Armenians Found In Every Major Activity In Brazilian Life: Brazilian

19:13 / 12/04/2009

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Brazil to Armenia
Marcela Maria Nicodemos answered questions.

Q.: Mrs. Ambassador, what are Brazil’s interests in South Caucasus
region? Do you have political interests in the region or they are
confined to economic cooperation?

A.: Brazil has close links with Armenia, due mainly to the presence in
the country of a not so large but very influential Armenian community.

Therefore, the Brazilian Embassy in Yerevan, which was opened in
2006, was Brazil’s first Embassy in the South Caucasus region. Since
the opening of the Embassy, the economic and commercial cooperation
between the two countries has experienced a significant increase. But
we consider there is still a lot more that can be done. For instance,
we would like to see a more expressive presence of Brazilian businesses
in Armenia and we hope this could be achieved in a near future. As
regarding Brazil’s political interests in the region, for geographical
reasons, the South Caucasus is not an area of immediate influence for
Brazil. Nevertheless, being an important player in the international
sphere, Brazil follows attentively the development of events in the
region. We support the process conducive to the normalization of
Armenian-Turkish relations as well as the peaceful solution for the
conflict with Azerbaijan.

Q.: Currently G8 membership expansion, intending to involve Brazil
is much spoken about. How can it benefit Brazil and how it will
contribute to the solution of global problems?

A.: The recent expansion of the former G-8 membership into the G-20, in
order to include emerging and developing countries, is a positive step
in the direction of global governance. Brazil has always supported the
opening of international structures and organizations to encompass as
many countries as possible. We consider that our participation in G-20,
together with several other countries, will benefit not only Brazil
but also other developing countries, since this is an opportunity
for more democratic participation in international forum and for
more transparent decision making in issues that affect the entire
international community. It is Brazil’s expectation that the creation
of the G-20 will give voice to the most pressing problems faced by
developing nations, like, for instance, the eradication of poverty.

Q.: Like in many countries there is an Armenian community in Brazil.

What role do Armenians play out there? How are they integrated into
country’s life?

A.: As I mentioned before, the Armenian community in Brazil is not very
big – we estimate that between 25.000 to 30.000 Armenians or people
from Armenian origins live in the country, mainly in the State of São
Paulo, that is the richest in Brazil. But the Armenian community is
very influential. Among the Armenian community you can find bankers
and financiers, business people, physicians, university professors,
several Ambassadors and diplomats, artists and so on.

Actually, the Armenians are found in every major activity in Brazilian
social, economic, political and cultural life, which is proof of
their total integration into the Brazilian society. At the same time,
the community of Armenian descent is very keen at maintaining their
ties with Armenia. They have Armenian schools, where the language is
taught, the Armenian Church, the AGBU, the Armenian Club and so forth.

Recently, the President of the Armenian Fund in Brazil, Mr. Ochin
Mosditchian, visited Yerevan, where he inaugurated, on behalf the
community, two floors in the infectious deceases ward of the Nork
Marash Hospital, whose repair was financed by the Brazilian-Armenians.

Also, we had this year the visit of one famous Brazilian actor of
Armenian origin, Mr. Stepan Nercessian, for the screening of his most
recent movie – "Ballroom". Mr. Nercessian was received by the top
Armenian authorities, from President Sargsyan, to the Prime Minister,
the Minister of Diaspora and the Catholicos of all Armenians.

Q.: What is Brazil’s role in Organization of American States? Can it
have the same role as EU for European countries?

A.: The Organization of American States (OAS) is a totally different
entity from the European Union. It could be said that it is the
United Nations of the Americas. Actually, it is considered a regional
body within the United Nations system. Similar organizations are
the Organization of African Unity, the Arab League of States and
the Commonwealth of Independent States, for instance. The OAS is
essentially a political body, whose main goal, according to article 1
of its Charter, is to achieve an order of peace and justice, to promote
solidarity, to strengthen collaboration, and to defend sovereignty,
territorial integrity, and independence for all the countries
in the Americas. Brazil attaches great importance to the regional
organization and considers it the appropriate forum for dealing with
and for presenting solutions for regional problems. Of course, being
the largest Latin American country, Brazil plays an important role in
the Organization. However, Brazil’s influence within the Organization
arises from its independent foreign policy and from its respect to the
principles of international law. No country in the OAS has veto power.

Q.: What is your opinion about Turkey’s possible EU membership,
that does not recognize Armenian Genocide and closed Armenian-Turkish
border? Will it assist the Armenian-Turkish relations’ normalization,
or should the mentioned problems be solved before joining EU?

A.: Brazil considers that Turkey’s EU membership is a matter that
concerns mainly the European Union member States and Turkey. It is not
up to Brazil to express opinion about an issue that falls within the
sovereign right of the EU. We can only indicate our expectation that
the decisions reached are in the best interest of the countries or
group of countries involved as well as in benefit of the international
community as a whole. As I already mentioned, Brazil firmly supports
the process of normalization of relations currently under way between
Armenia and Turkey, for we are convinced that the best way to solve
differences is through dialogue.

Q.: And one more question that is above politics. What is the secret
of Brazilian football success?

A.: Well, I don’t think there is a secret. And, if there was one,
maybe I would keep it to myself. But, jokes apart, the only thing I
can say for sure is that football is a passion in Brazil. Everybody
loves football in the country: men, women, young, old, rich and poor.

And maybe that’s the secret: to do something really well you really
have to love it.