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December 2016 |


Cake & Care

Bringing the taste of childhood to the Queen’s Land


From Egyptians who began making honey-flavored bread until the 17th19th centuries in Russia, where they were called “pryaniks,” several stories tell how honey cake came about. The pryaniks were made in animals shapes to decorate the Christmas trees, were made for poor and rich, as gifts, for weddings, parties, celebrations and special days. A while later Europeans discovered that the spice cake could be covered with melted chocolate to prolong its taste and moisture. Over the years, the recipe has been modifying and attracting many cultures around the world while tradition and recipe´s secrets were handed down from generation to generation. So it was no different when Tabata Colla, a master in food science, decided to put together his academic knowledge, experience, passion, and a recipe that had passed for generations: his mother, who took care of her two small children, used to make this cake to get an extra income. Following

tradition and also to adapt to motherhood and carrer, Tabata started making honey cakes and bringing the taste of her childhood to the Queen´s land. Thus Cake & Care began. Cake & Care is a fine Honey Cake producer. Its desire is to be present at all of your special occasions in life. They hope to create lasting memories with our delicious chocolate treats. Cake & Care´s packaging and custom labels cater to your individual tastes and occasions. For the times in life when you want to show love and care to our friends, family and guests. Keen to show affection through its products, Cake & Care is very attentive to detail and originality aiming to make a sweet little difference in people’s lives with showing love and affection through its Honey Cakes. They have special packages available for baby shower , birthdays , weddings and anniversaries. Also cater for festive occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Valentines Day. | December 2016


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Is a montlhy publication of ANAGU UK UM LIMITED founded by

British Ambassador to Brazil leaves the post

The life of indigenous and riverland people in Belo Monte

Ana Toledo Operational Director Guilherme Reis Editorial Director Roberta Schwambach Financial Director English Editor Shaun Cumming Layout and Graphic Design Jean Peixe Contributors Christian Taylor, Damien Chalmers, Franko Figueiredo, Gabriela Lobianco, Heloisa Righetto, Humberto Dantas, Isabel Harari, Leandro Monteiro, Nathália Braga Bannister , Tina Wells, Wagner de Alcântara Aragão







A night with the queen Elza Soares

Damien Chalmers on living in Britain post-Brexit


Tatiana Moura on why Brazil’s policies will hurt women’s equality



Ernani Lemos, Brazilian journalist author of “Sobre os outros”




Art, cinema and theatre... with a Latino touch



Franko Figueiredo on theatre and life Heloisa Righetto on feminism



The challenges for Brazilian startups to overcome the crisis

A trip to the beautiful Boipeba




Narcelio Grud

Printer St Clements press (1988 ) Ltd, Stratford, London 10.000 copies

Narcelio Grud is a Brazilian artist whose work focuses on urban art. In recent years, he has explored different types of languages, such as sound sculptures, painting tools, installations, among others. He has worked in Argentina, Mexico, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, Colombia and Chile, where he participated in festivals and exhibitions, as well as interventions on the streets. One of his most striking characteristics is the desire to interact and provoke the public. Therefore, his art aims to be open and accessible.

Distribution Emblem Group Ltd. To advertise 020 3015 5043 To subscribe To suggest an article and contribute Online 074 92 65 31 32 Brasil Observer is a monthly publication of the ANAGU UK MARKETING E JORNAIS UN LIMITED (company number: 08621487) and is not responsible for the concepts expressed in signed articles. People who do not appear in this expedient are not authorized to speak on behalf of this publication. The contents published in this newspaper may be reproduced if properly credited to the author and to the Brasil Observer.


The cover art for this edition was produced by Narcelio Grud for the Mostra BO project developed by the Brasil Observer in partnership with Pigment and with institutional support from the Embassy of Brazil. Each of the 11 editions of this newspaper in 2016 is featuring art on its cover produced by Brazilian artists selected through open call. In December, all of the pieces will be displayed at the Embassy’s Sala Brasil exhibition.



December 2016 |

5 | December 2016

Observations British Ambassador to Brazil to join Brexit Department Invited to be part of the team that will negotiate the UK exit from the European Union, the current British Ambassador to Brazil, Alex Ellis is leaving the post after three and a half years working in Brasília. Ellis has been appointed Director General at the Department for Exiting the European Union and will take up his new role in January 2017. “It’s been a great honour to serve as British Ambassador to Brazil. I have loved both the country and the work that has been given to me. I now face a new chal-

lenge, taking with me many happy friends and memories of my time in Brazil,” says Ambassador Alex Ellis in an official statement. In recent years, Brazil and the UK have intensified their bilateral relations, with annual strategic dialogues between Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Commerce. In addition, the number of Brazilian investment projects in the UK has tripled in the last three years. More than 20,000 Britons visited Brazil during the

World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Regarding education, the UK was the second most sought after country for students in the Science without Borders project. These are just a few examples of how Brazil is strategically important to the UK. Dr Vijay Rangarajan CMG has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil in succession to Mr Alexander Ellis. Dr Rangarajan will take up his appointment in Spring 2017.



The crash of the airplane carrying Chapecoense’s football team to Medellin in Colombia, where it would play the first leg of the South American Cup, has caused commotion in Brazil and worldwide. The accident happened in the early hours of November 29 in a mountainous region 56 km from the airport. Of the 78 people on board, between passengers and crew, 71 died and six survived. At the time of writing, the preliminary investigations have reported that the aircraft had fallen due to an electrical fault or lack of fuel. In honour of the victims of the biggest sporting tragedy of this kind, the Wembley Stadium in London lit up green and passed the message “Força Chape”, or “Be well Chape”.


December 2016 |


Living in post-Brexit Britain What opportunities, risks and threats will Brexit hold for Brazilians and other Latin Americans living in the UK? By Damian Chalmers g


What is it like to be a Brazilian living in post-Brexit Britain? Well, Brazilians, their relatives and those living with them will have a better sense of that than I. Undoubtedly, the language of intolerance, hostility and xenophobia has become louder and more accepted in the last five months. Dismayingly, the idea of immigrants being a problem has become a new British common sense. It has resulted in many non-Brits losing the sense of home that they acquired from living many years in the United Kingdom. Brexit has not yet happened, however. It will not do so until 2019 at the earliest. So what opportunities, risks and threats will it hold for Brazilians and other Latin Americans living in the UK? It is best to get one chimera out of the way at the start. It might become easier for some Brazilians to migrate to the UK. Arguments were made during the referendum campaign that Brexit would make UK migration policy less Euro-centric. Alongside this, proposals were made to move the UK to a system in which points would be awarded to migrants for a number of skills and qualities and, if the individual notched up enough points, they could enter. Such systems are notionally blind to nationality. And Australia, with such a system, has higher migration than the UK.

