At least six â€œObamasâ€ ran for office in Brazil in the recent October 5 municipal elections. One of them, Claudio Henrique, also known as the “Obama of the Baixada”, has become inspiration for the documentary “Brazil: The Obama Samba – Brazilian politicians find inspiration a continent away” by PBS/Frontline. According to producer AndrÃ©s Cediel at their website:
â€œWhen Henrique began campaigning, asking residents to join him in a dream of a better city, his supporters started calling him their Barack Obama. The name stuck, and a campaign jingle followed — set to the funky Rio beat. His popularity soared.
Crisscrossing town in a caravan of family and friends, Henrique meets and greets everyone in town. On the streets he is a crowd favorite, but as we see in the piece, when election day arrives in Brazil, Henrique finds even more obstacles to overcome in trying to make history in the Baixada.”
More and more Brazilians are looking to the elected president for inspiration. There is Gilson Rodrigues, a community leader nicknamed the â€œObama of ParaisÃ³polisâ€ who acts as a dwelling association president in one of the SÃ£o Paulo's slums, and blogger LÃlian Portalupp [pt] comments on yet another Obama impersonator in Rio de Janeiro, a driver who has been acting as the real Obama in Brazil and thanking people for their votes:
E nÃ£o Ã© que temos um Barack Obama em pleno Rio De Janeiro? Trata-se do motorista da rÃ¡dio Globo, Rinaldo GaudÃªncio AmÃ©rico, de 36 anos. Por onde passa, Rinaldo Ã© comparado ao presidente eleito dos Estados Unidos. E ele aproveita esta semelhanÃ§a para brincar com o povo nas ruas. Enquanto o futuro presidente americano monta sua equipe de governo, o sÃ³sia sÃ³ quer saber de comemorar com o povo a expressiva vitÃ³ria do democrata. Convidado para um churrasco numa laje, na Tavares Bastos, Obama fez a festa. Sentindo-se o prÃ³prio presidente eleito, ele nÃ£o parava de fazer promessas entre um petisco e outro.
Can you believe we have a Barack Obama in Rio De Janeiro? He is Radio Globo's driver, 36 year old Rinaldo GaudÃªncio America. Wherever he goes, Rinaldo is compared to the elected president of the United States. And he takes the opportunity to play with people on the streets. While the future U.S. president assembles his government team, the lookalike only cares about people's celebrations of the clear victory of the Democrat. He was invited to a barbecue at Tavares Bastos square, where Obama partied. Acting as if he was the elected president himself, he did not stop making promises between a snack and another.
Â JosÃ© Luis TchÃª [pt] publishes a picture of a Obama from Minas Gerais. According to the blogger, 40 year old Gerson JanuÃ¡rio de Almeida was spotted by American tourists in Brazil. He was surprised at first, but is proud of it now:
â€œPercebi que as pessoas falavam de mim, mas nÃ£o fazia idÃ©ia do que fosse. AtÃ© que o tradutor me explicou que elas me achavam parecido com o candidato Ã presidÃªncia dos Estados Unidosâ€, diz Almeida. De acordo com o sÃ³sia, no trabalho, na padaria e no aÃ§ougue prÃ³ximos a sua casa ele Ã© chamado de Obama. â€œGostaria de participar de concursos de semelhanÃ§a fÃsica e eventos por dinheiro e nÃ£o por vaidadeâ€, afirma Almeida, que trabalha como funcionÃ¡rio pÃºblico e nÃ£o descarta a oportunidade de seguir na â€œprofissÃ£o de sÃ³siaâ€.
“I noticed that people were talking about me, but I had no idea of what it was about. It was then that the interpreter explained to me that they thought I looked like a candidate for the presidency of the United States”, said Almeida. According to the lookalike, at work, at a butcher and at a bakery shops near his house, he is called Obama. “I would like to participate in contests of physical similarity and events for cash, not for vanity,” said Almeida, who works as a civil servant and has not dismissed the opportunity to follow the “lookalike profession”.
Fernando Jorge goes further to point out that Obama would have ever been born, if it weren't for Brazil. Comparing pictures of the Kenyan Barack Obama, the elected president's father, and Brazilian actor Breno Mello, who played the main character in the Oscar winning movieOrfeu Negro (1959), the blogger discovered a striking resemblance between the two. The blogger retells below a piece of history from Obama's biography, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:
Â Pois bem, nesse ano de 1959, uma jovem americana de dezesseis anos, extremamente branca, sem um pingo de sangue negro, chamada Stanley Ann Dunham, nascida no Kansas, resolveu assistir em Chicago ao primeiro filme estrangeiro de sua existÃªncia. Foi ver o Orfeu Negro, sÃ³ com atores negros, paisagens brasileiras, mÃºsica brasileira, histÃ³ria brasileira. Ela saiu do cinema em estado de Ãªxtase, maravilhada. Adorou aqueles negros encantadores de um paÃs tropical e logo admitiu:
“Nunca vi coisa mais linda, em toda a minha vida.”
Depois de tal arrebatamento, a jovem Stanley embarcou para o HavaÃ. E ali, aos dezoito anos, ela se tornou colega, numa aula de russo, de um jovem negro de vinte e trÃªs anos, Barack Hussein Obama, nascido no QuÃªnia. A moÃ§a branca do Kansas, influenciada pelo filme Orfeu Negro, entregou-se a ele e dessa uniÃ£o inter-racial, nasceu em 4 de agosto de 1961 um menino, a quem ela deu o mesmo nome do pai e que Ã© agora, aos quarenta e seis anos, o primeiro candidato negro Ã presidÃªncia dos Estados Unidos.
Well, in that year of 1959, a young 16-year-old American girl, very white, without a drop of black blood, called Stanley Ann Dunham, born in Kansas and settled in Chicago, went to see a foreign film for the first time. It was Black Orpheus, with black actors, Brazilian landscape, Brazilian music, Brazilian history. She left the theater in a state of bliss, wonderful. She loved those black people from a charming tropical country and once admitted:
“I have never seen a more beautiful thing in all my life.”
After such a frenzy, the young Stanley embarked to Hawaii. And there, at 18, she became a student in a Russian language class with a young 23 year old black guy, Barack Hussein Obama, born in Kenya. The white woman from Kansas, influenced by the Black Orpheus movie, fell for him, and from that interracial union, a boy was born on August 4, 1961, to whom she gave the name of his father and who is now, at 46, the first black candidate running for president of the United States.
However, the new generation of Brazilian Obamas is yet to be born. Obama is the fashionable baby name of the moment throughout Kenya, and there are no doubts that, after the victory, there will be some Obama babies in Brazil too. Rubens Fortes [pt] wonders who will be the first:
“Em qual estado vocÃªs acham que vai ser o resgistrado o primeiro bebÃª com o nome de Obama? Ou serÃ¡ que ganha Baraque?…
Ou, pior, algum genÃ©rico, tipo Obrama, Barraque, Barate, Barato Obrama…
“In which state do you think the first baby called Obama will be from? Or is it going to be Baraque?…(as pronounced in Portuguese). Or even worse, something generic like Obrama, Barraque, Barate, Barato Obrama…