Last weekend, the celebrations organized by the Senate on the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence were launched, with the launch of an interactive website.
The city chosen was Petrópolis, with a strong connection to Portugal and which served as a summer refuge for the court when the capital of the empire, in 1808, became Rio de Janeiro.
“Petrópolis was originally the city of Pedro”, the president of the Special Curator Commission of the Senate for the Bicentennial of the Independence of Brazil, Randolfe Rodrigues, told Lusa, referring to D.Pedro I of Brazil, IV of Portugal.
Petrópolis was also chosen as the starting point of the celebrations in Brazil as a way of paying tribute to the 233 victims of heavy rains in February.
The website provides videos, podcasts and documents about the history of the Independence of Brazil.
“There is a project that we are planning for June” which is a “traveling library, a [autocarro] that will walk through Brazilian capitals that will portray independence, the moments of independence”, announced the senator.
In addition, launches are scheduled in several Vozes do Brasil cities.
In addition, he explained, the Senate intends to “launch a permanent exhibition that should be by a great contemporary Brazilian artist who portrays Brazil today, 200 years later, which should be permanently exposed in the National Congress”.
On September 8, there will be a formal session at the Congress, in which the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Augusto Santos Silva have already confirmed their presence.
As for the issue that has made the most attention, the possible arrival of D.Pedro’s heart from Portugal to Brazil, Randolfe Rodrigues stated that “it’s a whim, more on the part of the Federal Government than Brazilianness”.
The 1972 pact, in the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of independence that culminated in the transfer of D.Pedro’s body to Brazil, “is well resolved for all Brazilians: The heart is in Portugal and the body is here”.
“It’s more a question of symbology. The problem is that the Government is trying to look for symbols to portray independence”, he criticized, adding that “instead of symbols to portray independence, it should take advantage of the 200 years to make a reflection on the formation of the Brazilian people and what forged it”.
“The Government, even due to the lack of creativity and of reflecting what Brazil has been like for 200 years, seeks to find a kind of scapegoat for the heart of D.Pedro”, he joked.
In the senator’s opinion, the senator considers what is important to celebrate and understand in these celebrations is how Brazil was formed, with all its mixtures, what constituted Brazilian nationality and “search for the roots of Portugal, understand how the Portuguese colonial empire expanded”.
The transfer of D. Pedro’s heart, as part of the commemorations of the bicentennial of the independence of Brazil, will only be appreciated after “the technical examination process” is concluded, said the Porto Chamber, on May 30, confirming that it had received the official request.
In response to the Lusa agency, the Porto Chamber confirmed that it had received the official request from the Brazilian Government for the transfer of D. Pedro’s heart, as part of the commemorations of the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence.
The Porto city council also stressed that the matter will only be considered “after the technical examination of the heart has been completed”, which is being carried out by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto (FMUP) and the Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences. (ICBAS).
Brazil is the “synthesis of the Portuguese colonial empire”
“The Portuguese colonial empire opened up around the world, you took over the Atlantic, became the great maritime nation of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, Camões’ poetry portrays the epics you made”, he begins by explaining, in an interview with Lusa, in Brasília, Senator Randolfe Rodrigues.
Even so, he stressed, it was Brazil that became “the most Portuguese of all nations” and “the synthesis of the Portuguese colonial empire”, he considered the person responsible for the celebrations of Brazil’s independence.
In the opinion of Randolfe Rodrigues, “Lusophony was processed in Brazil, not in Macau, not in East Timor, not in Mozambique, not in Angola, not in Guinea-Bissau, not in Cape Verde, it was here, where the mixture of the work of the Portuguese colonial empire was processed and materialized”.
In addition to the many descendants of Portuguese and Europeans, Brazil was the country in the world that received the most slaves from African colonies. The most conservative calculations point to more than four million between the 16th and mid-19th centuries.
“It was this mixture that forged the Brazilian people,” he said.
Among the various commemorations that are scheduled, there will be one at the solemn session on September 8, 2022, at the Brazilian Congress, to mark the two centuries of Brazilian independence, in which the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and President of the Assembly of the Republic, Augusto Santos Silva have already confirmed their presence.
But the guests don’t stop there: the Brazilian Senate insisted on inviting all Portuguese-speaking countries.
“Because in these representatives there is a bit of Brazilianness”, underlined the senator, adding that “when they had the representatives of Angola, the Government of Mozambique, the Government of Guinea-Bissau, there is a lot of Brazil there”.
As for the invitation to the Portuguese authorities, not only to participate in the formal session, but also to be present and contribute to the celebrations throughout the year, this fact is due, he considered, due to the uniqueness of the Brazilian independence process.
“We have a very unique process of independence. I think that among all the nations that have emancipated themselves from their motherland, perhaps only Brazil will be able to bring those ties it has with Portugal closer together”, inviting “the former mother country to participate in the independence celebrations”, explained Randolfe Rodrigues.
In the run-up to the famous cry, on September 7, 1822, “Independence or death!” on the banks of the Ipiranga River, there were several different independence projects that could have changed the history and ties with Portugal.
But the winning thesis was a “model of rupture in which Portugal’s monarchical ties were maintained through the continuation of a hereditary monarchy from the crown prince regent of the Portuguese crown”, recalled the senator.
“Although we made a rupture, a separation with Portugal, we maintained several ties with the Portuguese”, reinforced Randolfe Rodrigues.
The senator has no doubt that the Brazilian territorial unit, the fourth largest territory on the planet, unlike what happened with the Spanish colonies in South America, was only possible due to the arrival of the Portuguese court to Rio de Janeiro during the invasions. Napoleonic times, due to the unique process of independence and the “strength of the Portuguese sword”.
“The fact that the intelligence, the cleverness, of D. João VI (the prince regent) moved the seat of the kingdom here and constituted a united kingdom here,” he said, referring to the Portuguese fleet with the prince regent who landed in Salvador, on January 22, 1808, to later establish the city of Rio de Janeiro as the capital of the Portuguese empire.
“We should be very grateful to Napoleonic expansionism”, said the Brazilian senator, between smiles.
Conversely, the Spanish side in South America ended up breaking up because Spain is occupied by Napoleonic troops, considered Randolfe Rodrigues.
“Dispute over the Spanish kingdom leaves a legacy here of the disintegration of the Spanish empire (…) and the result of this is the separation”, he said, adding that “if this had happened we would not have a Brazil, we would have several ‘Brazils'”
“Until the arrival of D. João VI here in 1808, we had no unity between the Portuguese colonial empire” and the Brazilian localities, he stressed.