Unfortunately, things are unlikely to turn out so rosy. The current position of the British government is that migration from non European Economic Area (EEA) states is still too high. Net migration in August was 327,000 with 190,000 non EU citizens and 180,000 EU citizens coming to the UK and 43,000 British citizens emigrating. The government’s position is to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands. This would require migration to come down to somewhere between 80,000 and 120,000. Non EU migration would have to be somewhere between a third and a half of current levels. Any points system would go only to how places are allocated within this target. There is a further bit of bad news for Latin Americans. Not for the first time, they are unlikely to be in a fair contest with Europe. Individuals seeking so-called high skills employment (ie doctors, academics, footballers) are more likely to be granted residence. There will, thus, be a limited pool of high skills employment for which people from around the world will compete. Newspaper reports – and they are not more than that – suggest the UK might give, however, the EU a free pass over many of these jobs in return for access to the EU market. And there will be, correspondingly, less opportunities for non EU citizens. | December 2016

Isabel Infantes

This will be good for those South Americans who have dual nationality and an EU passport – they would continue to have to access to these jobs. And there is an unfortunate racial dimension to this. These South Americans are more likely to be white than of African descent. If life is better for those with EU citizenship than for other South Americans, will it continue to be as good(-ish)? The route chosen by many in the past is of looking for work whilst learning English and then making their way up. In many ways, this, the heroic narrative of the migrant, will no longer be available in the UK, at least. For it is also likely to be barred to EU citizens. There are then the many who have been residing here for many years. The position of the British government is that it will guarantee the rights of EU citizens residing in the UK if this is reciprocated for British citizens living in the European Union. As no strong arguments are being made by other EU governments against this, it may be agreed in 2017. So, all rosy? Not quite. First, there is complete silence about the quality of the right of residence to be granted. At the moment, EU citizens can apply for permanent residence after living in the UK for five years. Otherwise, they can only reside here if they are economically active, economically self-sufficient

or a family member of an EU citizen who is. If they leave their UK employment and business and return a little later, they must start again. This is not practically a problem as EU citizens are entitled to come back to look for work. However, it is not clear whether this right to return will be granted. If a Brazilian-Italian gave up a job after two years in the UK and returned to Brazil for three months, it is uncertain whether they could return. Secondly, it is also unclear whom will be granted these rights. At the moment, under EU law, anybody who has dual nationality is able to assert her EU citizenship no matter how tenuous her connection to the EU state relative to her connection to her South American state. However, in international law, states can insist on an effective nationality test. The individual must show a genuine link with the state of their EU citizenship to claim the benefits of EU citizenship. It is unclear which test the British will apply. If it is the effective nationality test, a Brazilian living in the UK for a number of years who had got their EU citizenship by virtue of an Italian mother, for example, may be vulnerable. The final question is what rights, beyond those of residence, such citizens will be granted in the future. A key part of the referendum campaign was that EU citizens would be deprived of many social benefits for their first four years of residence. It would be surprising if the British government wished a more generous regime for these now that it is leaving. It may well seek to negotiate that EU citizens get limited social rights until they have lived for a number of years in the UK. So worrying times for all Brazilians. If they have EU citizenship, it is certainly worth lobbying their EU state about these matters. If they have lived in the UK, it is advisable to begin the cumbersome process of applying for permanent residence. I will end with some shafts of light. EU governments are unlikely to tolerate poor treatment of their citizens, particularly given the language used by some British politicians, and will take an ‘all for one and one for all’ approach. It has also been pointed out by my colleague, Jonathan Portes, that the kind of migration restrictions envisaged may do more damage to the British economy than limited access to the single market. There may be a time when the impacts of its actions dawn on the British government. And, finally, it is not clear that the authorities can handle all this. In the last five years, an average of 150,000 new British passports were dished out each year. And this stretched the Border Agency! How it will cope with considering the status of the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK at a time of budget cuts is a mystery. The bets are that it will mess up and have to make the process quicker and easier than it is at the moment. g

Professor Damian Chalmers is a senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe group (



December 2016 |

Brazil’s proposed policies will hurt women’s equality – and be bad for men, too Threat to women’s economic, social and political wellbeing comes on the heels of significant gains made during the prosperous past decade By Tatiana Moura g Originally published at

Midway through writing this article, in Rio de Janeiro’s bohemian Lapa neighbourhood, we heard it: the sounds of tear gas as riot police repressed mass protests against harsh austerity measures proposed by Brazil’s three-month-old conservative government. The so-called “Bridge to the Future” policy, if approved, would impose a 20year spending cap, freezing the federal budget but for inflation-based increases. From 2017 to 2037, not a centavo more for public health, education, poverty-alleviation or childhood development, among other social programmes. Across-the-board cuts hurt everyone, but history shows they hit women particularly hard. Tasked with feeding and caring for their families without any government support, women face double and triple burdens on their time. Austerity regimes have also been linked to increased domestic violence.

WOMEN AT A CROSSROADS This threat to women’s economic, social and political wellbeing comes on the heels of significant gains made during

the prosperous past decade, when Brazil was proud to put the “B” in the BRICS. In 2006, the country passed legislation protecting women against domestic violence, while the conditional cash transfer programme Bolsa Família, directed mainly to female heads of household, increased women’s economic empowerment and decision making power. In 2010, Brazil elected its first female president, Dilma Rousseff. She was re-elected four years later. From 2014 to 2015, Brazil raised from 97th to 75th in the global gender equality rankings. As gender researchers, we knew that true equality was still far down the road. For example, in absolute numbers, Brazil ranks 4th in the world for child marriage. But recently it’s been possible to think that we were headed in that direction, that girls and women really do matter. As social movements in Brazil and across Latin America have forced these issues onto global agendas via street protests and hashtags, gender quality is increasingly the official message of the United Nations, governments, and the business sector.

OUT WITH THE WOMEN Threats to Brazil’s improving gender equality are not just economic. They’re also reflected at the highest level of politics. Just as the world was stunned that Donald Trump – a man who has bragged about “grabbing women by the pussy” – had won the United States election over the supremely qualified former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, this year Brazil, too, saw its presidency turned over to a man. In August 2016, Rousseff was ousted for incompetency and suspect accounting practices. With its obvious gender dimensions, the impeachment process was characterised by many as a “witch hunt”. During Rousseff ’s congressional trial, male legislators voted against her using patronising language (“goodbye, my dear”) and words of congratulations to the military unit that had tortured Dilma Rousseff under Brazil’s dictatorship. Many of the male colleagues who forced Rousseff out were under investigation themselves for greater wrongdoing – including Speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha, who was arrested for corruption in October. | December 2016

Vladimir Platonow/ Agência Brasil

Protesters rally against the proposed budget cuts in Rio

exceptional cases, is not up for discussion. Plans are now being made to cut paid maternity leave – and this despite the country having recently extended paternity leave. The retrenchment extends to education. Public schools in eight states have banned curricula that include lessons on gender, and the Ministry of Education’s proposed “Schools without Political Parties” policy would prohibit open political discussions in classrooms. Such reforms would hurt any attempt to kindle critical reflections on equality and justice among young people at a time when it’s sorely needed.


Tatiana Moura is a Researcher from the University of Coimbra. This article was co-authored by Victoria Page, an international consultant at Instituto Promundo, Brazil.


