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2/18/09

Lime Slime's Brazil: Skinheads and Celsos

Our magnificent Brazil guest blogger Lime Slime is back with another tale from over that way. You should be used to him by now, so zero blabber from me. Take it away, Lime Slime:

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Here in Brazil, apart from the government trying to mitigate the impact of the crisis (and yes it will be bad folks because Lula never reigned in government spending during the commodity boom, which means it has almost zero room to take an even more pro-cyclical fiscal stance), the country has been shocked, awed and dismayed by the story of Paula Oliveira, 26, a young Brazilian in Zurich who showed up at a police station the other week claiming she was assaulted by three Nazi skinheads who carved the initials of a far-right political party into her legs and stomach.

The assault, she said, caused her to lose two twin babies as she was several months pregnant. The report caused an outcry in Brazil. People wrote long, angry comments on newspaper web sites, calling the Swiss racist pigs and, by extension, loudly proclaiming Brazil a place of racial harmony and bliss. Brazil's mercurial foreign minister, Celso Amorim, who has an anti-first world chip on his shoulder and a poor understanding of trade policy, personally "intervened" in the case to demand a full investigation. The Swiss can't confuse Brazilians with Turks, was the refrain.

But now it comes out that it was all a ruse. The cops said the story was fabricated, and a simple glance at the pictures shows that the letters were carved too precisely to be real. Now, the shipping giant Maersk is threatening to fire her in a case that resembles the McCain volunteer who falsely claimed she was beat up by Obama supporters and carved into her own cheek to prove it.

So, the question now is: will Brazilians retract all the vitriol they hurled at the Swiss? And what about old Celso? Has this thrown a wrench into his outdated first world vs. third world ideology? Brazil is a big boy now, and can't always play the victim anymore, Celso.