Lusofonia- Lusophony

I suppose I should to react to Clyde McMorrow's remark of 14 June, "I think the only Portuguese left in Brazil are the bakers."

Not quite. Actually, the remark shows an ignorance about what is going on in Portuguese and Brazilian Foreign Policy, the so-called Lusophone policy.

Portuguese direct investment in South America grew strongly in the latter half of the 1990s, with annual flows rising from almost 0 to an average of US$ 1.8 billion in 1996-2000, peaking at 4 billion euros in 1998. Brazil received over 95% of these flows.

The largest investments were in telecommunications (Portugal Telecom, PT), electricity, water and sewage (EDP); Águas de Portugal (AdP), cement (CIMPOR) and banking (CGD), both State-owned companies or wholly privatized. See the following:

This month--June 2010--Portugal Telecom (PTC.LS) rejected a 5.7 billion euros ($7.2 billion) bid from Spanish Telefonica (TEF.MC) to buy out its stake in Vivo (VIVO4.SA), Brazil's top wireless carrier, at a 140% premium. At the end of the day perhaps Portugal Telecom will finally sell VIVO for a larger bid ($9 billion) with a clause that its digital contents will be produced by Portuguese companies.

Perhaps the Portuguese are now known in Brazil as “The one who owns my phone company.” But OK. Call them bakers. I would not mind getting one of their pancakes...

There is an even more important link between Portugal and Brazil, as Hernán Grimberg rightly pointed out. It can be summarized in the formula, "Brazil nowadays has a Johannine policy." "Johannine" derives from king John VI, who ruled the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarve, from Rio de Janeiro where he created the Brazilian state in 1808 in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars. (I am finishing my book on this topic.) The people created the Brazilian nation after 1822.
The Brazilian leaders understood that South America can develop when there is an understanding between Brazil and Argentina, the heirs of the Portuguese and Spanish rulers, as Hernán points out. This policy is independent of political parties. (Just follow the statements of Samuel Guimarães, of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.)

Other South American countries are locally interesting but they are less important from a geopolitical point of view. They are parts of the Spanish “broken mirror,” and maverick states like Venezuela can be moderated if Brazil and Argentina so agree. Fernando Henrique understood this and created Mercosur. Then came the Union of South America, with Lula da Silva in 2005. The term “Latin America,” formulated by Chevalier, a counselor of Napoleon III to justify French intervention in Mexico, is banned from the Brazilian discourse. Ibero-America is currently used in Brazil, Portugal and Spain in the annual summits.

Brazil is interested in having good relations with Portugal as a gateway to the European Union. President Lula just said it when he stopped at Lisbon, on May 19, after coming from Iran and Turkey. Brazil has not really explored it. Why? Perhaps because "é o maior país do mundo" and like the 20th-century US its domestic market seems self-sufficient for economic development.

1 comment:

Suely Monteiro said...

It's impossible to be self suficient for everything alone. Brazil needs Portugal like Portugal needs Brazil and others coutries.