Rousseff ’s replacement, her vice president Michel Temer, is a conservative Evangelical Christian allied with Congress’s powerful religious right. After assuming power in August 2016, he appointed an all-white, all-male cabinet – the first such government since 1979. Temer also eliminated the positions of Minister of Women and Minister of Racial Equality, though public outcry forced him to backtrack. Brazil’s mayoral elections in October and November showed a similar rightward swing. Rio de Janeiro opted for the former Pentecostal bishop Marcelo Crivella to run the famously diverse city, while São Paulo elected millionaire conservative businessman João Doria. The past year of political events demonstrate a clear backlash to modern gains in equality and social justice. In the media and the church, in businesses as in politics, the myth of white, male, Christian entitlement persists, and it has left many citizens feeling angry and disenfranchised over the past decade. Women’s rights and gender equality are not a priority for President Temer or mayors Crivella and Doria. Abortion, which remains illegal in Brazil except in

During the three years of mass protests in Brazil that ultimately led to Rousseff ’s demise, it has been common to hear calls for a military-run government. Dictatorship is a not-too-distant memory here, having only ended in 1985. Militarised models of masculinity still influence Brazil’s everyday culture, promoting aggression and violence. Nearly 60,000 people are murdered each year, the vast majority of them young black men from poor neighbourhoods. Here, as in the US, the legacy of slavery and ongoing structural inequalities mean that young black men are disproportionately incarcerated and three times more likely to be shot by armed civilians and police “in self-defence”, even when unarmed. Militarised masculinity also contributes to mental health issues for boys and men, including elevated suicide rates, increased use of violence (such as that seen every day in Rio’s favelas) and a lack of emotionally satisfying relationships. Women’s wellbeing hinges on changing perceptions of male identity. According to our research, men who hold more gender equitable attitudes are less prone to violence and more likely to seek preventative healthcare. They’re also more likely to be engaged fathers and to have satisfying family relationships. Such positive male achievement, perhaps unsurprisingly, improves school and health outcomes for daughters and female partners. Like millennials around the world, younger Brazilians tend to hold more progressive views on gender. As we saw in 2015’s “Feminist Spring” protests, men are willing to take a public stand against sexism, racism and xenophobia. That’s critical. To counteract negative dominant narrative posed by the new era of Brazilian politics, more male bosses, colleagues, friends and family members must dispute sexist (not to mention racist and xenophobic) language and actions. The political events of 2016 have shown that Brazil still has a long way to go in challenging a culture that excludes women while conflating masculinity with domination, power, control and aggression. Ending child marriage would be one place to start. In the medium term, Brazil’s government must ensure that its “bridges for the future” are built for women and girls, too. To quote the great American radical feminist Angela Davis, we must always attempt to lift others as we climb.



December 2016 | | December 2016


Interview Divulgation

In others we can get to know ourselves better


Ernani Lemos is a journalist, 35 years old and coordinates TV Globo’s office in London. He has lived in Europe since 2008. But talking about him and his history is not the main point of this interview. Ernani wants to talk about others, literally. The art of observing and writing about people’s behaviour led him to publish the book “Sobre os Outros” (Chiado Editora), or “About the Others”, roughly translated. A collection of chronicles about people forms the publication, which has the special participation of seven guests. “Maybe, finding out a bit about you, I’ll get to know about me too,” says the author. In an informal chat, Ernani speaks about coming to London, his work as a writer, the release of his second book, and the challenges and delights of those who live observing the world around them. You’ve lived in Europe for over nine years. How did you get here? I left São Paulo in 2008 with my girlfriend, now my wife, Juliana. We decided to have an experience living abroad. We went to Dublin, and there we worked in bars, restaurants, distributing newspapers; it was a very good time. We have always maintained our journalistic work, sending material to Brazil. In 2011, we came to London to cover the royal wedding. That’s when the “big city bug” stung again and we decided to move here. How did you come up with the idea of writing ​​ a book? Was it something you always wanted?

I always wanted to write a book, it’s the dream of almost every journalist. As soon as I arrived in Ireland I went through that wonderful phase of estrangement, everything for you is new, crazy and funny. I created a blog to write about this, in the form of chronicles. I thought at least my mother and my mother-in-law were going to read. I stopped with the blog eventually and, when I wanted to write something, I used to put it on social networks. Last year, I released my first book, a novel [“Onze Semanas”, or “Eleven Weeks”], which was very well received. And it was funny because a lot of people told me that they hoped the book would be a collection of the chronicles I wrote, so this book came up. Many stories are about moments of daily life. How was the process of writing the text? It’s almost instantaneous. Most stories happen when I’m alone, walking early in the morning on the street when you have time to look around. I start seeing these funny situations and they turn into text in my head. I stop in the street, write down my cell phone, go home and make sure not to talk to my wife until I write the whole text, so as not to distract the thought. Some chronicles have a character you know, a friend, for example, and that is only revealed at the end of the text. How did these people quoted in the book respond to this?

With a book recently released in London, Brazilian journalist Ernani Lemos speaks to the Brasil Observer bYNathália Braga Bannister

The affection is very great, but there is also the jealousy of those who are not in the book. Few people go so far as to declare themselves so openly to others, about the difference they have made in their lives. I think that those who live abroad feel this in a more naked way, this freedom to show feeling that many times those who are in Brazil do not show. The people I’ve always seen call my attention, but I do not see them anymore. So because I miss them they are strange to me, say so, I end up writing about them. In certain part of the book, you have the participation of bloggers with some texts. How do you deal, as a journalist, with this universe of blogs? It would be naive to think that only the old established media works. The internet has a very great relevance; everyone can express themselves. In my case, this connection with bloggers naturally happened, but there is a writer friend of mine who praised me for divulging my book among these people. After all, hardly today a young man will open the culture section of a newspaper to find a book. It is in social networks that you end up finding this kind of information. How were these guests selected? I know a lot of good people with interesting stories. I tried to have a varied profile of people li-

ving in different places. Also, of course, it was people I admired writing. I wanted to show these feelings of estrangement to the guy who takes the book there in Brazil, who was never an immigrant. I wanted people to see some other examples of stories, not to think I’m the only crazy person coming out of Brazil, I miss them and find the other weirdos. Your first book is a novel. Tell a little about it... It is a story of mother and daughter, who have not spoken for 16 years. The daughter is a 27-year-old biologist and the mother is also very young, but has cancer, in terminal condition. And there was an event, which, incidentally, is the great mystery of the book, which caused them to separate. The story goes with mother and daughter exchanging information about this event. It’s a quick book to read, focus more on the personality of the people than on the description of the scenarios, something I also have in mind for my next book. Can you tell us what it is and when you want to release it? I can talk a little bit. It’s for next year and it’s a novel. A story in which, once again, I speak of human relations, of family. It is also a story about friendship, including people of different ages and also has some philosophical doubts.


