Many Haitians have essentially adopted the Brazilian soccer team, partly because it has been quite some time since their own home team has had international success. CCTV correspondent Stephen Gibbs follows the journey of many Haitians forced to leave their home due to a natural disaster, and make a new home in Brazil.
Haiti played in a World Cup once in Germany in 1974. However the team lost later in the tournament against Poland.
Tens of thousands of Haitians have come to Brazil over the last four years, seeking work, often in Brazil’s infrastructure projects. Fedo, who used to be a teacher in Haiti, is now a builder in Brazil. The momentous event which brought him to the South American country was the 2010 earthquake in his town. “When I got out to the street to see how things were, it was terrible. I saw people dying. People crying in the house,” he said.
In the aftermath of this disaster, many Haitians decided their only option was to leave the country. With much of the world in economic crisis, Brazil was seen as an attractive destination. Back then it had a booming economy, a shortage of manual labor, and a high visibility in Haiti because of its football team and a large contingent of troops with the United Nations.
Fedo was approached by the Brazilians, saying their country will have promise for someone like him. “When I met them, they said, ‘it is better for you to come here. You can find a good job.’ But when I came here, it was different. Really different,” Fedo says.
Since 2011, nearly 5,600 immigrants of Haitian origin are known to have arrived in Brazil. Last year, one processing camp at the Brazilian-Peruvian border, designed for 300 people, was providing shelter for more than 2000.