When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Montage, obviously: Dilma had her helmet on
Montage, obviously: Dilma had her helmet on
Valdo Cruz and Andréia Sadi

BRASILIA “I threw on a helmet and rode the motorcycle through the streets of Brasilia,” a content Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff recently, and casually, told the country’s Minister of Mines and Energy Edison Lobão, who listened in disbelief.

The minister said that he was shocked at first, just like the reporter to whom he recounted the story. “At first I couldn’t believe it either, but when we met Amaro in the elevator I started to.”

Lobão was referring to the head of presidential security, General Marcos Antônio Amaro, whom he and the Brazilian president ran into toward the end of their conversation last week. Rousseff immediately began bragging. “Even he didn’t know,” she said, certain that her breach had been a secret.

But the president was surprised when the security official promptly replied, “I did know, and sent some company,” adding that a team was instructed to follow her from a distance so as to preserve her feeling of a furtive adventure.

When reporting her deed, Dilma told the minister about how she felt riding a motorcycle around the capital. “I experienced Brasilia’s air better,” she said.

That was a poetic compliment because the city has been suffering from its seasonal drought, when air moisture reaches Saharan levels.

It’s not clear whether Rousseff was riding on the back or whether she was driving herself. According to the Planalto Palace, which has not commented on the episode, the president doesn’t have a permit.

Still dazed by the news, Lobão asked the president about the safety risks. “You must care not only about you and Paula (the president’s daughter), but also 200 million Brazilians,” he told her.

Dilma smiled, thanked the minister for his concern, and said, “Life is full of dangers. Everything in life entails risk.”

When Folha reported Lobão’s story to another minister close to the president, he was skeptical. “The president riding a motorcycle? I can't believe it,” he said. But this isn’t the first time the leader has had a turn with motorcyles.

Carlos Gabas, executive secretary of the Ministry of Social Security and owner of a Harley-Davidson, said that the president not only has asked to hop on his chopper but she has also managed to strike a pose.

Capers such as Rousseff’s are not unprecedented. Lobão recalled that the late General João Batista Figueiredo drove his security personnel crazy by fleeing to ride his motorcycle during his presidency (1979-1985).

“The president had an adventure,” Lobão said. “She deserves it. Her position limits a lot of her leisure options. It’s almost impossible for her to go to theaters, movies, restaurants.”

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
food / travel

Denied The Nile: Aboard Cairo's Historic Houseboats Facing Destruction

Despite opposition, authorities are proceeding with the eviction of residents of traditional houseboats docked along the Nile in Egypt's capital, as the government aims to "renovate" the area – and increase its economic value.

Houseboats on the Nile in Zamalek, Cairo

Ahmed Medhat and Rana Mamdouh

With an eye on increasing the profitability of the Nile's traffic and utilities, the Egyptian government has begun to forcibly evict residents and owners of houseboats docking along the banks of the river, in the Kit Kat area of Giza, part of the Greater Cairo metropolis.

The evictions come following an Irrigation Ministry decision, earlier this month, to remove the homes that have long docked along the river.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