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Where does the enmity between Argentina and Brazil come from?

Where does that enmity with Brazil come from? The origin would seem to be football, but there are other theories. Do you want to meet them?

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That there are always problems between neighbors is something we all know. That with our  sister countries  we look half a rally, but deep down we love each other, is a reality. But why? Where does that enmity come from? Our main archenemy within Latin America is undoubtedly Brazil. The origin would seem to be football, but there are other theories. Do you want to meet them?

The BBC took the job of listening to the views of historians, political scientists and sports journalists from both countries. He came to establish four theses on the origin of this historic dispute.

1) Political animosity

Brazilian historian and political scientist Boris Fausto and Argentine Fernando Devoto are co-authors of the book  An essay of comparative history (1850-2002) . In it, they say that this rivalry was born in the political sphere.

“It began in the 19th century, when both countries positioned themselves as the two most important in the Southern Cone, with pretensions of hegemony and superiority. And that crystallized,” they explained.

For Fausto, this political rivalry ended up being assimilated by society and thus became detached from historical events and invaded other areas, such as football.

2) Reissue of Portugal vs. Spain

For Argentine political scientist Rosendo Fraga, the two countries “inherited the dispute between Portugal and  Spain  over the control of the Rio de la Plata”. From the Brazilian historical perspective, it culminated in the so-called Cisplatina War (1825-1828).

Fraga points to this nineteenth century dispute as a defining moment where this climate of animosity was born. “ Argentina  was projected as the only country in South America with a chance to compete against Brazil for regional leadership.”

Fraga explained that tension reached its highest point in the first decade of the last century, when relations between the two countries were interrupted.

Like Fausto, Fraga believes that football, the most popular sport in both countries, is a kind of “extension” of that dispute over regional hegemony.

3) The result of the differences

Argentine political scientist and writer Vicente Palermo is the author of  La alegría y la pasión - Brazilian and Argentine stories in comparative perspective . He claims that “historically it was common for Argentines to look at Brazilians with an air of superiority.”

The explanation was in the historical differences between the two countries, including their colonization processes.  Argentina  used to be defined as “more homogeneous and egalitarian”; Brazil, “more diverse and unequal”.

However, Palermo estimates that all this changed in the years of the Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983). The country, which once had a thriving middle class, went on to face poverty problems similar to those in Brazil. At that time, he was seen by his neighbors as a nation of “poor and black.”

Today, he says, Argentines see their neighbors in another way, as a global actor of weight. For Palermo, the problem is that clichés are maintained and end up contributing to fueling the rivalry.

4) Football stuff

Journalist Bruno Sturari, from  Olé , says that the dispute between Brazil and Argentina is “restricted to the world of sports.” He pointed out that the protagonists of this rivalry have changed over time.

“A hundred years ago Argentina was competing against Uruguay. And the rivalry was between Argentines and Uruguayans. Rivalry with Brazil gradually emerged as both grew more and more within football. But that happened on the football field.”

And what do you think? Is it something football, social or political? Or a little bit of everything?

Publication Date: 20/09/2019

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