Friday, February 7, 2014

This just doesn't stick - São Paulo

Pizzolato. Photo credit:

When I lived in Miami from 2002-2008, I briefly volunteered for an organization run by the sister of IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan. Tony is Brazilian as is Karen, and I did some translations from Portuguese to English of their literature. During a meeting at their headquarters, Karen taught me an expression that I love. 

Frustrated by a particular argument about how the place should run an event, Karen pinched her index finger and the side of her thumb together and made a pinching motion a couple of times, saying "isso não cola." Literally this means "this doesn't glue" or "this doesn't stick." I had to ask what the expression really meant and she said "that argument doesn't work" or "that argument doesn't hold water." Basically you are saying that the glue that was holding together your argument is not sticking.

This just doesn't stick! Image: Sprint

I thought of this expression today as I am reading the news that one of the men sentenced in the Mensalão corruption scandal had been caught. After being sentenced to 12 years for his role in the scheme, Henrique Pizzolato had fled through Argentina to Spain and then to Italy. The Italian and Brazilian police found him in his nephew's apartment in a small town in Italy. Personally, I don't think he was trying too hard not to get caught. You see, Italy has no extradition law, and Pizzolato is an Italian passport holder (lots of Brazilians of Italian descent are able to get an Italian passport, even a hundred years after their family has left the old country). 

Now, how did he get into Europe, where the Brazilian police suspected he would go, if he had no Brazilian passport to leave the country? It had been confiscated during the Mensalão judgement. Apparently he walked. Not on water. No, he drove to border of Brazil and Argentina in Santa Catarina, walked across then flew onto Spain, and finally got to Italy. 

But here's the part that gets sticky...then unsticky.  Since 2007, this Henrique Pizzolato has been planning his escape route. His brother Celso had died in 1978 at the age of 24 in a car accident, I believe. But he was resuscitated in 2007. He still had his identity documents in order (don't you have to report death here and wipe out the numbers? Hmmm) and so he registered to vote and to get a passport. And Celso, the dead guy, voted in the 2008 election (for which candidates, I'd like to know) and got himself his Brazilian and Italian passports. 
Really? The Brazilian federal police didn't notice that the RG (like a social security number) was for a dead guy? Yes, it had Pizzolato's photo, not a dead guy in a casket photo but seriously. Isso não cola. It doesn't stick. Maybe I should apply for citizenship of random countries by checking through the obituaries. It sure would be easier than applying the legal way through the federal police as an American. (Dear US authorities aka NSA, I do not want dual citizenship. I am not applying under any person's name, dead or alive, for Brazilian or Italian citizenship).

Photo credit

So here's a copy of "Celso"'s passport. Wow, does he look like Henrique. And not too bad for a dead guy. Now what I hear the Italian authorities are saying is that he cannot be deported because he holds Italian citizenship. But do both Celso and Henrique hold Italian citizenship? Because if Henrique's got revoked, I think there might be a loophole on sending the dead guy Celso home. 

Why does Brazil even bother coming up with original stories for novelas? Piada pronta! Ready joke! No one seems to worry about "isso não cola" here. So what if it doesn't make sense?

In any case, Pizzolato seems to think he's pretty safe where he is. As one of my other favorite expressions goes (blog post here): "Tudo acaba em pizza." Everything will be fine...for him.


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