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The true story of Brazil's independence

Still a mere prince regent, a few hours before the famous cry, on that distant September 7, 1822, Pedro de Alcântara Francisco António João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquim José Gonzaga Pascoal Cipriano Serafim had his pacová overflowing. Sitting at the table, where he was listening to threatening messages coming from Portugal, he got up suddenly and left without saying anything, but breathing fire from his nostrils. “Looks like I’m really going to have to declare Brazil’s independence today. Just today!” he said. Or at least so someone heard him say.

The Chalaça went after his friend, who had sat on a termite mound on the hill that borders the Ipiranga River. “Can I get close?” asked Chalaça, fearing that D. Pedro, whom he called Pedroca, was subjecting himself to the will of nature, as he had read in a book. “Come closer. I want to change a little bit of prose c’ocê”, said the future emperor of Brazil, for some reason carrying his redneck accent.

That’s what friends are for. Chalaça went there and sat down next to D. Pedro. I say, in the termite mound next door, because the two of them together in the same termite mound would give something to talk about at that time when homophobia was not yet a crime comparable to racism. Which, by the way, wasn’t a crime either. “What’s the matter, my dear?”, asked the Punk. Did I notice a Bahian accent or am I going crazy?

D. Peter spoke. And he talked and talked and talked. He complained about his family, politicians, Domitila and even Laurentino Gomes. “The guy goes and writes me a book saying I have a stomach ache today. See if you can! Have you ever seen a historical figure with a stomachache, even more so on the day he is going to take a drastic action that will become a national holiday?”, asked D. Pedro to a totally lost Chalaça. Even more so because he had a hangover, the noble debauchee.

Strength of expression

D. Pedro then stood up, taking a deep breath. “Let’s go then, shall we? Time to create this bagasse called Brazil”, said the Prince Regent to his friend. “What do I even have to talk about?” he asked. From his pocket, Chalaça took out a crumpled piece of paper, which read: “Friends, the Portuguese Courts want to enslave and persecute us. As of today our relations are broken. For my blood, my honor, my God, I swear to give Brazil freedom. Brazilians, may our watchword from today be ‘Independence or death!’”.

D. Pedro took the paper and stayed there reviewing the text. “First I don’t like enclisis, you know. I’ll just let it go because it’s a historical document and all. Plus, don’t you think ‘Independence or death’ is a bit over the top?” he asked. The Chalaça reassured him that the “death” option was just a force of expression, that deep down the Portuguese were crazy to get rid of Brazil. “Two hundred years from now this will be a mess you can’t even imagine,” said the court pimp. It was the turn of the quasi-emperor not to understand at all. And to follow the script.

D. Pedro climbed a weary nag and advanced slowly towards the placid banks that very soon will hear the resounding cry. Nearby, in front of an easel, Pedro Américo recorded the scene for posterity, instructing protagonists and extras. “Pedroca, more to the right. This this. There! Perfect!” shouted the painter. “Now raise your sword like this, oh…!” Somewhat bored, as was befitting a boy of 24 years old, D. Pedro did what the painter ordered.

As soon as the picture was assembled, D. Pedro began to declaim the speech that he had memorized with great difficulty. “Friends, the Portuguese Courts…”, he began. As he spoke, the now-you-can-speak-to-be-emperor caught a glimpse of the sun that, in brilliant rays, shone in the Fatherland’s sky at that moment. Emotional that he was, he almost cried. “… ‘Independence or death!’” he concluded, looking around. The chance for someone there to say “so death!” it was small. But what’s up.

“I’m optimistic. And you?”

After the solemn act was over, D. Pedro I returned to the hill and to the termite mound. The Chalaça arrived soon after. “The party was beautiful, man!”, he said, not knowing that he was plagiarizing Chico Buarque. D. Pedro I nodded in agreement. “Yes, my friend, Brazil’s independence has been decreed,” he said. “Now it’s time to see what happens. I’m optimistic. Is that you? I mean, what you said about the Portuguese wanting to get rid of Brazil… It wasn’t true, was it?”, he asked.

In silence and with his eyes lost on the horizon, Chalaça foresaw the future. National holiday. Streets full. Green and yellow. National anthem. But also Lula candidate. Communist threat. STF Electronic voting machines. Press talking about coup. “Of course not, Pedroca. Brazil will do well. Absolutely right!”, he said, that was all a joke. “Now come! Let’s enjoy life and celebrate the flower of America that shines until you abdicate the throne, the Republic is not proclaimed, etc.”

Without understanding anything, D. Pedro stood up. “Is there any way to stop Laurentino Gomes from saying that I had diarrhea today?”, he asked his friend. “Let him. Nothing is more Brazilian and human than a national hero with piriri”, replied the Chalaça, already downing the first of many bottles of wine.

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