Samantha Pearson

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bbq-e

THE BBQ ACTIVISTS

February 22 2013, Financial Times Magazine

Valder Bastos is an unlikely activist. Tottering around his apartment in platform heels and a corset, he spends the first 10 minutes of our interview in pursuit of his disobedient Yorkshire terrier. But Bastos, or Tchaka as the 42-year-old drag queen is known to his fans, is one of the more militant demonstrators behind a recent wave of “barbecue protests” across Brazil. Read more>>

dom-bertrandBRAZIL’S WOULD-BE-KING AND HIS TWO-BED RENTED HOME IN SÃO PAULO

May 18 2016, Financial Times

With bars on the windows and faint stains up its external mint-green walls, the two-bedroom rental property near São Paulo’s Pacaembu football stadium is not, it seems, fit for a king. A Toyota Corolla sits in pride of place at the end of the driveway. Inside, piles of freshly washed dishes glisten under the fluorescent light of the narrow kitchen, where a plastic, blue water cooler sets off the orange hues of a flowery tablecloth. Read more>>

eike

WHEN YOU ALREADY HAVE 35 POLITICAL PARTIES, WHAT’S 63 MORE?

August 21 2017, The Wall Street Journal

The list of hopefuls includes the Brazilian Military Party (which wants to privatize prisons), the Christian Ecological Party (they worry about despoiling God’s planet), and the Sport Party (which demands more gymnasiums). Nicole Puzzi, an animal-rights activist and popular soft-core porn star from the 1970s, is one of the 102 vegans who helped launch the Animals Party. Read more>>

eike

EIKE BATISTA’S FALL FROM GRACE

March 26 2015, FT Wealth

To the untrained eye, it was a Fabergé egg, a pristine example of the multimillion-dollar ornament produced by the favoured jeweller of the Russian imperial family. However, after seizing the object last month from the home of Eike Batista, Brazil’s former richest man who could be facing jail over insider trading allegations, federal police soon discovered it was a fake. Read more>>

church

RELIGION DEFIES RECESSION IN BRAZIL

June 24 2015, Financial Times

At Solomon’s Temple in São Paulo, a vast $300m replica of the biblical temple built by Brazil’s Universal Church, the message is clear: salvation can — and should — be bought. One Monday afternoon, during the evangelical church’s weekly “Success Congress”, a local businessman is summoned to the temple’s gold-plated altar to explain how his life suddenly changed after making his first contribution. Read more>>

corruption

PETROBRAS SCANDAL SHOWS CORRUPTION IS NOW A HIGH-STAKES GAME IN BRAZIL

April 15 2015, Financial Times

In the 1980s, corruption in Brazil was a simple, albeit sweaty, affair. The first challenge for any executive entrusted with paying a bribe was to traipse up and down the streets to find enough black market money dealers willing to sell dollars, explains one former government contractor. Read more>>

pitch-battle

WORLD CUP: PITCH BATTLE

June 10 2014, Financial Times

Everton Candido Alves was 12 years old when he started working for drug lords in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. His mother, who had Aids, had just died and with no father around, drug trafficking seemed the only career choice.“It’s hard to resist them – they offer you money, power, girls, drugs and funk music parties,” he says, coughing up phlegm on to the dusty football pitch of the Vila Cruzeiro slum where he is refereeing a match between local teenagers. Read more>>

pastor

PASTOR MOBILISES FAVELA AGAINST BRAZIL’S HOSTING OF WORLD CUP

June 9 2014, Financial Times

As darkness falls over Jacarezinho, one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas, men from the slum’s ruling drugs gang gather outside a bar to divide up wads of banknotes. From the other side of a rubbish-clogged canal, two military police officers look on nervously from their base, clutching assault rifles. Read more>>

safra

JOSEPH SAFRA, BANKER SEEKING A SLICE OF THE BANANA BUSINESS

August 15 2014, Financial Times

Some Brazilian billionaires are known for their lavish yachts, others for their silicon-enhanced young wives and extravagant lifestyles. Joseph Safra’s trademark has always been his silence. Read more>>

 

gay-kiss-3GAY KISS IN SOAP OPERA AMOR À VIDA IS LANDMARK MOMENT FOR BRAZIL

February 7 2014, Financial Times

It was an unlikely romance. Félix had narrowly avoided jail after defrauding a hospital and throwing his sister’s baby in a rubbish skip. Niko had just fathered a child with a surrogate mother who ran off with his ex-boyfriend. Read more>>

 

jorgeJORGE PAULO LEMANN, A LEAN, HUNGRY MOGUL

February 7 2014, Financial Times

Jorge Paulo Lemann, Brazil’s richest man and founder of private equity firm 3G, is perhaps the least Brazilian of the country’s billionaires — the consequence of both fear and ambition.
One Tuesday morning in 1999, gunmen tried to kidnap his three youngest children as they made their way to school. In shock, he moved his family to Switzerland, his father’s native country, where Mr Lemann has lived ever since with his wife, Susanna. Read more>>

formula

SMALLER FORMULA ONE TEAMS NEED TO PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS

March 27 2014, Financial Times

Sandra Santana can only imagine what lies beyond the heavily guarded turnstiles at the entrance to São Paulo’s Interlagos racetrack.
“I guess I could have saved up, but it’s so expensive,” shouts the 55-year-old bank clerk, wiggling her hips to the funk music blaring out from the bar behind her as she tries hard not to spill her beer. Read more>>

street-art

BRAZIL: STREET ART MAKES IT MARK

March 28 2014, Financial Times

If there is one thing that graffiti artists do not usually have to worry about it’s somebody running off with their work. But Os Gêmeos (“The Twins”) – Gustavo and Otávio Pandolfo, identical twin brothers from São Paulo – have already been the victim of at least four robberies. Read more>>

favela

BRAZIL BRACED FOR WORLD CUP AMID RISE IN RIO VIOLENCE

March 27 2014, Financial Times

Rusino cannot decide which is worse: living under the control of drug gangs or the police.
“I was in bed with my wife one night and the police just burst into our place – they think everyone around here is a drug dealer,” says the 30-year-old hairdresser, sitting on a kerb in the Manguinhos group of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. His sister cuts him off, terrified: “Why do you always have to talk so much? Just act deaf and dumb like the rest of us!”
Read more>>

marina

MARINA SILVA INJECTS CHARISMA INTO BRAZIL’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

August 18 2014, Financial Times

Marina Silva has made a habit of escaping death. Growing up in a poor family of rubber tappers in the Amazon jungle, she survived bouts of malaria and hepatitis. Polluted water also left her with metal poisoning. As a campaigner against deforestation she later faced death threats from ranchers, who in 1988 murdered Chico Mendes, her close friend and Brazil’s celebrated environmentalist. Read more>>

foster

FROM A FAVELA TO THE TOP TABLE

October 7 2012, Financial Times

Maria das Graças Foster’s life reads like a clichéd Hollywood film script.
Growing up in Morro do Adeus, one of Rio de Janeiro’s most dangerous favelas, she used to collect cans and other bits of scrap metal to pay for her school books. As a teenager she wrote letters on behalf of illiterate migrants and took on other odd jobs to help support her family, staying out of the way of the local drug gangs. Read more>>

breaking

BRAZIL: AT BREAKING POINT

March 20 2014, Financial Times

Emilio Pastore normally spends the weekend visiting his elderly parents or taking a quiet bike ride in the countryside around São Paulo. But last Sunday the 50-year-old systems analyst printed out a banner with the slogan “no more lies” and took to the streets for the first protest of his life. Read more>>