligatory pre-game beer.

    7. Go on a Favela Tour
    With so much vibrancy and partying going on in the city’s restaurants and clubs, it is easy to forget that Rio has a darker side. Whilst a sobering experience, a tour of the town’s shanty towns (which can house up to 150,000 people) is, nevertheless, a worthwhile experience and puts things into perspective.

    8. Take a Ride on the Bonde de Santa Teresa
    The Bonde de Santa Teresa cable car is all that remains of what used to be the principal form of transport for the city. The ride starts in Lapa by the cathedral and crosses the imposing viaduct to Santa Teresa. From here you can take the cable car all the way to the top of the hill or get off to see the Museu da Chcara do Cu.

    9. Visit the Monumento Nacional Aos Mortos da II Guerra Mundial
    Located at Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, 75, Parque do Flamengo, this monument is dedicated to those who lost their lives in WWII, especially in Italy. The monument includes a small museum with military artefacts, a mausoleum and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and is guarded by the three Armed Forces. Entry is free.

    10. Soak Up the Rays on Copacabana and Ipanema Beach
    Of course no trip to Rio de Janeiro would be complete without a trip to the city’s two most famous beaches. Surrounded by mountains, restaurants and miles of golden sand, the beaches are a great place to kick back and relax. Ipanema Beach is great for surfing and also has fashionable streets of chic boutiques and trendy restaurants. On Sundays it hosts a hippy market selling handicrafts, clothes and other souvenirs.

    Freelance travel writer Andy Jackson works for HostelBookers, and has been backpacking across South America. Last year he stayed in a 0 Comments/by

    By Paul Barnett
    October 2, 2009

    Brazil, run by a military regime for over 20 years, eventually returned to democracy. The first major music event that followed was Rock in Rio in 1985. The ten day festival of national and international Rock, attended by a predominantly white middle class audience from the south, highlighted the racial, social, cultural and economic divisions of the country.

    At this time Recife, the capital of the northeast state of Pernambuco, was in a bad economic state and there was not much happening on the music scene. As DJ Dolores recalls, There was a serious problem because nothing was going on in the city. We didnt have the money to leave and we had the dilemma of whether to try to move away, or to change the city. We had to do something, so a group of friends created the Mangue Bit scene. We began to organize parties. The first ones were in the docks area of Recife. At the time it was a shady district. There was nothing there at night, except for prostitutes, sailors and tramps. But there were some incredible places for parties that were cheap to hire. We played new music, radical music, anything… hip hop, rock, the first electronic tracks we could lay our hands on. So, it was very different music to what youd hear on TV and radio. The people that came to these parties ended up forming bands together.”

    Chico Science is credited as being the leader of the Mangue Bit movement. Along with his band, Naão Zumbi he transformed Maracatu, a traditional rhythm of the northeast, with its roots in the days of slavery on sugar plantations. Naao Zumbi was named after Zumbi, the last leader of a community of runaway slaves of the 17th Century.

    Chico and the band re-worked traditional Maracatu for the 90’s, mixing it with hip hop, rock and electronic sounds. In a 1994 interview Chico (born Franciso de Asis Franca in 1966) said, “The beat was a thing we created. The idea was to take regional rhythms and add to them… creating a new dimension, a new vision, with all the baggage of global pop. Mangue boys have their antennae out to the world mixing the regional and the universal and making the Mangue Bit.”

    As a boy Chico would collect crabs from the mud of the mangroves to sell. The same crabs became a symbol of the Mangue Bit movement, and the Mangrove (Mangue in Portuguese) is incorporated in the name. Bit refers to computer bit, a reference to the electronic influence in the style. More commonly, but incorrectly, the movement is often referred to as Mangue Beat.

    The movement was established around 1991, and in 1992 singer Fred 04 wrote it’s manifesto, Crabs with Brains (Caranguejos com Crebro).

    One of the characteristics of the movement was that every artist had their own style. Singer and composer Lenine said, “Mangue Bit is not a movement as such, it is a movement of people. There was never an aesthetic unity binding the factions together. Mangue Bit is a wonderful movement because it celebrates differences.”

    Along with Chico Science and Fred Zero Quatro, the third key figure in the Mangue Bit movement was Siba, leader of the band Mestre Ambrosio. Siba became a specialist in the Maracatu contests in which different groups used improvised poetry to discuss current affairs, challenge the skills of their rivals and brag about their own prowess, much as in hip hop.

    Mangue Bit transformed Recife’s view of itself, and of the culture of the state. It’s influence was felt nationwide too. Paulo Andre, (Former Manager of Chico Science and Naão Zumbi), says, “They changed Recife, they changed Pernambuco, and they also changed Brazil. Chico Science and Naão Zumbi opened up doors for a new generation of Brazilian brands who were not Samba or Bossa Nova bands.”