December 2016 |


The challenge for Brazilian startups The economic scenario is less favourable and there is uncertainty about the continuity of government support, but innovative and collaborative ventures are still promising in Brazil By Wagner de Alcântara Aragão


The news of an agreement signed between the governments of Portugal and Brazil, which foresees partnerships and cooperation in the development of startups, makes this type of enterprise maintain a promising perspective of employment and income generation in this moment of intense crisis in Brazil. If in the first half of the current decade, taking advantage of the extraordinary economic and state development, the startup ecosystem experienced a boom, but now the challenge is to overcome the difficulties, not to be contaminated by the (justifiable) pessimism prevalent in the country. In the evaluation of Start-Up Brazil – a federal government program launched in November 2012 – major global corporations, especially in the area of​​ information technology (such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook), keep their attention focused on startup initiatives throughout the planet. “[These initiatives] are capable of bringing with them a fresh mentality, with invigorating ideas and they are able to embrace the constant changes of the market”, says an official text from the program. Start-Up Brazil is headed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and since the launch four years ago, makes public calls “to qualify and enable accelerators and for the selection of technology-based nascent companies.” Currently in the fourth class, Start-Up Brazil has been providing support since the beginning of the program to 183 national and international startups. It has a network of 18 accelerators in eight Brazilian states “and more than 50 public and private partners”.

MANY AREAS According to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, there are 40 enterprises supported. They are initiatives in the areas of health, information technology and telecommunications, finance, agribusiness, logistics and transportation, entertainment, media and communication and education. “Start-Up Brazil creates the conditions to leverage big ideas. We will continue to make the program a priority, supporting it and improving it always,” said the Information Technology Policy secretary, Maximiliano Martinhão. Also in the official text, the manager of the program, Vítor Andrade, highlights the importance of startups for economic recovery. “Startups, through

innovative products and services with a highly skilled workforce, have great potential to contribute to the economic and social development of the country. Class 4 startups have evolved a lot over the 12 months of acceleration.” According to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Class 4 (biennium 2015-2016) of Start-Up Brazil received 639 proposals, 84% of which were national and 16% were international. “The public investment was of R$ 7.7 million. On the other hand, the accelerators invested R$ 1.5 million and another R$ 7.5 million was raised on the market.”

CHANGES Officially, there is still no detailed statement by the Ministry, but the expectation is that Start-Up Brazil will be reformulated. In April, during the Dilma Rousseff administration, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation made some changes – the new phase came to be called Start-Up Brazil 2.0. At that time, the then secretary Manoel Fonseca announced investments of R$ 40 million, of which R$ 20 million for acceleration of 100 companies based on technology, another R$ 10 million in support of hardware startups and R$ 10 million incentive to the birth of innovative ideas. “We had a lot of discussion for the new model, which incorporates the figure of technical mentoring. We bring contributions from teachers and doctors to our startups. The idea is to make the integration between academia and companies”, emphasized the then secretary. The current secretary Maximiliano Martinhão told IT Forum 365 in an interview at the opening of the IT Forum Expo (held on November 8 and 9 in São Paulo) that Start-Up Brazil will be “relaunched in the coming days.” The secretary did not give more details, neither on the planned changes, nor on when the re-launch would occur. “The most important thing is to generate economic development. Talk about specific regulation is collateral,” he said.

OBSTACLES In the same IT Forum, researchers and entrepreneurs of startups have stated that some obstacles need to be overcome by Brazil so that this ecosystem can launch with more consistency. “Our investors do not accept taking risks in Brazil. Risk that is good they want to minimize as much as possible. On the one hand, you have the

dream of an American investor who invests without fear. On the other hand, we have few entrepreneurs who can accelerate at the same speed as the Americans,” said professor and expert in collaborative economics, Marcelo Nakagawa, to the IT Forum 365 portal. Despite some hindrances, optimism for the startup ecosystem prevails. “Companies are looking openly at creating new business models. Several large companies around the world are creating open innovation initiatives. Today there is no company that is in the competitive market that is not looking for models of innovations,” said Nakagawa.

‘BRAZILIAN SILICON’ The adversities and potentialities of the startup ecosystem in Brazil were also determined by a survey carried out last year by Start-Up Brazil. For the survey, 525 Brazilian entrepreneurs were consulted on their assessment of the possibility of establishing a “Brazilian Silicon Valley”, that is, a reference pole generator and developer of innovative and creative enterprises. For them, access to investments is difficult as well as receiving support from investors. “More than half of the companies heard, 53%, never received any input,” the survey notes. The study also pointed out that Brazilian startups are not only seeking financial and business support. “For them, the ideal fund is the one that also takes risks (for 14% of the respondents), believes in the entrepreneur (8%) and participates in the company’s daily life, while respecting the independence of the entrepreneur (8%)”. The survey continues: “The vast majority of them, 90%, believe that such funds must have experienced professionals and know the business in which they are investing. At the same time, 85% believe that it is very important that these funds already have a track record of success.” Of the companies consulted, 78% have annual sales of less than R$ 1 million. Most of the participants in the study are from the technology area (44%) “and have already formally presented their company to some investors (61%).” “The profile of the respondents consists basically of early-stage startups which already operate in the market and are looking for investments to leverage business growth. This means that the insights we get from research come from a well-educated public entering the ecosystem now and comparing investment possibilities,” the study found. | December 2016


Elói Corrêa/ GOVBA

Association has daring goal for the segment Make Brazil “one of the five largest powers in the world of innovation and technological entrepreneurship, so that Brazilian startups can represent 5% of the national GDP by 2035”. This is the goal of the Brazilian Association of Startups (ABStartups), an entity created in 2011 and whose growth in these five years illustrates how this type of enterprise expanded in the country in the first half of the decade. ABStartups is a not-for-profit organization representing Brazilian startups. Currently they have about 4,000 startups in their database and more than 38,000 entrepreneurs from all Brazilian states, who participate in projects and events focused on increasing competitiveness globally. For the association, three pillars are fundamental to enable the startup segment in Brazil to continue to grow: information (consistent database), promotion (through articulation of projects, creation of programs to access markets, events) and representation (defence of interests of the segment, discussion of public policies). “We have been able to change the startup market. What started with an idea has become a great association, with regional managers and more than 200 associates,” underlines the entity.

The UK is interested in Brazilian startups

Startup from the Technological Park of Bahia developed a game that helps in the fight against the Aedes aegypti mosquito

The United Kingdom has been showing interest in supporting Brazilian startups. Last year, the British Embassy’s economic adviser in Brazil, Catherine Barber, stated that the country was willing to invest in the internationalization of up to 15 such projects through a program called UK Chapter, which would be integrated with the Brazilian Inovation Program, of the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade. InovAtiva Brazil, according to official information, has already qualified at least 20 Brazilian startups in Silicon Valley. At the time of the announcement of the councillor - made during the 15 th Anpei Conference on Technological Innovation in Cabo de Santo Agostinho – the expected budget for support was 150,000 pounds, as reported by Agência Brasil at the time. Catherine Barber stressed the “creativity of Brazilian companies and entrepreneurs”. “The idea is to serve as a platform for these startups to become global companies. We believe there is also potential to be present in the Latin American and Mercosur markets,” she said at the event.


