In the beginning of the 20th century, the neighborhood of Pari, in São Paulo, concentrated Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Greek populations that immigrated to work in factories – many of them anarchists and socialists that brought to the country the seeds of the first social and labor movements. Today, Pari is famous for a new wave of immigrants. It hosts the weekly Kantuta square fair, a festival of Bolivian culture that attracts thousands of visitors every Sunday.
For one moment, you might think you were transported to Cochabamba. A few dozen stands sell llama wool shawls, zampoñas (the typical Andean Pan flute), ceramics and typical dishes, such as salteñas and empanadas. Many Brazilians even try the anticuchos, unaware that they are made with marinated beef heart in a stick. Also, they frequently display folcklorical groups in typical costumes, as shown in the video below.
Bolivians are among the most numerous recent immigrants – informal statistics indicate that at least 100 thousand live in the city of São Paulo. Part of them are submitted to semi-slave work in illegal sweatshops that provide cheap garments to the local commerce. Almost half of the recent immigrants to Brazil — those who entered the country between 1990 to 2000 — came from elsewhere in Latin America: 12% from Paraguay, 9% from Argentina, and 7% from Bolivia. Only 23% came from Europe and 16% from Asia, mainly Japan.
Brazilians have prejudices, but are among the most tolerant populations of the world. This is one of the conclusions you can draw from the graphs produced by the World Values Society. It is a worldwide network of social scientists that study changing values and their impact on social and political life. They have been conducting surveys in 97 countries since 1981.
In one of their latest studies, they asked people all over the world about their tolerance towards their neighbors. The following percentage of Brazilian respondents said they wouldn’t like to live close to:
People who speak a different language:9.1% (US – 11.1%, Great-Britain – 6.3%)
People of a different race: 5.3% (US – 4.1%, Great-Britain – 5.4%)
Unmarried people living together:7.1% (US – 8.4%, Great-Britain – 2.3%)
People who have Aids:17.8% (US – 15.9%, Great-Britain – 13.6%)
Drug addicts: 82.2% (US – 93.8%, Great-Britain – 94.4%)
Heavy drinkers: 60.4% (US – 72.9%, Great-Britain – 67.8%)
In all of the scenarios, Brazilians were among the most tolerant or, at least, in the average group. But it is sad to see that the rejection of gays is still very high. If you want to check the statistics for other countries, just click here.