About this blog
Thrill of Brazil is a travel blog all about Brazil written by Moon Brazil author Michael Sommers. Michael blogs about Brazil travel, culture, and more. He welcomes questions, comments, and story ideas.
- Care for a Drink with your Film? (or a Film with your Drink?)
- Brazil’s Homegrown Tourism Boom
- Brazil's Best and Write-est
- Making House Calls in Rio (Part II)
- Making House Calls in Rio (Part I)
- The Dawning of Brazil's B&B Age
- Rio's Alternative Points of View
- Taxi Trouble in Santa Teresa
- Obamas Take to the Campaign Trail in Brazil
- Plans and Punctuality
- Reliving Tropicalismo - On and Off Screen
- Food and Lodging that Make the Grade
- The Making of Moon Living Abroad in Brazil
- U.S. is Number One Source of Immigrants to Brazil
- Best English-Language Blogs about Brazil
Brazil's Political Clowning Around
In Brazil, even outside of Carnaval period, things can get pretty Carnavalesque. Right now for example, the country is in the last leg of political campaign season, which will see the election of a new president along with state governors and state and federal deputies and senators.
The first round of voting takes place on October 3 and all polls unanimously point to an easy victory for outgoing president Lula’s handpicked candidate (and former chief of staff), Dilma Rousseff, whom – if elected – will become Brazil’s first female president.
Also expected to achieve an easy victory is Tiririca, a TV comedian and former circus clown. Not only is he running as a federal deputy for the state of São Paulo,.but with over 1 million promised votes, he’s expected to actually win a seat in Brasília’s Congress. Born as Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva in the state of Ceará where he joined a circus at the age of eight, Tiririca – whose stage name translates in “Grumpy” – has seduced voters with zany commercial spots and memorable campaign slogans such as the irrefutable: “What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don't know. But vote for me and I will find out for you”.
This clown is not the only candidate of C-list celebrities and sports stars running for office. Other colorful figures who are expected to win include former soccer star,Romário. The pint-sized, but large-egoed hero of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup victory is running for office as a federal deputy for his home state of Rio de Janeiro on a platform of improving favela security and getting kids off crack and other drugs. Also making a splash is Suellem Rocha a.k.a Mulher-Pera (“Pear Woman”). The origins of her name are evident upon first glance at the voluptuously-shaped 22-year-old dancer/model from the state of São Paulo who is attempting to appeal to youthful voters with the juicy slogan; “Vote in the Pear to Be Happy”.
In Brazil, during the weeks leading up to the election, all candidates (over 6,000) from all parties (27) are given free airtime on television and radio. Overwhelmed (and bored silly) by lackluster political performers touting the same old canned messages, Brazilians often find candidates such as Tiririca, Romário, and Mulher-Pera to be refreshing (not to mention entertaining) antidotes to the standard politicians from the elite classes whose reputations are often tainted by corruption.
Says Eliane Cantanhêde, political correspondent for the Folha de São Paulo, newspaper: “Brazil has a tradition of voting for these types of characters, either because they make a strong impression on the poorer and less informed voters, or because they attract those wealthy and well-educated people who are fed up with politicians and want to protest."
Indeed, one of the most famous political “protests” of all time took place in 1958 during municipal elections in São Paulo. Revolted by the low caliber of the 450 candidates running for municipal council, a journalist named Itaboraí Martins placed Cacareco, a rhinoceros who had just arrived at São Paulo’s newly inaugurated zoo, on the voting ballot. The female rhino not only won hearts, but ended up winning the election; racking up 100,000 votes, she became Brazil’s first tusked official (although she never took office).