December 2016 |


Belo Monte, one year on Dam is a nightmare for indigenous peoples in Brazil By Isabel Harari, from Instituto Socioambiental


A year ago, officials closed the gates of the Belo Monte Dam, the second largest hydropower plant in Brazil and fourth largest of the world in installed capacity. From that moment on, the dam’s reservoir in the Amazon began to fill, and the lives of the indigenous and riverlands populations who surround it were forever transformed. Thanks to the dam, locals say sailing parts of the river has become more difficult, fishing grounds have disappeared, and pests and fish deaths are on the rise. “It’s impossible to live in the Xingu River today. I don’t stand a chance. People used to live well. Now they survive. It’s not a dignified life,” says Raimunda Gomes da Silva while sailing by the Pedrais da Volta Grande, a section of the Xingu River severely affected by the Belo Monte Dam.

Raimunda used to live with her husband, João, in one of the fluvial islands of the Xingu that were flooded by the dam’s reservoir. They both lived off fishing and farming. Today, she lives in the suburbs of Altamira, a city of 100,000 people – the largest population centre near the dam. The Volta Grande is a 100-kilometer section of the Xingu River that runs through two indigenous reserves, the Arara da Volta Grande and Paquiçamba. Since the dam’s gates were closed, about 80% of the volume of the Volta Grande’s water has been diverted from its natural bed through an artificial canal to a reservoir “The biggest problem is the lack of water. Downstream there’s too little and upstream it overflows.

It overflows with bad water and the downstream shortages are killing things off. There’s too much water upstream, but it’s all compromised, with problems, residues, dead fish, dead trees that have been submerged. And downstream we need more water – there’s a little left, but not enough,” says Raimunda. Today, she makes plans for her new house, which she calls “the promised land”: a piece of land, located 350 meters from the river, purchased with reparations she received from Norte Energia (North Energy), the private contractor responsible for building and running the plant. “I will be there in front of it, looking… I won’t see it smiling and running free. I will see it in pain, but I want it to see that I haven’t forgotten it.” This article was translated from Brazilian Portuguese by Taisa Sganzerla and published at | December 2016


Isabel Harari/ISA



Between February and April this year, Ibama, Brazil’s environmental regulation agency, fined Norte Energia in R$ 35.3 million (10.5 million USD) for the death of 16.2 tons of fish during the filling up of the reservoir, which took three months. But dead fish weren’t the only problem that confronted people living along the Xingu. The construction sites’ artificial lighting and use of explosives also ruined vital fishing grounds used by the indigenous peoples of Volta Grande. With the permanent damming of the Xingu and the reduction of its flow, damage to local communities’ fishing got only worse. “It used to take an hour to get to the fishing grounds. Now it takes twice as long. Some places are inaccessible because the water level is too low and we can’t pass [in our boats],” says Natanael Juruna, a member of the indigenous community. Fishing is the main subsistence activity of the Juruna, according to the Atlas of the Impacts of the Belo Monte Dam on Fishing, produced by the Instituto Socioambiental. According to data collected by independent monitors at the Instituto Socioambiental and the Federal University of Pará, the annual production of fish of the Juruna is of 4,469 kilograms – 98 percent of which is consumed and 2 percent of which is sold commercially. Fish represent 55 percent of local communities’ meals. Fishing is intimately connected to the river’s “flow cycles.” For example, the pacu and the matrinxã, two types of fish that inhabit the Amazon basin, feed themselves from fruits that wash in from flooded areas – environments that will cease to exist with the alteration of the river’s flow. “Without fish we won’t survive,” says Gillard Juruna, chief of the Miratu village, located in the Paquiçamba Indigenous Reserve. “Our people have always lived off the fish in this region. I am sad when I hear that the fish will end. We live off the fish, the river, and that’s why we are the Yudja [another name for Juruna], which means ‘the lords of the river,’ and we have always survived in the river, which is everything to us. While the Xingu exists, we will keep fighting. We are going until the end. When it dies, we die together with it.” Riverlands people and indigenous groups also report that mosquito populations have increased considerably since the installation of the dam, making fishing, foraging, and farming more difficult. To Bel Juruna, another indigenous leader at the Miratu village, communities have responded by using insect repellent at alarming rates: “Now we have to live walking with those poison bombs, having to breath poison, but it’s the only way we can live a little free of the insects – even inside our own homes. It could intoxicate the children and the people. And the problems with these poisons aren’t immediately apparent.”

A whole year before the company built the dam, Belo Monte’s installation license required Norte Energia to discuss proposals to monitor and mitigate the project’s environmental impact with both indigenous and traditional riverlands peoples – adversely affected. So far, according to locals, Norte Energia only presented this information to Ibama, the licensing body. Norte Energia reportedly outsourced its water-quality monitoring responsibilities, and some local indigenous people say they’ve participated in efforts to collect water samples, but they’ve yet to gain access to the test results. The Canoada Bye Bye Xingu – a canoe excursion organized by the Indigenous Association Yudja Miratu da Volta Grande do Xingu (Aymix) and by the Instituto Socialambiental – aims to draw attention to the problems that the peoples and communities of the Xingu have been facing since the beginning of the Belo Monte dam’s construction. The third Canoada excursion, which took place between September 3 and 9, was the first after the Belo Monte’s gates were closed. The changes in the scenery are visible. With the river’s drought, the 112-kilometer journey was even more difficult and the breathtaking landscape of the Amazon now featured flooded and deforested islands and sick fish. “It’s a whole experience to feel with the indigenous and the riverlands peoples: the consequences of the installation of the plant, the beauties and the pains of the region. Whoever takes part in the canoada and listens to the affected populations, feels the bites of carapanãs (mosquitoes), sees the dying fishes and trees, returns convinced that the model of development for the country cannot be the construction of dams such as Belo Monte,” says Instituto Socialambiental’s Marcelo Salazar. The canoada also helps indigenous groups think of socio-economic alternatives to communities that depend on the commercialization of fish. Indigenous and riverlands groups could generate income with this kind of activity, working as guides, renting out canoes, or selling their arts and food products.

‘A MORBID LABORATORY’ Over the next few years, Norte Energia will conduct a series of tests to determine what water levels are necessary to generate the necessary electricity levels, and how much will flow to the Volta Grande. But until 2019, when the dam begins operating at full power, the company will “open and close” the dam, following the regulations of the National Water Agency (ANA) and Ibama. “What’s being tested is the minimum water flow to maintain life in this region, and what kind of life this minimum flow can sustain. It’s a great human and natural experiment, to test the life of nature and the lives of people who live in that place – to see if it will work. It’s a morbid laboratory, what’s being done to the people of this region,” says Marcelo Salazar.

