Meet Cláudio Henrique, just one of the Brazilian Barack Obamas

Claudio Barack, as he defines himself, had the dream of being the first black mayor of Belford Roxo (RJ) in 2008, the year that the black leader came to power in the USA. With the slogan “you can change history,” the candidate Cláudio Henrique Barack Obama received 30,000 votes and won third place at this city of 500 thousand people at the metropolitan area of Rio.

Brazilian Barack Obama Claudio
Brazilian Barack Obama Claudio.

Today at age 45, the entrepreneur, technician and motivational speaker recognized to iG that the slogan and jingle of his first campaign piggybacked on the fame of the real Obama, then candidate for the U.S. presidency.

The rise of the unknown Brazilian candidate in light of American “political promise” was the subject of the 12 minute documentary The Obama Samba, broadcast by PBS, and earned international coverage by Al-Jazeera, CNN and Fox News Channel.

Henrique incorporated the character so much that he was sent to Washington to accompany the starting ceremony of the American president, invited by a news agency. There Henrique explored the Capitol, Senate and fell in love with “functioning democracy” as he explained it. “I just didn’t get to know the guy [Obama] personally. I was 100 feet away, but it was impossible to approach him.”

When Henrique began campaigning, asking residents to join him in a dream of a better city, his supporters started calling him their Barack Obama. The name stuck.

The experience in the U.S. only encouraged Henrique to continue in politics and still exploring the “Obama formula”, the Brazilian Obama, this year a candidate for federal deputy for the state of Rio de Janeiro promises as the American candidate to win the election based on actions on social media.

According to the PBR documentary, Brazil has several other Barack Obama’s as political candidates. This unofficial elections website has a list of a few of them.

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Max Francisco
Max Francisco has been involved with the Internet in Brazil and has been doing digital projects in the country for the last 15 years.