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In this article, Gilberto Freyre points out a common trait he sees among the peoples of the Americas and, especially, in the field of inter-American relationships. He refers to areas where he can affirm the people’s natural ability to combine unity with variety, a continental approach with a regional approach, the universal with the local, and common histories and geographies. He evokes something that other Brazilian writers have also addressed—“fragmented sociological islands of English, Spanish, and Portuguese colonization”—reminding the reader about the creation of the Americas based on regional or provincial criteria. When Freyre looks at the Americas he detects a distinct predilection for cultural groupings of a regional or provincial nature; a preference for plurality that contradicts any suggestion of continent-wide geographical unity or unanimity. He adds that the “small islands, most of which are malleable, come together out of socio-economic need to form larger islands,” referring to the confederation of Anglo-Saxon America, the Portuguese-Brazilian kingdom or empire, and the republics of Spanish America. Freyre expresses his preference for an inter-American blend of regional energies with provincial traits, with features and qualities that are far superior to the proposed Pan-Americanism, which he sees as merely an expression of the quantitative criteria of the group of countries that make up the Americas.
Freyre aponta a tendência dos povos das Américas para as relações interamericanas, que afirmem sua característica fundamental de combinar a unidade na variedade, o continentalismo com o regionalismo, o universalismo com o localismo e a história com a geografia. Evoca "ilhas sociológicas fragmentadas, de colonização inglesa, espanhola e portuguesa", remetendo à formação histórica do continente a partir de bases provincianas ou regionais. Encontra nas Américas a predisposição à variedade regional ou provincial da cultura, tendência à pluralidade em oposição às sugestões de unidade e totalidade da geografia continental. Acrescenta que essas "ilhotas, plásticas em sua maioria, vieram a se agrupar por necessidades sócio-econômicas, em ilhas maiores", referindo-se à confederação da América anglo-saxônica, ao reino e império luso-brasileiro, às repúblicas da América espanhola. Denota preferência pela combinação interamericana de energias regionais e qualidades provinciais, com suas distinções e qualidades, que se sobrepõem ao panamericanismo político, que se desenvolveu apenas pelo critério quantitativo da totalidade continental.
Ever since the early days of his career, the sociologist, anthropologist, historian, writer, and journalist Gilberto [de Mello] Freyre (1900–87) was acutely aware of the vast geographical and cultural distances that separated his native region from the political and economic centers of the country, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. In 1926 he organized the “Primeiro Congresso Regionalista do Nordeste” in his home town, Recife—[see the manifesto in doc. no. 1074787]—which he used to promote aspects of the culture and habits of the northeastern region of Brazil. This was what prompted him to present his suggestions for a new definition of “tropicalismo” decades later in a lecture at the Faculdade de Letras de Coimbra (Portugal). He mentions the negative connotations that are usually ascribed to the term, which is used to mean loutish, messy, crude, and primitive, as distinct from the concept of “civilization” that is used to convey a sense of European refinement. On that subject, see “Em tôrno de um novo conceito de tropicalismo [doc. no. 1075041].
On the subject of identity, see by the same author “Ainda a proposito do espirito de nacionalidade do Brasil” [doc. no. 1075231]; as well as the concerns he shared with neighboring countries amid a rising tide of “continentalism”: the inter-American issues that led to an examination of Brazil’s problems in terms of neighboring countries vis-à-vis their similarities and their considerable differences.
In this article, Freyre discusses his thoughts on a form of “inter-Americanism” that does not exclude differences and that tolerates cultural alternatives. He warns against the uniformity of a kind of Pan-Americanism that is of a purely political nature and, naturally, is fostered by the United States. Freyre published his article in Argentina at the height of the Second World War, in La Nación, Buenos Aires, February 8, 1942.
Freyre propaga um interamericanismo que não exclua diferenças, em defesa da variedade cultural e em discreta advertência contra a dimensão uniforme de um panamericanismo simplesmente político.
Ver também:Freyre, Gilberto. A propósito da política cultural do Brasil na América. In: Problemas Brasileiros de Antropologia, Editora Casa do Estudante do Brasil,1943Freyre, Gilberto. Interamericanismo. La Nación, Buenos Aires, 8 fev. 1942