CONECTANDO is a project developed by Brasil Observer aiming to enhance experiences of ‘glocal’ communication. With universities and social movements, our goal is to bring local content for a global audience. To participate, write to


December 2016 |

A night with the queen Elza Soares Brazilian singer thrills the audience in London and speaks to the Brasil Observer: ‘The secret is to sing tol the end’ By Guilherme Reis | December 2016




From the top of her throne positioned in the centre of the stage, surrounded by the musicians of her band, Elza Soares asks the audience to shout. “I want to hear screams, I want to hear noise.” The audience responds promptly, thrilled by the diva of Brazilian popular music. Elza Soares’ concert at the Barbican in London on November 13 was as potent as the hoarse voice of the singer about to complete 80 years old and 60 years of career. Not even the health problems that compel her to be seated during the show are enough to shake her power on the stage. Elza offered the audience with the repertoire of the album “The Woman at the End of the World”, which days after the presentation won the Latin Grammy 2016 in the category “Best Album of Brazilian Popular Music”. First album with original songs written especially for Elza, the work was recorded at the end of last year and has critical lyrics that deal with racism, homophobia and violence against women, among other subjects. “It’s a very strong work, it was wonderful. No one imagined that it was going to be that strong. It’s a divine gift,” Elza Soares told the Brasil Observer in her dressing room, hours before the show in London.

PLANET HUNGRY Elza da Conceição Soares was born in 1937 in the Moça Bonita favela, in Rio de Janeiro. Her mother was a washerwoman and her father a factory worker and amateur musician. At 12, obligated by her father, she married a man ten years older, with whom she had five children, the first one when she was 13 years old. Of the five, one died of malnutrition and another was delivered for adoption. At age 21 she became a widow. The first time Elza Soares went on stage was in 1953, when she was 16 years old, on a radio program hosted by the legendary Ary Barroso. On the occasion, the public reacted to his appearance with laughs – Elza weighed 45 kg. The presenter took advantage of the situation and asked what planet that girl came from, in which she replied “from the same planet as you”. He then retorted, “What planet is this?” And Elza replied: “from planet hungry”. After singing “Lama” by Aylce Chaves and Paulo Marques, Elza heard from Barroso: “In this moment a star is born”. In the Barbican’s dressing room, the reporter wants to know how she would answer that question if it was made today. “Likewise. Planet hungry. I still see a lot of wrong things. Lots of people sleeping on the street, lots of children without school, education, culture. Planet hungry”.

SINGER OF THE MILLENNIUM Elza Soares made her first recording in 1959, a version of “Se Acaso Você Chegasse” by Lupicínio Rodrigues and Felisberto Martins. The following years were of meteoric rise. Among the songs sung by Elza most played in Brazil are “Boato” (1961), “Cadeira Vazia” (1961), “Só Danço Samba” (1963), “Mulata Assanhada” (1965) and “Aquarela Brasileira” (1974). Born musically in samba, Elza Soares has always been able to travel through the most diverse musical rhythms, from jazz to bossa nova, from hip hop to rock n ‘roll. No wonder she was chosen by the BBC in 1999 as the Brazilian singer of the millennium. This competition was originated in a project called The Millennium Concerts to celebrate the year 2000. Her career, however, did not go without some mishaps. Elza had a long relationship with football player Garrincha, world champion with the Brazilian national team in 1962 in Chile, and suffered from public opinion. Garrincha was married and had nine children, which did not fit well into a conservative country at the gates of a civil-military dictatorship. Elza, in fact, even exiled himself in Rome for fear of reprisals by the military. The power of his voice, however, spoke louder. Elza Soares is fairly considered the queen of samba, a true diva. A woman who assumes her views regardless of the gaze of others.

UNTIL THE END The whole force of Elza Soares appears on her latest album. In the song “Maria da Vila Matilde”, the singer encourages women victims of domestic violence to denounce their aggressors. In one of the verses she sings “you’ll regret raising your hand to me”. “In a point of view I have always been a feminist,” Elza told the Brasil Observer. “I’ve always done everything myself, I’ve always fought alone, so I’m a feminist. The woman who is there to fight has to fight.” In the track that gives its name to the album, Elza exclaims, “I’ll sing until the end / I’m a woman at the end of the world / I’m going to sing, let me sing until the end.” What’s the secret? “There is no secret. As long as I have health and life, I will sing. While I’m standing there’s a lot to do.” The world of music can thank Elza Soares. She is immortal.


December 2016 |


EXHIBITION BRASIL OBSERVER PRESENTS ‘MOSTRA 2016’ The Brasil Observer team proudly presents the exhibition ‘MOSTRA 2016: Brazilian Designers Translating News into Powerful Images’. This showcase was born from the understanding that the front page of a newspaper plays an essential role in driving attention towards its content – and that it should be considered as a poster, as stated by the Polish designer Jacek Utko. Our aim is to explore the relationship between art and journalism to improve the reader’s perception and imagination. Born in November 2013 to bring together the Brazilian community and English readers living in London, the Brasil Observer is a monthly, bilingual newspaper with a bold ambition: understand Brazil through a global perspective. In 2016, its team, along with 11 Brazilian artists selected in a public call, co-created the artworks that were printed in the monthly editions of this newspaper. Using different techniques, each artist represented in images the journalistic content that was being expressed in words, creating an aesthetic and emotional experience for the reader. In the process of choosing and briefing the 11 artists the Brasil Observer had the essential contribution from the Cultural Section of the Embassy of Brazil in London and Pigment – a collective based in the UK specialized in representing emerging Brazilian artists in Europe. We welcome you to the ‘MOSTRA 2016’ and hope to get you inspired by the original works of these 11 Brazilian artists. When: 16 – 30 December (10am – 6pm) Where: Embassy of Brazil (14-16 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5BL) Entrance: Free Info:

CINEMA UTOPIA, THE UK PORTUGUESE FILM FESTIVAL In the year that marks the 500th anniversary of the first publication of Thomas Moore’s “Utopia”, Filmville commemorates the seventh year of UTOPIA – the UK Portuguese Film Festival. This year, the festival invited special guests to put together the seven titles that they perceived as the most relevant in contemporary Portuguese Cinema and the result is a strikingly imaginative programme. British film critics Kieron Corless and Jonathan Romney, the writer Hélder Macedo and the painter Paula Rego picked their favourite films that portray an eclectic take on Portuguese culture and recent history. All screenings will be accompanied by an introduction or a screentalk. Through the hand of independent filmmaker Manuel Mozos, Sight & Sound film critic Kieron Corless’ choice will give us a true insight into the mind of legendary director of the Portuguese Cinematheque João Bénard da Costa, a figure akin to Henry Langlois that epitomizes boundless cinematic passion. Paula Rego’s and Kieron Corless’ choices provide us with a bird’s eye view on the work of Portuguese women filmmakers, both in documentary and in fiction, in the originality of Joana Pontes’ and Rita Azevedo Gomes’ films. Jonathan Romney’s and Hélder Macedo’s choices, in the shape of award winning films on recent Portuguese colonial history, afford us food for thought. And Hélder Macedo’s curatorial insight helps us bring to London the work of José de Sá Caetano and João César Monteiro, key filmmakers and intelligent and beautiful films that give us an intuition of Portugal’s contemporary cinema, culture and utopias. When: 25 November – 8 December Where: Various locations Entrance: From £10 Info:

THEATRE ‘THEBES LAND’ PREMIERE IN THE UK An electrifying tale about truth and fiction, retribution and justice, “Thebes Land” has played sold-out runs in eight countries worldwide. Now it premieres in the UK for four weeks only, starring Trevor White (“Long Day’s Journey Into Night”, West End; “Enron”, Royal Court) and Alex Austin (“Fury”, Soho Theatre; “Yen”, Royal Court). Franco-Uruguayan playwright Sergio Blanco, one of Latin America’s most exciting voices, teams up with award-winning director Daniel Goldman to tease the boundaries between truth and lies, what you know and what you think you know. This darkly funny, frequently surprising drama is staged inside an enormous steel cage. When: 30 November – 23 December Where: Arcola Theatre (24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL) Entrance: From £10 Info: | December 2016




December 2016 |


Through rose tinted glasses Some comfort and reassurance that 2016 is far from the worst year in history

Franko Figueiredo is artistic director and associate producer of StoneCrabs Theatre Company



Pain is a personal, subjective experience influenced by cultural learning, the meaning of the situation, attention, and other psychological variables, so say the experts. Right now, I am very close to hitting the highest level of pain in any possible scale. I’m trying to find a thread of hope in the world, but I’m finding it hard to see any positive in past year. Has 2016 been the worst year ever in the annals of history? Global terror, zika virus, war, famine, Brexit, not to mention the “Dark Lord” taking power as president elect of the US. We lost Prince, David Bowie, Tereza Rachel, Cauby Peixoto, Victoria Wood, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali, Elke Maravilha, Domingos Montagner and so many more. Consequently, the pain I feel, however personal and subjective, is a great one. It’s like I’m grieving the passing of a generation. And, as I do it, I find myself reminiscing the “good old days”. If I choose, however, to look at the other side of the coin, the yang side of things, I can see that, however fragile, life has improved massively: there is a little more equality, we are better connected, life expectancy has increased, the risks of death or natural disaster have fallen, we opened up about mental health and have become more sensitive to the role psychology plays in the writing/reading of history, standards of living have improved, etc. etc. So, why do we seem much more predisposed to thinking that the present is always a catastrophe and that the past is always great? Horace refers to “laudator temporis acti” in his work “Ars Poetica”, to mean someone who is discontent with the present and instead prefers things of the past, “the good old days”. This tendency to paint the past in glowing colours is as old as time and probably a consequence of human nature itself. It is in times of adversity and disappointment men are most given to extol the past, and to forget its disadvantages as well as the privileges and immunities of the present. We have fallen, and are falling, foul of this everywhere: from Brexit’s attitudes, to the Dark Lord’s promises to “make America great again”, and with seven European elections in the horizon, I hope this trend will stop. Even in the Bible, one will find this warning: “Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools. Say not you, what is the cause that the former days were better than these? For you do not inquire wisely concerning this” (Eclesiastes, 7:9; 7:10). But imagination takes hold and the aged (not only conscious of their weakness and their pains) seek comfort in the days of their youth, and paint scenes and experiences of bygone times in such colours that are only but deceptive. By pretending that all prosperity and happiness belong to a past age, they remove the fancies and the range of contradiction. All things in their vision become glossy and fair, and unreal.

Yes, the good old days might have been good, but they weren’t easy. When I first came to the UK, there were no mobile phones, no central heating, wine drinking was a luxury, and Brazilian shops were almost non-existent. There were no Aldi’s or Lidl’s. There was clause 28*, there was poll tax**, opening a bank account or even getting a credit card were almost inconceivable. You wouldn’t hear many accents on TV that weren’t RP (received pronunciation***). Prejudice seemed as rife then as it is now. We had to fight for our rights, we marched, and we went on strikes. We earned some rights, and made it a little bit easier for the coming generation. What’s the point of recording history, if history is doomed to repeat itself? We, as humans, are made of our memories and defined by our choices. We are not animals, with free will, comes responsibility. There are complexities to life that make it all very messy, but also extremely beautiful, and sometimes one can be both. As I finish writing this, my pain has subdued. Having checked online comparisons between past and present provides some comfort and reassurance that 2016 is far from the worst year in history. Tony Benn, the politician, said “every generation has to fight the same battles for peace, justice and democracy. There is no final victory and no final defeat. The advance of the human race has always been through struggle. Even if you lose a battle, you leave a trail of courage and determination that will encourage future generations.” Whether or not the former times were better than these, the times upon which we have fallen are good enough for us to use towards our own moral and spiritual improvement, and at the same time they are bad enough to call on all our powers to mend them. We must fight everyday to overcome negativity and strive to practice daily acts of kindness. Our own goodwill can make the next, our greatest year ever. *Clause 28 or Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 prohibited local authorities from “promoting” homosexuality or gay “pretended family relationships”, and prevented councils spending money on educational materials and projects perceived to promote a gay lifestyle. It was repealed in Scotland in 2000 and in the rest of the United Kingdom in 2003. **The Community Charge (commonly known as the “poll tax”) was a system of taxation introduced in replacement of domestic rates in Scotland from 1989, prior to its introduction in England and Wales from 1990. It provided for a single flat-rate per-capita tax on every adult, at a rate set by the local authority. The charge was replaced by Council Tax in 1993, two years after its abolition was announced. ***The standard form of British English pronunciation, based on educated speech in southern England, widely accepted as a standard elsewhere. | December 2016


Feminist retrospective


We did gain strength, followers and space. There were not only amazing projects, but also beautiful victories “Never forget that all it would take is a political, economic or religious crisis for women’s rights to be called into question. These rights are not permanent; you will have to be vigilant for the rest of your life.” This quote by Simone de Beauvoir fits perfectly in 2016. The year that showed that history is, indeed, cyclic, and the idea of collectiveness continues to be an utopia, a distant dream. As we face several threats towards women’s right, the feminist movement is preparing for the many battles that will come. We did gain strength, followers and space. I believe that if you read this column you are well aware of all the horrific things that happened in 2016. But are you aware of the good things, especially when it comes to feminism? There were not only amazing projects, but also beautiful victories. In Brazil, an unprecedented deal in São Paulo’s court is a great example of awareness towards “casual” harassment, something that until not long ago was perceived as part of everyday (women’s) life. The man, who harassed the victim in the lift of the building where she lives, agreed with making a donation for a feminist NGO (Think Olga) and signed a document saying he will no longer behave like that (and, if he does so, he will be prosecuted). Also in Brazil, on September 28th (Day of the Fight for Decriminalization of Abortion in the Caribbean and Latin America), a number of feminist collectives, projects and NGOs organised a 24hour online protest on Facebook. From 0h to 23:59 there were dozens of live broadcasts, and the hashtag #PrecisamosFalarSobreAborto (We need to talk about abortion) triggered interaction and engagement around the subject. I had the privilege to be one of the speakers, and I talked about abortion laws in the UK and Ireland. It was a day of intense online activism, with specialists and militants approaching the abortion issue and showing facts and statistics in order to fight stigma and show how women bodies are subject to patriarchy control. Within the same subject, we saw Polish women unite for a general strike and massive protests that took the streets of around 60 cities on October 3rd. They were protesting against a government measure that wanted to ban abortion under any circumstances. Nowadays women are allowed to terminate a pregnancy in case of rape, risk of losing

