reportageEldorado. This is the name of the small town, southwest of São Paulo, where the Brazilian president spent his youth in the 1970s. The forgotten “Valley of Misery” where the future soldier performed 400 strikes by inventing a legendary path. However, in October, during the presidential elections, Lula was the easy winner in this conservative city… as in the rest of Brazil.
Narcisa dos Santos remembers as if he was yesterday this huge little kid, with noticeable bangs and thick blue eyes. As children, they would occasionally play queimada, the Brazilian equivalent of dodgeball, in the main square of the small town of El Dorado, 250 kilometers southwest of the greater city of São Paulo. His skin was white ! We were making fun of him. We called it palmetto. [cœur de palmier] »The 67-year-old, dark-skinned, with short curly hair, laughs and looks constantly amused.
One day, saw palmetto decides to respond. ” Hey ! you fat ! “,” He throws the child to Narcissa, who sees red: “ I wanted to kill him. I took a branch from a fence and hit it hard ! » The bastard is duly punished, and he goes off to the laughter of the other children. “ He said, “You may well laugh, but one day you will see what you will see. ! I will be president of Brazil and I will take revenge! “ “,” she says. Who would have thought that young Jair Bolsonaro would one day achieve his ends?
Five decades have passed. Palmetto became president of Brazil. Narcisa no longer thought of hitting him, ” exactly the contrary “. On the screen of her pink-hulled smartphone, an image shows her in the arms of Jair Bolsonaro, who is making a heart with his fingers. “Childhood friend” A Head of State’s Favorite A visit to El Dorado will not be missed by anything in the world. I tell him to escape the protocol ! Come have coffee with rice couscous [une spécialité locale] at home.” »
Bolsonaro visits El Dorado twice a year. And for good reason: He’s a “son of the earth” who spent most of his youth here. Eight years in total, from 1966 to 1973, between the ages of 11 and 18. That was his teenage years, in which his personality and future political convictions were falsified. A large part of the head of state’s family still resides in the region. El Dorado is at the same time the stronghold of the clan, the place of childhood memories and the melting pot of the current president of Brazil. Where it all began. And where will all this end? In October 2022 the presidential elections will be held. The outgoing far right is largely considered a loser to its rival, former leftist president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, in Brazil as in El Dorado.
El Dorado now has a population of 17,000. Installed on a ring of the rio Ribeira de Iguape (known as “rio Ribeira”), the city lies in the heart of the “Paulista Amazonia”: a green and mountainous area, all the caves and primary vegetation of the Mata Atlântica, a tropical rainforest. The forest covers 70% of its territory. It is said to be inhabited by jaguars and other mysterious creatures. It is better not to risk it.
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