March 6, 2014
Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 3/5/2014
José de Moraes leapt into the air as if possessed by the frenzied rhythm that his drummers were beating out. As master of the drum section of his Carnaval street party, or bloco, his job was to choreograph the furious samba beats that sent revelers wild.
He leapt and danced like a rubber man in the midst of the bloco, called Paraty do Amanhã (Paraty of Tomorrow), on a narrow street in this popular tourist town on the Rio de Janeiro coast that attracts more than a million visitors a year.
For Brazilians, Carnaval is a five-day national escape from the harsher realities of life. The year in Brazil only really begins after Carnaval, which wrapped up Tuesday.
March 4, 2014
Leslie Josephs – The Wall Street Journal, 3/3/2014
Coffee prices are getting an extra kick from Brazil’s Carnival.
Trading volumes have been lower during the annual festival as many Brazilians take vacation, and many farmers, who usually take the “short” end of a contract when locking in prices, are absent, traders said.
This situation has added fuel to this year’s sharp rally in the $11 billion arabica coffee-futures market. Investors and traders have been snapping up coffee futures on concerns that unusually hot and dry weather in Brazil’s key growing regions will dent coffee-bean output.
March 3, 2014
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 2/28/2014
It’s Carnival this weekend in Brazil. While it costs hundreds of dollars just to get a bad seat in Rio de Janeiro, the northern city of Recife hosts the most unique and varied celebration in the country, with two million people expected to attend.
“There is a mixture of the religious and the profane here,” says Romulo Meneses, who’s the head of the biggest block in the Saturday parade. “The two play with each other during carnival. The saying goes that this isn’t a state, it’s a country in and of itself because it is so multicultural.”
There are three broad types of music that symbolize Carnival: frevo, caboclinhos and maracatu.
January 28, 2014
Arianna Huffington – Huffington Post, 1/27/2014
Olá from Brazil. I’m here for the launch of the Brasil Post, in partnership with the Abril Group, one of Latin America’s legendary media companies. For more than half a century, Abril has been telling the story of Brazil, in the pages of iconic magazines like Veja, Claudia and Exame, and in its growing portfolio of online publications. We’re delighted to welcome the Brasil Post — The Huffington Post’s first South American edition, putting us on our fifth continent — and Abril’s fabulous team to the HuffPost family.
Brazilians are social by nature, both online and off, making Brazil the perfect place for The Huffington Post to expand our platform, which is all about conversation and engagement. With more than 100 million Internet users and more than 50 million smartphones, Brazil is as hyper-connected as any country in the world. It is now the third largest market in the world for Facebook and the fifth largest for Twitter. In a country as large and diverse as Brazil, the Brasil Post will welcome all voices — politicians, business leaders and academics alongside students, activists and artists — and will be a hub where all Brazilians can come to share their passions or simply cross-post from their own blogs and add a new distribution channel to what they’re already writing.
My first meeting with the Abril team was a little more than two years ago, in September 2011, when Roberto Civita, who at the time was Chairman and CEO of Abril Group, invited me and Nicholas Sabloff, our executive international editor, to lunch at their offices. Also at the lunch were Fábio Barbosa, who was on the verge of becoming Abril Media’s CEO, and Manoel Lemos, the company’s chief digital officer. It was one of those moments when everything comes together: we were completely taken with our hosts’ hospitality, humor and passion for using all the tools at their disposal to tell the story of Brazil and its people.
January 7, 2014
Ben McGrath – The New Yorker, 01/07/2014
The last time Brazil hosted the World Cup, in 1950, two hundred thousand people—a tenth of the population of Rio de Janeiro—streamed into the newly completed Maracanã Stadium to watch their beloved national team, the Seleção, compete for the title against Uruguay. A monumental concrete bowl, intended to rival the Christ statue atop Corcovado, the Maracanã resembled a spaceship and was meant to embody, as the British journalist Alex Bellos writes in “Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life,” not only Brazil’s athletic ambition but also “the country’s place in the modern world.” Its capacity was greater by several magnitudes than any other Brazilian stadium. Some ten thousand men had contributed to its construction, practicing goal celebrations while they worked. They’d even, somehow, finished ahead of schedule.
Then Brazil lost, 2–1. Back home, while listening on the radio, three Uruguayans reportedly died of excitement. In the Maracanã, there was stunned, eerie silence, so unfathomable and disconcerting that it left a formative wound in the national psyche. The novelist Nelson Rodrigues identified the moment as the source of his country’s “stray-dog complex”—“the inferiority with which the Brazilian positions himself, voluntarily, in front of the rest of the world.” In spite of the five World Cups that Brazil has won since—more than any other country—the Maracanã humiliation remains the most intellectualized aspect of its sporting legacy, if not of its modern history altogether. “When the players needed the Maracanã most, the Maracanã was silent,” the singer, songwriter, and poet Chico Buarque once declared. “You can’t entrust yourself to a football stadium—that’s the lesson that sunk in after 1950.”
December 16, 2013
Vanessa Barbara – The New York Times, 12/15/2013
First came “Granta 121: The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists,” a 2012 edition of the British literary magazine. Then Brazil was the guest of honor at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, held in October and attended by some 90 authors representing the country’s literary diversity. Next year we will perform a similar role at the Goteborg Book Fair in Sweden and at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy.
And yet, despite all this fanfare, when in Brazil, do not tell anyone you’re a writer. Not only will they deny you credit at the grocery store, but almost certainly they will laugh at you, asking right away: “No, seriously. What do you do for a living?”
Unless your name is Paulo Coelho, writing is seen as about as useful and profitable as whale-snot collecting.
December 5, 2013
Wilson Center Global Fellow Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva shared the 2013 Premio Esso, or Exxon Award, for Best Contribution to Journalism. Established in 1955, the Esso Journalism award is the most traditional and prestigious recognition for journalists in Brazil. The award is an especially high distinction because it celebrates the independence, courage and creativity of Brazilian journalists in eleven categories. The award of Best Contribition to Journalism honoring Lins da Silva was given to Revista de Jornalismo ESPM, the Portuguese language edition of the Columbia Journalism review, for which he is a co-editor along with Eugênio Bussi. CJR is published in Brazil by the Escola Superior de Progaganda e Marketing. A highly accomplished journalist, author and educator, Lins da Silva is editor of Politica Externa, Brazil’s top foreign policy journal. He was previously executive editor and Washington correspondent for daily Folha de São Paulo, and Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center.
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December 3, 2013
Stephen Kurczy – The Christian Science Monitor, 12/03/2013
With the World Cup approaching, Dale Smith made a bet on Rio de Janeiro. The New Zealander purchased a ramshackle building atop a hillside favela, or shantytown, that was only recently reclaimed from drug gangs, and began remodeling it into a boutique hostel set to open in time for the tournament.
Mr. Smith reckons that a surge in hotel demand, and a shortage of supply in Brazil’s second-largest city, will send soccer fans to his hilltop hostel. He also hopes that adventurous visitors will seek out an “authentic” Brazilian experience, set inside the shantytown’s maze of alleyways, surrounded by pounding samba beats and a tinge of lawlessness.
“This is a bit more than I would have taken on without these events coming on,” says Smith, standing on the fourth-floor of his building as construction workers hammer around him. “But we know there’s a housing shortage in Rio.”