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February 26, 2009



The worst is in Ipanema, every year there are dozens of apartments in this area sold to gringos.

However, most are european: French, Danish, Swedish...


Hello my dear

I like so much your writings, ideas, information... but it was painful to read:

"We don't want your damn Amazon."

It s not friendly to write in this way...and you are a very friendly person. Just think about it.
All the best


As an American I was unaware, though not surprised, that many Brazilians thought the US/CIA was involved in a scheme to acquire the Amazon. I think there are portions of the population in virtually every country on the planet that believe the CIA is out to take over their countries just like there are portions of the US population that think the US Government is out to take over their freedoms (Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc.).

From my own personal experience I think that some of this feeling in Brazil may come from the over zealous American evangelical missionaries that are doing work in the Amazon. I am not going to knock all of them because some do absolutely fabulous work for no other reason than to help their fellow man, however there are many that in my opinion have some truly insensitive (at best) motives.

For me personally I just have a really big problem with people who believe that their own way of thinking is superior over all other's (in this case religion) and feel the need to go out all over the world and essentially force everyone to think like they do. A few of my old friend's from high school have been to Brazil several times on mission trips for no other reason than to teach ,in their view, the poor and uninformed people of the Amazon about how Jesus will make their lives better. They seem to give no thought whatsoever that people in that region have been living a certain way for an untold number of centuries, all they care about is making them believe in a new God.

I know this has nothing to do with the CIA, but I don't think their presence in this sacred region is doing anything to alleviate any fears, warranted or not, about American intervention.



i am brazilian and i like your blog wich i discovered some weeks ago.
I never had or read anyone say that about the nun that `she was a CIA agent`. Never, i allways knew that it was a crime commited by farmer or something like that.
And i agree with the comment about?
"We don't want your damn Amazon."
It`s a bit hard.
And also you know only a part of Brazil...think about that. excuse my bad english.
have a nice day.


Go Rachel!


I am sorry Rachel, what are you trying to do? Giving attention to BSs?? Promoting nonsense? Or is it all about merely trying to be "polemic" to attract attention to your blog? You could do better, much better than this kind of post...

Rio Gringa

Ryan, I have mixed feelings about the missionaries here too. On one hand, many of them do excellent work, providing services the government has failed to give. But on the other hand, proselytizing really gets to me (esp as a Jew, since lots of people would like to convert us). I guess it depends on the situation.

Germano - the only people promoting this BS are Brazilians. I'm showing that it is a hoax, just like I try to show that Brazilians aren't sluts or heathens like many gringos think.


Hi Rachel,

I worked with several foreing NGO's and scientists in Brazil and I'd like to say that the biopirates DO exist. Most of them are Americans and Europeans and unfortunately they are helped by Brazilians that pretend they don't see what they are doing. I saw a lot of native Brazilian animals being hidden inside equipments and luggages to avoid fiscalization (most of them were poisonous arthropods). Check some of the pharmaceuticals patents and you will see what I'm saying (e.g. captopril). And I think you could be a little bit more polite and carefull with your words since nobody here wants to offend anybody.


Weellllllll...........Rachel, I would say that if you choose to offend people, this IS the place, it's your blog. Your opinion, your right. So offend away. And for those that were upset when she said "damn Amazon"....get a life! Harsh language is a token of independent American journalism and emphasis is sometimes necessary to get a point across. It's funny how many time I hear "porra" "caralho" or other lovely words in many of Brazilians everyday conversations. But "damn" is really wrong, hum.
And before y'all start screaming, my husband is Brazilian, a Capixaba to be exact. I teach english to Brazilians here in the states and I have had students from all over Brazil. Goias, Manaus, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul. So if you feel like throwing the ignorant American label at me, and assume I know nothing about Brazilian culture- you would be very sorely mistaken.
Every country has the conspiracy rumors, and most people across the world do feel that the US and Europe are corrupt. Well, perhaps parts of our government are. Do all of us know for sure? No. Do I know? Nope.
Is Viviane Castro wrong? No, she can express her opinion. The medium she chose is odd to me (her thigh next to her naked, excuse me "tapo sexo" vagina).
But who am I to say she's wrong? That's her opinion and expressing it naked is her right.
Just as Rachel has the right to say WHATEVER she feels. In any language.
Brazilians and Americans are so similar, both countries have intense pride in our cultures and history. The difference here in America is we are, as a people, a little bit more in tune with the reality of who we are. Rachel said "we don't want your damn Amazon" because WE don't. If a smattering of biopirates has somehow made off with some spiders- it is not a reflection of who WE are. It is a reflection of who THEY are as a small group.
Also, I believe that these "biopirates" have a different name in English-they are called "scientists".
Brazil has a very strong need to compete financially with America and Europe and has done quite a number on the Amazon themselves.Capitalism has really impacted environments in some major developing countries, the first 2 that come to mind are Brazil and China. However, is it up to us to conserve your environment? No. Is it our fault that so much damage has occurred to the Amazon? No. It is Brazilians themselves who log and farm rain forest land. Time for a mirror, Brasil.

