Paving The Way for People Who Matter

The picture above is of Cidade de Deus in Rio de Janeiro where municipal workers are working quickly to fill potholes in the community. Ideally, this scene would be about the local government’s intention to normalize road and safety conditions for its own citizens. The reality is that such an act effectively ‘kills two rabbits with one stick’, as the Brazilian-Portuguese saying goes, since the betterment of the roads only started so that it may prevent discomfort and unsightliness for foreigners visitors.

Could it be that foreign tourists wish to get up close and personal with residents of the namesake of the hit-film Cidade de Deus? Perhaps the purpose is for foreigners to take pictures of ‘poor people’ in their native habitat, as some favela tours invite one to do. No, no. the reason has to do with an important foreign visitor’s mother who enjoyed another famous Brazilian film, Orfeu Negro, which also was (partially) filmed in Cidade de Deus. That important visitor happens to be Barack Obama, who will be in Brazil for two days on March 19th and 20th…along with several hundred heavily armed police and military.

So, readers, get ready for two things. First, for the media to get tired of Japan and look towards the next newsworthy item. Second, to see a microcosm of public works being built for 2014 and 2016. As the picture above demonstrates, improving the lives of Brazilians is easiest when precipitated by a foreign catalyst.

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Obama and the Brazilians who’ll serve him

“Barack Obama will soon follow in the footsteps of US Presidents Bill Clinton and John F Kennedy by holidaying on Martha’s Vineyard. But behind the scenes of the exclusive island getaway, BBC Brasil’s Bruno Garcez finds an army of immigrant Brazilian workers tending lawns and waiting on tables.

“During his visit to Martha’s Vineyard, Barack Obama will play golf in a course set up by Brazilians, eat meals prepared by Brazilian cooks and swim in a pool which was cleaned by workers from Brazil.” So predicts Mauricio Brandao, a 28-year-old Brazilian who has spent the past 12 years in Martha’s Vineyard, a sophisticated resort and a traditional summer destination for Hollywood stars and politicians.

Ironically, a Brazilian who paved the way for many more of his countrymen to come to Martha’s Vineyard was named after an American president. Forty-six-year-old Lyndon Johnson Pereira, from the small Brazilian town of Goiabeira, arrived in Martha’s Vineyard in 1986. “I was the first Brazilian there,” he said proudly. – BBC (more here)

Lobato’s foretelling book – The Black President

I was listening to my daily dose (podcast) of educational talks by Alan Watt, a lifelong researcher on socio-economic topics. During the phone-in session, a man living in South America called in to recommend a book written by Monteiro Lobato in 1926, called “O Presidente Negro”, which predicts the election of a black president as the 88th president…interestingly enough Obama will be the 44th. At GlobalVoices, a conversation has been taking place on this particular topic (the conversation happens within the article, where many different opinions are brought together).  

Global Voices

“The sweeping Obama phenomenon has caught Brazil, and it comes as no surprise in the country with the world’s largest population of African descendants. Blogs are commenting on all things Obama, from his stand on ethanol to the ‘rumors‘ of his appraisal of Brazil’s free software policies. An especially notable thread is the one reporting on the resurgence of a weirdly interesting 1928 Brazilian sci-fi novel — ‘The Black President’ — that predicted a US election matching a black, a feminist, and a conservative candidate in the then remote year of 2228.

The author, Monteiro Lobato, is very famous in Brazil for his tales for children and teens. The set of books ‘Yellow Woodpecker Ranch‘ was turned into popular TV series that reigned supreme on Brazilian tubes through 5 different remakes — the first in 1952, and most recently in 2001. But, in this case, the book is an obscure and rare incursion of Lobato into adult science fiction. The resurgence of interest in it now is totally connected with what stands out as an incredible intuitive guesswork on what has come to be our present situation, but 80 years ago (!) almost unimaginable.

The huge coincidence with the US elections was enough to turn “The Black President” into ‘cult’ reading, although some other of Lobato’s predictions, such as his description of the Internet, have also attracted the attention of commenters. The contorted political psychology of the triangle that binds the white male, the feminist, and the black candidate is also apparent.”

The rest is here!