Esquina de Brasília
26th March 1969
We went, on Sunday [23rd March] night, to the Martins Penna Theatre, where Mestre Gato's capoeiristas were going to have a show at 21 hours. We were anxious to see again the beautiful art, so brazilian, which stimulated us, which impressed us so much in Bahia, provoking an enthusiasm that we tried to transmit to the readers of "Correio Braziliense" when announcing the promising news, or the coming to Brasília of authentic and excellent capoeiristas.
We encountered a queue in the theatre entrance - mainly young people - who also seemed to show this happy anxiety that precedes the spectacles that we had the wish to see. However, the door that takes to the theatre stayed closed and strange rumours started to circulate. "There will be no spectacle", "they prohibited capoeira", etc.
We entered in the enclosure and encountered Mestre Gato explaining to three gentelmen that capoeira is not boxing and instead folclore, art, so much so that he teaches art in the University of Bahia. Why was he talking about boxing? Because the gentelmen represented the Boxing Federation. One of them who presented himself as inspector of the said Federation came to prohibit the spectacle because our bahian friends had not asked for permission from this Federation which existence they ignored (as, I have to tell you the truth, so did we).
Mestre Gato explained and repeated that capoeira is not boxing. The inspector repeated that capoeira is listed among the fights that depend of its Federation.
He asked that the inspector would forget the requirement that was not carried out, that he would let the group to take advantage of the oportunity given by Cultural Foundation what offered him our best theatre, to help them, that he would not deceive the people that were waiting at the door and anxious to see the spectacle. The arguments did not help. The inspector repeated always that it was not possible, that there would be no spectacle.
He asked if he would accept a free spectacle. He again denied a permission. He suggested that everybody would take a trip to the university campus or to the headquarters of the Folclore Society in Sobradinho. The inspector denied once and for all the permission of a show in any place in the Federal District, saying that there had already been capoeira shows in UNB, that he didn't know about it before, and that if he had known he would have impeded.
Nothing helped the capoeiristas' arguments that they always stepped up in Bahia and in other Stated, that they needed the show to get the money to return to Salvador, as did not help the pleads of the people of Brasília that he would make an exception, that he would in the way, understand the drama that the abandonment of the theatre represented.
But the inspector of the Boxing Federation stayed cold, deaf and decided. And there was no show.
We asked if, there was a need, to ask for a permission and to pay a fee and if he insisted in putting capoeira among the fights, shouldn't the request and the fee be sent to the National Sports Council of the MEC. We asked if this strict gentelman hadn't exceeded his powers.
But what is done is done. We all that went there, were deceived as were the capoeiristas, crazy to show their skills and transmit the capoeira and maculelê feeling to the people of Brasília.
We promised to make a request for our readers. We ask that you help the capoeiristas to return peacefully to their homeland. Because Brasília treated them so badly, that would be pardoned by giving them a fast compensation. It was not what they wanted: to deserve a salary for the work well done, but a simple help dictated by the human fraternity. That everybody would send a little amount to the Portuguese Study Centre of UNB where the Centre of Brazilian Folclore operates. If many would send their contribution, it would reach the necessary sum for the group's return trip. That they would send today, their manifestation of sympathy of Brasília with the bahian capoeiristas. As a simple demonstration of help from the city that waits their return this year, under better circumstances.
I thanks for the help, because I'm certain that, the people of Brasília will make the effort to give it, as a sign of collective apology from our city to the visitors that deserve more understanding.