America is like the beautiful girl in high everyone wants to be and hates at the same time. You want our help, but we must keep our opinions to ourselves. You admire our culture, but only if we constantly downplay our successes. You enjoy interaction with members of our country, but only if we follow certain rules. Rule number 1, never say a bad thing about Brazil.

There are negative elements in EVERY country-é verdade.

I love Brazil, I love the culture, I love the warmth of the people. One thing I am not a fan of- the jealousy.

We have an expression here, opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.

Rachel, I absolutely adore what you do here. Brazil is a beautiful country with wonderful, fun-loving people.

Keep this in mind, the blogosphere is a an area where freedom comes before censorship.

And we do have much bigger fish to fry.

mallory elise

wow fiery post rachel, bet that one guy is gonna be on here bitching at you. let him bitch! the truth is when we can praise and find fault at the same time. hooray for you.

anyways. i don't celebrate carnival, mardi gras, whatever. i didnt even watch the oscars. am i a negative void then of nothing? yep.

Ray Adkins

Don't even get me started with the Evangelical missionaries...
I am sure many of them have good intentions, but if they were really only wanting to help mankind they should concentrate in the US first, we have so much poverty and suffering around here, why don't they go help the poor people in the Appalachian Mountain areas?
Why do they have to go far away into other countries such as the Amazon while there would so much they could do right here...
These stupid Mormons are all over the place, you see them in Sao Paulo in the Amazon, why don't they go around the US and help the ones in need here first...?
I have one answer for you! MONEY$$$$$$
These Mormons and other Evangelicals are salivating for CASH $$$$, they wouldn't gain much by helping the poor in the US, they are going where they can bull shit the largest amount of people into giving them CASH $$$, lot's of it!


Sei, Rachel... vcs não querem a amazonia, assim como não queriam o petróleo do Iraque nem a queda de Sadam. De boas intenções o inferno está cheio, Rachel.

Robyn Fidler

I think there is a bit of a cultural misunderstanding when Brazilians read "your damn Amazon." It's just a way of saying silly, stupid, not worth my trouble. It's not actually damning the Amazon or Brazil. In English we read that as moleque -- not as a serious palavrão.

I get that stupid, stupid email a couple of times a year from different sources. I've grown so tired of explaining how it is just a scam trying to collect emails when you sign the petition. That it has no basis in fact and that that English "text book" was clearly written by a non-fluent Brazilian.

The worst part is that it distracts Brazilians from the REAL problems - the lawless cattle barons running wild combined with the combined corruption of the politicians and the lack of resources honest Brazilians have to control the problem. So it becomes "let's just blame the Americans so we don't have to face the fact that our own people are screwing it up."

Perhaps there is some bio-pirating going on. But the presence of NGO's in the Amazon is doing more to help than to hurt especially by continuing to draw the world's attention. I would venture to say that some stolen bugs is a small price to pay if it is at all helping to control rampant clear cutting.

If the Brazilian government had control over the situation, perhaps I would be more opposed to the foreign interests, as I believe the resources should only benefit the Brazilian people. But the government doesn't. And that's the bottom line.


Gosto muito do seu blog e seus posts. Tenho idade pra ser até a sua avo(se vc quer saber)... sou casada com americano, adoro o meu país, assim como adoro o seu. Admito que muitos brasileiros tenham essa opiniao sobre gringos e o que eles estao fazendo no Brasil e bla bla bla... na minha opiniao isso já virou até piada de mau gosto. Mas essa coisa de vc falar "we don't want your DAMM amazon", doeu e machucou, quer saber? Nos seus posts, as vezes voce parece ser uma menina muito defensiva, amargurada e especialmente agressiva com suas palavras. Tem um jeitinho especial de tratar certos assuntos sem ofender os seus leitores brasileiros ou nao. Pense nisso !
Fique bem !


There is biopiracy, as far as I know from NGOs and IBAMA. The problem is: we are corrupt, therefore it´s easy getting away with stuff, by all means. If we weren´t so corrupt, people who wold be caught with samples in whatever they got, would go to jail, period, end of story. But we see money first, instead of seeing our people and country.

Guess that´s basically what´s wrong with us, Brazlians: we want money, screw consequences. If americans do it and go to war, and close factories to open new plants where workers are cheaper then americans loose their jobs, it´s their problem. We could do really different. :-/

Oh, and I forgot. Freedom os expression in Brazil is a fallacy, as it´s in the US. Say something that may make someone angry and you'll be sued right away.



I'm brazilian and I haven't felt offended with the "damn amazonia". People are overeacting, I guess. I totally agree it's conspiracy theory. Brazil don't give a shit for the rainforest and keep playing the victim over and over. But this isn't just paranoia -- US has a history of intervention in Latin America.


Just writing again to remind you that all the Latin American dictatorships I can remember of were supported by United States. Remember Cuba. The Cuban Revolution is a direct effect of america's policies for Latin America. You have never choosen diplomacy.