    In 1997 the Mangue Bit Movement lost a leader when Chico Science died in a car crash at the age of 30, but the movement lived on and evolved. Chico’s former band Naão Zumbi survives and several other artists of the era also have successful music careers. They include bands and artists like Lenine, Siba, DJ Dolores and Fred 04 of Mundo Livre.

    Each of these artists will be profiled on Recife Guide in the coming weeks. In the meantime you can see some other Youtube clips of Chico Science.

    Previous articles by Paul:

    Brazil: Francisco Brennand – Sculptor of Sensual, Natural and Mythological Art
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    By Alison McGowan
    October 2, 2009

    The Casa do Amarelindo calls itself a hotel and it is definitely a boutique hotel in terms of luxury. The 10 suites are all spacious with box spring beds, excellent power showers, hairdriers and beauty products in the bathroom. Some have whirlpool baths, and some have balconies, but all have double glazed windows which keeps outside noise to an absolute minimum.

    At the same time the Amarelindo is definitely a pousada in terms of charm and atmosphere. French owners Gilles and Didier, refurbished the original colonial house from scratch keeping adding internal tropical gardens, 2 bars and a roof top swimming pool with fabulous views across the bay. Decoration is truly Bahian with strong colours, paintings and sculptures by local artists. The bustle of the historical centre is right outside, but once you are back in the Casa do Amarelindo in the care of its friendly and super attentive staff, you can forget the world outside and just relax in peace.

    About the Location
    The Casa do Amarelindo is situated right in the historical centre between the Terreira do Jesus and the main Pelourinho square. Salvador itself used to be the capital of Brazil and buildings and particular churches in this area reflect the magnificence of a bygone age of gold and glory – and a rather less salubrious history of slavery. Over 6 million slaves came in to Brazil through Salvador and the African influence is still aboundingly evident in culture, customs, and religion.

    Over the last 40 years there have been periods when the local governments has invested in the upkeep of the area, encouraging the refurbishment of colonial buildings and investing in cleaning and policing. Regrettably the present government does not see this as a priority, hence the rundown feel of the area, the dirt, and the return of hustlers, beggars. If you can ignore the poverty and problems for at least the period of your stay, there are a million and one interesting things to do in this area. If this bothers you, much better to stay down in one of the beach areas and just do a guided tour.

    Not to be Missed
    – Igreja São Francisco (San Francisco church)
    – Tuesday evening blessing of the city with concerts after
    – Mama Bahia and Sorriso da Dada for muqueca
    – Guided tour round the historical centre
    – Universo Brasil tours with Luiz

    * Gourmet restaurant and wonderful caipirinhas
    * Super attentive service
    * Bahian style & decoration
    * Pool and bars at sunset
    * Views over the bay and lower city

    Try a Different Place if…
    … you have difficulty walking or don’t like seeing poverty up close

    Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on Visit her site at

    Previous articles by Alison:

    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
    Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
    Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

    By Eleanor Stanford
    October 2, 2009

    I had my first class with the seniors today. We’re going to be meeting once a week, to work on the college application process.

    It seems like a normal group of high school students, your average mix of sweet kids and brats, earnest overachievers, disaffected slackers, jocks and social butterflies.

    Except that, since this is one of the most expensive and prestigious private schools in Brazil, the student body is also incredibly wealthy and privileged.

    The senior class includes: the daughter of a famous reggae singer, granddaughter of a former vice president, great-grandson of a world renowned camera manufacturer, and son of the family that essentially owns the state of Bahia.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that many of the students (and their parents) see us teachers as just one or two notches on the totem pole above the maids who scrub their floors and iron their clothes.

    The senior class of 18 is split about half and half between students who want to study in the USA or elsewhere abroad, and those who want to stay in Brazil.

    For today’s meeting, everyone introduced themselves, and then we had a general Q and A.

    They wanted to know about deadlines, the SATs, what scores they needed to get into a good school.

    Then the son of the Bahia magnate raised his hand.

    Don’t you think, he said, if you are planning to live in Brazil eventually, maybe it would be better to stay here for college, because, for example, maybe you will sit next to the son of a minister or businessman in class, and if you go to school in the States, you don’t have this kind of opportunity?

    I was kind of taken aback by the question, by its unabashed honesty, its guileless sense of entitlement, its savvy familiarity with how this society works.

    Yes, that’s true, I acknowledged.

    Now, I’m not going to pretend that the United States is some idyllic meritocracy, where the sons and daughters of taxi drivers and presidents sit side by side in the lecture halls of Harvard.

    But it seems unlikely to me that in the U.S., personal and professional connections would play such a significant and explicit role a high school student’s future plans.

    What do you think?

    Header photo: Brazilian royalty, ready for their college entrance exams.

    Eleanor Stanford is a poet and guidance counselor. Her book, The Book of Sleep, was published in 2008 by Carnegie Mellon Press. She lives in Salvador, Brazil, and blogs at Brazil: The Nanny

    Can’t make this up