|Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2014-04-17 01:32Z by Steven|
The New York Times
Simon Romero, Brazil Bureau Chief
SÃO PAULO, Brazil — For obvious reasons, many Paulistanos still consider this megacity’s decrepit old center a no-go zone.
Carjacking and kidnapping gangs prey on motorists at stoplights. Squatters control dozens of graffiti-splattered apartment buildings. Sinewy addicts roam through the streets smoking crack cocaine in broad daylight.
But slip into Jean Katumba’s cramped Internet cafe and a different picture emerges.
“They call this place ugly, but I see its beauty,” said Mr. Katumba, 37, who arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo just 11 months ago.
Trained as an engineer in Kinshasa, the Congolese capital, he earns a living here in Baixada do Glicério, a crime-ridden district, renting computers to customers speaking a variety of languages, from Haitian Creole to Colombian-accented Spanish and the Lingala of his homeland.
“São Paulo means a great thing to me: opportunity,” he said.
An array of similar ventures started by immigrants is flourishing amid the grit of São Paulo’s old center, reflecting shifts in global immigration patterns. Reinforcing São Paulo’s status as Brazil’s premier global city, Asians, largely from China, Africans and Spanish-speaking Latin Americans are flowing in…
…São Paulo’s new immigration surge stands in contrast to previous waves. After the overthrow of Emperor Dom Pedro II in 1889, Brazil’s first Constitution as a republic promoted a policy of “branqueamento,” or whitening, of Brazilian society through European immigration, while prohibiting immigration from Africa and Asia, according to scholars…
Read the entire article here.