We don't want your damn missionaires.


Couldn't resist, though I loved your post!

I myself believed pretty much of this nonsense until say... 11 years ago. This is something our high school teachers from a certain political party teach when we´re becoming grown ups. Can't believe how far this hoax has come. Even YOU have heard about it! Rachel, this is an old hoax and I'm incredibly surprised you posted about it. Not completely a waste of time, because more people must read about it. I agree on that with you.

I must add to this comment my congrats to you for trying and doing a controversial post every one day or two. You know you're becoming an expert on Brazil when you start realizing how to hit our wounds.

PS: We don't want your damn McDonald's either! hehehehehehe


It's a bit insulting to think they are CIA at least to me it would be an insult, I am an American and as a linguist, I could work for them :/ But I would not, because I do not in any way support the work they do.. I'd rather teach.
However, I can understand why they fear that, there are many strikes against the US historically. And the attitude of the US government has long been that Latin America is "our backyard" or personal playground and no one else is allowed to intervene in this area.. (Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt Corollary, etc)
Well hopefully they won't stereotype me as one of these right away when I move there to be with my boyfriend (also a brasileiro!) and to teach.. D:


Someone here got some serious superiority complex: "Are you ready, Brazil?". Wow. How many readers do you have again?

Awful text, Rachel. We know you can do much better. The fact that you began your text with "once and awhile I like to share information with Brazilians about the US and how Americans think about Brazil" but were unable to make a point, share any relevant information nor tell what Americans think about Brazil, shows how inconsistent this post is.

On the other hand, I think there is an excessive buzz on the whole "damn" thing. Chill out, people.

Anyway, after such a disastrous post, I can't help but think that your main intention was to be controversial and generate more traffic to your blog. Very "tabloidy" of you. Congrats, though - you will get a few more pennies from Google Ads this week!

PS: The Roosevelt Corollary was probably just another hoax/conspiracy theory. Same for the Condor Operation. Plus: biggest conspiracy theorist ever? Noam Chomsky. Right? Right?


Foi infeliz, hem?


Hello, Rachel. It's your blog, you do whatever you want and people can come and go as they wish.

But I guess by now you figured the post is weak. Frankly, as a Brazilian I don't care too much about the Amazon either since we are utterly uncapable and have no resources nor interest to pull resources to protect it. We are very good at playing politics with the forest, that's for sure.

But this issue is so controversial that not even a well-thought single post would not handle it properly. Not you, not anyone. But your post come out as cheap as it gets. Don't worry, though: we all have no intention of patronizing you and for sure we'll be back.

Great news today on the Goldman case: that's something you've been covering so well!!! Where have you been to spread the great news around?



Thanks for bringing up the Craig Alden's case in your blog. I've been following his innocence since I arrived in Brazil. How did you learn about it? As far as I know, the U.S. media hasn't ever picked up on the story (or have they) and the Brazilian news is, well, less than interested.

I know that your blog isn't about his case, but if it's okay with you I'd like to add a little something...The orphans that he "supposedly" abused went in front of a judge recently to publicly state that nothing ever happened. That's right, the very kids (now adults) that Craig was convicted of abusing have told a judge that he is innocent! And what has come of these official statements? Nothing. The court system hasn't done anything about it and it doesn't appear that they will do anything about it. So much for protecting the human rights of the former orphans, not to mention Craig's.


For those who want more data on who does what and wants what, watch the zeitgeist (the movie) on u tube and pay attention to the economic hitman.

I am not going to say that there's a secret service conspiracy of the magnitude mentioned, however there is abuse going on. From Brazilians, North Americans, South Americans and Europeans alike.

Remember: U.S. of A in the Middle East and Chinese in Africa. There is no 'freedom' to be institutionalized. The U.S. of A. is the Roman Empire now, I mean for now (they seem to be in the begining of their decline). So like we any empire, occupation is crucial.


Ignorante, imperialista, mimada e mal educada ... enfim ... tipicamente Americana.

Antes de mais, quando você quiser se dirigir aos brasileiros a tentar dar lições de moral, ganhe vergonha na cara e pelo menos escreva em português.

Você está muito errada em relação a tudo o que escreveu.
É muito fácil tirar conclusões como a sua, completamente parciais, estando a distância no Rio de Janeiro, mas no local a realidade é bem visível e absurdamente óbvia. Só não vê quem não quer.
É verdade que existem muitos exageros e fantasias no meio de toda essa história, mas a ideia que os brasileiros tem da atuação do EUA em relação a Amazónia não está assim tão longe da verdade, se você não acredita vá até lá e veja com os seus próprios olhos.

We don't want your damn Amazon.


We have bigger fish to fry.

A arrogância americana como sempre ... vocês são realmente muito mal educados e consideram-se os donos do mundo. Mas felizmente o vosso "império" (que foi sem nunca ter sido) está a acabar, felizmente é só uma questão de tempo.

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