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Opinion – José Manuel Diogo: Portugal welcomes Brazilians like the owner of a small house who wants to throw a big party


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They command the most elementary principles of etiquette and good education that, when someone invites you to your home, you should receive with dignity. There’s nothing worse than the memory of a horrible party. It’s a stain that never comes out.

It all starts upon arrival. If you don’t have a garage, you have to have a valet. If you don’t have a butler, you have to have public relations. If you don’t have champagne, you at least have to have cava —always brut. There is nothing more important than that first impression. It is the principle of responsibility.

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Those who live in a small house cannot call a large group. It’s really bad to have guests elbowing each other, sweating together, getting hot, foreshortening and hugging each other involuntarily. The “involuntarism” is unforgivable. Principle of proportionality.

Those who live in a simple house should not call those who are more affluent and vice versa. In society, individuals always end up partying close to those who live the same way. It is the principle of identity.

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But does that mean that the poor are doomed to always go to poor people’s parties and the rich only go to vernissages? True, it usually happens like this. But not always… On some rare occasions, the stars realign, the titans come out of the hole and it is necessary to reorganize the universe.

This is exactly what is happening today with the migratory phenomenon from Brazil to Portugal. A small host is looking to throw a big party, in a small house, for rich and poor guests alike. The risk of going wrong is great, but if everything goes right, it could be Formula 1.

To solve the equation, set the trajectory and respect the principles, it is necessary to look carefully and without rancor at the traumas of past experiences and learn from them, to avoid them in the future —instead of invoking Velhos do Restelo and Baixada Santos.

The Portuguese country is, historically, a source of immigrants — to Brazil, Africa and Europe; has no experience in receiving. Brazil has always received immigrants —from Europe, Japan, Africa, the Middle East; has no experience of being received.

The Portuguese have always been great guests to go to other people’s parties, and Brazilians have always been great to receive. But this time history set up the feast in reverse.

Portugal has to play its part. Invest in the valet service. You cannot have 50 people in the call center (from the SEF, the Foreigners and Borders Service) when you have 1 million guests at home. It needs an automatic visa renewal system and another special appointment for spouses. It’s stuffy.

Brazil needs to have a little more patience with the Portuguese steward – he is still intern. But take a good look at the place of today’s party. Even if a little disorganized and sometimes slow, it really looks like Penha, Sé, Ipiranga, Vila Madalena and Luz in our youth.

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I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.

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