Brazilians find stock exchange bull unbearable, remove it

An activist walks past a statue based on Wall Street’s Charging Bull sculpture after her group pasted the Portuguese word for “hungry” on it outside the stock exchange in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 17. The bull was removed this week.

SAO PAULO (AP) — Many Brazilians felt bearish about a new Wall Street-inspired bull sculpture outside the Sao Paulo stock exchange, and didn’t have to wait long for it to crash: It has been removed a week after it was installed.

The stock exchange had hoped to bestow the rundown city center with a flashy landmark. But its golden sheen was offset by nearby tents for the homeless and the daily line outside a major trade union of people searching for jobs.

By Tuesday night, it was gone.

Critics said the sculpture didn’t reflect Brazil’s current economic crossroads or near-term prospects, with poverty and unemployment high and inflation running in the double digits.

At the sculpture’s Nov. 16 unveiling, Gilson Finkelsztain, the exchange’s CEO, said, “It represents the strength and the resilience of the Brazilian people.” The statue was sponsored by the exchange and investor Paulo Spyer, who owns a consultancy firm named Vai Tourinho — Go Little Bull in Portuguese.

But the celebration was swiftly met with protests. The next day, a dozen students posted stickers on the bull’s body that read “HUNGER.” After their removal, the nonprofit group SP Invisible organized a barbecue beside the bull to feed homeless people.

“This bull is suggesting we are experiencing some progress, but it is the exact opposite,” organizer Vinícius Lima told reporters. “Beef prices have skyrocketed. ... Fewer and fewer Brazilians can afford it. That’s why we came here.”

Sao Paulo’s urban planning board summoned the sculpture’s sponsors and the artist who crafted it for a meeting. The board’s main objection: Sponsors didn’t seek approval beforehand and apparently violated a law limiting what can be displayed outdoors.

“There is a law and it must be followed. Everyone has to be aware of the law before doing something,” Viviane Rubio, an adviser to the urban planning body, said during Tuesday’s meeting. “You needed to let us know before you placed it there.”

The bull’s creator, Rafael Brancatelli, expressed contrition.

“I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful or go over anyone’s head,” he said. “The lesson has been learned.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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