I believe that if you read this column you are well aware of all the horrific things that happened in 2016.

their lives or if the foetus is irreparably damaged. When confronted with the possibility of losing the very little that had been conquered, they organised and won – albeit temporarily – the battle. Polish government won’t, for now, change the law. The 14% pay gap in Iceland triggered Icelandic women to organise a synchronised and creative protest. Precisely at 14:38 on October 24th – 14% earlier than end of play – they left their desks and took the streets. And let’s just remind ourselves that Iceland is the best country in the world when it comes to gender equality, and yet it’s estimated that the pay gap will last 52 years – which, by the way, is not that long if compared to the 170 years estimated by the World Economic Forum to end the problem on a global level. And, to end on a good note, let’s talk about the silver linings in the elections in Brazil and the US. In Belo Horizonte (Brazil), candidate Áurea Carolina, a black feminist militant running for municipal councillor, received the most votes. And in the US, Planned Parenthood – a non-profit that offers support and information about reproductive health and rights, has received thousands of donations from the public as a way of protesting against Mike Pence’s ultra conservatism (he promised to cut funds for Planned Parenthood during the campaign). Let’s hope for a 2017 with even more victories, and that they are not the exceptions. g

Heloisa Righetto is a journalist and writes about feminism (@helorighetto – conexãofeminista)

For Brazilians who think globally. For everyone who loves Brazil. 074 92 65 31 32



December 2016 |



The bustling laneways of Morro de São Paulo are but a distant memory as our speedboat glides along mangrove-lined waterways, bound for the laid-back island of Boipeba. To our right, the sleepy village of Cairu hurtles by, famous for its 17th-century church and convent of Santo Antônio. Soon, our boat makes a welcome pit stop at a floating seafood shack. Tables full of punters are leisurely lunching on fresh lobsters, crabs and oysters, all washed down with plenty of chilled beer and caipirinhas with a kick. A delicious meal under the sun, in an eatery bobbing on the water surrounded by nature – it’s one of life’s simple pleasures. I am soon to discover that this is what Boipeba does best. By the late afternoon our boat arrives at Boipeba’s Boca da Barra beach, a strip of coastline dotted with palm trees and restaurants. Here is where the ocean meets

the Inferno River, so swimmers can enjoy the river beach as well as the open sea. As the day draws to a close, the shoreline comes alive. Old boats chug past, carrying fishermen and the day’s catch. A man wanders along the water playing his berimbau, a musical bow with a single string. Visitors sit at riverside tables beside a crackling bonfire, which is sending sparks up into the evening sky. There’s elegance to Boipeba’s laziness. A few minutes’ walk from the riverbank and its restaurants is the village of Velha Boipeba. Founded in 1537, this vibrant little enclave is made up of narrow, carless streets lined with charming, colourful cottages, as well as shops, restaurants and pousadas. At its heart lies Praça Santo Antônio, a town square with a real community vibe. There are kids playing football while locals selling crafts, acarajé and fruity cocktails.

Alison McGowan/

Beautiful Boipeba

Superb food, unique natural wonders and an enchanting, relaxed lifestyle. Christian Taylor explores the charming Bahian village of Boipeba

In Salvador I was told by a taxi driver, “you’ll eat well in Boipeba” and he was right. There are plenty of great places to dine here. Panela de Barro serves hearty Brazilian favourites in a laid-back setting. Flor da Lua whips up superb crêpes. Take the time to walk to the wonderfully deserted Cueira Beach and try the lobster at Guido’s, a popular destination with visitors. Life in Boipeba moves at a glacial pace, which is part of its charm. Nature lovers will feel spoiled here. The island boasts extensive Atlantic forest, sand dunes, salt marshes, idyllic, palm-lined beaches and spectacular reefs teeming with marine life. Boat trips are an ideal way to discover the island’s many hidden treasures. And of course, if you just need some down time, there are plenty of places where you can relax with a cool drink and watch the world go by… slowly. | December 2016


POUSADA SANTA CLARA Tucked away in a sandy laneway, just a few minutes stroll from Boca da Barra beach, is a true slice of paradise. From the moment you walk through the front gate you’ll feel transported – by the charming, rustic décor, the lush, well-manicured gardens, the babbling central fountain and of course, the staff, who will feel like your friends by the time you leave. Santa Clara offers 12 spacious apartments, each decorated in bright, invigorating colours and with their own unique style. Our room had views out to sea from the private balcony and a hammock, ideal for a siesta. There was a minibar, a ceiling fan and a hot shower, plus if you want to escape the heat, some rooms offer air-conditioning too. Downstairs, nestled amongst the fragrant gardens is their breezy restaurant, where chef Mark dishes up inventive, exquisite meals for dinner, as well as a wide variety of tasty drinks. The menu changes daily. Breakfast is served here each morning too and is truly magnificent, including strong coffee, fresh fruits, as well as crêpes, tapiocas and baked treats. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day! Charles, one of the owners, speaks Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. He and his team have been in Boipeba for more than 15 years and they know this place like the back of their hand. They’re more than happy to help you get the most out of your time on the island. Whether you need a boat trip booked, suggestions on places to walk or swim, or even if you want to know the times for high and low tide, nothing is too much trouble. At one point during our stay I asked Charles, “what was Boipeba like all those years ago when you first arrived?” He smiled and replied, “not very different to how it is today.” Rooms start from R$200/£52 per night, breakfast included. Visit

O Céu, Boipeba Perched on top of a hill, above the treeline, is this sleek, stylish pousada, which offers incredible 360 degree views across the island and out to sea. O Céu’s modern design and high vantage point makes you feel like you’re floating above it all. Plus, there’s a constant, cool ocean breeze. The pousada offers six spacious suites, plus a vast shared lounge room and kitchen area, where meals and drinks are served. Here you can savour the stunning views with a glass of wine, listen to some music or read a book. Rooms offer high ceilings, sleek, timber interiors, floor-toceiling windows and rustic furnishings, plus the occasional elegant touch, like chandeliers and brightly coloured curtains. Our spacious balcony offered complete privacy and uninterrupted ocean views. And if the comfortable sofa outside is not to your liking, you can always spend a few hours soaking in the outdoor timber bathtub on your balcony. The village is just a 10 minute walk down the hill, however the rugged pathways can sometimes be a bit tricky to negotiate at night. If you’re carrying luggage up the hill, it’s a good idea to organise a porter beforehand. Jesús, who manages the pousada, is super friendly and always on hand to ensure you have everything you need. Breakfast is served on the balcony and is a memorable way to start each day, consisting of fresh fruits, cakes and coffee, plus eggs and crêpes made to order. And at the end of the day, there is no better place to be on the island to watch the sunset. Double rooms start from R$275/£72 per night, breakfast included. Visit



December 2016 |













25 | December 2016

Brasil Observer #45 - EN  
Brasil Observer #45 - EN